Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Adam's Rib: Women Artists Contemplate Religion at LES FusionArts Museum

FusionArts Museum on the Lower East Side has two new exhibitions. In the main gallery, Adam's Rib, features 14 accomplished women artists presenting work that speaks to a woman's role (or absence of it) in organized religion.

That exhibit  curated by artist and museum founder Shalom Newman runs through August 22, 2010

In the lower gallery poet and writer Steve Dalachinsky, a contributor to Brooklyn Rail among other publications, explores fusion art in his first solo exhibit in New York City.

The Sunday opening was graced by extraordinary readings and performances by Chavisa Woods and Carol Lipnik.In keeping with the theme of the opening and the weekend's Pride March focus, Ms. Woods read some powerful work about identity, religion and memories of growing up in the mid-west. Ms. Lipnik,accompanying herself on a mini-keyboard that sounded like a harmonium,shared some healing verses followed by a requiem of sorts for the hole in the Gulf of Mexico, with a haunting and lovely refrain of "Deepwater Horizon." Despite the insufferable heat of a summer evening on the lower east side, both poets had the audience transfixed. It was a sweltering, but decidedly cool evening, at the FusionArts Museum

FusionArts Museum

57 Stanton Street between Forsyth and Eldridge Streets
3 blocks from the New Museum of Contemporary Art
New York, NY 10002

12 - 6 pm SUN, Tues - THURS, 12 PM - 3 PM FRI
MON by appointment only
closed SAT

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hey, No Place Cooler -- Brooklyn Public Library

Back in the day, as a Brooklyn kid during the sweltering summer months, before I was shackled to this life of endless, if (arguably) ennobling, workitude, I would love to visit the Brooklyn Public Libraries as a way of simultaneously escaping the heat and enriching the mind. I would visit the various branches in walking distance from my family's Windsor Terrace  home, especially the phenomenal Central Branch, and check out all of the great stuff to read, or just browse the stacks, even from a young age. As a matter of fact, one of my first jobs was as a part-timer in the Grand Army Plaza branch's Audio Visual Department under the funny and wise Mr. Kenneth Axthelm and Mr. Joseph Scherer, and some of the other wonderful staff there. What started as a fun summer job, being around books and films, later morphed into part-time work in high school and early college. I fondly remember those BPL days and the BPL remains an important source of learning, enrichment, and enjoyment for me.

Today, BPL reminds Brooklyn residents that its branches are open and available, and provide a great way to escape the heat and enjoy the many educational, multi-media and cultural benefits that the Library has to offer.  Music, art, film, and an amazing assortment of reading material are available for in-branch use, or borrowing (with a library card). 

For Brooklyn Public Library branch hours link here.

Or call 718-230-2100 for more information.

For Brooklyn Public Library events calendar link here.

Branch schedules vary so be sure to check the schedule for the branch you are  visiting before stepping out!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Coney Island: Blue Vistas of a Summer Day

photos by Brooklyn Beat/TN

Visiting Coney Island for a stroll early in the spring, it was still hard to tell where the "old" Coney Island ended and the "new"Coney Island began. I had apparently beat the hype machine to the punch, and my post was followed by a number of emails reassuring that despite the  construction, gates, and  lack of info, Coney Island would be back in business this summer.

Flaneurs and peripatetic urban wanderers that we are, My Better Half and I took a stroll through Brighton Beach yesterday, stopping for a leisurely salad and vareniki lunch at Cafe Glechik. We made our way to the Boardwalk, starting at Little Odessa and made our way down to Coney Island. Well, despite all of the hype, the Coney Island Boardwalk, as far as  I can tell, remains its good old self. There is the addition of the new amusement park section with newer kiddie rides which supplements, not supplants, the old standbys: Deno's, Shoot the Freak, Ruby's...there are some new smaller concessions on the Boardwalk, and sections are still under construction. But happily, Coney Island, crowded on a sweltering Saturday remains Coney Island. We took a walk out onto the pier (which still haunts in the memory in its super-real portrayal in Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for A Dream)  and there were the fisherman and tourists, locals and visitors. Kitschy tzatzches, hot dogs and french fries, beautiful, oil- free water, and the blue vistas of a summer day. Environmental activitists. The occasional drunk and druggy, kids with melting ice cream, teenagers in love, seniors with zinc'd noses and  skin already tanned like leather.

