Odd Salon NYC
By Andrew Andrews
The production bills itself as an evening of stories from the “odd corners of history, science, art and adventure.” The fact that it’s been running in San Francisco since 2014 says something about the dedication of its audience, if not the quality and value of its presentations. Despite the New York chapter being only a year old, the turnout at The Kraine is impressive, although there is still plenty of room to grow as more people discover the series. Like many events catering largely to an informal, younger and intellectually-curious demographic, don’t expect an on-time start, and the “fifteen minute” intermission might run nearly twice as long.
The talks themselves are always interesting, although—as you might expect from a range of people with varying levels of experience, maturity and public speaking skills—some are undoubtedly better than others. At this event, we considered presentations about Raphael Lemkin (creator of the term genocide) and Frances Bannerman VI (creator of the Army-Navy Surplus Store) to be the most well-done. A biography about three young, female World War II assassins was quite interesting, albeit a little less polished, while a piece on Ruth Bader Ginsburg was full more of emotion than detail. Next month’s stories will certainly cover completely different topics, so if these particular tales don’t sound as interesting to you as they proved to us, I’d still encourage you to take a chance with some other theme.
Odd Salon is as much a community as it is an event, sponsored by the non-profit InterCulture Foundation, with a membership program offering discounts and freebies to contributors. As evidenced by the mingling during intermission, audience participation bits, and general friendliness of the attendees and staff, there’s clearly a loyal following, and rightly so. But with similar events occasionally appearing around town for less than half the $25 charge at the door (with slightly-lower-priced reservations available online in advance), I suspect it takes a certain kind of person to attend the program religiously. I have no doubt we’ll return for another occurrence at some point, but unlike the comedy sketch series Good Cooks that I reviewed recently, we won’t be attending this show month-
Andrew Andrews attended Odd Salon NYC at Kraine Theater in New York on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 @ 7:00pm to write this review.