Sing the raven! Edgar Allen Poe inspires night of songs

Sing the raven! Edgar Allen Poe inspires night of songs
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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.