Bill Maher to Perform at BEA Book Industry Foundation Benefit

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Comedian and author Bill Maher will perform for an audience of booksellers and other book industry professionals at this year's BookExpo America Book Industry Foundation Benefit. The exclusive, "closed" appearance on Saturday, June 4, at New York City's The Town Hall will benefit the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and the Association of American Publishers Get Caught Reading Campaign.

Maher last performed in New York City on December 3 before a sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall. He will be at BEA to promote his new book, New Rules, which will be published by Rodale in the fall. New Rules is based on segments from Maher's television show, Real Time, on HBO.

ABFFE President Chris Finan told BTW, "We are delighted that Bill Maher has agreed to help raise funds for ABFFE. He's a comedian who makes robust use of his First Amendment rights, and he will be appearing in a theater that is a civil liberties landmark as well as an architectural gem."

"No person, party, phenomenon, or institution is immune from Bill's signature combination of intelligence and incisiveness," said Leigh Haber, Maher's editor at Rodale, in a press statement. "I'm confident that the audience of booksellers at BEA will appreciate his frank remarks and will delight in his candid humor."

Maher joins a list of notable celebrities, including George Carlin, Ellen DeGeneres, and Wynton Marsalis, who have performed at past BEA Book Industry Foundation benefits.

Tickets for the performance may be purchased in advance via the BEA registration form or at the trade show, which will be held from June 2 - 5 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Subject to availability, tickets may be purchased at The Town Hall the evening of the performance. Open to BEA badged participants and their guests. Tickets are $25 for one ticket, $45 for two, and $100 for five.

The Town Hall, which was designed by the famous architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White, has long been a New York City cultural landmark. An appropriate setting for a free expression and literacy fundraiser, it was built in 1921 by suffragettes as a forum for their views. It was the site of birth control advocate Margaret Sanger's arrest later that year, and, in 1927, protesters used Town Hall to mark the second anniversary of the execution of the anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti after they had been denied use of Boston's Fanueil Hall. Singer Marian Anderson, who had been denied use of other concert halls because she was African American, made her New York debut there in 1935. More recently, in addition to being the venue for music and dance performances from modern to classical, it was where the Folksmen made their comeback in Christopher Guest's 2003 film, A Mighty Wind.

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