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Star Panel Rocks SEEfest Cultural and Literary Salon

Continuing what started years ago as a companion program to the festival with a SEEfest book fair featuring the great scholar and translator, as well as SEEfest’s early supporter, the late Michael Heim, the festival hosted a cultural and literary salon on April 17 at the West Hollywood Library City Council Chambers.

The Star panel included scholars Thomas Harrison from UCLA, David Shafer from CSULB, guest from Germany and current artist resident at the Villa Aurora, Fatma Aydemir, author of multiple award-winning novel Elbow, and moderator and UCLA Ph.D. candidate, Nina Bjekovic.

An engaged and appreciative audience kept the conversation going until 10 PM! The sentiments expressed in these comments best illustrate the overall atmosphere and flair of the Salon:

The theme of audacity is a great common denominator to start the dialogue about the role of art today.”


I walked away from the event with a new interest in Artaud and the French avant-garde, a growing anticipation for the English translation of ‘Elbow’, and an eagerness to study more Nietzsche.

The discussion touched on issues such as authenticity, originality and audaciousness of artists through the ages, ranging from Salvador Dali to Jimi Hendrix to punk, the possibility of poetic expression in the age of social media, the relationship between artists’ private lives and their work, and living dangerously as did one of the celebrated Italian writers, poets, filmmakers: Pier Paolo Pasolini.


The Salon set the tone for the upcoming week of SEEfest’s Cinema of Audacity starting May 1, and bringing to Los Angeles 56 films that boldly and audaciously speak about our difficult, but also intriguing times – times that offer rich trove of stories to artists to turn the mirror onto us and make us look boldly into our own complex way of living in a world fraught with challenges on a global scale.


Presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division.


Photos by Michael Gaines, Photographic Arts