SHIRIN NESHAT is an Iranian born artist/filmmaker living in New York. Neshat has held numerous solo exhibitions at galleries and museum internationally. She directed her first feature-length film, Women Without Men, which received the Silver Lion Award, “Best Director” in the 66th Venice International Film Festival in 2009. She is currently working on her second feature length film, based on the life and art of the legendary Egyptian singer Oum Kolthum. Neshat is represented by Gladstone Gallery in New York City.
Lou Reed is an American Master who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and is a founding member of the legendary Velvet Underground. In Mr. Reed's work with the Velvet Underground and solo, he is recognized as one the finest songwriters in history and has is considered among the most profound influences on modern rock music. His latest 2011 album recording “LULU,” a historic collaboration with Metallica, is based on songs Mr. Reed wrote for the Bob Wilson 2011 German production of “LULU” staged at the Berliner Ensemble Theater. In late 2008 Reed released a new album of live electronic music called “Lou Reed's Metal Machine Trio: The Creation of The Universe,” which inspired two extremely well received performances by the MM3 Trio in New York in April of 2009. Reed released his first suite of electronic mediation music, “Hudson River Wind Meditations,” on the Sounds True label in 2007. In December of 2006 Lou Reed premiered the live staging of his masterwork Berlin at St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York. The performance was filmed by Academy Award nominated director and artist Julian Schnabel for a feature film which debuted at major film festivals across the world. Mr. Reed made a second film, Red Shirley, which told the story of Reed's cousin Shirley, an immigrant who lead a long and distinguished life; the film took the format of a conversation between Reed and Shirley on the eve of her 100th birthday. Mr. Reed is a playwright, a poet, and a photographer whose photos have been exhibited worldwide. His third photography book, Romanticism, was released in 2009. In 2010 Reed collaborated with with artist Lorenzo Mattioti, who created a graphic novel based on Lou’s album, The Raven. Lou Reed also co-hosts a weekly radio show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio with friend and distinguished producer Hal Willner called “The New York Shuffle”. He is the recipient of the Commander of Arts and Letters from the French government and numerous other awards.
Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay, India, and is the acclaimed author of eleven novels - Grimus, Midnight’s Children (Booker Prize, 1981; “Best of the Booker” award, 2008, for the best novel to have won the prize in its first 40 years), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown, The Enchantress of Florence and Luka and the Fire of Life – and one book of stories, East, West, as well as four works of nonfiction—Imaginary Homelands, The Jaguar Smile, Step Across This Line and, most recently, Joseph Anton, an autobiographical memoir. His stage adaptation of Midnight’s Children was performed in London and New York by the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2004, an opera based upon Haroun and the Sea of Stories premiered at New York City Opera. A Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Salman Rushdie has received, among other awards, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel (twice), the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature, Author of the Year Prizes in both Britain and Germany, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Premio Grinzane Cavour in Italy, and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, as well as the Freedom of the City in Mexico City, Strasbourg, and El Paso, and The Edgerton Prize of the American Civil Liberties Union. He holds the rank of Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France’s highest artistic honor. From 2004 to 2006 he served as President of PEN American Center, and continues to work as president of the PEN World Voices International Literary Festival, which he helped create. In June 2007 he was knighted for services to literature. His books have been translated into more than 40 languages. A film of Midnight’s Children, directed by Deepa Mehta, with screenplay by Salman Rushdie, will be released in the coming months.
Liev Schreiber has appeared at The Public in Macbeth, Henry V, Othello, Hamlet, Cymbeline, and The Tempest and his Broadway credits include A View From the Bridge, Talk Radio, Glengarry Glen Ross, Betrayal, In the Summer House. His additional Off-Broadway credits include The Mercy Seat; Moonlight; and Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet). Schreiber’s select film and television credits include Salt; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Defiance; Love in the Time of Cholera; The Manchurian Candidate; and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”
THE PUBLIC FORUM presents the theater of ideas. Curated by Jeremy McCarter, this series of lectures, conversations, and performances features leading voices in politics, media, and the arts. Alec Baldwin, Anne Hathaway, Cynthia Nixon, Michael Stuhlbarg, Sam Waterston, and NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman have hosted its programs, which have featured the insights of Kurt Andersen, Carl Bernstein, David Brooks, Mary Schmidt Campbell, Nathan Englander, Hendrik Hertzberg, Arianna Huffington, Bill Irwin, Tony Kushner, Jay McInerney, Suzan-Lori Parks, Francine Prose, Reihan Salam, David Simon, Anna Deveare Smith, Ben Smith, Stephen Sondheim, Emma Straub, Sam Tanenhaus, Marc Tracy, Damian Woetzel, the culture writers of New York Magazine, and young veterans of the war in Afghanistan - plus performances by Anne Hathaway, Michael Friedman, Gabriel Kahane, and Michael Cerveris, among others.