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Monday, July 29, 2013

Late-Night Storytime

I had the closest thing I'm probably going to get to a Kafka release party at this otherworldly party called Chulent. If you've never heard of Chulent (you can read some New York Times articles about it here and here), it's this late-night gathering of independent-thinking and questioning and rebel Hasidim. A while ago, when I ran away from San Francisco and visited Brooklyn for the summer,* a friend brought me to this midnight barbecue of Hasid-types tossing around Sartre and Kirkegaard in a bombed-out building in the middle of a completely-empty factory district. 

Nine years later, they've graduated to a magnificent crumbling synagogue on Ocean Parkway. There's some Russians drinking malt liquor out of brown paper bags and some club kids that speak in fierce Yiddish accents. It's all pretty wonderful.

And at around midnight, we all gathered in a circle in the sanctuary hall and I read them some Kafka.

The remarkable Geo Geller took a series of great pictures (some are here; the rest are on this page). or you can actually listen to the whole reading (with a slideshow). It was the second time I read the book straight through, all three stories, not counting in my kids' bedroom. It was a little bit intense. You can probably hear me breaking up toward  the end of Josefine, which might just be Geo's recording. Yes. Let's chalk it up to that. 

listen .  photos . kafka )

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