Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents stories inspired by Brandon Stanton’s blog and book Humans of New York, which we celebrated at a special event at Symphony Space.

The first story is “Malta Sheffer” by Nelson Eubanks.  It’s summertime, and that means baseball in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City.  The story’s young hero is picked for an important team, and the stakes are high.  Eubanks perfectly captures the sights, sounds, and smells of an inner city game.  Eubanks is a writer, musician, and audio engineer.  “Malta Sheffer” comes from his book The First Thing Smoking, which follows his lead character, Maceo, from boyhood to young manhood.  Reader Brandon J. Dirden is an award-winning, best known for portraying Martin Luther King Jr.in the Broadway production of All The Way opposite Bryan Cranston’s Lyndon B. Johnson.  Other theatrical credits include Prelude to a Kiss and Clybourne Park. In 2012 he was awarded an OBIE and a Theatre World Award for his portrayal of Boy Willie August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson.  On television he can be seen on the series The Americans.

Tom Wolfe is best known for his extravagant exercises in new journalism, including the books The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, as well as the bestselling novel The Bonfire of the Vanities.   Wolfe’s work is usually fast-paced and cynical, but in our second piece, “A Sunday Kind of Love,” he slows everything down to the pace of a dream.  It’s a brief musing about weekend romance.  Reader Tracee Chimo won critical praise for her stage work in “Bad Jews.”  On television she’s appeared on “Orange is the New Black,” “The Good Wife,” and “Black Box,” among other shows.

Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York was the result of a failed career as a bond trader, Stanton confessed to the Symphony Space audience.  Despondent, he moved to New York with a do-or-die mission: to photograph 10,000 people.  Along the way, he created his celebrated blog, and began to talk to, as well as photographer, his subjects.   We hear excerpts from the book Humans of New York read by Vanessa Aspillaga, Jason Biggs, Tracee Chimo, Lynn Cohen, Brandon J. Dierdan and Peter Francis James.

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