By Lynn Edmonds
Fans of Greek culture can rejoice as poets, singers, and actors dramatize the Greek myth of Narcissus in Astoria on Friday night.
The night’s entertainment, appropriate for all ages, will drive up on the POEMobile, a “wildy-decorated art truck covered with poems and wings,” Steve Zeitlin from City Lore, one of the event’s organizers, said.
The free event is part of the larger Onassis Festival NY, which runs Oct. 8 through the 11th and includes lectures, performances, literature, music and more. The theme this year is “Narcissus Now: The Myth Reimagined.”
Zeitlin said the theme was meant to encourage reflection on “the self-absorption that people have these days,” apparent in phenomena like our “selfie” culture.
The word Narcissism, of course, stems from the Greek myth of Narcissus, which is about a young man who falls in love with his reflection in a pool of water.
The POEMobile belongs to City Lore, an organization that “documents, presents, and advocates for grassroots cultures.” Their truck, which comes equipped with a high-powered projector that displays the poems onto buildings, has visited ethnic communities all over the city and engaged with their stories and art.
Friday’s event will be MCed by Greek American poet Dean Kostos, a winner of the Benjamin Saltman poetry award.
Kostos will read a few of his own poems, as well as some poems on the theme of Narcissus and other Greek myths.
He will be joined by the Queens Poet Laureate Maria Lisella.
Two-time Obie Award winner Dennis Boutsikaris will also dramatize several Narcissus-related poems, as will Martha Tompoulidou, who has worked with the National Theater of Greece.
Tompoulidou will read poems in Greek as well as English, while a special software will make the projected words morph from Greek to English as she reads them.
Lastly, the band Mighty Third Rail will play music on the theme of Narcissus as well.
The New York City-based trio mixes hip hop, poetry, beat boxing, violin, and upright base, and has performed all over the city from Blue Note to the Apollo, event organizer Sahar Muradi said.
The festivities start at 8 p.m. at the Hellenic Federations’ Stathakion Center, 22-51 29th St., Astoria. The performances will be followed by a simple reception inside the center.
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400 x127, email@example.com or @Ellinoamerikana