Dead Poets Society: Lorca on Stage and Neruda in Song

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 2.20.59 PM Javier Beltrán and Robert Pattinson as Lorca and
Dali, in “Little Ashes.”

If you’re a Spanish and Latin American poetry buff, prepare to be lured out of your armchair in the coming months: the life of Federico García Lorca is hitting the stage and a major exhibition is coming to town — and the poems of Pablo Neruda are being set to music.

Ute Lemper, a German actress and musician who has previously put Charles Bukowski’s poems to song, is now doing the same with the love poems that Neruda wrote for his wife upon returning to Chile after his political exile. She’ll perform “Song Cycle of Love Poems” at Joe’s Pub on Feb 1 and 2. (The acclaimed songstress already has some East Village credentials: Philip Glass co-wrote a little number for her star-studded album “Punishing Kiss.”)

Neruda and Pablo Picasso were noted collaborators, and — as made clear by the Robert Pattinson flick “Little Ashes” and by a book edited by, well, my dad — the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca and Salvador Dalí had a “passionate, tragic relationship,” or so the painter said.

That friendship will be the subject of “¡Olé!”, opening at Under St. Marks at the end of the month. The production, in which Tisch grad Paul Bedard draws on the works of both visionaries, promises to take attendees “into the bullring as these two matadors pit magic against science through paint, poetry and flamenco dance,” according to the press release. We can only assume sangria will be served.

By the way, April will also be a good month for Lorquistas: “Back Tomorrow: Federico García Lorca in New York” will open at the New York Public Library on April 5. The exhibition, featuring the public debut of the “Poet in New York” manuscript as well as drawings composed during the poet’s nine months here (1929-1930), will be accompanied by events at NYU and other universities and venues around the city. More on that later.

“Ute Lemper Sings Pablo Neruda: Song Cycle of Love Poems”, Feb. 1 and 2 at Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street (between Astor Place and East Fourth Street); tickets $30.

“¡Olé!”, Jan. 31 to Feb. 16 at Under St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place (between First Avenue and Avenue A); tickets $18, $15.