May 29, 2012 - 7:00 PM
242 Columbus Ave.
Litquake and City Lights Books present An evening of readings and music celebrating the life of Edith Piaf with Carolyn Burke, author of No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf, and musical accompaniment from chanteuse Betty Roi.
The iconic French singer comes to life in Carolyn Burke’s biography, which captures Edith Piaf’s immense charisma along with the time and place that gave rise to her international career. Raised by turns in a brothel, a circus caravan, and a working-class Parisian neighborhood, Piaf began singing on the city’s streets, where she was discovered by a Champs Elysées cabaret owner. She became a star almost overnight, seducing all of Paris with her passionate voice, and No Regrets explores her meteoric rise; her tumultuous love affairs; and her struggles with drugs, alcohol, and illness. Piaf was an unlikely student of poetry and philosophy who aided Resistance efforts in World War II, wrote the lyrics for nearly 100 songs, including “La vie en rose,” and was a crucial mentor to younger singers such as Yves Montand and Charles Aznavour. Burke demonstrates how, with her courage, her incomparable art, and her universal appeal, “the little sparrow” endures as a symbol of France and a source of inspiration to entertainers the world over.
Go here to listen to recordings of Edith Piaf.
Carolyn Burke is the author of Lee Miller: A Life (published by Alfred Knopf) hailed as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for The National Book Critics Circle Biography award. She is also the author of Becoming Modern: The Life of Mina Loy (published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux) that earned prominent reviews in the Times Literary Supplement (cover), the New York Times, Washington Post, the Atlantic, the New Republic, and The Nation. The definitive life of the expatriate artist/poet, it sparked a Loy revival, including a cabaret musical on her life produced at the University of Michigan Music School. Becoming Modern was listed in the “Editors’ Choice” sections of the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times.
Betty Roi is an authentic Parisian chanteuse. Her musical training has taken her around the world from Spain to Israel, Paris to San Francisco. She is known for her dramatic versions of French cabaret music.
About the Epicenter
The Epicenter embraces a theater of ideas between writers and readers with a literary conversation followed by audience Q&A, book sales and signing. Admission is free, cocktails recommended. Capacity is limited, so come early.
See the full Epicenter schedule.
Co-presented by City Lights Books and Tosca Café
Save iCal reminder to your calendar.