Wanting What You Can't Have: Happy Ending at Joe's Pub

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Host and curator Amanda Stern concluded this season’s Happy Ending Music & Reading series at Joe’s Pub on July 11 with an evening themed around “communication.” 

Stern’s themes are almost always designed to resonate ironically and this program was no exception, as the authors Rajesh Parameswaran, Alex Shakar and Nell Freudenberger delivered variations on the idea of wanting what you can’t have, and don't know how to ask for.

Parameswaran read from his collection “I am an Executioner” — a story in which a captive tiger falls in love with his zookeeper and things do not go well. Shakar offered an excerpt from his novel “Luminarium.”  His protagonist Fred is beset by a Job-like pile of woes, and spends an afternoon with a Hollywood wannabe who claims to have achieved enlightenment.  Nell Freudenberger’s novel “The Newlyweds” features a 21st-century version of the mail-order bride; in the excerpt heard here, she finds her arranged (by her) wedding more light-hearted than she anticipated.

Musical guest Ana Egge helped set the mood with a set of dark rock/folk songs about — well, wanting what you can’t have.

This show was the last at Joe’s Pub.  The series will continue in the autumn. For further information check Stern’s website at

To hear excerpts from the readings, and Egge’s performance, click on the player above.

Bons Mots

A tiger in love.  “Where was my hunger?  Where was all the gloom and trouble of the day?  It was all gone.  Kitch was here.” -- Rajesh Parameswaran, “The Infamous Bengal Ming.”

Unlikely prophet at a Universal theme park.  “’So I heard you attained Nirvana or something,’ Fred mumbled…’what’s that mean?’…’beyond the slum of human reality. It means free, Freddie, just free.’”—Alex Shakar, “Luminarium.”

Wanting it the way she wants it.  “In ‘Desh you make your plans and they usually do not succeed.  But in America you make your plans and then they happen.”— Nell Freudenberger, “The Newlyweds.” 


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