Archive for the ‘Books/Readings’ Category

What’s the Word? Albany Word Fest Takes Over the Town

Monday, April 13th, 2015

2015WF-logo

April is National Poetry Month, which means that Albany Poets is once again celebrating this week with the annual Albany Word Fest, a jam-packed week of poetry and spoken word events at venues all throughout Albany.

The fest features a variety of poetry readings, a regional poetry slam and one of Nippertown’s largest spoken word open mics.

Albany Poets board member Avery Stempel explains, “The Albany area has such a strong spoken word community. There are so many people here wholly engaged in bringing their written works to life. Albany Poets does a fantastic job of connecting the various readings in diverse settings throughout the year, but with the Word Fest week in April it all really pulls together – well-attended events at multiple venues for all your poetry needs.”

The fest kicked of yesterday (Sunday, April 12) at McGeary’s Pub with the publication party for the third issue of Albany Poets’ literary journal, Up The River, and spoken word events will continue every day this week, culminating in the third annual Word Fest Invitational Slam at the Steamer No. 10 Theatre in Albany at 7pm on Saturday (April 18).

Here’s a round-up of the complete schedule of events for the 2015 Albany Word Fest:

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All About Tina Packer’s New Book, “Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays” [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
Tina Packer’s “Women of Will” becomes a book.

Tina Packer’s “Women of Will” becomes a book.

You can say it is a culmination of a lifetime studying Shakespeare and his plays, but it is more than than. It is passion on paper (or your tablet) as well.

Today (Tuesday, April 7), Tina Packer, Shakespeare & Company’s Founding Artistic Director, actor, writer and one of the country’s foremost experts on Shakespeare is launching her new book Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays (336 pages, $27.95). The launch will be followed by more than a month of promotional activity. Published by Knopf, Women of Will is a fierce and witty exploration — part master class, part brilliant analysis — of the women in Shakespeare’s plays that illuminates Shakespeare’s changing understanding of the feminine and reveals some of his deepest insights.

Packer has synthesized 40 years of teaching, textual analysis and stage experience into Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays, which charts Shakespeare’s evolution and his increasingly empathetic and nuanced portrayal of his female characters. It follows Shakespeare’s development from youth to enlightened maturity and explores the spiritual journey he undertook. Most importantly, Packer grapples not only with the language and the historical context of the plays but with them as they were and are actually performed.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

ON EXHIBIT: “It Came From Schenectady” @ the Mabee Farm, 3/22/15

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Nice photobomb

Review and photographs by Stanley A. Johnson

The Mabee Farm Historic Site in Rotterdam Junction, a place know for looking deep into the area’s past, was visited by interstellar travelers of the imagination.

“It Came From Schenectady: Science Fiction in the Capital Region”, an exhibit of science fiction memorabilia, including some with local ties, was launched with a lecture and reading by Barry Longyear, author of the short story collection “It Came From Schenectady.”

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BOOK: Marky Ramone’s “Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone”

Friday, February 27th, 2015
Marky Ramone

Marky Ramone at Skidmore College, 3/26/14

Review and photograph by Thomas Dimopoulos

“Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as A Ramone”
by Marky Ramone with Rich Herschlag
403 pages, $28.
(Touchstone/Simon & Schuster)

“For Christmas 1961, my parents bought me my first transistor radio… a whole new world opened up.”

During the past 45 years, beat-keeper Marky Ramone has had a seat in the downtown Manhattan birthing room of some of the world’s greatest rock and roll happenings. His newly published autobiography, “Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as A Ramone,” follows a linear path through the life of the Brooklyn-born drummer from his youngest years to the present day, and as the title suggests, pays considerable homage to his 15 years as a member of the Ramones.

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

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
Katha Pollitt, Peter Carey and Tina Packer

Katha Pollitt, Peter Carey and Tina Packer

The the winter/spring 2015 Visiting Writers Series sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute kicks off on Thursday (January 29) with a reading by The Nation columnist Katha Pollitt.

All of the events are FREE except for the American Place Theatre production of “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.”

Books are available in advance of events and at the events, from the following bookstores:
the University Bookstore at UAlbany and the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza.

Here’s the upcoming schedule of Visiting Writers Series events:

KATHA POLLITT
Thursday (January 29)
Seminar: 4:15pm @ UAlbany Campus Center Room 375
Reading: 8pm @ UAlbany Campus Center Room 375
The essayist, critic and poet is an influential voice of American feminism and long-time columnist for The Nation, as well as the author of a much-talked-about new book, “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights.” Pollitt received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Book Awards in 2010, and is a two-time winner of the National Magazine Award for commentary. Her books of poetry include “The Mind-Body Problem” (2010) and “Antarctic Traveller” (1983), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

PETER CAREY
Tuesday, February 3
Seminar: 4:15pm @ UAlbany Campus Center Room 375
Reading: 8pm @ UAlbany Lecture Center 20
The Australian novelist is one of only three writers to have received the Man Booker Prize twice – for “Oscar and Lucinda” (1988) and “True History of the Kelly Gang” (2000). His new novel is “Amnesia,” a cyber-terrorism political thriller set in a counter-historical Australia that has endured American interference in its governmental affairs.

“LET THE FIRE BURN”
Friday, February 6
Film screening and discussion with director Jason Osder: 7pm @ UAlbany’s Page Hall
The award-winning documentary examines the history of the escalating conflict between the City of Philadelphia and the Black Liberation organization, MOVE, in the mid-1980s.
Osder teaches documentary filmmaking at the George Washington University and is also the co-author of the filmmaking guide, “Final Cut Pro Workflows: The Independent Studio Handbook.”

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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.

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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