Beautiful Chaos Selected as the 2016 One City One Book

beautiful chaos one city

The City Lights Foundation is thrilled to announce that Carey Perloff’s Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater has been selected as San Francisco’s One City One Book!

City Lights is proud to join forces with the San Francisco Public Library and A.C.T. to bring this book to the readers of San Francisco!

Carey Perloff will be in conversation with novelist Joshua Mohr at City Lights Bookstore on Tuesday, October 11 at 7PM to discuss the book and celebrate this wonderful occasion. Co-presented by LitQuake.

Info about the book below. In San Francisco, look for it just about everywhere especially the San Francisco Public Library branches (you’ll also inevitably see its cover at bus stops and on the side of Muni buses).

Carey Perloff, Artistic Director of San Francisco’s legendary American Conservatory Theater, pens a lively and revealing memoir of her twenty-plus years at the helm, and delivers a provocative and impassioned manifesto for the role of live theater in today’s technology-infused world.

Perloff’s personal and professional journey—her life as a woman in a male-dominated profession, as a wife and mother, a playwright, director, producer, arts advocate, and citizen in a city erupting with enormous change—is a compelling, entertaining story for anyone interested in how theater gets made. She offers a behind-the-scenes perspective, including her intimate working experiences with well-known actors, directors, and writers including Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, Robert Wilson, David Strathairn, and Olympia Dukakis.

Whether reminiscing about her turbulent first years as a young woman taking over an insolvent theater in crisis and transforming it into a thriving, world-class performance space, or ruminating on the potential for its future, Perloff takes on critical questions about arts education, cultural literacy, gender disparity, leadership and power.

Praise for Beautiful Chaos:

Beautiful Chaos is an extraordinary journey of Carey Perloff and her theatre, ACT. Their continued evolution and ability to define and re-define themselves with courage, tenacity, and bravery allow them to confront what seem like insurmountable odds. This continues to shape and inspire Carey and those who work with her.”—Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award-winning actress

“Carey Perloff’s lively, outspoken memoir of adventures in running and directing theatre will be a key document in the story of playmaking in America.”—Tom Stoppard, Playwright

“Carey Perloff, quite literally, raised a vibrant new theater from the rubble of an old one. This refreshingly honest account of her triumphs and misfires over the past two decades is both a fascinating read and an invaluable handbook for anyone attempting such a labor of love.”—Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the City

“Carey Perloff’s marvel of a book is part memoir of a working mother, a passionate artist, a woman flourishing in a male-dominated craft- and part lavish love letter to theater. It is as lively, thoughtful, and insightful an account I have ever read about the art form. This one is for any person who has ever sat in the dark and been spellbound by the transformative power of theater.”—Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner

“This is an engaged, engaging, deeply intelligent, and passionate account of why the theatre matters and how it works in a city and in a society. It is also a fascinating and essential chapter in the history of San Francisco itself, as well as the story of a committed theatre artist’s determination and vision.”—Colm Tóibín, author of Nora Webster

“Carey Perloff is one of the very few remaining artistic directors who have remained faithful to the original ideals of the American resident theatre, and her new theatrical biography, Beautiful Chaos, is an engrossing account of how difficult that has been for her in the current economic climate. Her devotion to global theatre, to reanimated classics, to the most penetrating new plays, and to rigorous theatrical training was hardly an easy thing to preserve during the last few profit-centered decades, which makes Beautiful Chaos both a readable adventure and a heroic narrative.”—Robert Brustein, Theater Critic, The New Republic

“When did we forget that theater is more than sedate art or bottom-line entertainment? How exhilarating to be reminded by Carey Perloff that it is still a grand adventure and a high calling. In Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater, we follow her quest to give San Francisco’s renowned American Conservatory Theater a present and future as glorious as its past. A life in the theater demands vision and conscience, not to mention improvisation. ‘A playwright,’ says Perloff, makes contradictory beliefs ‘collide in real time and with equal force.’ That’s the pleasure of this book. We see her think, plan, persuade and fight; balance the personal and the political. We watch as art and history collide and collaborate. ‘I’m a beast of the theater,’ Perloff declares. She’s a noble beast. And she’s a heroine.”—Margo Jefferson, Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic


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