Kensington author, Stephen Witt, will be hosting a musical reading of his recently released literary offering, The Street Singer, this Friday from 7-9 pm at Tiny Cup, 279 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn.
This newest novel from Never Sink Books has Witt following street musician, Jason Spirit, as he finds himself entangled in the fictionalized power politics surrounding the real events of Atlantic Yards and the making of Barclays Center.
While Witt maintains that The Street Singer is purely a work of fiction, he does claim the lions share of the credit for getting an NBA team and new arena in Brooklyn through his reporting of the affair for Courier Life. Drawing from his experience, the events drive a plot which Witt said during his well-attended book launch at on Sept. 21, “Atlantic Yards was a good allegory for development in America.”
Witt, said he came to New York City as a street musician and spent the ’80s in the scene, including being one of the charter members for MTA’s Music Under New York program. It was only after he began writing a column, The Street Singer’s Beat, from 1987 to 1994 that he moved in the direction of journalism.
Witt’s character then becomes a means for him to “pay hommage to them [subway musicians] … they gave it their all; they gave it their life and died in obscurity.”
His comments and personal reflections on the bygone days of cruising a fabrics market before there was a MetroTech and his reflections of the genius he witnessed in other street singers snuffed out by the crack and AIDS epidemic of the ’80s ushered for those in attendance a moment to break into open, rhapsodic discussion on the challenges facing the local subculture and grass-roots artistry in today’s New York City.
This Friday’s reprise of his book launch musical reading aught to create a similar occasion for Brooklynites in attendance to reflect on the changing landscape of the borough. It’s a worthwhile warm up just before your thumb gains traction on the binding of The Street Singer and turns the page to chapter one.
For more information or to RSVP for the event, CLICK HERE.