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Celebrating John Milton’s 400th Birthday

The unrivaled arts festival honoring Milton’s birthday and Paradise Lost,
the greatest poem in the English language.

Bridging classic literature and contemporary fine art,
performing arts and poetry reading.

September 27th — November 2nd, 2008

Opening Reception: THE GRAND PARADISE LOST COSTUME BALL
Saturday, September 27th, 8pm to midnite

 

Lindall created the world’s First GRAND PARADISE LOST COSTUME BALL. The festival exhibited over 70 contemporary artists from around the world, and included writers, poets, composers & performers. The Fordham University Observer said in a major article." it’s a celebration of “Paradise Lost” in a most unabashed form."

 

The Independent, a major award winning paper out of the United Kingdom said,"I suspect Milton might have trusted his vision to a heavy-metal illustrator more readily than to any licensed preacher, then or now."

 

New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent a proclamation, recognizing the hard work and labor of love in creating this Milton Festival, which Random House's web-site confirmed as the "largest birthday tribute to Milton in the world."

 

uko Nii Founder & Artistic director of the WAH Center also personally received a letter from the new Equerry of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, Major Will Mackinlay SCOTS DG. He said that their Royal highnesses were “grateful” for Yuko’s “thinking of them” in inviting them to the ball and passed on their well wishes for the success of the event.

 

The show had many letters of appreciation, including one from Wendy Woon, the Edward John Noble Foundation Deputy Director for Education of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She said: “The exhibit and programs promise to be a diverse collection of multiple perspectives and strategies that should engage the audience you hope to reach."

 

However, The New Statesmancalled it “The Devils Party.’ And the controversy over the show prompted discussion blogs such as that of Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges entitled “The Milton Bash(ing) Continues.”

 

ABOUT THE SHOW

Couched amid historical artifacts and contemporary art celebrating PARADISE LOST, the greatest poem in the English language. Perhaps the largest birthday party for Milton in the world, with poets, artists and composers. We will be documenting this extravaganza on video to produce a documentary for this historical event that we believe will be seen for centuries to come. Milton’s centennial birthday will not come again for another 100 years. Be part of it! If you attend the gala, you will probably be in this video!

 

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

“The exhibit and programs promise to be a diverse collection of multiple perspectives and strategies that should engage the audience you hope to reach.” From a letter to Terrance Lindall from Wendy Woon, the Edward John Noble Foundation Deputy Director for Education of the Museum of Modern Art, New York

 

John Milton was born in 1608. In 1667, the world received from him the book that would influence English thought and language nearly as much as the King James Version of the bible and the plays of Shakespeare. Let us then celebrate both the birth of John Milton who used the English language for supreme art, as well as celebrate the evolving English language itself throughout the world, which has become the world’s foremost international language. As a young man, John Milton wrote a friend: “Do you ask what I am meditating? By the help of Heaven, an immortality of fame.” Not many can actually achieve such a goal, but Milton did. Next to William Shakespeare, he is regarded by many as the greatest English poet and the author of the language’s finest epic poem, Paradise Lost. While Milton wrote Paradise Lost, he was blind, embittered by his heroic political/religious battles, and hampered by insufficient finances. Few images in the history of literature are more poignant that of the blind Puritan dictating day after day his great epic, Paradise Lost, the theme of which is announced in the opening lines:

Of man’s disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden.

He rose at four or five each morning, listened to a chapter from the Hebrew Bible, ate breakfast, and then wrote until noon. After an hour walk and another hour playing the organ or viola, he worked until night. Then he would have a supper of “olives or some light thing,” a pipe, and a glass of water.

 

A MESSAGE FROM THE SHOW DIRECTOR:

“The impact of Milton, especially his Paradise Lost, has enduring influence in the lives of not only the academic world, but among those of us in the arts and the general public who can FEEL the powerful resonance of his words and ideas. The unabridged original is the magical touchstone, the undiminished constellation in the Western psyche that has illuminated our culture for the foreseeable future, as has Shakespeare and the Bible.

 

“There are many worldwide events from Oxford & Cambridge to the New York Public Library. However, we know of none quite like ours that asks professional artists, composers and poets to respond to the greatest poem of all time.

