LOOKING AT LEMON: TRANSFORMING LIFE THROUGH LITERATURE
In conjunction with the Writers Institute, Performing Arts Center, and University Art Museum
This series of events focuses on the life and work of Lemon Andersen, writer, performance artist, screen actor, and Tony Award-winning poet. Lemon is also a three-time felon who grew up in Brooklyn, the child of a Puerto Rican mother and Norwegian American father, both heroin addicts who died of AIDS before he was fifteen. Left to fend for himself, he dropped out of high school and spent years in jail and on probation. His attempts at rehabilitation faltered until he attended a poetry reading and discovered he had a gift for expressing himself through words. This series celebrates Lemon’s journey to transform his life through art.
LEMON: THE MOVIE
October 24 (Friday): Film screening, 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
November 1 (Saturday): Film screening, 9:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Directed by Laura Brownson and Beth Levison
This intricately crafted documentary follows Lemon’s struggle to free his family from poverty and pain by embarking on a daunting journey to bring his life story to the stage. The movie features the music of hip-hop phenoms Kanye West, Mos Def, and Talib Kwel.
November 6 (Thursday): An Evening with Lemon Andersen
Presentation — 7:00 p.m., University Art Museum, Fine Arts Building
In an intimate setting, Lemon discusses his life and work, focusing on what nurtures him as an artist and how that has been the salvation in his life. An original cast member of the Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway (2002-2003), Lemon shared the 2003 Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event. Lemon is the author of two poetry collections, Ready Made Real (2004) and County of Kings (2009), which earned the Grand Prize at the 2010 New York Book Festival. Also an actor, Lemon has appeared in the Spike Lee films Miracle at St. Anna (2008), Inside Man (2006), She Hate Me (2004), and Sucker Free City (2004).
November 13 (Thursday): County of Kings by Lemon Andersen
Performance — 7:30 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Pre-performance discussion at 7 p.m.
Advance Tickets: $15 general public / $10 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff
Day of Show Tickets: $20 general public / $15 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff
Box Office: (518) 442-3997; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally developed and directed by Elise Thoron, American Place Theatre took Lemon’s life story and adapted it into a solo play now performed by Michael Angel Viera. Weaving hard-edged drama with urban poetry and gritty prose, the work follows Lemon’s coming-of-age memoir in an astonishing journey toward self-discovery. County of Kings is a Literature to Life stage presentation of Young Audiences New York.
For more about the events, visit Connor Kelly’s article in yesterday’s Times Union: