Recent Posts in books
July 21, 2014
As discussed, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page is releasing his autobiography, Jimmy Page, this year. Like we said, it's due out October 14 and features his first-hand account, along with 650 hand-picked pictures. In celebration of that, Page will come to NYC to discuss the book on November 3 at 92Y's Kaufmann Concert Hall. Tickets for that are on sale now.
July 10, 2014
Dick Cavett and Dave Hill (via Dave's instagram)
You may know Dave Hill from his stand up, his band, or his book, or from sometimes shirtless concert reviews on this website. Today, however, Dave takes on another role -- "Vice President of Fulfillment" at Amazon.com. In case you haven't been following the dispute between Amazon and the French publishing group Hachette, this new video should shed some humorous light on the issue. The video features author Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers, Blink), who has been personally affected by the dispute, and legendary talk show host Dick Cavett. This isn't the first time Dave and Dick have gotten together, either.
If that's not enough Dave Hill for you, you can catch him live, like at "Choice Cuts" which happens at Brooklyn's Littlefield on July 31 with Michelle Wolf, Colin Nissan, Mark Normand, Jen Kwok and more. (Ticktes). as part of , listen to his WFMU show, The Goddamn Dave Hill Show, or listen in on his newest stint on Pete Holmes' podcast, You Made It Weird.
Upcoming Dave Hill tour dates are listed, along with that video, below...
June 6, 2014
from the Morbid Anatomy Museum's collection...
Brooklyn Bridge Park's "Books Beneath the Bridge" series is back for a third year, offering literary readings on Mondays from July 7 - August 11 at Pier 1's Granite Prospect, with each event curated by a different NYC independent bookstore. (You may have gone last year to hear Patti Smith read.) This is the 2014 lineup:
July 7: Freebird BookstoreOf particular interest to us is the July 28 reading which is a "Night with the Morbid Anatomy Museum." The museum just opened in Gowanus and offers "a collection of books and catalogs, photographs, fine art, taxidermy, ephemera, and artifacts relating to medical museums, anatomical art, collectors and collecting, cabinets of curiosity, the history of medicine, death and society, natural history, arcane media, and curiosity and curiosities broadly considered." The first exhibit at MAM will be "The Art of Mourning" which runs June 28 - December 4, 2014:
Liberty's Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty by Elizabeth Mitchell
July 14: Greenlight Bookstore
Poetry Salon hosted by Angel Nafis featuring Shira Erlichman, Aracelis Girmay Saeed Jones, and Patricia Smith
July 21: Powerhouse Arena
My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff
The Vacationers by Emma Straub
July 28: Community Bookstore Park Slope
A Night with the Morbid Anatomy Museum: Readings from the Morbid Anatomy Anthology featuring Michelle Legro, Colin Dickey, and Evan Michelson.
August 4: WORD Brooklyn
Retelling Tales with Kate Bernheimer and Genevieve Valentine
August 11: Bookcourt
Sackett Street Writers' Workshop: Marie-Helene Bertino, Scott Cheshire, Robin Elizabeth Black, Courtney Elizabeth Mauk, Julia Fierro
Featuring never before exhibited pieces from the astounding private collections of Stanley B. Burns MD (author of Sleeping Beauty), Evan Michelson and Mike Zohn (of Obscura Antiques and TV's Oddities), Karen Bachmann, Jennifer Butkevich, Tracy Hurley Martin and more, this exhibition will showcase decorative arts relating to mourning culture from the 18th to the 20th century. Pieces will include post-mortem photography; hair art shadowboxes and jewelry; coffin plates; memorial cards; mourning paraphernalia; death masks; and spirit photography.The opening party for The Art of Mourning" happens June 27 with curators Joanna Ebenstein and Evan Michelson and many collectors on hand to answer questions. Drinks and hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be served (if you can eat), and "thematic music will be played." Tickets are on sale now. There are lots more events happening, too, for the curious.
May 28, 2014
I tried to copy Maya's fluid voice early on but failed miserably. But because of her I found my own... RIP Maya Angelou and thank u - @QtipTheAbstract
And we have lost our wisest woman - the maker of the most beautiful words. I couldn't love you more Dr. Maya. Thank you. Fly free. - Kimya Dawson (@mrskimyadawson)
Momentarily took the air out of me hearing you passed over. Then I smiled for you. REST IN GLORY MAYA ANGELOU. Luv! - @Nas
"I was thinking about her lately. GOD Bless the Soul of one if my heroes. Dr Maya Angelou" - @Common
"i was very fortunate to meet and have dinner with maya angelou some years back in nyc. what a remarkable woman we've lost." ― @Moby
Maya Angelou, the memoirist and poet whose landmark book of 1969, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" -- which describes in lyrical, unsparing prose her childhood in the Jim Crow South -- was among the first autobiographies by a 20th-century black woman to reach a wide general readership, died on Wednesday in her home. She was 86 and lived in Winston-Salem, N.C.We lost one of America's most distintive voices today. Rest in peace, Maya Angelou. Your words live on.
Her death was confirmed by her longtime literary agent, Helen Brann. No immediate cause had been determined, but Ms. Brann said Ms. Angelou had been in frail health for some time and had had heart problems.
As well known as she was for her memoirs, which eventually filled six volumes, Ms. Angelou very likely received her widest exposure on a chilly January day in 1993, when she delivered the inaugural poem, "On the Pulse of Morning," at the swearing-in of Bill Clinton, the nation's 42nd president, who, like Ms. Angelou, had grown up poor in rural Arkansas. - [NY Times]
Watch her read "On the Pulse of Morning" at Clinton's inauguration and read President Obama's tribute to her, below...
April 28, 2014
Majical Cloudz at Warm Up in 2013 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Spencer Madsen is a writer who will, with equal enthusiasm, tweet a selfie of his butt and write the sincerest, saddest line of poetry you've ever read. Like so many of us, he's drowning in stimuli, emotion, options and the up-and-down of the weird 21st century world, but unlike most of us, he's wonderful at succinctly expressing his feelings about it--the 140 character limit of a tweet is the guardian angel of his work, whether that's through mooning the world on social media or using the tone of the internet to write about sad cats. Even when he has the space of an entire book, like his new one, You Can Make Anything Sad, he fills it with short lines and thoughts that grab your attention with their earnestness and arrest the unending, often cynical feed of modern media--he and peers like Mira Gonzalez, Gabby Bess and Steve Roggenbuck have helped bring poetry out of the grad class and made it urgent again. [The FADER]Brooklyn poet Spencer Madsen releases his new book, You Can Make Anything Sad, this week (4/29) and he'll be celebrating it with a release show in NYC on May 4 at the Marlin Room at Webster Hall. He'll be reading, along with Das Racist's Kool A.D. and Mira Gonzalez. Montreal duo Majical Cloudz will also play a set at the show. Tickets are on sale now.
Majical Cloudz also have a few festival dates coming up, including upstate NY's The Hudson Project. All of their dates are listed, with the flyer for the Webster Hall show, below...
As briefly mentioned, Andrew WK will appear at Strand Books on May 22 to celebrate the 33 1/3 volume of AWK's I Get Wet. From Strand:
On Thursday, May 22, Andrew W.K. joins Phillip Crandall to talk about Phillip's 33 1/3 title, I Get Wet. Phillip's book examines not only the making of I Get Wet as an album, but the history and mythology of Andrew W.K.'s career. This event will kick off our series with 33 1/3 album books. This event will take place in Strand's Rare Book Room at 7pm.The I Get Wet 33 1/3 book came out earlier this year. To gain entry to the Strand event you have to buy it from Strand, or if you already have it you can purchase a $15 gift card instead. More info here.
