April at NYU"s La Maison Française features an array of events, leading off with a photography exhibition and fascinating talks about the iconic French singer Edith Piaf.

Tributes to Iconic French Singer Lead Off April Events at La Maison Francaise

On April 1, 2011, La Maison Française at New York University will unveil a new exhibition of photographs of the singer Edith Piaf by French photographer Hugues Vassal, launching this exhibition with a gallery talk by Vassal. On April 5, the focus on Piaf continues with a lecture by Carolyn Burke, author of a new biography of the singer. The April calendar for La Maison Française (16 Washington Mews, New York, N.Y., corner of University Place) continues with an array of distinguished and exciting events, such as a screening of the film “Jean-Louis Barrault, a Man of the Theater,” and a lecture by Robert Rubin, curator of an exhibition currently on view at the Biblioteque Nationale de France. A full listing of April events follows. For more information, please visit La Maison Francaise, or call 212.998.8750.

Friday, April 1, 6:00 p.m. Exhibition Opening - Edith Piaf:  Photographs by Hugues Vassal, with lecture by Vassal (7:00 p.m.). The exhibition continues through May 13. The French photographer, one of the creators of the Gamma photo agency, became a close friend of the singer in the last seven years of her life, documenting her public and  private moments. 

Tuesday, April 5, 7:00 p.m. Lecture in English – Carolyn Burke, Writer; biographer; author of No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf (Knopf, 2011). Burke brings the iconic French singer to life in her enthralling, definitive biography, which captures Edith Piaf’s immense charisma along with the time and place that gave rise to her unprecedented international career.

Thursday, April 7, 7:00 p.m. Adventures in the French Trade: A Memoir Revisited - Lecture in English by Jeffrey Mehlman, University Professor and Professor of French, Boston University; author of Émigré New York: French Intellectuals in Wartime Manhattan, 1940-1944; Adventures in the French Trade (Stanford UP, 2010). A literary critic and historian of ideas, Mehlman shares second thoughts about his recently published memoir, less a chronicle of his life as a scholar/critic of matters French than a series of episodes, each with its attendant surprise, in what one commentator has called his amour vache, his injured and occasionally injurious love, for France and the French.

 Monday, April 11, 7:00 p.m. Apollo’s Angels: Ballet’s Past and Why It Matters - Lecture in English by Jennifer Homans, Distinguished Scholar in Residence, NYU; dance critic, The New Republic; author of Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet (Random House, 2010) . Jennifer Homans, a former professional dancer, dance critic of The New Republic, is author of the recently published Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet (Random House, 2010), a national bestseller and named a Top 10 Book of 2010 by The New York Times.

 Tuesday, April 12, 7:00 p.m. BeatHippiePunk and the French Connection: Richard Prince at the Bibliotheque Nationale - Lecture in English by Robert Rubin, Curator, Richard Prince: American Prayer exhibition on view at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France through the end of June, 2011. Discussion of Franco-American exchanges at the margins of culture in the fifties, sixties, and seventies. Contemporary artist Richard Prince's collection of rare books and manuscripts, around which the show is organized, is the point of departure for the discovery of many surprising connections between Beats, Hippies, and Punks and their Gallic counterparts.

 Thursday, April 21, 7:00 p.m. French Opera, A Paradoxical Genre - Lecture in English by Vincent Girdoud, author of the recently published French Opera: A Short History (Yale University Press, 2010) discusses some of the paradoxes and specific characters of the French operatic tradition, which he claims is second only to Italian opera in terms of richness and variety.

 Monday, April 25, 7:00 p.m.  French Literature in the Making - Lecture in French, with Vincent Delecroix, writer; novelist; author of Retour à Bruxelles; À la porte; Ce qui est perdu (Prix Valéry Larbaud); La chaussure sur le toit; Tombeau d’Achille (Grand Prix de Littérature de l’Académie Française) in conversation with  Oliver Barrot, writer; journalist, Un livre un jour (France 3); publisher, Senso.

Tuesday, April 26, 7:00 p.m. Centennial Homage to Jean-Louis Barrault - Film screening of “Jean-Louis Barrault, A Man of the Theater,” written and produced by Helen Gary Bishop, directed by Muriel Balash, (FR 3 Television, 1985, 54 min.; In English), with round table on Barrault's life and work: Lorenzo Weisman, Head of Corporate Finance for the Americas, BNP Paribas; former actor with Comédie Française; Florent Masse, Director, Avant-Scène, the French Theater Workshop of Princeton University; Helen Gary Bishop, producer of the film; and Tom Bishop, Professor of French, NYU (moderator.)

 April 26-29 PEN WORLD VOICES at NYU’s Maison Française - La Maison Française is participating in the 7th annual   PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature.  This Festival includes Lunchtime Literary Conversations: A Three-Part Series (free and open to the public, no reservations) as follows:

Tuesday, April 26, 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. French graphic novelist Ludovic Debeurme  in conversation with Norwegian writer Kjersti Annesdatter Skomvold.   Moderator: Kira Brunner Don ( Lapham's Quarterly).

Wednesday, April 27, 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.  A conversation between two bestselling French authors: Laurence Cossé, the author of The Corner of the Veil, Prime Minister’s Woman, and most recently, The Novel Bookstore; and Hervé Le Tellier, the author of Enough About Love, and the forthcoming The Sextine Chapel.

 Friday, April 29, 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Since her debut on the French literary scene more than a decade ago, Belgian novelist Amélie Nothomb has published a novel a year, every year. Her edgy fiction, unconventional thinking, and public persona have combined to transform her into a worldwide literary sensation. The novelist sits down with Turkish essayist and short story writer Buket Uzuner to discuss the phenomenon of their literary lives.

The Festival also includes An Evening with Pierre Guyotat & Edmund White, as follows:

Thursday, April 28, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. (Reservations required:  212-998-8750  or  maison.francaise @ nyu.edu Tickets: $15;  $10. PEN Members; Free for those with NYU i.d.). - Edmund White describes Pierre Guyotat's novel, Eden Eden Eden, “violent, transgressive and inspired – the last great avant-garde visionary of the 20th Century.”  Princeton’s professor of creative writing and author of Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel, talks with Rimbaud’s modern-day heir, Pierre Guyotat, author of Eden, Eden, Eden and the recently translated Coma, published in English by Semiotext(e). Note: The full PEN World Voices schedule (April 25 - May 1) is available at www.pen.org.

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