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Maggie Paxson's


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What would it be like to find

a shelter from the storm?

Bomb Shelter Cafés are sing-along events inspired by the collective music of embattled communities in the lead-up to and during the Second World War. The songs Maggie shares, from the Great American Songbook and beyond, are about how to find hope, love, meaning, and even laughter during troubled times. With their lovely melodies and lyrics—which Maggie distributes to audiences ahead of time—the songs invite everyone to join in. The voices raised together amount to a little bit of heaven for people to experience together. Maggie has performed Bomb Shelter Cafés in private venues such as cozy living rooms by a hearth, backyards under the moon, and Manhattan apartment rooftops, as well as in public spaces such as libraries, recreation centers, universities, houses of worship, and bookshops, including a debut at the beautiful Albertine Bookstore in New York. She has appeared on stage in venues such as Joe's Pub in lower Manhattan and the Dryden Theatre of the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. In 2024 she was featured in Georgetown University's long-running Friday Music Series. Maggie continues to develop partnerships with civic groups, museums, and religious organizations including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Defiant Requiem Foundation. She has also performed in France and, depending on the audience, sprinkles her set list with songs in French, Italian, Spanish, Yiddish, German, and Russian. Maggie weaves scenes and stories from earlier decades, designed to gently inspire. Bomb Shelter Cafes don't cost anything. The shared spirit of Tikkun Olam--the "repair of the world"--is the ultimate offering. A writer, anthropologist, and performer, Maggie Paxson is the author of The Plateau (Riverhead Books, 2019), which received the 2020 American Library in Paris Book Award for the "moral urgency of the questions it poses, for its ambitious efforts to connect France’s past to its present, for its big heart, poetic writing and genre-defying structure." Named a Best Book of 2019 by BookPage and an Editors’ Pick by Amazon, The Plateau was described by Oprah magazine as "radiant" and by the Washington Post as "a loving combination of personal memoir, historical investigation, and philosophical meditation." Fluent in Russian and French, Maggie has worked in rural communities in northern Russia, the Caucasus, and upland France. She holds Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Montreal. She performs as a singer with the Imperial Palms Orchestra, one of the East Coast's leading big bands, featuring music of the 1920s through the 1940s. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, writer and historian Charles King.

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Join Maggie on Instagram for songs, pics, & more!

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Maggie's book, The Plateau 

For more information about Bomb Shelter Cafes: 

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