Live Events

May 2nd–5th in Downtown Ithaca

Thursday, May 2

May 2 / 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Panel: Writing Queer in an Era of Book Bans

Buffalo Street Books / Dewitt Mall, 215 N Cayuga St. (Entrance on Buffalo St.)

According to PEN America the number of public school book bans across the United States rose by 33 percent in the 2022-23 school year, with nearly 6000 instances of banned books since tracking began in 2021. Upwards of 30% of these bans impact books that feature LGBTQIA+ themes and identities. Yet, despite these rampant bans, the surging sales of LGBTQIA+ titles has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise flagging book market.
In this panel, successful queer young adult authors Rob Costello, Amber Smith, Isabel Sterling and Kalynn Bayron will discuss the impact of the rising climate of censorship and intolerance on their work. They’ll talk about the joys and challenges of writing for a contemporary teen audience, share their own writing journeys, consider the enduring popularity of queer themes among today’s young readers, and celebrate the power and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community.

(There’s just one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events. It’s not required, but it’s helpful to us!)

May 2 / 6:30pm to 7:30pm

Poetry and Prose Open Mic (a community partner event)

Tompkins County Public Library / 101 East Green Street (Ezra Cornell Reading Room)

A Tompkins County Public Library event! Local poets and prose writers will have the opportunity to showcase their work during this free open mic event, open to writers of all ages and experience levels. This event is also open to community members who want to be part of our audience.
This is a library event, so has a separate registration from the other live Spring Writes May 2 to 5 events. If you are interested in being a reader, please indicate that in the registration form link below and a library staff person will get in touch with you. If you are interested an attending as an audience member, registration is encouraged but not required.
Registration for readers and audience at https://www.tcpl.org/event/spring-writes-poetry-and-prose-open-mic-46370. Should there be time at the end, we will open the floor to audience members who would like to read. If you have any questions, please contact Steve Paling at spa[email protected]

May 2 / 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Competitive Wordle ($10 Cover) (a community partner event)

The Downstairs / 121 West State/MLK Jr. Street (location is not wheelchair accessible,)

An event of The Downstairs Tavern and Listening Room. The Internet’s favorite word game becomes Ithaca’s new favorite drinking game. Come face off in a competitive Wordle Off, hosted by local author and amateur game show host, Bob Proehl! Cutthroat Wordle-ing! Winners will be hailed as heroes! Losers will be mocked! There will be beer, and possibly carousing!

(There’s just one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events. It’s not required, but it’s helpful to us!)

May 2 / 8:00pm to 11:00pm (with an after party!)

Three of Cups

Deep Dive / 415 Old Taughannock Blvd.

Three of Cups is a celebration of borderlessness, a vast expanse, a bigger dream of what can be literary and what can be possible. Expect poems read, sung, music played, burlesquing, visual art, projection, imperfection, ending in a large group collaboration— all performed by femmes & thems only. You’re invited to a sister showcase to last year’s Two of Cups, both born of the anti-academic, chaos-blessed poet, visual artist, event producer nicole v basta’s refusal to accept creative constraints. Performers include: Winniebell Xinyu Zong, Jamaica Baldwin, Silver Rein, Erin the Axe, Lily Codera, nicole v basta, and Annie Sumi. 

(There’s just one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events. It’s not required, but it’s helpful to us!)

Friday, May 3

May 3 / 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Limp Fallacies: A Pop-Up Installation & Artist Talk with Anna Warfield

Buffalo Street Books / Dewitt Mall, 215 N Cayuga St. (use the Buffalo St. entrance)

Binghamton artist and Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts residency alumna Anna Warfield (‘23) presents a one-evening-only pop-up experience during Gallery Night. Featuring a 102″ hanging fabric sculpture titled, “Limp Fallacies,” and more text-based pieces will also be on view. Anna will give a short artist talk with slides showcasing her past projects and how text and form work together to shape meaning.

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 3 / 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Seven Minutes in Heaven: A Spin-the-Bottle of the Arts

Lot 10 / 106 S. Cayuga Street

This event brings together seven writers, seven musicians, and seven actors randomly to create an impromptu soundtrack.

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

Saturday, May 4

May 4 / 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Workshop: Stranger than Fiction

Buffalo Street Books / Dewitt Mall, 215 N Cayuga Street (enter from Buffalo St.)

With E. C. Barrett. From Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” to Carmen Maria Machado’s “The Husband Stitch,” for over a century some of the most celebrated writers have found literary realism inadequate to the task of conveying certain experiences and emotional landscapes. Contemporary readers continue to flock to literary fiction that embraces the magical and surreal. And why not? The world hasn’t gotten less strange since Gregor Samsa woke to find himself transformed into a large bug. This workshop will give you the tools and plenty of writing time to practice playing with the surreal and fantastical in your fiction. We’ll read and discuss a few examples taken from writers such as Machado, Kelly Link and Haruki Murakami, before diving into exercises designed to help you explore your own strange imagination.

