Saturday 18 April 2020

A Leap in the Dark 6 - tonight!

From 8pm Saturday 18th April 2020

In our sixth Leap Italian film-maker Chiara Ambrosio talks about her stunning debut feature La Frequenza Fantasma/The Ghost Frequency; (watch the trailer ); novelist Paulette Jonguitud delivers a Letter from Mexico City; Anglo-French writer Susanna Crossman performs a yé-yé pop classic with her daughter Lilian and (later) sends us a Letter from Brittany. Composer Helen Ottaway performs five of her sublime ‘Wave Songs’and we’ll have a fresh take on a Samuel Beckett poem with readings from Aea Varfis-van Warmelo. Plus the launch of The Pale Usher’s Unusual Literary Quiz (following last night's howling fiasco). 

There's no charge for joining the audience of A Leap in the Dark, but please make a donation, no matter how large, to The Trussell TrustA very good cause indeed.

The Programme

Part 1

1  The Pale Usher welcomes you all

2  Susanna and Liliane Crossman perform 'Poupée de cire, poupée de son'

Je suis une poupée de cire
Une poupée de son
Mon cœur est gravé dans mes chansons
Poupée de cire 
Poupée de son
Suis-je meilleure, suis-je pire
Qu'une poupée de salon?
Je vois la vie en rose bonbon
Poupée de cire
Poupée de son

Lyric: Serge Gainsbourg

Note: Yé-yé was a style of pop music that emerged from Southern Europe in the early 1960s. The term "yé-yé" was derived from the English term "yeah! yeah!", popularized by British beat music bands such as the Beatles. The style expanded worldwide as the result of the success of figures such as French singer-songwriters Serge Gainsbourg and Françoise Hardy. Yé-yé was a particular form of counterculture that derived most of its inspiration from British and American rock and roll. Additional stylistic elements of yé-yé song composition include baroque, exotica, pop, jazz and the French chanson.

Chiara Ambrosio talks about her film La Frequenza Fantasma/The Ghost Frequency, shot in the decaying village of Verbicaro in the Calabrian region of Italy. 

"A compelling, lyrical and beautifully realized portrait of people and place, of the universal need for home and roots and at the same time a precisely calibrated site-specific exploration, La Frequenza Fantasma marks the emergence of a bold new film essayist in Chiara Ambrosio."

                                     - Gareth Evans, Film Curator, Whitechapel Gallery

"It is a film about impossible returns, about difficult departures, stories of brick and mortar, hearts of stone that beat against all odds and above all dense time, the kind that runs in both directions at once. I hope it soothes and holds your hand during these strange days." 

                                                                         - Chiara Ambrosio

3 Wave Songs 1, 2 and 5. Composed and performed by Helen Ottaway

4 Letter from Mexico City by Paulette Jonguitud


5 Wave Songs 3 and 4. Composed and performed by Helen Ottaway

6 Letter from Dinan by Susanna Crossman

7 Translating Beckett with David Collard and Aea Varfis-van Warmelo

imagine si ceci
un jour ceci
un beau jour 
si un jour
un beau jour ceci
si ceci

                (c) The Estate of Samuel Beckett/Faber and Faber

8 Writers’ gaffs - the answers to yesterday’s absolute car crash of a competition

9 Launch of The Pale Usher’s Literary quiz

10 A special message from all of us 

The Company

Chiara Ambrosio is a visual artist working with video and animation. Her work is an exploration into ideas of memory, loss and illusion through the use of animation, photography and video installation. Her website

Susanna Crossman is an award-winning Anglo-French fiction writer and essayist. She has recent/upcoming work in Trauma, Dodo Ink (2020), Neue Rundschau, (2019) S. Fischer (translated into German), We’ll Never Have Paris, Repeater Books (2019), The Creative Review, 3:AM Journal, The Lonely Crowd, Berfrois and more… Co-author of the French book, L'Hôpital Le Dessous des Cartes (LEH 2015), she regularly collaborates on international hybrid arts projects. Her debut novel Dark Island will be published in 2021. For more: @crossmansusanna 

Paulette Jonguitud lives in Mexico City. She is the author of Mildew (CB editions) and
Algunas margaritas y sus fantasmas

My review of Mildew: 

Helen Ottaway is a composer and sound artist. She is lead artist with Artmusic, creating and producing collaborative, site-specific art work. Her series of pieces for hand-punched and hand-wound musical box were composed during an artist’s residency in Sri Lanka in 2017.

Aea Varfis-van Warmelo is a trilingual actress and writer. 

The Pale Usher is David Collard, who organises these gigs.

The pale Usher - threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see him now. He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars, with a queer handkerchief, mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of all the known nations of the world. He loved to dust his old grammars; it somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality.
                                                    Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Our next Leap in the Dark is on Friday 24th April and features:

- the latest Canto of Spring Journal by Jonathan Gibbs read by Michael Hughes

- Sweet Home author Wendy Erskine in conversation

- Susan Curtis and translator Celia Hawkesworth on Doppelgänger by Daša Drndić 

- Letter from Huddersfield by Kevin Boniface, author of Round About Town 

- answers to the Pale Usher’s Literary quiz

- music MUSIC MUSIC (Beckett readers will get this)

And a reminder: 

There's no charge for joining the audience of A Leap in the Dark, but please make a donation, no matter how large, to The Trussell Trust.

Stay well!

The Pale Usher 

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