Rhythm & Verse: A Literary and Music Salon

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"At our salon there is no parade of celebrities. People of various professions, generations and classes simply assemble here. They are people who participate in intellectual and in literary life or who wish to do so.
Art lovers." ~ Rahel Varnhagen, Salon Hostess, 1820 through 1833, Berlin

Sophie's Music Salon
• Who came before us
History Resources

Who came before us
A brief history of literary and music salons

Across the

Across the Atlantic . . . Salons of Argentina, New York, New Mexico, and California
If you were present in May of 1813 in Mariquita Sanchez's Buenos Aires salon you would have had the pleasure of hearing the Argentine National Anthem sung for the first time. In her tertulia, not only were literary topics discussed, but Argentina's independence movement was nurtured.

Although few images of women hosting a salon exist, one nude self-portrait of early twentieth century salonnière, Florine Stettheimer, does. The painting decorated one room of her Manhattan apartment. A painter, designer and poet of German-Jewish heritage, Ms Stettheimer hosted a salon where you would have encountered American modernists such as Marcel Duchamp and Georgia O'Keefe.

She was a woman of profound contradictions. She was generous. She was petty. Domineering and endearing. She was Mabel Dodge Luhan - salon hostess, art patroness, writer and self-appointed savior of humanity. So reads the introduction on the website for the Mabel Dodge Luhan house where Ms. Luhan established a salon and literary colony in 1919 and entertained the 'movers and shakers' of pre-war America - artists, philosophers, writers, reformers, and radicals. Her guests included Ansel Adams, Walter Lippmann, Willa Cather, and yes, Georgia O'Keefe. Rent the film 'Easy Rider' and look for her house.

Much of the European refugee artists and Jewish-German intelligentsia of Hollywood spent their Sunday afternoons in the 1930s and 40s on Mabery Road in the Santa Monica canyon home of Austrian-born Salka Viertel, who was also of Jewish heritage. Her Sunday salons became a refuge for exiles of Hitler's Germany as well as other Hollywood luminaries. She welcomed émigrés such as Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Arthur Rubenstein, and Bertolt Brecht for an afternoon of conversation, music, home-cooked meals, even ping pong. Charlie Chaplin attended. Ms. Viertel was both an actress and screenwriter and co-wrote several movie scripts, particularly those starring her close friend, Greta Garbo. Visit this site for a compelling short clip about Ms Viertel, her friends, and her efforts to enlist MGM colleagues to sign affidavits for writers and artists stranded in Europe: www.vimeo.com/13557329. Ms. Viertal wrote this line in her script for the film, Queen Christina: "It's more that I'm asking than a bed for the night. It's a chance to talk of home."

And now . . .
Check out these: Vica Miller's Literary Salon in New York City; the Brooklyn Ladies Text-based Salon - BLT for short; the Institute for Judaic Studies Literary Salon Series in Portland, Oregon; Vicki Abelson's celebrity driven literary salon; Andrea Clearfield's Philadelphia music salon; the Octopus literary salon, Oakland, California (www.oaklandoctopus.org); and, of course,
our own Rhythm and Verse!

We look forward to you joining us as we extend this magnificent salon tradition!