Arts & Letters Live

Arts & Letters Live is a literary and performing arts series for all ages that features award-winning authors and performers of regional, national, and international acclaim. The series is recognized for its creative multidisciplinary programming—combining literature with visual arts, music, and film—and for commissioning new work from musicians, dancers, and poets, inspired by works of art in the Museum's collection and special exhibitions.


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Upcoming Events

Format: 2/14/16

Sarah Hepola: Stumbling in the Dark

Friday, February 19, 7:00 p.m.

A memoir of unflinching honesty and poignant humor, Sarah Hepola’s Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget tells the story of a woman stumbling into the sober life she never wanted. Shining a light into her blackouts, she discovers the person she buried, unearthing confidence, intimacy, and creativity. Sarah’s essays have appeared in the New York Times magazine, Elle, The New Republic, Glamour, the Guardian, and Salon, where she was a longtime editor.


Selected Shorts: Art & Artists

Saturday, February 27, 7:30 p.m.

The annual Selected Shorts is always eagerly anticipated and this year, three Tony Award winners will read stories reflecting on the powerful role of art and artists. Denis O’Hare (Milk, American Horror Story, True Blood) joins Blythe Danner (Butterflies Are Free, A Streetcar Named Desire, Meet the Parents, Will & Grace, Huff) and John Benjamin Hickey (The Big C, The Good Wife, Pitch Perfect, Manhattan) for an evening of artful storytelling, reflection, and laughter featuring stories by Aimee Bender, Lorrie Moore, and J. Robert Lennon. 


CANCELLED: Claire Harman: Brontë Bicentennial

Monday, February 29, 7:30 p.m.

Marking the bicentennial of Charlotte Brontë’s birth in 2016, award-winning British writer Claire Harman captivates readers with a groundbreaking biography that depicts the writer as a heroine in her own love story. In Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart, Harmon draws on correspondence unavailable to previous biographers and depicts a rebellious and ambitious woman pursuing an unrequited love while also struggling with heartache and loss. Also recommended: Curtis Sittenfeld.


VOCALOSITY: The Aca-Perfect Concert Experience

Wednesday, March 2, 7:30 p.m.

From the creative mind of artistic producer Deke Sharon (Pitch Perfect, The Sing-Off) comes a concert event that takes a cappella to a whole new level! This fast-paced production features 12 dynamic voices singing some of today’s chart-topping hits in brand-new arrangements. No genre of music is off limits in the world of a cappella and VOCALOSITY will explore them all – from tenth century Gregorian chant and classic choral, to barber shop quartet and bouncing doo-wop all the way to The Beatles and Bruno Mars. Combine that with movement and choreography from Sean Curran (Stomp original cast member) and you have an exhilarating evening of song unlike anything you’ve experienced before.


Texas Bound II: In Hindsight

Monday, March 14, 7:30 p.m.

An evening of stories reflecting on the past ranging from poignant to side-splittingly funny – all brought to life on stage by acclaimed Texas-connected actors. Featured actors include Emmy Award winner Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman) and Jeffrey Schmidt (The Book Club Play for Dallas Theater Center, Parkland, DV Short). Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day, Glee, Seinfeld) takes us back to his own childhood and collecting odd vermin with an essay from his book The Dangerous Animals Club.


Tracy K. Smith & Kevin Young: Poetry, Place & Race

Thursday, March 17, 7:30 p.m.

Tracy K. Smith won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Life on Mars. Her memoir Ordinary Light begins with Smith spending a summer in Alabama at her grandmother’s house and returning to California with a new sense of what it means to be black. Kevin Young is one of the leading poets of his generation, who finds inspiration in African American music, particularly the blues. Young’s latest compendium Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015 draws from all nine of his previously published collections and includes new poems as well.  Also recommended: Padma Lakshmi and Vinh Chung.


Rainn Wilson: Quirks, Comedy & Creativity

Saturday, March 19, 7:30 p.m.

For nine seasons, Rainn Wilson made his name playing obnoxious Dwight Schrute, everyone’s favorite work nemesis on the hit television series The Office. Now he’s ready to explain his socially awkward climb to stardom in his memoir The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy. Long celebrated for his quirky, comedic talent, Wilson is also known for being a co-creator of the popular philosophy website and media company, which went on to become the bestselling book SoulPancake: Chew On Life’s Big Questions. Also recommended: David Sedaris.


Hanya Yanagihara: Tragedy & Transcendence

Tuesday, March 22, 7:30 p.m.

Hanya Yanagihara’s novel A Little Life has won the Kirkus Prize, and garnered coveted positions as a National Book Award Finalist and a 2015 Man Booker Prize Short-List for Fiction. A Little Life profiles the lives of four college friends living in New York as young adults and how friends can help remake a life that has been destroyed. By tackling the issues of depression, sexual abuse, and self-harm, Yanagihara challenges traditional ideas of friendship, romantic relationships, and what it really means to love another human being. Also recommended: Padma Lakshmi.


Erik Larson: A Fatal Voyage

Thursday, March 31, 7:30 p.m.

Erik Larson, master of narrative nonfiction, returns with the enthralling story of the sinking of the British ocean-liner RMS Lusitania in Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. The publication coincides with the 100th anniversary of the fatal event that resulted in the deaths of more than one thousand passengers and crew. Larson renders a thrilling account of the Lusitania and a German U-boat making their way toward Liverpool, and the array of forces that converged to produce one of the greatest disasters of history. Also recommended: Daniel James Brown and Skip Hollandsworth.


Dominic Smith: Dutch Masters & Deceit

Tuesday, April 5, 7:30 p.m.

In Dominic Smith’s new novel, The Last Painting of Sarah De Vos, one 17th-century painting changes the course of three lives: the woman who paints it, the lawyer who inherits it, and the art history student who forges it. Author Ben Fountain and DMA Chief Conservator Mark Leonard will join Smith on-stage in conversation. The author of three previous novels and the recipient of Dobie Paisano and Michener fellowships, Smith grew up in Australia and now lives in Austin.  Also recommended: Skip Hollandsworth.