 

“America is a country of immigrants who hail from all corners of the globe. We come together through our common use of the English language. Every culture and ethnicity has contributed in their turn to the wealth of words and phrases in the English language. The English language no longer belongs to that island nation that once was greatest empire the world has ever seen, but to all of us. As the Greeks gave us philosophy, so the British have given us the gift of the ever-evolving English language. As part of our exhibit, in homage to the British peoples and their gift to us, we will include interesting artifacts of British heritage from the Yuko Nii Foundation collection.”

 

Terrance Lindall
Show Director

 

A MESSAGE FROM THE FOUNDER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE WAH CENTER:

“The Williamsburg Art & Historical Center (WAH Center) was founded upon the ‘Bridge Concept,’ which envisions a multifaceted, multicultural art center whose mission is to coalesce the diverse artistic communities, and create a bridge between local, national and international artists, emerging as well as established artists of all disciplines.

“It takes three to for the art to be realized – a dynamic symbiotic trinity composed of the artists, the art promoter or space provider, and the art appreciator. The WAH Center is pleased to be the promoter and space provider, bridging the artists with the audience in this visually exciting and scholarly production, ‘Paradise Lost.’

“While literary, academic and religious circles throughout the world are celebrating John Milton’s 400th birthday this year, we at the WAH center are taking great thought and literature of the past along with historic artifacts from the time of John Milton and bridging them to the present day of artists, writers, poets, composers & performers. It is a unique and inspiring happening in this historical New York City landmark building.”

Yuko Nii
Founder & Artistic Director
Williamsburg Art & Historical Center

ABOUT THE SHOW’S DIRECTOR

Terrance Lindall is an American artist who was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, in 1944. Lindall attended the University of Minnesota and graduated magna cum laude from Hunter College in New York City in 1970, with a double major in Philosophy and English and a double minor in Psychology and Physical Anthropology. He was in the Doctor of Philosophy program in philosophy at New York University from 1970 to 1973. He is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in America 2006. Information about this artist is also on file in the Smithsonian Institution Library Collection. His illustrations for John Milton’s Paradise Lost are perhaps today the best-known illustrations for this epic outside of those by William Blake and Gustave Dore, and are part of this exhibit. His art is on the cover of Random House’s 2008 “Essential Milton.”

 

WHAT MILTON SCHOLARS ARE SAYING

“Appropriately for his background in art and philosophy, Lindall seems especially interested in using art to express ideas, which makes his work particularly intriguing for Milton scholars, for he has painted a number of works depicting scenes in Paradise Lost” —Horace Jeffery Hodges, Assistant Professor in Kyung Hee University’s Dept. of English Language and Literature

 

"Lindall’s image (on the cover of Random House’s 2008 Essential Milton) is, of course, the star. It seems to me at once unmistakably modern and yet just as unmistakably archaic: exactly the doubleness I was hoping for on our cover.” —William Kerrigan of Random House, 2007

 

“Radical artist and nonconformist Terrance Lindall has channeled Milton’s spirit into a modern context, in a provocative series of illustrations to Paradise Lost. His visual celebration of Milton reveals his remarkable affinity for the radical English poet, and his ability to create a fitting tribute to Milton’s enduring influence in the arts.” —Professor Karen Karbiener, New York University, 2007

 

“Terrance Lindall’s fanciful illustrations are bound to arouse response & provoke thought in the may persons interested in Paradise Lost & its subjects & in surreal illustration generally” — Professor Thomas Clayton, University of Minnesota Department of English

 

Lindall’s art for Paradise Lost appears on the 2008 cover of Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton, Random House 2008. Edited by William Kerrigan, John Rumrich and Stephen M. Fallon Format: Hardcover, 1392 pages ISBN: 978-0-679-64253-4 (0-679-64253-6) THIS EDITION IS CALLED “THE DEFINITIVE MILTON OF OUR TIME” (NOW IN IT’S SECOND PRINTING)

 

Holt Rinehart & Winston is using another Lindall Paradise Lost image in a 2009 high school textbook, which will have a first run of 370,000. Title: Elements of Literature, Sixth Course ISBN No.: 9780030368820

 

Oxford’s major exhibit “CITIZEN MILTON” at the Bodleian Library, Oxford has one of Lindall’s paintings on their web-site for their exhibit honoring Milton’s 400th birthday, on the page Exhumations and Destinies: ‘For Books are not absolutely Dead Things’