Andrew W.K., the self-declared King of Partying, joins Phillip Crandall to talk about Phillip's 33 1/3 title, I Get Wet. Phillip's book examines not only the making of I Get Wet as an album, but the history and mythology of Andrew W.K.'s career. A book that has been praised by diehard fans and skeptics alike, it's is essential reading for anyone who likes great music writing.
This event will kick off our series with 33 1/3 album books. An evening no music lover will want to miss. Party hard!
Andrew also has multiple dates coming up, which are listed, along with the "Party Hard" video, below...
April 11, 2014
Created in the explosive space between the surreal and the concrete, The Good Inn follows Solder Boy--the lone survivor of the explosion of the battleship Iéna--as he wanders aimlessly after the accident, falls deeply for an innkeeper's daughter, and even more deeply into a bizarre, alternate universe he discovers through a hole in his bedroom wall.The above description is of Pixies frontman Black Francis' debut novel, The Good Inn (written with co-author Josh Frank), which is being celebrated with a book launch in Brooklyn on April 25 at The Powerhouse Arena (37 Main St). The event runs from 6-8 PM, and will feature Black Francis, Josh Frank and the book's illustrator Steven Appleby. TIckets are on sale now, can be applied as credit towards the purchase of The Good Inn.
The world he finds exists at the intersection of art and violence, and introduces readers to the very real (and surreal) characters who created the first narrative pornographic film. The Good Inn weaves together real characters from the history of French cinema with darkly whimsical illustrations by Steven Appleby and recreates the lost story of La Bonne Auberge, as seen through the eyes of a shell-shocked soldier.
Through Soldier Boy's journey as the subject and star of the world's first stag film, we explore the power of memory, the simultaneously destructive and healing power of light and how the early pioneers of these stag films helped shape their industry for generations to come.
Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, film and prose, reality and surreality, The Good Inn bends readers' minds and holds its own against the best surrealists--from Lynch to Dali to Serling. It is sure to challenge our conceptions of history, highbrow and lowbrow and how we consume art in all its forms.
April 9, 2014
Literary and postmodern icon William S Burroughs, who died in 1997, would have turned 100 this year and there are Centenary celebration events happening all over the world. In New York, WSB100 (which was [and still is] being funded by an Indiegogo campaign) is happening the entire month of April at various venues around the the city:
Help us celebrate 100 years of America's preeminent avant garde literary iconoclast: William S. Burroughs. As ferocious, provocative, disturbing, and exciting as the artist himself, NYC's month-long WSB100 features extraordinary original performances, films, readings, panels, and world premiere tributes in honor of the legendary mindbending troublemaker himself.You can buy a festival pass for $100 that gets you in to all the WSB events, or buy individual tickets.
On the musical side, the WSB100 takes over The Stone this month through April 20. Tonight is Kenny Wollesen at 8 PM and Ariana Reiens at 10 PM. Other notable nights include Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth played on WSB's 1990 album Dead City Radio) on April 17; John Zorn and Bill Laswell on April 19; Hal Willner, Bill Frisell, Eyvind Kang and Lenny Pickett on April 20. No advance tickets for these shows.
Then on April 21 at Issue Project Room, Elliot Sharp and Steve Buscemi will have a collaborative performance, creating "a collage of sound and words integrating texts by William S. Burroughs with Elliott Sharp's vast soundworlds." Buscemi spent a lot of time with Burroughs in the author's later years and currently has a screenplay of Burroughs' Queer in development. Tickets are on sale.
On April 22 at the Incubator Arts Project it's a collaborative performance by Lydia Lunch and Quintan Ana Wikswo. Tickets are on sale. Then on April 23 at Poetry Project, there is a "reading marathon" featuring Anne Waldman, Penny Arcade, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, JG Thirlwell, Lydia Lunch, Elliott Sharp, Sam Mickens, and many more. Full line-up and more info is here.
