Archive for the ‘Books/Readings’ Category

Remembering Bob Dylan @ Caffe Lena

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Bob Dylan

If you’re a music fan in Greater Nippertown, you’re undoubtedly aware that Bob Dylan performed at Caffe Lena very early in his musical career when he was just another unknown folksinger scrappin’ for gigs. It’s the stuff of legend around here…

The venerable Saratoga Springs coffeehouse Caffe Lena is celebrating its 56th anniversary this weekend (with a big concert at Skidmore College on Saturday). And it just so happens that the Caffe’s most acclaimed alum is celebrating his 75th birthday just three days later (that would be Tuesday, May 24), so Caffe Lena is hosting a Dylan tribute concert tonight (Friday, May 20).

Sheer coincidence? Or was there something more to the brief intersection of Bob Dylan and Caffe Lena in January, 1962?

In Stephen Petrus and Ronald D. Cohen’s book “Folk City: New York and the American Folk Music Revival” – published in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name that was presented at the Museum on the City of New York last year – Terri Thal, the wife and manager of Dave Van Ronk, recalls the adventure of booking Bob Dylan into Caffe Lena:



Poet Richard Blanco Discusses Cultural Identity at BCC [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
Richard Blanco, American poet

Richard Blanco, American poet

What might sound like a routine poetry reading and discussion promises to be much more as Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield hands the microphone to critically acclaimed poet and author Richard Blanco. Both the speaker and the topic have great relevance in this tormented election year: “Becoming an American: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey.”

Did you know that Blanco is the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history? As such he is also the youngest, the first Latino, immigrant and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban exiled parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize his body of work. Yet its language is one we all speak.

Whether speaking as the Cuban Blanco or the American Richard; the homebody or the world traveler; the scared boy or the openly gay man; the engineer or the inaugural poet; Blanco’s writings possess a story-rich quality that easily illuminates the human spirit.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Spread the Word: The 2016 Albany Word Fest Kicks off on Sunday

Friday, April 15th, 2016


April is National Poetry Month, and in celebration Albany Poets is presenting the 2016 Albany Word Fest featuring the poetry and spoken word of upstate New York. This year’s week-long celebration will take place from Sunday (April 17) through Saturday, April 23.

“Every year we celebrate National Poetry Month right here in Albany, and each year we add more to the list of events. What started as a one-day outdoor open mic in 2001 has become a full week of poetry and spoken word. There is something for everyone,” said Thom Francis, president of Albany Poets. “Whether you would like to take in a featured performance from a touring national spoken word artist, celebrate the launch of the fourth edition of Up The River, attend a regional poetry slam, or be part of one of the largest annual open mics in the area, the Albany Word Fest is the place for you.”

Word Fest week will kick-off with the release of the fourth edition of Albany Poets’ literary journal, Up The River. The editors will debut their selections on Sunday (April 17) evening at McGeary’s Pub with a reading featuring by some of the published poets including Wayne Murphy, Stephen Minchin, Gary Murrow, Sandra Rouse, Howard Kogan, Tess Lecuyer, Alyssa D’Amico and Gary Barkman.

Kevin Peterson, Albany Poets board member and Up The River editor says, “Every year, we put on this week long series of events, and year after year, I’m blown away by the talent and creativity it draws out from our community and the literary community at large.”

Here’s the schedule of events around town for the 2016 Albany Word Fest:


BookBeat: “The Record Store of the Mind” @ Albany Public Library Tonight

Monday, April 4th, 2016


Josh Rosenthal is a Grammy-nominated record producer and founder of the highly influential Tompkins Square indie record label. He’s also making a stop at the Albany Public Library’s Main Branch at 7pm tonight (Monday, April 4) to discuss and read from his new book, “The Record Store of the Mind.”

The book is part music criticsm, part music history and part memoir, and it’s the memoir part that may be of greatest interest to Local 518 music fans. In the late ’80s, Rosenthal was a student at UAlbany (Class of ’89), where he became music director of WCDB-FM, the college radio station. His book makes references to such seminal Greater Nippertown music venues as QE2 and Valentine’s Music Hall, and one of the book’s most pivotal scenes revolves around Elvis Costello’s concert at Albany’s Palace Theatre in 1989.

No less an authority than Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter producer T Bone Burnett has hailed Rosenthal as “a record man’s record man. He is also a musician’s record man. He is in the line of Samuel Charters and Harry Smith. In this age where we have access to everything and know the value of nothing, musicians need people like Josh to hear them when no one else can.”

