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You're invited to tonight's White House poetry night -- and Darth Vader is reading

Jamesearljones
James Earl Jones -- the man who provided Darth Vader's voice -- will join five writers and three musicians at the White House for poetry, music and spoken word tonight. The event will be attended by President Obama, his wife, Michelle -- and me and you too, if we log on to the White House's live stream of the event. The show begins at 7:45 p.m. Eastern / 4:45 p.m. Pacific.

Pulitzer winner Michael Chabon is on the bill, along with hiswife, Ayelet Waldman, who has been making the rounds lately promoting her book "Bad Mother."

They'll be joined by three veterans of various poetry slam shows broadcast by HBO: Mayda Del Valle, Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio and Joshua Brandon Bennett. The last two are young poets, both finalists in the Brave New Voices youth poetry competition. 

Lin Manuel Miranda, the Tony Award-winning writer-composer of "In the Heights," is also on tap for tonight -- although whether he'll be singing, rapping or just talking is not clear. SingerEsperanza Spalding  and pianist Eric Lewis are scheduled to perform.

The announcement fromthe White House says, "There will be an emphasis on dialogue and communicating with each other about diverse experiences." With any luck, these writers and performers, in addition to reading for the president, will get a chance to talk to one another.

I for one would be happy to listen to James Earl Jones read anything, even the phone book. (But if he just breathes like Darth Vader, that would be OK, too.)

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

 
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I would have never thought that, in such a casual situation no less, such great new minds could come together. A new president, new writers, and an acting favorite, it’s these kind of congregations that add a real depth to presidential and governmental images.


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