Free As Gods: Picasso, Calder and Artists Take Center Stage

Picasso, scene from Parade

More than just stars on the art scene, Picasso and Calder took center stage in the world of theater. In 1917 Picasso fell in love with a ballerina in the Ballets Russes while creating scenery and costumes for his collaboration with Satie on the pathbreaking dance work, Parade. His stage designs changed the course of his painting. Alexander Calder, who has a major show at the Whitney this summer, created his famous Circus as well as the set for Satie's opera Socrate and many other theater works.

Cultural historian Charles A. Riley II, author of Free as Gods, will share the backstage secrets of Picasso, Calder, Leger, Chagall, Hockney, Kentridge, and many other contemporary artists who have found a home in the theater.


After Professor Riley's Olio, members from the company of The Other Side of Paradise invite you to listen to select songs from the musical. 
The Other Side of Paradise is a wild concert telling of the relationship between Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, written by Angela Sclafani. Part concert, part theater, part 1920's underground apartment party, the night spans 40 years of history in one blazing 75 minute set. 
After selling out their world premiere at Ars Nova's ANT Fest, the jazz concert party has announced a speakeasy club tour in July. Tickets can be purchased here
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Recommended reading from Penguin Press:

In Montmartre: Picasso, Matisse, and the Birth of Modernist Art by Sue Roe

A lively and deeply researched group biography of the vibrant figures who invented modernist art in bohemian Paris at the dawn of the twentieth century.




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue for our Friday night residency.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month



Other upcoming Olios


Jan 24

Living Room Salon | Tough Poetry in Dark Times

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Jan 31

The Dangerous Pleasure of Art

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

Feb 1

Feb 2

OlioHouse | Our Stories, Our Bodies: Rape Culture in American History

Taught by Jamie Warren
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Feb 6

Olio Seminar | Space, Time, & Work: Understanding Labor

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $75

Feb 9

OlioHouse | The Love Symposium

Taught by Skye Cleary
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Feb 15

A Good Friend is Hard to Find: Philosophy and Friendship

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Feb 21

Living Room Salon | Music and Environmentalism

Taught by Kristy Barbacane
7 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Feb 22

The Circular Road: Art and the Religious Imagination

Taught by Michael Prettyman
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Feb 25

What Would Buffy Do? Radical Feminism and the Slayer

Taught by Jamie Warren
7:30 p.m. at Neuehouse Madison Sq.

Sign Up - $20

Feb 28

Into the Mystic: Music & the Moving Image

Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

May 17

Rethinking Refugee Trauma and Mental Health

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 29

Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at BAM Fisher

Sign Up - $20


Find out when we launch new classes!