Still not sure where the hype begins and ends, or what the future holds, but for now Coney Island remains  a delight. Despite the sagging economy, it's a place for an inexpensive outing, a little respite from the summer sun, some fresh ocean breezes, and a place to mingle with other New Yorkers.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Andy Warhol: The Last Decade @ The Brooklyn Museum

Self-Portrait, 1986

I saw Andy Warhol one time. I was a student at NYU in the 1970s, killing time between classes. Walking down University Place near 8th street, I looked up, and in a small jewelry shop, there he was, as iconic in life as his work had become iconic in the art world in the 1960s and 1970s.

Andy was blessed with well more than his 15 minutes of fame, escaping an assasination attempt by Valerie Solanas in 1968, that awful time of sporadic political violence and assasination, seeming like it could brim over into anarchy at times, at home in the US and war in Asia. Andy survived and lived on until February 22, 1987, when headlines announced  that  complications following an emergency gall bladder  operation led to his death from a coronary arrhythmia.  Andy Warhol:  The Last Decade, which opens to the public today at the Brooklyn Museum focuses on the the artist's return to painting and large, ambitious new works, both solo and in collaboration with other artists, as he explored new artistic media and themes in his final years of intensive work and continued growth.

Warhol's "Oxidized" ("piss") paintings, which involved the artist and his assistants urinating on  copper sheets, and his "Last Supper" which included numerous works on religious themes, some of them the largest on religious themes done in the US, give a sense of the artist as he attempted to return to new and different idea and techniques. Although not widely known, Warhol's Eastern rite Catholicism remained very strong throughout his life; he volunterred in homeless shelters and took great pride in his support of a nephew who entered the priesthood.

"The Last Supper (Christ 112 times)"

In 1984 and 1985, gallery owners Tony Shafrazi and Bruno Bischofberger brought Warhol together with Jean Michel Basquiat and Francesco Clemente in a number of collaborative works. 

The Origin of Cotton, Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat 1985

In this corner: Andy and Jean Michel

The Last Decade, which opens today and continues through September 12, 2010, includes some of his film and TV work, including Warhol's MTV pilot "15 Minutes of Fame" and other films by him of that era.  In his later years, his work explored religious themes, and he continued to work with new techniques and imagery,  for awhile influenced by Basquiat and Francesco Clemente and the work of younger artists. The inclusion of Brooklyn-born Basquiat in the Brooklyn-based show is just so right and a wonderful touch. We fondly remember the enormous Basquiat retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum a few years back, and last year, we saw the wonderful To Repel Ghosts ('Fantasme da scacciare') by Basquiat at The Memmo Foundation in Palazzo Ruspoli on Via Del Corso in Rome. That previous post here.   Although apparently extremely meaningul to both artists, this proved short lived . The two, one a grafitti artist who helped transform and became part of the "bull market in art in the 1980s, the other a commercial artist who mingled fine and commercial art to create the Pop Art of the 1960s and 1970s and who transformed art and helped to give New York its emerging identity as a world contemporary art capital, both appear to have influenced and shadowed each other. They both died within about a year and a half of each other, both in NYC.

While not a retrospective, it manages to cover many of the important milestones in Warhol's art and career, as the artist re-explored his use of certain images (commercial logos and images) in his later work. The exhibit offers a nice pastiche of the "Interview" magazine years and his curious flirtation with celebrity, glamour, and urban nightlife. Somewhere between the Hall and Oates and Diana Vreeland videos and the religious iconography, we see the dynamic expressed between the public and private Warhol.  Still, this look at the final chapter of Warhol's work shows a restless, sublimely creative man, who continued to take new risks and new roads throughout his life, as he evidently attempted to understand his art and himself.

The Brooklyn Museum link here

--Brooklyn Beat

Friday, June 11, 2010

That Was the Week That Was (or at least 5 days of it)

This has been a crazy week. Started with a quick turn at Jury Duty in the not luxe but definitely improved criminal/family court at 320 Jay Street. I was prepared for anything, but a light court calendar that day had most of us cut loose and on our way after a few hours of hanging out.

It did give me an opportunity to plough through a good portion of Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst. Termed “Historical espionage,” it is a great read with interesting characters and a wonderful sense of Warsaw and Paris before World War II. Not quite done, but can’t wait to see how it ends and looking forward to his The Foreign Correspondent next. Can't wait to get back to Europe.

The working life continues to be intense and extremely busy. Family life, this year we will be married 25 years, with 4 kids at home in their early 20s and teens, is great and challenging and full of awe and mystery. Looking forward to the chance to take a few days off over the summer..amazing how 2010 is flying.

The brouhaha surrounding the Brooklyn Blogfest seems to have abated, with even one of the prosecutorial blogs who first stirred the pot, appearing to back off in a comment at OTBKB.com. It was interesting to throw my two cents into the fray. My only involvement with the Blogfest is as part of the audience, but LC has always been very generous-spirited and encouraging in her support of my own writing and forays into blogdom…hard to overlook.

Did manage to see Agora,  a 2009 Spanish historical drama film directed by Alejandro Amenábar and written by Amenábar and Mateo Gil. The biopic stars Rachel Weisz as Hypatia, a female mathematician, philosopher and astronomer in 4th century CE Roman Egypt who investigates the flaws of the geocentric Ptolemaic system and the heliocentric model that challenges it. Surrounded by religious turmoil and social unrest, Hypatia struggles to save the knowledge of classical antiquity from destruction. Max Minghella co-stars as Davus, Hypatia's slave, and Oscar Isaac as Hypatia's student Orestes,who becomes prefect of Alexandria.

The story uses historical fiction to highlight the relationship between religion and science amidst the decline of Greco-Roman polytheism and the Christianization of the Roman empire. The title of the film takes its name from the agora, a gathering place in ancient Greece, similar to the Roman forum. The film was produced by Fernando Bovaira and shot on the island of Malta from March to June of 2008. Justin Pollard, co-author of The Rise and Fall of Alexandria (2007), was the historical advisor for the film

I guess one can understand the fury of the early Christians (A.D. 400) having been persecuted and martyred for many years. They are definitely portrayed in a Never Again mode. At the same time, the film portrays the classical scholarship of Alexandria under Roman rule, just before Christianity became the State religion, while glossing over the persecutions by the Roman pagans of the Christians. But the film adds a certain contemporary resonance by adapting this story to mirror current day conflicts of fundamentalist dogmas against enlightenment, science, and learning.

Rachel Weisz is wonderful in this thoughtful film with enough action to keep things moving. Since I am a fan of epics set in the ancient world, I thoroughly enjoyed the story, well supported by some lovely acting, photography and special effects.

Ciao, baby...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tempest in a Gimlet Glass: Brooklyn Blogfest 5 - Aftermath

The sh*tstorm over Brooklyn Blogfest 5's inclusion of a brand name alcoholic beverage maker and a famous film director who is shilling for it rages on.

The issue now appears to focus on Atlantic Yards Report and the Brownstoner's "revelations" on some additional behind-the-blogs marketing hustling that the liquor company was engaging in, offering what are ostensibly trinkets ($129 flip cameras) and invites-to-yet-other-"VIP"-marketing events, for some cross-promotional posts on "Stoop" life.  As Jerry Seinfeld might sardonically say, "Really?"  When I heard the brand name booze producer was involved, I imagined that Louise Crawford, after years of  hard work building the Blogfest from the ground up largely out of her own pocket, had finally hit a pay day with a major sponsor. Good for her. But in a couple of wrenching posts at Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, Louise makes it clear that, if in fact Brooklyn Blogfest had "Sold out," it clearly "sold out" for very little: Mostly some (not all) ot the refreshments, the booze, and some (not all) of the operating expenses. There was no golden ticket here, more like a co-sponsorship, which, due to the high profile of Mr. Lee, did seem to muddy the focus of this year's event. Face it, Spike Lee is a big draw. Even the "chachkas" offered to some of the bloggers involved in the event, or for cross promotional posts on the Absolut website, sounded like little more than higher-end gift bag items. Kidstuff.

