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City Arts & Lectures Gets a Youthful Shakeup

With new directors taking over at the Nourse, the venerable program is starting to skew younger and more diverse.

New City Arts & Lectures codirectors Holly Mulder-Wollan (left) and Kate Goldstein-Breyer.

Fans of City Arts & Lectures may have noticed a subtle shift lately, as programming has begun to skew younger and more diverse: In the past two years, author Yaa Gyasi, actor Mindy Kaling, and Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, the duo behind HBO’s High Maintenance, have all taken the Nourse Theater stage. Credit for that goes to Holly Mulder-Wollan and Kate Goldstein-Breyer, who in July officially took over for founder Sydney Goldstein as codirectors of the venerable lecture series.

Both 37 years old, the new directors have been working behind the scenes at City Arts & Lectures for years. And hearing them spitball ideas reveals much about their creative mind meld. “Kate and I both love the idea of cross-disciplinary conversations—a musician with a writer or a performing artist,” says Mulder-Wollan, who previously worked at an artists’ colony in New York. “Someone like [musician] Anohni with [performance artist] Marina Abramovic would be a cool conversation. Or a scientist with an artist.” 

“Sharon Horgan, from Catastrophe, would be a dream get,” adds Goldstein-Breyer, who, as Goldstein’s daughter, practically grew up backstage. (“I remember telling Fran Lebowitz as a four-year-old that she shouldn’t smoke,” she says. “So she sent me a Doberman pinscher stuffed animal, and I named it Fran Lebowitz.”)

Speakers lined up for the new season include a typically distinguished roster of thinkers and artists, along with some new blood. Among the big names on tap for 2017–18 are writer Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me), actor Tom Hanks, and literary It Girl Emma Cline (The Girls). 

 
Originally published in the September issue of
San Francisco 

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