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 4 / 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Group Reading

Community School of Music & Arts, 3rd Floor (there's an elevator) 330 E. State/MLK Jr. Street

Join us for a reading with local writers Rob Costello (excerpt from his story collection “The Dancing Bears”), Carson Lopez (a horror flash fiction story), Candy Moore (a story about her childhood), and Aurora Rey (except from her novel “Good Bones”).

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 4 / 2:00pm to 3:30pm

Blood City Rollers (middle grade novel)

Buffalo Street Books / Dewitt Mall, 215 N Cayuga Street (use the Buffalo St. entrance)

Join V Park Anderson (she/they), the creator/writer of debut horror/comedy graphic novel series BLOOD CITY ROLLERS, and their Alternate Universe (AU) City Podcast co-host Rey Noble (they/he) as they discuss collaborative storytelling, the graphic novel creation process, roller derby, and teamwork as world-saving praxis. Bonus: get your book signed, win a signed hardcover copy, and/or learn more about local derby!

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 4 / 2:30pm to 3:30pm

Reading with Finishing Line Press Poets

Community School of Music & Arts / 330 E State St./MLK, Jr. St., 3rd Floor (elevator is available)

A reading featuring local poets Roger Hecht, Wren Tuatha, Jillian Barnet, and Tish Pearlman, whose recent books were published by Finishing Line Press.

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 4 / 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Group Reading

Ithaca Print Commons, (Center Ithaca), 171 E. State/MLK Jr. Street, on the Ithaca Commons

Join us for a group reading with local authors Mona Eikel-Pohen (lyrical prose about friends and friendships), Lushima Kuajo Lumumba-Kasongo (“Safe Haven”), Erica Steinhagen (Who Do I Think I Am: personal essays) and Cyepress Brathwaite (Poem, “The Role of a Poet”).

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 4 / 5:00pm to 6:00pm

Worldbuilding in Science Fiction and Fantasy - with Live Audience Globe-Making

Lot 10 / 106 S Cayuga Street

How do you transport your reader to compelling communities with intriguing premises? One of the draws of science fiction and fantasy, and all kinds of speculative fiction, is the rich, layered worlds with imaginative fauna and flora, peoples, cosmologies, politics, economies, climates, religions, food, textiles and architecture. We’ll talk about elements such as palaces, forests, maps, space tech, hierarchical classes, religions, banquets and high and low fashion. What ideals do the cultures hold dear? What motivates people in this world? In this panel, we will discuss our approaches to worldbuilding with examples from speculative fiction literature. Audience members will be given individual blank globes (balloons) and the audience may participate in populating these globes with their own notes, pictures and landscapes to take home with them, as the panelists speak. One blank globe will be passed around for collective worldbuilding and we will share the results of this experiment in live world creation at the end of the panel! With Brian Hugenbruch, Will McMahon, Karen Osborne and D.A. Xiaolin Spires.

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 4 / 6:30pm to 7:30pm

Speculative Works Reading and Live Art Show (with Volunteer Audience Art Participation)

Lot 10 / 106 S Cayuga Street

Five speculative fiction authors and/or poets will share their works. One author/artist will render aspects of each of their readings in expressive strokes of sumi ink and calligraphic brush, as a live performative art show. Rather than “en plein air,” it will be “en plein… ear”–as we will open our ears to listen to the narrations and then see paintings come alive! Audience members will be asked if they want to volunteer to give the performative live “en plain ear” sumi painting a shot. All audience members are also welcome to sketch “en plain ear” drawings in their own sketchbooks or with provided paper at their seats as they listen if they’d like. With D.A. Xiaolin Spires, Jennifer Hudak, Leora Spitzer, Debbie Urbanski, and Risa Wolf.

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 4 / 8:00pm to 9:30pm

Literary Jeopardy

Lot 10, 106 S. Cayuga Street, Ithaca NY 14850

This. Is. (Literary) Jeopardy. Teams of local literary luminaries face off in an ultimate test of novelistic knowledge. With puns. Booksellers versus Librarians versus Writing Professors. Who will emerge victorious? Who will suffer shameful defeat? Hosted by local author and trivia host Bob Proehl.

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.

Sunday, May 5

May 5 / 11:00am to 5:00pm

Ithaca Book and Zine Fair

Buffalo Street Books / Dewitt Mall, 215 N Cayuga Street

Buffalo Street Books will hold the third annual Ithaca Book and Zine Fair. This event celebrates the freedom of expression and publishing outside the mainstream. Independent publishers, zine-makers, artists, DIYers, and writers from around the region will show and sell their wares. Throughout the day there will be free workshops on topics such as creative writing, zine-making, bookbinding, printing, and more.

