Architecture + Roundtable
My Brain on Fire by Leonard Pitt
Monday, May 16
This is Leonard Pitt’s story of growing up a misfit in Detroit in the 1940s and 50s. In a later age, he would have been put on Ritalin and paraded before psychiatrists because he couldn’t pay attention in school. In 1962, at the end of a misguided foray towards a career in advertising, he took the ultimate cure — a trip to Paris. He thought it would only be a visit. He stayed seven years. There in the City of Light, Leonard’s mind exploded, and it hasn’t stopped thinking about historical architectural Paris since.
Studying mime with master Etienne Decroux and living in Paris provided the university he never knew. This inspiration unleashed a voracious appetite to understand the “why” of things. He asked a simple question, “Why did the ballet go up?” While building a theatre career, performing and teaching, he embarked on a quest to study the origins of the ballet, the history of early American popular music, the pre-Socratic philosophers, early modern science, the European witch hunt, the history of Paris, and more. To his unschooled mind it all fits together. Who would see an historical arc between Louis XIV and Elvis Presley? Leonard does. And he’ll tell you about it.
Two of Leonard Pitt’s books will be available for purchase: My Brain on Fire: Paris and Other Obsessions and Walks Through Lost Paris: A Journey into the Heart of Historic Paris.