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'Silence of the Lambs' Director Headlines Annual Words and Music Fest at FDU

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme, three-time U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, and many others will be at the Words and Music Festival (WAMFEST) from Oct. 23-25 at FDU.

Fairleigh Dickinson University’s WAMFEST (The Words and Music Festival) returns on Tuesday, Oct. 23-25, for the first fall festival featuring three days of music, readings, and conversations with world-renowned artists.

The lineup includes Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme (director of Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia), three-time U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, celebrated graphic historian Chip Kidd, the talented and influential musicians Donald Harrison Jr., Ben Allison,  Steve Slagle, and Dave Stryker, plus many other remarkable performers. A special addition this year will include the opportunity for FDU students and faculty to perform during the “Readin’ N Rhythm’s Move on Up Showcase,” featuring Brooklyn-based artists the Yoni Gordon Orchestra and nonfiction author, Melissa Faliveno. Each event will be hosted by WAMFEST Artist in Residence and FDU Visiting Writer, Wesley Stace (John Wesley Harding).

Complete schedule of events below:

On Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 2-3 p.m., Chip Kidd, a celebrated editor, novelist, lecturer and designer, will be in Hartman Lounge, Hennessy Hall. Later that night, WAMFEST presents “Readin’ N Rhythm’s Move on Up Showcase,” featuring Faliveno, The Yoni Gordon Orchestra and The Brooklyn Players Reading Society, plus students and faculty performances from 7-10 p.m. in Dreyfuss Theater.

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 3-4:30 p.m., Demme and author Daniel Wolff will screen a 20-minute clip that serves as a blueprint for the next movie of their series of New Orleans documentaries that features Donald Harrison, Jr. in Dreyfuss Theater.  Wolff (author of the recently released book, The Fight For Home: How (Parts of ) New Orleans Came Back.) and saxophonist and vocalist Harrison will read and perform. A second session will then continue from 7-9 p.m., in which Demme will screen his film, “I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful,” with a conversation to follow with Demme, Harrison, and Wolff.

On Thursday, Oct. 25, WAMFEST presents “POEMJAZZ” from 3:30-5 p.m., which will include Pinsky, bassist Ben Allison, guitarist Dave Stryker, and saxophonist Steve Slagle. Pinsky will perform his poems with this all-star jazz trio brought together for the first time in Lenfell Hall, Hennessy Hall.

WAMFEST is an annual series hosted by FDU’s Creative Writing Program that brings successful artists of various genres to the College at Florham campus in Madison to inspire and inform students who hope to one day follow in these artists’ creative footsteps. The festival celebrates the literary qualities of popular music, breaks down the barriers between the community and academia, and bridges the gap between the literature in universities and the literature of the people. Past guests have included, among many others, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Pinsky, Rosanne Cash, and Eugene Mirman.

The National Endowment for the Arts has recognized WAMFEST for its groundbreaking programming.

Public Admission to WAMFEST 2012 is free; however, due to space limitations, making a reservation by emailing wamfest@comcast.net is necessary to guarantee admission. Fairleigh Dickinson University’s College at Florham is located at 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, N.J.

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