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Town Hall Seattle: Arts & Culture Series

Town Hall’s Arts & Culture series elevates the voices of local artists while bringing world-renowned cultural icons to Seattle audiences. The series celebrates music, photography, sculpture, philosophy, heritage, and traditions around the world that enrich our lives.

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Apr 29, 2021

For many generations, Americans were sold the idea of upward mobility. But today’s generations are unfortunately and unexpectedly struggling with downward mobility, both financial and emotional. A new essay collection gives irreverent and empathetic voice to this generation, hurtling into their next chapter with no safety net, and author Annabelle Gurwitch joined us to discuss this unique book.

In conversation with writer Susan Orlean, Gurwitch shared passages from You’re Leaving When?: Adventures in Downward Mobility, and about her inspiration for writing it. She explored her own experience with embracing homesharing, welcoming a housing-insecure young couple and a bunny rabbit into her home, as well as relearning to parent one pronoun at a time when her college student child sheds the gender binary. With humor, she related diving into the dating pool and flunking the magic of tidying up. In a time when so many believed they had a semblance of security but wound up with a fragile economy, Gurwitch offered stories of resilience, adaptability, low-rent redemption, and the kindness of strangers. She invited us to timely and eminently relatable conversation.

Annabelle Gurwitch is the author of I See You Made an EffortWherever You Go, There They Are; You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up (coauthored with Jeff Kahn); and Fired! (also a Showtime Comedy Special). She’s written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, and Los Angeles Magazine, and was a regular contributor to NPR. The longtime cohost of Dinner & a Movie, she performs with the Moth Mainstage and at arts centers around the country.

Susan Orlean is an author and staff writer for The New Yorker. She’s written numerous books, including The Library Book and Animalish, as well as contributing to several others.

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