Adele Bertei Reading and Interview with WKSU
In a partnership between Heights Arts and Mac’s Backs, writer, performer and musician Adele Bertei will be in conversation with WKSU’s Amanda Rabinowitz about her new book Twist on Monday, March 27th at 7:30 p.m. at Heights Arts, 2175 Lee Rd. in Cleveland Heights.
Books may be purchased at Mac’s Backs HERE
The event is free, but there is limited seating and a reservation is required. RSVP Here
Through the eyes of her alter ego Maddie Twist, Adele Bertei threads together the tapestry of an extraordinary, troubled childhood in the 60s and 70s. It begins with her beautiful mother, whose delusions of grandeur bring both wonders and horrors to the Bertei home. It is her undiagnosed schizophrenia that eventually leads to the removal of her children, and the beginning of young Maddie’s wild journey. By her middle school years, Maddie Twist has moved through several foster homes and reformatories. With each new posting, she discovers sanctuary amongst her peers—outcast girls—while gaining belief in her identity, and unwavering trust in her own voice.
As she ages out of the system and finds herself navigating the world alone, Maddie’s only constant is a ribbon of music that weaves itself around her heart. She can sing, and she is certain it will be the beacon that guides her towards another life. In frank prose without an ounce of self-pity, Twist is an episodic survival of the fittest, navigating the crooked rivers of poverty, race, sexuality, and gender. It is a world of little girl gangsters, drag queen solidarity, wild roller-skating, and magical thinking. With Twist, Bertei gives us a story of violence and madness, of heartbreak and perseverance, and, ultimately, redemption.
“Twist spins a bruising tale of the desperate need to break free from the shackles that bind by finding a perverse beauty in the devastating landscape of the American traumazone of poverty, prejudice and familial insanity. Heartbreaking, yet remarkably ever hopeful.” –LYDIA LUNCH
Adele Bertei’s music career began in Cleveland with Peter Laughner of Pere Ubu. She entered New York’s downtown scene of the late 1970s as an organist for the Contortions and went on to form the Bloods, the first out, queer, all women-rock band. Bertei has appeared in several indie films, most notably Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames and The Offenders. As a singer/songwriter, she has toured with, written songs for, and recorded as a backup vocalist for a diverse group of artists including Tears for Fears, Thomas Dolby, Sandra Bernhard, Culture Club, Scritti Politti, Whitney Houston, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Sheena Easton, Oleta Adams, Lydia Lunch, the Pointer Sisters, Matthew Sweet, and Sophie B. Hawkins. Bertei charted top twenty internationally with featured leads on Thomas Dolby’s “Hyperactive!” and Jellybean’s “Just a Mirage.” Bertei is the author of Peter and the Wolves, a short memoir of her rock and roll education and Why Labelle Matters (University of Texas Press 2021)