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  • Writer's pictureJim Bessman

Ken Waldman readies annual APAP acoustic variety music shows and Trump poetry readings

Ken Waldman's 2017 APAP Roots Music Variety Show Sampler

Distinguished Appalachian-style string-band music fiddler/entrepreneur and Alaska-setting poet/storyteller Ken Waldman , a.k.a.“Alaska’s Fiddling Poet,“ has scheduled his annual January New York events, as ever coinciding with the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference (Jan. 4-8).

The centerpiece, of course, is his 10th acoustic roots music variety show From Manhattan to Moose Pass (that’s Moose Pass, Alaska), to take place once again at the Don’t Tell Mama cabaret club on Jan. 4. This year’s lineup, in addition to host/performer/producer Waldman, stars Max Hatt & Edda Glass, Hen’s Teeth, the DuoDuo Quartet, Jenna Moynihan & Mairi Chaimbeul, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Erica Weiss & Shindig, and Mark Kilianski & Nate Sabat—18 musicians in all, with each act doing short sets filling out an entire evening.

“It’s like a major festival main stage, and features the caliber of musicians I like to have join me on tour,” says Waldman, who somehow manages to top himself every year. And since From Manhattan to Moose Pass is geared toward the talent buyers in town for the nearby APAP gathering (headquartered at Hilton Hotel Midtown), the same bill is doing essentially the same show—only called the Red Hook Roots Music Variety Show—the night before at Brooklyn’s Jalopy Theatre.

Ken Waldman performs his poetry, including "Trump Sonnets"

Waldman is also doing a a full-length Monday night poetry performance (Jan. 7) of his topical Donald Trump-inspired material, entitled Donald Trump is My Muse, also at Don’t Tell Mama, “mainly for those organizations looking for a different kind of ‘Capitol Steps’ act--or who want to do some kind of topical programming and are open to something new,” says Waldman. This APAP-targeted show will include musical recitations of the first two volumes of his Trump Sonnets along with samples of Trump Sonnets, Volume 3, to be published next year by Ridgeway Press.

Incidentally, as he does with his roots music variety shows, Waldman is showcasing another artist at the Monday night Trump Sonnets set. Liverpool-based Nigerian-born Tayo Aluko will perform a 15-minute excerpt of his award-winning Paul Robeson theater piece Calling Mr. Robeson immediately following Waldman, and may well “sit in“ with him during his set.

“We’ve known each other for some years, since he goes to some of the conferences I go to and has been at APAP before,” says Waldman. “It seemed like a good thing to do--offer an opportunity to someone in position to perhaps take advantage of it—and I imagine he might read some of the Trump poems I’ve written that are in the new book since it’s subtitled The International Edition, and actually has Nigerian and English speakers!”

Ken Waldman



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