The term, ‘salon’ (which means “drawing room” in French), is most commonly associated with literary and philosophical gatherings of the 17th century and 18th century. Traditionally a salon constituted a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring hostess or host, partly to amuse and partly to refine the participants’ tastes and to increase their knowledge through conversation and art.

In this age of instant and impersonal technology googling and youtube, texting and emails, we are encouraged to exchange information by accumulation but not collaboration. There has never been a greater time to create the modern version of the Salon. As Eric Utne, the editor in chief and founder of The Utne Reader noted, “People are awash in information, but they need discussion and debate.” To that I add from my own experience, that all people would benefit from a joyful encounter with live music poetry, song and art.

Over the years, I have had many gatherings in my home where percussion players, dancers and aspiring poets co-mingled with bankers and lawyers. These evenings would usually end up in a songfest with everyone gathering around the piano. Some of my favorite evenings were when someone would bring a stranger who they thought would enjoy the gathering and contribute to it.

With these wonderful parties in my home as an inspiration and with the help of a specially chosen committee, I am launching a Salon in New York City entitled The Myth of Red Creative Salon Series. The title is named after my debut album, which told the story of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna, and also explored the origins of the word and color Red.

The Myth of Red Creative Salon Series will bring together individuals from all fields of artistic endeavor, as well as those with experiences and talents in the sciences and business, to a place where artistry, knowledge and opinion are equally forefront. The Series will foster collaboration by and among great talent, and encourage the mixing of genres and modes of artistic expression.

The Salon is structured with a general topic, guideposts, and a moderator, plus possibly one specific main “guest”, possibly an expert on the topic. The format however is fluid and flexible, not rigid or scripted. The emphasis is on voluntary audience participation not simply observation. More specifically, the Salon will begin with either a short series of performances which may include music, a person reading a poem, performing a monologue on lecturing on a given topic. A facilitator or moderator, will guide the Salon. There will be a few “planned” performances that are pre-arranged yet impromptu that will join musicians, performers, painters and artists from across the spectrum of the arts. Themes we have considered include, Russia, China, the Color Red, Medicine, Global Warming, Fate, Altruism, and Faith. Throughout the Salon the various aspects of the Theme will be presented in both an erudite and entertaining manner with an opportunity for the audience to participate and collaborate voluntarily.

Long ago, the Roman philosopher Horace stated that the two aims of poetry are “to please and educate.” The modern Myth of Red Creative Salon Series has these dual aims as well. The natural alchemy produced by the combination of premier artistic talent, expert knowledge and anecdotal experience, will not only please those who attend the Salon, but will prove socially enlightening, educational and inspiring to those exposed to its results.

– Sasha Lazard