 

Buy the DVD movie of Terrance reciting Paradise Lost. Send check for $20 plus $2 shipping to WAH Center, 135 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

 

THANKS TO:

Milton’s Angels, Volunteers
Tiffany Yanetta
Eric Nelson
Jacqueline Safian
Maryanna McConnell
David Smith

Sponsored in part by:
New York Art World Magazine

Special Thanks to:
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz,
New York City Council Member Diana Reyna,
The New York City Landmark Conservancy

 

Opening with the

THE GRAND PARADISE LOST COSTUME BALL

Saturday, September 27th
8pm to midnite

“As sinfully delicious as ‘Man’s first disobedience’ and the most fabulous extravaganza since Adam & Eve had to cover their nakedness!”

 

Performance by
HUMAN KINETICS MOVEMENT ARTS

with Yana Schnitzler and Group TBA Recently performing at the Metropolitan Museum. The cutting edge of interactive dance. “…mesmering…” —Richard Termine, photographer, New York Times

Plus the JC Hopkins Biggish Swing Band, Olek fashion models performing throughout the three floors of exhibits. Also; Adam & Eve video art, birthday salutations, good food and drink, more.

 

SEPTEMBER EVENTS

September 28th, 2 PM
 

Noted Brooklyn poet S. David recites his tribute to John Milton and takes you on a poet’s tour of the art in the show

 

OCTOBER EVENTS

The reopened WAH Theatre in the third floor Grand Ballroom of the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center presents:

Paradise Found!

Four Performances,
Friday and Saturday at 8PM

 

October 3rd and 4th,10th, 11th

Premiere stagings of scripts inspired by Paradise Lost by members of The Brooklyn Playwrights Collective:

Sugar-Coated Sin by Alaina Hammond
Lost in Paradise Lost by Maria Micheles
Paradise Found by Peter Dizozza

With Kaitlin Bailey, Alaina Hammond, Mike Allen Hill, John Andrew Morrison and Ken Richards

Admission: $15
Call for Student and Professor discounts!

 

October 17 and 24th, 8 PM, admission $15

Testament of the Poet

An intimate concert of 17th century music by the ensemble Courante

Directed by Arthur Kirmss

Courante musicians Arthur Kirmss, Lisa Kelly and Heather Arzberger in 17th century costume, on harp, guitar, and recorders, performing European vocal and instrumental music through early Baroque, celebrating Milton’s life.

 

HISTORCAL EXHIBITS

Book Label of Madam Pomfret

THE BOOK OF GENESIS from a 17th century handwritten Torah on vellum (23 feet long).

SPECIAL BOOK & MANUSCRIPT DISPLAYS:

CHARLES LAMB’S copy of first illustrated 1691 edition of Paradise Lost.

LADY POMFRET’S copy of the first illustrated edition (c. 1688) of Paradise Lost. She was a noble 18th century British woman of great learning, and the Lady of the Bedchamber of Queen Caroline.

THE BOOK OF GENESIS, a 17th century handwritten Torah on vellum (23 feet long)
Fine, well preserved hand written Moroccan Torah fragment, the complete book of Genesis (the 1st book out of the 5 books of Moses). Approximately 300 to 400 years old and very well preserved, its either deer or goat skin.

c. 1791 This handsome Derby portrait model is of John Milton (1756-1769; issued as D12 (probably adapted from a maquette from the studio of Scheemakers or possibly provided by John Cheere, reissued as E46, and between 1770-1796 issued as model number 297 from a plaster by M. Rysbrack. The Poet is portrayed in Van Dyck dress, leaning against a pedestal decorated in relief with a scene from Paradise Lost.

Historical woodcut initial showing Adam & Eve from the Luther Bible 1561
Artist Virgil Solis, Nuremburg

Joan Petrini, engraver, Adam, Eve and the Serpent, after Raphael, engravings done in 1790 to honor Pope Pius VI

BRITISH MEMORABILIA

Lavish coat of Queen Elizabeth II’s herald ,with gold and silver thread and extensive embroidery

Royal artifacts from the reigns of Queen Victoria and King Edward VIII (Duke of Windsor).