Jamie Hector, Robert Chew, Tray Chaney, Fran Boyd, Donnie Andrews, and George Pelecanos speak on Friday, October 14, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Back Bay Events Center
180 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
Kick off the Boston Book Festival with a thoughtful and timely exploration of The Wire with its cast and creators. Its creator, David Simon, referred to this powerful, gritty, and all-too-realistic exploration of urban poverty as a “visual novel.” The Wire, perhaps the most critically-acclaimed series in television history, has been compared to Dickens, to Greek tragedy, even to Shakespearean drama. It is both high art and social commentary. Join several cast members and writer/producer George Pelecanos in a conversation about The Wire and issues of race, class, institutional failure, and the visual novel. The discussion will feature Donnie Andrews (the real “Omar”), Fran Boyd (the inspiration for David Simon’s The Corner), Tray Chaney (“Poot”), Robert Chew (“Prop Joe”), and Jamie Hector (“Marlo Stanfield”) and will be moderated by Reverend Eugene Rivers, co-founder of the Ten Point Coalition.
Following the discussion and audience Q&A, you’ll have your chance to meet the panelists during a book and poster signing.
Tickets, starting at $20, will be available beginning September 14.
Jamie Hector played the role of Marlo Stanfield on The Wire. He studied at the Lee Strasbourg Theatre Institute. Hector has had TV roles in Law and Order, The Beat, Oz, and Heroes and film roles in Clockers, He Got Game, Ghost Dog, Prison Song,and Blackout. Hector’s role in the critically-acclaimed short film five deep breaths first brought him to the attention of The Wire creator David Simon. Hector is the founder of Moving Mountains, a theatre arts and youth mentoring program.
Tray Chaney played “Poot” in The Wire. He began his performing career at the age of four as a dancer. Chaney’s first acting experience was his breakout role on The Wire. He has also appeared in Head of State, the TV show The District, and America’s Most Wanted. Chaney’s autobiography is titled The Truth You Can’t beTray. He continues to pursue his interest in music, recording, and choreographing. In 2009, Chaney was chosen as the face of the national literacy campaign The Write Stuff.
Robert Chew starred in The Wire as the Dickens-quoting drug kingpin Proposition Joe. He began his acting career in regional theatre. Chew also appeared in The Corner, David Simon’s show that predates The Wire. He had roles in Homicide: Life on the Street and the HBO film Something the Lord Made. Chew has worked with children’s theatre companies throughout his career and helped to cast and coach some of the young actors appearing in The Wire.
Donnie Andrews is the inspiration for the character Omar Little. At age thirty-six he carried out a shooting at the behest of a Baltimore drug lord. Plagued by guilt, Andrews turned himself in to the police. In a deal for his cooperation in the investigation, Andrews was sentenced to ten years. He ultimately served a total of eighteen years when the prosecutor reneged on the deal. While in prison he kicked his heroin habit, read the Bible, trained as an electrician, and maintained relationships with police officer Ed Burns and with David Simon, who interviewed him when he wrote for the Baltimore Sun.
Fran Boyd is the inspiration for The Corner, a book by David Simon and Ed Burns that was the basis for the TV series of the same name. Boyd was a drug addict when she met Simon and Burns, who took an interest in her. It was they who introduced her to Donnie Andrews while he was serving time for murder. The two began an intense friendship by phone, which Boyd credits with helping her kick her addiction. She and Andrews fell in love over the phone. Boyd, Simon, and Burns worked to secure Andrews’s eventual release from prison and the two were married in 2007.
George Pelecanos is a best-selling crime novelist and an award-winning essayist. His short fiction has appeared in Esquire and the collections Unusual Suspects, Best American Mystery Stories, Measures of Poison, Men From Boys, Murder at the Foul Line, and D.C. Noir, for which he also served as editor. Pelecanos was a producer, Emmy-nominated writer, and story editor for The Wire. His most recent work is The Cut, the first installment in a new crime series, which Publishers Weekly is calling “vital and timely.”
Reverend Eugene Rivers is pastor of the Azusa Christian Community and is one of the founders of the Ten Point Coalition, an organization of ministers that is credited with alleviating Boston’s gang violence problem in the 90s. Rivers grew up on the streets of Philadelphia and attended Harvard College. His role in working with gang members in Boston has brought Rivers national attention.