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Selected Shorts: Humor Me

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Sunday, April 01, 2012

The funny, or funny/sad, side of life is offered up in tales by three masters of the form.

To create a program of funny tales, we invited the wonderful humorist and journalist Ian Frazier to host a program at Symphony Space made up of selections from his new anthology, entitled Humor Me.  From that evening we’ll hear first a wonderful reminiscence by the late Grace Paley, who as a Vietnam War protestor was sentenced to jail time at the now defunct Women’s House of Detention in the heart of Greenwich Village.  As one of the lively characters she profiles in “Six Days: Some Rememberings,” notes, “that was a good idea, a prison right in the neighborhood.”  Bringing the late, great Grace to life is Dana Ivey.

Next up, a transgressive favorite of SHORTS host Isaiah Sheffer, who says he enjoyed reading Ian Frazier’s own “Dating Your Mom,” because of its “sincere innocence.”

And what would a humor program be without something from the inimitable David Sedaris?  This time, we offer up obsession/compulsive disorder as only Sedaris could imagine it, in “A Plague of Tics.”  No doubt reader Robert Sean Leonard’s long run on the television series House gave him just the right sense of empathy with the beleaguered narrator.

“Six Days: Some Rememberings,” by Grace Paley, performed by Dana Ivey, “Dating Your Mom,” by Ian Frazier, performed by Isaiah Sheffer, “A Plague of Tics,” by David Sedaris, performed by Robert Sean Leonard

The musical interlude is “Red Hot Mama,” by George Clinton, from the album Standing on the Verge, and the SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit http://www.symphonyspace.org/genres/seriesPage.php?seriesId=71&genreId=4

We’re interested in your response to these programs.  Please comment on this site or visit www.selectedshorts.org

And for more thoughts on the stories in SHORTS, check out literary commentator Hannah Tinti’s site at http://hannahtinti.com

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