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 5 / 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Performances: Play It Again Theatre: Original Memoir on the Theme of Challenges

Tompkins County Public Library / 101 East Green Street (Borg Warner Room)

Seven members of Play It Again Theatre of Lifelong will read original stories from their lives. Each piece of memoir is based on the theme of “challenges.” Each individual reading will be supported by the Troupe with bits of dialogue, gestures, and vocalizations. These performative elements will help to enhance meaning as well as provide an entertaining experience. Troupe members range in age from 74 – 87 years of age. Readers include Patricia Frazier, Emily Johnson, Brenda Kuhn, Carol Reynolds, Jean Senegas, Deirdre Silverman, and Mark Silverman. Directed by Susan Kaplan.

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 5 / 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Group Reading

CAP ArtSpace (in Tompkins Center for History & Culture) / 110 N. Tioga Street

Join us for a group reading with local authors Evan Stewart Eisenberg (excerpt from play “The Downstairs Neighbor”), Elisabeth Nonas (excerpt from her recently published novel “Grace Period”), and Jada Simone (poems from her chapbook “Unfollowed”) and SingTrece (reading songs from her first album “I’m Waiting.”

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 5 / 2:30pm to 3:30pm

Workshop: Find The Funny

Tompkins County Public Library / 101 East Green Street (Borg Warner Room)

With Sir Kenneth McLaurin. Join us at the Spring Writes Literary Festival for a captivating one-hour workshop on stand-up comedy, led by Upstate NY’s favorite comedian, Sir Kenneth McLaurin. This beginner-friendly session offers a deep dive into the art of making people laugh, covering the essentials from joke crafting to stage presence. Discover the secrets behind: The Science of Laughter: Explore why laughter is a universal sign of joy / Anatomy of a Joke: Learn how jokes are structured to trigger laughter / Crafting Jokes: Get hands-on tips for writing your unique humor / Mic & Stage Mastery: Learn to command the stage and connect with your audience. Sir Kenneth’s workshop provides a supportive atmosphere for anyone looking to infuse humor into their storytelling or enhance public speaking skills. No prior experience needed—just come ready to learn and laugh. This is your chance to start your journey into comedy, transforming your observations into comedic gold. Join us to unlock the comedian within!

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 5 / 2:30pm to 3:30pm

The Art of Poetry: Word and Image

CAP ArtSpace (in Tompkins Center for History & Culture) / 110 North Tioga St

Creative writers and artists alike are intrigued by the juxtaposition of word and image, what has been described as “the textuality of the image and the visuality of text.” Against that backdrop, four local poets and one artist/poet will read their poems in front of paintings they have made in response to those poems, renderings of their literal or metaphorical words and phrases in visual language. Audience members will be invited to reflect on both. With Terry Plater, Barbara Reganspan, Joanna Green, Daphne Sola and Susan Weitz.

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 5 / 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Reading: Poems for Palestine

CAP ArtSpace (in Tompkins Center for History & Culture) / 110 North Tioga Street

Palestinian poetry has been a voice for liberation for generations. In the last few months, dozens of Palestinian poets, artists, and writers have been killed in Gaza, including, Refaat Alareer who wrote his now famous poem “if I must die, you must live to tell my story.” In grief and solidarity, local poets will read Palestinian poetry and discuss the role of art and writing in the movement for liberation. We will share how these writers inspire us in our own writing and activism. As poetry editor George Abraham, a Palestinian-American poet, says in a recent interview in Time Magazine, “Poetry can’t stop a bullet. Poetry won’t free a prisoner. And that’s why we need to do the political organizing work as well,” they say. “But if we can’t imagine a free liberated world in language, how can we build one?” Readings by nicole v. basta, Amrita Chakroborty, Mejdulene Bernard Shomali and Melissa Tuckey.

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 5 / 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Comics Drama Radio Hour

Ithaca Print Commons / in Center Ithaca, on The Commons, 171 E. State St./MLK Jr. St.

Nerds! Join us for a live-recorded podcast on comic books, superheroes, and all things nerdy. This event will be a free-wheeling panel discussion, followed by a staged reading of a comic book. Audience participation is highly encouraged!

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

May 5 / 5:30pm to 6:30pm

Group Reading

CAP ArtSpace (in Tompkins Center for History & Culture) / 110 North Tioga Street

Join us for a group reading with local writers Jon Raimon (poems about family, childhood, and coming of age), Janie Bibbie (poems about sounds), Michelle Courtney Berry (Grace, Gardenias, and Gospel: The Grandmother Poems), and Emily Sanders Hopkins (poems)

Please Register: (There’s one Registration Form for all May 2 to 5 events.)

 

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