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Truth Thomas and Elise Armacost in Greektown Thursday

Poetry, essays, music and painting will be presented at Ikaros on Thursday.

Poet Truth Thomas and essayist Elise Armacost will headline this month’s Greektown Reading Series – Thursday, October 18 – at the newly renovated Ikaros restaurant at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Ponca Street.

Just added to the bill—which will feature the oil paintings of Ikaros’ founder Xenos Kohilas—is young singer/songwriter sensation Allison Olender and Fishbowl columnist Marion Winik.

Asked to describe the essence of the work he will present, Thomas said he would shine a light on the nobility of those struggling among us as well as "poems that chronicle the human quest for love to conquer hate, without becoming hateful."

No small task, as was particularly well-chronicled in a 2010 New Yorker profile of the musician/artist John Lurie.

Though raised a half-hour’s ride to the south in Washington, Thomas said the compelling effect Baltimore has on storytellers was not lost on him.

"It’s a town of heroes," he said of Crabtown. "It is welcoming, unpretentious, real life reflected in both triumphs and hardships, unveiled for all to see.  [Baltimore] knows strength and humility from hard work and suffering. Great stories are often born of suffering …"

The hardship that Armacost will detail in her memoir "National Anthem," came in her youthful efforts to be true to her family’s religion. At least once, sitting down for her faith got the former Sunapapers reporter smacked in the head by folks who barely knew her. The emotional injury lingered longer.

"How do you find a way to belong when you've been taught since birth that the Almighty wants you to stay separate?" she said. "National Anthem is story about family, about coping and my quest to answer that question."

Asked why Baltimore was such a good writer’s town, Armacost said succinctly, "because it’s interesting."

Like this, she said: "colorful, whimsical, tragic and fun."

As will be the stories, songs and art this Thursday night from 7 to 9 p.m. in the upper room of Ikaros.

For more information contact Rafael Alvarez via orlo.leini@gmail.com

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