There are more events happening too. Details are at WSB100 but the full schedule is listed, along with a few Burroughs-related videos, below...
March 27, 2014
If you're of a certain age, Zach Braff's Garden State, and most specifically its soundtrack which features Coldplay, The Shins, Iron Wine covering The Postal Service, and more, is probably a little generation-defining (love it or hate it). Ten years later, he's going for it again with Wish I Was Here, the first film he'll be directing since Garden State. Zach tells Entertainment Weekly that the very Zach Braff-sounding soundtrack will feature a song by Cat Power (written by Coldplay's Chris Martin), plus original music from Bon Iver, The Shins and more. Will this be be the new sappy soundtrack to a generation of indie-discovering teens?
The film hits theaters on July 18 in NYC and LA, and July 25 everywhere else. You can check out the Kickstarter video for Wish I Was Here below.
Speaking of Garden State being generation-defining, it's one of the things namedropped in former SPIN editor (and NY Times writer) Mark Spitz's new book Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion, and Film. The description reads:
Marc Spitz explores the first great cultural movement since Hip Hop: an old-fashioned and yet highly modern aesthetic that's embraced internationally by teens, twenty and thirty-somethings and even some Baby Boomers; creating hybrid generation known as Twee. Via exclusive interviews and years of research, Spitz traces Generation Twee's roots from the Post War 50s to its dominance in popular culture today.That book will be out on June 3.
Vampire Weekend, Garden State, Miranda July, Belle and Sebastian, Wes Anderson, Mumblecore, McSweeney's, Morrissey, beards, artisanal pickles, food trucks, crocheted owls on Etsy, ukuleles, kittens and Zooey Deschanel--all are examples of a cultural aesthetic of calculated precocity known as Twee.
In Twee, journalist and cultural observer Marc Spitz surveys the rising Twee movement in music, art, film, fashion, food and politics and examines the cross-pollinated generation that embodies it--from aging hipsters to nerd girls, indie snobs to idealistic industrialists. Spitz outlines the history of twee--the first strong, diverse, and wildly influential youth movement since Punk in the '70s and Hip Hop in the '80s--showing how awkward glamour and fierce independence has become part of the zeitgeist.
Wish I Was Here trailer below...
March 20, 2014
Long-closed, famed NJ venue City Gardens is getting the documentary treatment, and now authors Amy Yates Wuelfing and Steven DiLodovico have written a book, No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens, which was published by DiWulf earlier this month (3/10). A press release reads:
Amy and Steven conducted well over 100 interviews for the book including the likes of Henry Rollins (a onetime Trenton resident and Black Flag/Rollins Band frontman), Daily Show host (and former City Gardens bartender) Jon Stewart, Dean Ween, Ian MacKaye (of Minor Threat and Fugazi fame), Peter Hook (Joy Division/New Order), Oderus Urungus (GWAR), Al Jourgenson (Ministry), Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers), Harley Flanagan (Cro-Mags), Tesco Vee (of The Meatmen and Tesco Vee's Hate Police), Dead Kennedy's outspoken frontman Jello Biafra, City Gardens promoter Randy Now, plus bouncers, moshers, punks, skins, and other miscreants...to name but a few! Rollins and Tesco also provide back-cover blurbs re-stating the importance City Gardens held in the underground music scene of the '80s and early '90s.Amy and Steven will be doing a few book signings this month and next, which will feature "dramatic readings by contributors to the book and audience members and the like." One of those signings/readings happens in NYC on April 19 at Jonathan Levine Gallery (529 W 20th St #9) from 3-5 PM.
No Slam Dancing is the product of the true, grass-roots, D.I.Y.-ethic. Self-published, promoted and distributed by the authors, the book's printing was financed through a successful Kickstarter campaign that surpassed their intended goal. The people who backed this project are the ones whose lives were deeply impacted by what City Gardens meant to them, and now the rest of the music-loving world will get a small glimpse as to why.
All dates are listed below...