Thursday, January 24, 2008

OCTOBER 2007: Susan Orlean; Halloween Ride; Paul Watkins & Elizabeth Gaffney; Most Dangerous Game; Fright Night; Haunted Bookshop


In her latest book, My Kind of Place, Susan Orlean goes from the heart of the African music scene in Paris to the World Taxidermy Championships in Springfield, Illinois. She trawls Icelandic waters with Keiko, everyone's favorite whale as he tries to make it on his own; explores the halls of a New York City school so troubled it's known as "Horror High"; and stalks caged tigers in Jackson, New Jersey, a suburban town with one of the highest concentrations of tigers per square mile anywhere in the world. Orlean is, most famously, the author of The Orchid Thief, which centers on south Florida and John Laroche, a quixotic, charismatic schemer once convicted of attempting to take endangered orchids from the Fakahatchee swamp, a state preserve. The Los Angeles Times labeled it “fascinating,” The Wall Street Journal called it a "swashbuckling piece of reporting," The Detroit Times called it “deliciously weird,” and The New York Times described it as, "like an orchid, a small thing of grandeur." The Orchid Thief was turned into the Oscar winning film Adaptation, directed by Spike Jonze and starring Nicholas Cage, with Meryl Streep playing Ms. Orlean. Other books include The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup, Red Sox and Bluefish, and Saturday Night, a New York Times Notable Book, which, in the words of Entertainment Weekly, "calls to mind Damon Runyon and Evelyn Waugh." She has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. Her articles have also appeared in Outside, Rolling Stone, Vogue, and Esquire. FREE!

10 AM, SUN. OCT 14
Field Trip/Ride

Friday the 13th is a 1980 independent horror film directed by Sean Cunningham and written by Victor Miller. It became one of the most popular slasher films in cinema history, and its box office success led to a long series of sequels. The film was shot in and around Blairstown, a small, bucolic town West of Newton, NJ. The Club will eat lunch at The Blairstown Diner, where camp owner Steve Christy whiled away a stormy evening while his counselors got slaughtered out at Crystal Lake. The Raconteur Motorcycle Club, which now allows "cagers" (people in cars) to tag along with supplies, meets at the shop and proceeds en masse to a destination of literary or cinematic significance. The Club was profiled in The New York Times and will be featured in a travel book called Novel Destinations, published by National Geographic and due out early 2008.

8 PM, FRI. OCT 19

Literary wunderkind/Booker Prize finalist PAUL WATKINS is the author of ten novels and the memoir Stand Before Your God. Dubbed the heir to Hemingway by Entertainment Weekly and The Washington Post, his work has been called an “amazing tour de force,” by Newsday, “intense and precise,” by The Chicago Tribune, “dazzingly rendered,” by The Los Angeles Times, and “lyrical,” by The Wall Street Journal. Rife with gangsters, grifters, drifters and greenhorns, ELIZABETH GAFFNEY’s Dickensian debut novel, Metropolis is a riveting account of a young immigrant's journey through the chaotic underbelly of post Civil War New York. It was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and has been called, "thrilling, elegant and massive," by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon, "brawny, old-school storytelling," by Newsweek, and a "literary page-turner," by Vanity Fair. From 1989 to 2005, Gaffney was the editor for the acclaimed literary magazine, The Paris Review. FREE!

8 PM, FRI. OCT 26
Performed by Jeff Maschi, Larry Mintz, and Lawrence Paone

The Most Dangerous Game is a famous short story by Richard Connell and the author's most well-known work. It concerns a big-game hunter trapped on the island of a fellow hunter who, bored with conventional prey, has come to see humans as the only quarry worthy of his skill. The story has been adapted for film numerous times. The most significant of these adaptations was released in 1932 and was shot (mostly at night) on sets used during the day for the "Skull Island" sequences of King Kong. The story was also twice produced as a radio play for the series Suspense, in 1943 with Orson Welles as Zaroff, and in 1945 with frequent Welles collaborator Joseph Cotten playing Rainsford. In these productions, Rainsford narrates the story in retrospect as he waits in Zaroff's bedroom for the final confrontation. $5 Suggested Donation.

8 PM, SAT. OCT 27
Film Screening

Hosted by special guest/Fright Night star STEPHEN GEOFFREYS
A fun eighties horror indulgence with memorable performances by Chris Sarandon as the vampire-next-door, Roddy McDowall as a recently fired Creature Feature horror host, and Stephen Geoffreys as Evil Ed. Soundtrack includes cheesy greats by Devo, Ian Hunter and the J. Geils Band. Nominated for a Tony for his role in the Broadway production of The Human Comedy, Stephen Geoffreys' winning blend of wild energy and manic intensity made a strong and distinct impression in a handful of hugely enjoyable comedies and horror films made throughout the 80s. Mr. Geoffreys will introduce the film and field questions following the screening. $5 Suggested Donation.

8 - 11 PM, WEDS. OCT 31
Guaranteed to scare you Lit-less!

What goes on after a bookstore closes for the night? Come witness the death of Halpin Frayser from Ambrose Bierce's horror story of the same name; see Kafka's Gregor Samsa turn into a clacking black bug as Dr. Moreau’s manimals scrabble and yowl; observe Lovecraft's ghouls eat parts of their own body; and watch a very dead Poe recite The Raven as Mary Shelley's monster is jolted into consciousness. Gallery of Horrors! Cabinet of Curiosities! Chilling Live Music by The Phantom Pianist. Admission: $5 @ the door.