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Open Access

The Crazy Bunch

Willie Perdomo in conversation with Jeff Chang

Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 7:30PM


VENUE: Carriage House Theatre

Montalvo Box Office: 408-961-5858
Service fees may apply and are non-refundable.
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This event is presented as part of Montalvo Arts Center’s program series, Open Access—your opportunity to connect with Artists Fellows and Guest Artists at the Lucas Artists Program. This program is designed to offer audiences a behind the scenes view into how artists generate ideas, as well as showcase works in process and fully realized new work. Open Access offerings include conversations, performances, screenings, and culinary events. It also has a virtual presence as an online blog and archive. Find out more at

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Join critically acclaimed poet and LAP Fellow Willie Perdomo in conversation with award-winning journalist, author, and cultural critic Jeff Chang.


“A vivid, kaleidoscopic portrait of a 'crew' coming of age in East Harlem at the beginning of the 1990s” --NPR

From a prize-winning poet, a new collection that chronicles a weekend in the life of a group of friends coming of age in East Harlem at the dawn of the hip-hop era – Hailed as “New and Noteworthy” in this month’s New York Times Book Review. Perdomo, a native of East Harlem, has won praise as a hip, playful, historically engaged poet whose restlessly lyrical language mixes “city life with a sense of the transcendent” ( In his fourth collection, The Crazy Bunch, Perdomo returns to his beloved neighborhood to create a vivid, kaleidoscopic portrait of a “crew” coming of age in East Harlem at the beginning of the 1990s. In poems written in couplets, vignettes, sketches, riffs, and dialogue, Perdomo recreates a weekend where surviving members of the crew recall a series of tragic events: “That was the summer we all tried to fly. All but one of us succeeded.”


Willie Perdomo is the author of The Crazy Bunch, The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, Smoking Lovely, and Where a Nickel Costs a Dime. He is a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; a winner of the International Latino Book Award; the winner of the PEN Open Book Award; and a finalist for the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award. Perdomo's work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, Poetry, Bomb Magazine, and African Voices. He is currently a Lucas Artists Literary Arts Fellow and teaches English at Phillips Exeter Academy.


Jeff Chang is one of America’s most important cultural critics. He has written extensively on culture, politics, the arts, and music, and was named by The Utne Reader as one of "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.” His first book, Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, garnered many honors, including the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award. His latest book, We Gon' Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation, was published in 2016, and the Washington Post declared it “the smartest book of the year.” This month, Jeff Chang and director Bao Nguyen created a four-episode digital series adaptation of the book for PBS Indie Lens Storycast.