Archive for the ‘Books/Readings’ Category

Books: A Novel, Photographs and Poetry [Get Visual]

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Sputnik Summer

By David Brickman

Though it isn’t a picture book, Paul Castellani’s Sputnik Summer features a great photo by Adirondack photographer Carl Heilman II on the cover, and its author and his wife, Donna, are great modern art enthusiasts who attend a lot of openings, so it caught my attention.

Castellani is a professor by trade, but his academic roots stay pretty well hidden in this coming-of-age novel that takes place in the late ’50s in a fading Adirondack resort town where a somewhat typical 17-year-old boy tries to come to terms with the limits of his hick town, the crummy summer resort his abusive dad runs, his own college ambitions, and the need to get laid.

The story is punctuated by news bits and advertising slogans taken straight from the publications of the day, which provides a sort of parallel narrative that suggests political and social commentary without offering it directly. Castellani is an excellent storyteller, and he keeps you interested in the twists and turns of this intelligent but inexperienced young man’s rather fateful last summer at home. Put simply: I enjoyed the book and so, probably, will you or the person you decide to give it to.

Click to read the rest at Get Visual.

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The Literary Legends of the Local 518 to Be Honored on Saturday

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

The Albany Public Library Foundation has announced the recipients of the inaugural Literary Legends honors, paying tribute to outstanding local writers — Amy Biancolli, Paul Grondahl and William Kennedy.

The three authors will be honored at an awards ceremony fundraiser at the Pine Hills Branch of the Albany Public Library from 7-9:30pm on Saturday (November 15).

The event will feature food catered by Café Capriccio, New World Bistro, Taste and Saati’s, as well as wine, beer and soda, a silent auction and, of course, the awards presentation to the honorees.

Tickets are $75 & $125, and all proceeds will go directly to support the Albany Public Library’s programs and services.

NOTE: In conjunction with the New York State Writers Institute, Amy Biancolli will also offer a reading from her new memoir, “Figuring Shit Out: Love, Laughter, Suicide, and Survival” at 7pm tonight (Tuesday, November 11) at UAlbany’s University Art Museum in Albany. Fiction writer Angela Pneuman will also read from her debut novel, “Lay It On My Heart.” Admission is free.

LIVE: Richard Russo @ the Gloversville Public Library, 10/23/14

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

The Richard Russo book display in Gloversville Library

Story and photographs by Stanley Johnson

In a recent Nippertown story by local performer Erin Harkes, she wrote about Richard Thompson and how he was one artist for whom she would hold open the date of his show so she could be sure to go.

I’m the same when it comes to certain writers, as in book authors. When I heard that Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Richard Russo was returning to Gloversville, I had to be there.

Russo, the author of about 10 books, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for “Empire Falls.” Several of his books, including “Mohawk,” “The Risk Pool” and “Nobody’s Fool” (which was made into a 1994 film starring Paul Newman), were fictional but accurate depictions of his youth in Gloversville, a small mill town on the northwestern fringe of Nippertown. (Okay, maybe it’s beyond the fringe.)

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Real Good for FREE (Mostly): NYS Writers Institute’s Visiting Writers Series

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
(from left) Alison Lurie, Edith Grossman, Kirsten Gillibrand and John Lahr

(from left) Alison Lurie, Edith Grossman, Kirsten Gillibrand and John Lahr

The New York State Writers Institute has announced the fall schedule of its Visiting Writers Events, beginning with the current New York State Author Alison Lurie who will read at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall at 8pm on Thursday (September 18).

Events are free of charge, except where noted. Here’s the NYS Writers Institute’s schedule for fall of 2014:

Alison Lurie, New York State Author
Thursday (September 18)
Seminar — 4:15pm, UAlbany’s Campus Center Room 375
Reading — 8pm, UAlbany Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall
Alison Lurie, novelist and current New York State Author (2012-2014), is widely regarded as the Jane Austen of contemporary American letters for her modern “comedies of manners,” including “Truth and Consequences” (2005) and the Pulitzer-winning “Foreign Affairs” (1984). Her new nonfiction book is “The Language of Houses” (2014), an exploration of the expressive power of everyday architecture. Author Edmund White said “[Lurie] has culled the best ideas from a vast literature and passed it all through the sieve of her brilliant mind.”

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Complete Schedule of Bands for This Weekend’s Basilica SoundScape in Hudson

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Basilica Hudson in Hudson – the artist-owned venue run by creative directors Melissa Auf der Maur (formerly of Hole and Smashing Pumpkins) and filmmaker Tony Stone – is hosting its third annual Basilica SoundScape, a music-and-more festival at the waterfront arts and performance space located inside a reclaimed 19th-century factory. A stone’s throw from the Amtrak station in Hudson, the fest will once again present an eclectic line-up of musicians, authors, video artists and more.

On Friday, the fest features Michael Chapman, the seminal British guitarist who first appeared on the British folk circuit in 1967, legendary New York psychedelic band Endless Boogie, a performance from Gamelan Dharma Swara orchestra, Tim Hecker, Julia Holter and Richard Reed Parry (of Arcade Fire), who will perform material from his upcoming solo album, Music for Heart and Breath (Deutsche Grammophon). Video statements from artist and musician Torn Hawk (Luke Wyatt) will be shown throughout the evening in the north hall.

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“Reading Music”: Where Books Meet Songs

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
Matt Durfee

Matt Durfee (photo: Michael Hochanadel)

At 7pm tonight (Wednesday, August 27), the Albany Public Library is hosting its second “Reading Music” concert. It’s an evening of songs, readings and discussion based on John Steinbeck’s classic novel, “East of Eden.” The evening will feature nearly a dozen brand-spankin’ new original songs penned by Local 518 songsmiths Matt Durfee and Michael Eck. Admission is FREE.

Joining Durfee (vocals, guitar) and Eck (vocals, resonator guitar, resonator mandolin) will be August Sagehorn (bass), Tommy Krebs (drums), Roger Noyes (steel guitar), M.R. Poulopoulos (electric guitar) and Adam Prizio (readings).

You may recall the inaugural “Reading Music” performance back in April featured M.R. Poulopoulos and friends performing a number of original songs based on the novels of Albany’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy, who was in attendance.

LIVE: M.R. Poulopoulos @ Albany Public Library, 4/16/14

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Videos by Chad Lowther for the Albany Public Library

Last month the Albany Public Library’s Reading Music program offered a unique evening of literature and music, featuring Albany’s own literary legend William Kennedy and Nippertown singer-songwriter M.R. Poulopoulos.

Part book discussion, part reading, part music performance, Poulopoulos and friends – guitarist-vocalist Matt Durfee, fiddler Laurence Scudder and pedal steel guitarist Roger Noyes – performed original songs inspired by Kennedy’s Albany novels “Ironweed,” “Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game” and “Legs.”

It was the first of a new discussion series featuring works of literature that have inspired works of song.

Today Is FREE Comic Book Day!

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

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