At tonight’s reading, Rosenthal will be accompanied by multi-talented musician (and fellow WCDB alum) Michael Eck. Admission to the reading/musical performance is free.

Rosenthal will also be reading at Rocket Number Nine record store in Kingston at 6pm on Tuesday (April 5) with Peter Walker providing musical accompaniment.

BookBeat: Local Author Day @ Barnes & Noble on Saturday

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Barnes & Noble at Colonie Center is celebrating Local Author Day on Saturday (April 2), and more than a dozen Greater Nippertown writers will be on hand to discuss and sign their books from 1-4pm. The writers cover a wide array of genres from novels to non-fiction, from mysteries to nature books, from children’s books local history.

Here’s a round-up of the authors who will be in attendance and their latest books:

W.B. Belcher: “Lay Down Your Weary Tune”

Vincent Zandri: “Orchard Grove”

Darryl McGrath: “Flight Paths: A Field Journal of Hope, Heartbreak, and Miracles with New York’s Bird People”

Peggy Frezon: “Faithfully Yours: The Amazing Bond Between Us and the Animals We Love”

Bob Cudmore: “Lost Mohawk Valley, New York”


The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers Arrives March 12-20 [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, March 10th, 2016


The month of March in the Berkshires is known for maple syrup, as the sap starts flowing in our beautiful forests. But there have been other kinds of creative juices rising in these hills every March since 2010. The Berkshires is also known for celebrating Women’s History month with an outpouring of women’s creative voices and visions, thanks to the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, now in its sixth year.

This year, BFWW presents a new conference-style festival, offering 33 events beginning on Saturday (March 12). For nine full days more than 60 nationally renowned and local women writers will present workshops, discussions, readings, performances and talks. Many events are free, although some do require pre-registration and tickets.

Among this year’s featured presenters are the young adult authors Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, a mother-daughter team, as well as the celebrated food writer and restaurant critic, Ruth Reichl, who will give a brunch talk on Saturday, March 19 at Hotel on North in Pittsfield. Other popular Berkshire writers include Laura Didyk, Lara Tupper, Sonia Pilcer, Alison Larkin and many more.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Celebrating the Work of Zora Neale Hurston [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Zora Neale Hurston fascinates us for many reasons, not the least of which is that she is claimed as part of LGBTQ history. As was common in that era, this basic identity was masked and hidden, and both scholars and journalists are hesitant to make the claim outright for lack of specific attribution. Nevertheless, one only needs to read her work, her hilarious portrait of men and unsparing depiction of the foibles of life as a minority to sense that this was no ordinary daughter of a Baptist minister, but an authentic and rebellious voice that rarely held back. Still it seems the one inhibition she could not overcome was revealing her own basic identity. To me, it is and has always been there, between the lines, for those who know how to parse the truth from literary obfuscation. – Larry Murray

The UAlbany Performing Arts Center and the NYS Writers Institute are pleased to present Eyes on Zora: The Life and Legacy of Zora Neale Hurston, a series of events focusing on the life and work of one of the most important and celebrated figures to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance. Outspoken, spirited and gifted, Hurston (1891-1960) was an anthropologist but is more identified and well-known as a prolific writer, her books defining the black American experience. Famous for her vivacious and unapologetic personality, Hurston wrote works of fiction and folklore which drove forward both the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights movement.

Ushering in February’s Black History Month, public events take place beginning on Friday (January 29) in various locations both on and beyond the University at Albany campus. The schedule includes:

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Holiday Gift Guide: “The Band Photographs, 1968-1969”

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

“The Band Photographs, 1968-1969”
By Elliott Landy
160 pages, 12″x12″

The hardcover book features more than 200 photographs by acclaimed photographer Elliott Landy documenting the Band during the time they made their first two albums, Music from Big Pink and The Band. More than half of the photographs, drawn from Landy’s archives, are previously unpublished.

The Signature Edition
$75 through December 12; $85 thereafter
Signed by Landy in gold-toned pigmented ink on the front sheet of the book. With a bonus, separate, three-page, two-sided fold-out sheet showing the thumbnails and captions for all the photos in the book.

The Deluxe Edition
$400 through December 12; $500 therafter
Limited edition of 325 copies packaged in a slipcase with an 8″x10″ Fine Art pigment print of “The Band with Hamlet, 1968,” printed and signed by Landy in his studio.

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