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Bushwick Book Club make Edgar Allen Poe inspired music at Union Hall

Sing the raven! Edgar Allen Poe inspires night of songs

for The Brooklyn Paper

Members of the Bushwick Book Club don’t just sip wine and discuss the literature, they sing about it.

Edgar Allen Poe is the guest of honor for the club’s upcoming event this month, and members are preparing to perform musical numbers inspired by the master of morbid stories such as “Tell Tale Heart” and “The Cask of Amontillado,” just in time for Halloween.

They also plan to dress up as ravens.

“It can be anything that’s inspired by the book or the writer,” said Bushwick Book Club organizer and accordion player Susan Hwang. “They can write about anything from a character that interests them to a particular theme or scene.”

Natti Vogel, who is a regular participant in the Bushwick Book Club, said he was extra excited to write a song for Poe’s works because, several generations ago, his grandfather had translated Poe into Hebrew.

Even if he still hasn’t decided what he’s doing for the upcoming show, he revels in the spontaneity.

“I’m notorious as the guy showing up and finishing up lyrics at the bar at the last minute,” said the pianist. “Last month was based on Brooklyn Noir. I thought I was going to do a sexy chromatic minor black cocktail kind of song, but I ended up inviting [humorist Jenny Jaffe] and we wrote an upbeat, fast number called ‘She C---’ that had heavy swear usage.”

While the overwhelming majority of the performers are musicians, Bushwick Book Club does occasionally have other kinds of artists. For the Poe event, Hwang is hoping to book a breakdancer. How they will breakdance to a story like “The Purloined Letter” remains a mystery.

The club has held more than 40 sessions over the past couple of years, covering books such as “Cat’s Cradle,” “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” and “A Game of Thrones.” Many of club’s events happen at Goodbye Blue Monday in Bushwick, but this month’s is scheduled for Park Slope venue Union Hall because members anticipate a large audience.

“Works of Edgar Allen Poe” at Union Hall [702 Union St. between Sixth and Fifth avenues, (718) 638–4400, www.bushwickbookclub.com]. Oct. 30, 8 pm. $5, $7 door.

Updated 3:59 pm, October 15, 2012: Story corrected to reflect that Natti Vogel performed with Jenny Jaffe. He does not have a son. We regret the mistake.
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Reader Feedback

El Chavo from right next door says:
Freaks, stay out of my neighborhood.
Oct. 13, 2012, 12:58 pm
Marsha Engstrom says:
This book club sounds WAY too fun—wish I was in NY this week! My clubs have background music to go with the book, but we’ve only written our own songs a couple of times…Go Bushwick Book Club!
Cheers! Book Club Cheerleader
http://bookclubcheerleader.wordpress.com
Oct. 13, 2012, 1:02 pm
Rocco from Park Slope says:
Mr. Poe must be rolling in his grave....Ugh.
Oct. 13, 2012, 2:30 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Nevermore
Oct. 13, 2012, 3:47 pm
BunnynSunny from Clinton Hill says:
I like gay writers.
Oct. 13, 2012, 10:43 pm
Skellatosis from BK says:
Ugh stupid hipsters. Go away!
Oct. 14, 2012, 3:05 pm
Mickey Shea from Greenpoint says:
Assclowns
Oct. 15, 2012, 8:49 am
Natti Vogel from Prospect Heights says:
My guest and co-lyricist for the song "She-C**k" was not my non-existent "son," but rather celebrated humorist Jenny Jaffe, a young lady my age who, like me, has parented nothing but art, thus far.

Over the phone, the journalist triple-checked the specifics of my literary family history, and yet she didn't think twice to confirm her gross misunderstanding that as a songwriter in my early '20s, I would have a son, and that furthermore I would invite him to sing obscene content with me on stage?

That's really bizarre!

Otherwise, a lovely article for what will likely be a lovely show. Just leave the kids - imaginary or otherwise - at home with a sitter.
Oct. 15, 2012, 1:35 pm
Brooklynnative from Williamsburg says:
Idiot hipsters!! Just leave brooklyn already!
Oct. 16, 2012, 4:51 pm

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