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Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and Martha Wainwright Pay Homage to Shel Silverstein

Friday, August 05, 2011

On Saturday, the sidewalk ends in Central Park. The author, poet, songwriter and cartoonist Shel Silverstein -- known to many for children's books like Where the Sidewalk Ends -- will be lauded in a, um, "Shelebration" as part of Central Park's SummerStage series. 

Silverstein's work is most often heard in the cozy corners of classrooms, but that's not necessarily where Silverstein envisioned his work would be read, according to Lisa Rogak, author of A Boy Named Shel: The Life and Times of Shel Silverstein.

"Ironically enough, he never wanted to be a kids' author," Rojak said, adding that his success with children's books allowed him to live a jet-setting and creative lifestyle.

"He was the conduit for all these words and stories and ideas that just flowed through him," Rojak said, regardless of whether they became songs, poems or children's stories.

"If an idea came to him when he was walking down the street and it would take 2 seconds too long for him to reach into his mailbag and grab his notebook and pen, he would just start scrawling on the sleeves of his shirt and continue walking," she said.

Saturday's concert, which starts at 7 P.M. in Central Park, will feature performances by Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Martha Wainwright and 24 other singers and comedians. Each performance has been inspired by the work of — who else? — Shel Silverstein.

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