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10/01/2004
Best-Selling Author Sherman Alexie Entertains More than 700 at Hudson Valley Community College Photo Gallery Available

CONTACT: Janine Kava (518) 629-8071
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Friday, October 1, 2004

Photo Available Photo Gallery

Best-selling author, poet and screenwriter Sherman Alexie showed why the New York Times once described him as "what Robin Williams might be like if he'd been raised on an Indian reservation and had a 20-foot jump shot" during a nearly two-hour presentation held today at Hudson Valley Community College.

Alexie's performance made an audience of more than 700 people laugh, pause and think, as he covered topics that ranged from the different ways men hug each other to the difficulty of being, as he described it, "ethnically ambiguous" since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

A Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, Alexie told dozens of stories, including one that detailed a post-Sept. 11th encounter with a pickup truck driver as he crossed the street in Seattle, Wash., where he lives.

"Go back to your own country," Alexie said the driver yelled at him. Alexie described how he immediately started laughing at the comment, and told the audience: "It wasn't so much a hate crime, but a crime of irony."

His performance, "The Business of Fancydancing: Poems, Stories, Punch Lines and Highly Biased Anecdotes," and the book signing that followed was sponsored by the college's Cultural Affairs Program. Click here to learn more about upcoming Cultural Affairs events.

Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, has authored 16 books, including "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven," which was the basis for his first screenplay "Smoke Signals." The movie won the Audience Award and the Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

Also known for his poetry, Alexie received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1992. He won the World Heavyweight Championship Poetry Bout at the Taos Poetry Circus in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

In addition to being featured in the New York Times, Alexie has been featured in Time magazine, and was named one of the 20 Most Fascinating Men in Politics by George magazine for his work in changing the perceived image of Native Americans.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 50 degree and certification programs in four academic divisions: Liberal Arts and Sciences; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Business; as well as programs run through the Educational Opportunity Center offering certification programs in workforce and academic preparation. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has nearly 60,000 alumni.