City of Asylum hosts annual Jazz Poetry Concert


Left: City of Asylum poets poets perform with acrobats and a jazz band in front of a full house at The New Hazlett Theater. (Photo courtesy Renee Rosensteel)




With bilingual poetry, jazz collaborations and some high flying surprises, City of Asylum hosted its seventh annual Jazz Poetry Concert this Saturday on the Northside.

Over 600 people attended Saturday’s concert and filled the New Hazlett Theater, where the concert was moved due to a rainy forecast. The concert was originally planned to happen at 500 Sampsonia Way in The Mexican War Streets.

“People really had a great response,” said Laura Mustio, administrative assistant at City of Asylum. “A bunch of people even told me that this year’s was our best yet, which is great to hear”

In addition to a lineup of poets, that included Sonia Sanchez, Khet Mar (Burma), Tommi Parkko (Finland), Israel Centeno (Venezuela), Alexandra Petrova (Russia) and Hind Shoufani (Palestine), the event also feature music from Oliver Lake collaborating with Tarabay.

World-famous acrobats, the Flying Wallendas, were an unannounced surprise for audience members and performed a tight rope act above the stage to a recording of City of Asylum founder Salman Rushdie reading from his novel,"The Ground Beneath Her Feet."

For the first year ever, the concert was broadcast live online for those who couldn’t make it to the Northside this weekend. Any friends, family or fans of the expatriate writers with computers could watch and listen to Pittsburgh’s jazz concert of the year from anywhere in the world, to create an audience as diverse as City of Asylum itself.


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