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Adele Bertei

Adele Bertei is a multi-disciplinary artist—poet, actor, performer, singer, songwriter, director, and author. Her music career began in Cleveland with Pere Ubu’s legendary Peter Laughner and as an original member of The Contortions, produced by Brian Eno on No New York. Her music career includes recording and performing as vocalist with such diverse acts as Thomas Dolby, Tears for Fears, Culture Club, Whitney Houston, Sophie B. Hawkins, Scritti Politti, Sheena Easton, Oleta Adams, Lydia Lunch, Matthew Sweet, Jamaladeen Tacuma, the Pointer Sisters, and John Lurie. Bertei’s acting career includes a lead role in Lizzie Borden’s seminal feminist sci-fi film Born in Flames. Bertei’s reading of her “Ragazzi Manifesto” was acquired by MoMA. She has performed her written work on stages with Allen Ginsberg, John Giorno, Kathy Acker, and Lucy Sante, among others, and appears in many slide presentations by Nan Goldin. Her books include Peter and the Wolves in 2020, followed by Why Labelle Matters, 2021 by the University of Texas Press. Her memoir, American Girl, will be released by ZE Books in the spring of 2023.

In Conversation

Jerry Stahl with Adele Bertei

At a cultural moment when the tides thunder that white men shouldn’t dance, Jerry Stahl takes a brave two-step into the belly of the beast—the Holocaust. Nein, Nein, Nein!: One Man’s Tale of Depression, Psychic Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust finds Stahl confronting his personal demons from inside the disturbing frame of Holocaust tourism.

In Conversation

Adele Bertei with Luc Sante

Luc Sante and Adele Bertei met in 1977 while both were working at the Strand Bookstore, which at the time was a kind of hub of the No Wave. They have remained friends ever since, although Bertei removed to the west coast while Sante stayed in the east. Sante wrote books; Bertei sang in arenas, acted and directed, and wrote books. The two had a conversation about gender, class, vocal stylings, and outer and inner space. Their most recent offerings are Sante”s Maybe the People Would Be the Times, and Bertei’s Why Labelle Matters


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2022

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