I think Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn has said enough, made enough mea culpas, for not really doing anything wrong as far as I can see. And stop knocking your sponsor -- you don't have to make these declarations about not liking the product or not being partial to that form of beverage. You really don't have to prove anything. Blogfest 5, in all of its occasionally interesting moments and imperfektions is proof enough. You gave a party and we came. And we didnt even have to pay admission this year. That was a pretty cool arrangement. (En passant, I feel like mentioning, although I don't have to, that I had a "value meal" at The Gate before I arrived, so, regrettably I wasn't in tune with vodka but I might try it at some point.) So, not that there wasn't a story in this, but it sounded more like something from the NY Times business page or the WSJ, not an actual succes de scandale. If you are largely a Mom and Pop not-for-profit event, and you decide to make a corporate arrangement, you have stepped across a threshhold. No doubt there were additional deals. But the Blogfest is just an informal get together, a gathering of the tribes and wannabes. Who cares if there was a little (apparently very little) sponsorship behind it. But you have to wonder-- was Atlantic Yards' action in breaking the story the way it did more of a McCarthy-esque litmus test --"Have you now or have you ever accepted a proclamation from a Borough President who has supported a controversial and unpopular-with-the-local-community development project in downtown Brooklyn?"  Who planted that story with Atlantic Yards? It was unfairly portrayed as malfesance, when, in fact, Brownstoner and Atlantic Yards appeared to be stirring the pot for their own reasons. A reaction to OTBKB and the Brooklyn Blogfest daring to stick its toe in the corporate waters?  To quote from the Army-McCarthy hearings -- "Have you no shame, sir?" And Brownstoner --not that I really care, but does that blog wish to share its fiscal spreadsheets with the public? Will this peculiar contretemps result in a new focus on full disclosure of the financials of all "monetized" blogs? We pretty much have an idea from Ms Crawford's posts that OTBKB and Brooklyn Blogfest are amateurs and relatively inexperienced when it comes to "selling out." But malfeasant? C'mon. Let the monetized blog that is without sin, etc...

I am sure Brooklyn Blogfest has been suitably chastened by this brouhaha and next year it will be back to donated sixpacks and local Asian fusion food only with a $50 admission charge. Too bad, but I wouldn't blame Louise at all...
--Brooklyn Beat

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Absolutely Brooklyn: Blogfest 5

The scene from the floor of Brooklyn Blogfest 5 at the Brooklyn Lyceum

Poet Lemon Andersen toasting stoops and the Borough of Kings in all of its urban glory

Spike Lee makes the pitch for Absolut Brooklyn, sponsor of Blogfest 5
(Absolut V with Red Apple and Ginger flavo-flav)

Wrap up of the Blogfest symposium, with workshops and refreshments to follow

At first, it was hard to tell if Brooklyn Blogfest 5 had, as one wag texted me, already jumped the shark. After all, with Absolut Vodka as a major league sponsor, and filmmaking legend Spike Lee shilling for his new flavor Absolut Brooklyn (ginger and red apple), clearly, Brooklyn blogging had arrived.  But, in truth, as a product placement, the brand and its high profile spokesman at first appeared to simultaneously overwhelm and boost the "Brooklyn Blogger" brand.  Ironically, the presence of Marty Markowitz, minus his ubiquitous light saber, and presenting yet another proclamation on behalf of the "Republic of Brooklyn" (be careful, Marty, sounds like sedition), which was greeted with a few muted hoots, catcalls and boos, brought a tinge of reality and a reminder of what makes the blogging thing so unique. A few years ago, doubtless Marty didn't know or care about blogging. Now the blogosphere has become something to contend with. (A thought - can there be more than one proclamation from the "Republic of Brooklyn" per day? Like Leo Bloom says in The Producers, "Max,  you can only sell 100% of anything.")

Lemon Andersen's Ode to Brooklyn was a down and dirty toast to the borough, as he named names and places and things that make it such a great place, both for newcomers and for natives of the town of Brooklyn born.  It is always great to see Spike Lee before an audience. Although his main focus was the vodka, he was generous in answering audience questions.

