Book with a twist

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The new Miss America lives in Windsor Terrace, is dead, and now a contortionist gets ready for her big interpretation of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” — and so it goes in Brooklyn.

The Bushwick Book Club has an unorthodox approach, with its musically minded members choosing to tackle tomes in tune. So you can trust us when we say that when the group analyzes the great Vonnegut’s most famous novel, there’s going to be a twist.

Actually, lots of them.

That’s because the latest addition to the club isn’t a crooner — she’s a 58-year old contortionist.

Amazing Amy, a frontbend contortionist — a performer who can curve her body forward at the hips — will enact feats of freaky flexibility while musicians play songs crafted from Vonnegut’s darkly funny novel about a time-traveling World War II veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

She hopes to interpret the words and music through her contortions.

“The book is about World War II and patriotism being turned into cynicism and the tragedy of war,” said Amy.

“So I will wear red, white and blue sequins and parody certain patriotic gestures.”

This is the fourth new year that the Bushwick Book Club has kicked off with a Vonnegut book.

In past years, the group has sang about “Cats Cradle,” “Sirens of Titan,” and “God Bless You, Mrs. Rosewater.” And the event will be held at Goodbye Blue Monday, which is named after the secondary title of Vonnegut’s book “Breakfast of Champions.”

The return to these American classics is a sign of the author’s lasting influence, says Sarah Hwang, a songwriter and the book club’s main organizer.

“Because of how Vonnegut’s books reflect his worldview and thinking about life in general, the songs usually end up becoming a permanent part of my repertoire,” said Hwang.

And choosing Vonnegut isn’t just good for bookish singers — he has lots of fans as well.

“They are pretty consistently popular books,” she said. “We’re making new T-shirts that feature Tralfamadorians. People love it.”

A Tralfamadorian is, of course, a Vonnegutian alien being whose body is shaped like a plunger, with a hand for a head, and a single eye peering out from the palm — great for prints apparently.

So it goes.

The Bushwick Book Club performs from “Slaughterhouse-Five” at Goodbye Blue Monday [1087 Broadway between Lawton and Dodworth streets in Bushwick, (718) 453–6343]. Jan. 23, 8 pm.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 8:11 am, January 19, 2013
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