Andrea Bernstein is a wonderful interviewer. The value of the panel, it seemed to this listener, less so.  I guess I am not that interested in the ready availability of creme fraiche. Likewise, the ramblings about gentrification, Brooklyn real estate and bloggers-as-bohemians unconcerned about money seemed to clash with the overarching semiotic-reality of this year's blogfest: Blogging is a big tent that welcomes all comers, and that is finally achieving a modicum of respect from the likes of the powerful in the worlds of politics, leisure, entertainment and the arts. As Brooklyn's established, brick-and-mortar cultural institutions well understand in this time of recession, money changes everything.

Nevertheless, Louise Crawford, her family and her production team are all to be congratulated for once again bringing together this disparate group of bloggers, wannabees, fans and spectators and also for continuing to raise the profile of blogging as a serious medium worthy of respect. Her comments on the responsibility of bloggers to take what they write seriously added a refreshing bit of brio to the proceedings.  But even more importantly, by welcoming all comers, corporate and political, Brooklyn Blogfest 5, intentionally or not, took a risk, and in doing so, has moved the Brooklyn blogosphere out of its comfort zone and into new territory, compelling it to reflect on who and what it is, where it's going, and what is its real meaning and purpose in a complex and changing borough.

--Brooklyn Beat

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Brooklyn Blogfest Tonight

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, if it is spring it must be time for Louise Crawford's annual Brooklyn Blogfest. Once again, LC and Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, (which, by the Italian-American heritage invested in me,  I have informally designated "di bloggo di tutti bloggi of Brownstone Brooklyn blogs" ©  DITHOB 2010)  promises another amazing event, filled with old fashioned social networking, creative thinking and feedback on this expanding new medium and the Brooklyn Blogosphere. Pre-registration is closed but some overflow seating still available.

More details on the 2010 Brooklyn Blogfest here

Interestingly, Steve Jobs blamed the recent temporary failure of a new iPhone demo on the proliferation of wifi-using bloggers in the room at the tech conference who were clogging the wireless network. 

Well, if Steve Jobs considers the Bloggers in San Francisco to be troublemakers, what would he make of the Brooklyn Blog crowd?  While he is busy tweaking the iPhone 4 on the Left Coast, you can see the Brooklyn blog crowd  for yourself  tonight at the Brooklyn Lyceum. As always, Brooklyn Blogfest promises -- and, no doubt, delivers.

LC -- you go, girl....

--Brooklyn Beat

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Art Sprouts on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge: The Art Room

Leigh Jewel Holliday welcomes
young artists at the Art Room

Marty Markowitz's office
proclaims Brooklyn Art Room

    Justin Brannan, Leigh Holliday
     with City Councilman Vincent
    Gentile who welcomed The Art
     Room to Third Avenue

The economic news generally continues to disappoint but America is built on dreams and hopes, not fear.
A new business opened Saturday on 87th Street and Third Avenue, in Bay Ridge: The Art Room, a fine arts school opened by  artist Leigh Jewel Holliday, with the assistance of Mary Brannan, a veteran Bay Ridge early childhood teacher, and Justin Brannan, business manager. A fresh and charming space  with a warm, creative and attentive instructor, The Art Room offers classes for kids 3 and up, as well as serving as base of operations for birthday parties and other art-centric activities.

Borough Prez Marty Markowitz's office welcomed the new venture to the Brooklyn business community, as did City Councilman Vincent Gentile, whose district-office is a neighbor on 3rd avenue. A crowd of kids and well-wishers filled the exciting space, spilling out onto the avenue. A ribbon cutting by eager kids was cheered by the crowd of on-lookers.

As one long-time resident observed, Bay Ridge is a wonderful neighborhood with great shops and restaurants, but it remains hungry for more art and cultural  activities. Classes  at the Art Room begin Monday, and birthday parties have already been booked.  Check out the Art Room website for more information .

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"I'm Smart!" - John Cazale's Brief Career and Legendary Performances in 5 Films that Helped Define the 1970s

John Cazale as Sal in "Dog Day Afternoon"

John Cazale and Meryl Streep                                                                                           Cazale and Streep in Measure for Measure

I Knew It Was You: Remembering John Cazale by Richard Shepard

I was a student at NYU in the mid-70s when a film crew took over 9th avenue (aka Prospect Park West) around the corner from my home on 17th Street in Windsor Terrace.  Some old storefronts were reconfigured into a bank and the great Al Pacino, fresh from his Godfather 2 triumph, explored a new character in Sidney Lumet's classic Dog Day Afternoon.  Sharing the screen was another remarkable actor, John Cazale, probably best known as Fredo in the Godfather series. Cazale appeared in only 5 films before he succumbed to cancer at the age of 42 but they were all critical, box office and Oscar favorites. A mainstay of the New York off-Broadway theater scene, Cazale was an enormous talent, and director Richard Shepard (Scotland, PA and The Matador) has created a touching and fascinating film portrait of his too brief career.

HBO is running this documentary in June and it also is available on HBO on Demand. Shepard was taken by the impact of Cazale -- ironically, at once familiar yet little known to film audiences who recognize him from his key roles in some of the pivotal films of the 1970s, yet his name was not widely recognizable. Shepard's documentary will clearly change all that, as he interviews Cazale's friends, acting colleagues, family, and others to learn more about the late actor's life, talent and work.   Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert DeNiro, Sidney Lumet, Gene Hackman, Playwright Israel Horovitz and others talk about working with Cazale and how his gifted acting style and unique personality helped to open up and expand their own performances and added so much to every film and play in which he appeared. Steve Buscemi, Brett Ratner, and film historian Mark Harris discuss Cazale's impact. Wonderfully, everyone interviewed -- some of the greatest American actors -- talk about Cazale with great love, affection and admiration, about his generosity as a performer and his impact on their own work and lives.

Sidney Lumet:  "When Al asked him during a scene, 'Is there any country you want to go to?' Cazale improvised his answer by saying, after long thought, 'Wyoming.' To me that was the funniest, saddest line in the movie, and my favorite, because in the script he wasn’t supposed to say anything. I almost ruined the take because I started to laugh so hard... but it was a brilliant, brilliant, ad lib."

Al Pacino: "It's great working with John because he has a way of getting involved - in the whole thing, in the characters. He asks so many questions - he was just brilliant. It was tough to sell Johnny, but once Sidney got to see him read, and work with me, it turned out great."

In his final screen role, and despite being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, Cazale continued work with fiancée Meryl Streep in The Deer Hunter. "I've hardly ever seen a person so devoted to someone who is falling away like John was," said Pacino. "To see her in that act of love for this man was overwhelming.

Director Michael Cimino "rearranged the shooting schedule," wrote author Andy Dougan, "with Cazale and Streep's consent, so that he could film all his scenes first." He completed all his scenes in this legendary film that gave a dramatically new perspective to the human toll on the lives and families of the US soldiers weho fought in that conflict, but died soon after, on March 12, 1978, before the film was finished. He was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Malden, Massachusetts.

I Knew It Was You is a fascinating, touching and wonderful exploration of  the life of a major American actor whose too-brief life and career during the turbulent 1970s has left an indelible mark on American films that helped to define a generation.

I Knew It Was You trailer here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Coda: Louise Bourgeois, Visionary and Influential Artist, Dies in Manhattan at 98

Louise Bourgeois in her Brooklyn studio on Dean Street

Louise Bourgeois, the French-born American artist who gained fame only late in a long career, when her psychologically charged abstract sculptures, drawings and prints had a galvanizing effect on the work of younger artists, particularly women, died on Monday in Manhattan, where she lived. She was 98.

The cause was a heart attack, said Wendy Williams, managing director of the Louise Bourgeois Studio.

Ms. Bourgeois’s sculptures in wood, steel, stone and cast rubber, often organic in form and sexually explicit, emotionally aggressive yet witty, covered many stylistic bases. But from first to last they shared a set of repeated themes centered on the human body and its need for nurture and protection in a frightening world.

More from the NY Times obituary here.

2008 Posting here at Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn about Ms. Bourgeois's show at hte Guggenheim and former studio on Dean Street here.

Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo