Monday, August 3, 2009

Everybody's Talkin'; Web Cam Jam; Everything Asian; Back Pockets; Like Trains & Taxis; Exit 10; Live Bassa Nova; Kohler's Cracks

7 PM, Sat. Aug 1
Barry Monush
EVERYBODY'S TALKIN': The Top Films of 1965 - 1969
Discussion accompanied by corresponding film clips.

From the PG conquests of Michael Caine's Alfie to the first and only X rated film to win an Oscar, Screen World editor Barry Monush discusses why certain films stood out in the latter half of the greatest decade in movie history. The text of Everybody's Talkin' (a reference to Midnight Cowboy's excellent score) is idiosyncratically accompanied by illustrations of movie ads, tie-in book covers, soundtrack albums, sheet music, and other oddities. Monush is also a researcher at the Paley Center for Media in New York City and the author of the acclaimed Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the Silent Era to 1965. FREE! Refreshments Served. Books on sale at event.

11 AM, Sun. Aug 2
Musicians Wanted!
Live Music

The first Sun of each month The Raconteur hosts a transatlantic jam session. The shop's session is concurrent with a very similar session occurring in Reading, England at a pub called The Retreat. Participants alternate, collaborate, and symphonize via a Google web cam. Web Cam Jam is more about the performers than the performance, but that doesn't you can't come in watch. Raconteur musicians drink coffee and play in the rear of the shop. Retreat musicians quaff pints (morning here, Happy Hour there) and are projected onto a movie screen behind local performers. All instruments welcome. Expect a triple necked guitar, electronic bagpipes, a jaw harp, two kazoos, a beer bottle organ, and something called a fluba, which appears to be a tuba-sized fluegel horn. NOTE: If you watched the Oscars this year, you heard Best Actress winner Kate Winslet mention this very same pub and the pickling contest her mother recently won there. Indeed, February's Web Cam Jam, Kate's mom, Sally Winslet (now known as the Queen of Shallots), was in the foreground eating bangers and in April’s Mr. Winslet sang the old broadside Darlin’ Old Stick. Seriously! FREE! COMP CORNBREAD (fresh from the oven)!

8 PM, Fri. Aug 7
Sung Woo

You're twelve years old. You can't speak English. Your fifteen-year-old sister is miserable and your mother isn't exactly happy, either. You're seeing your father for the first time in five years. He owns a gift shop in a strip mall called Peddlers Town. He's nice enough, but he might just be, well--how can you put this delicately?--a loser. Welcome to the wonderful world of David Kim. After flying in from Seoul, Dae Joon (“David” in America) and his older sister do their best to adapt to the strange new world of Oakbridge, New Jersey. They work after school in their Dad's store, East Meets West, and attend ESL classes at night. Along the way they meet a motley crew of Peddlers Town shop owners, including Mr. Hong, the only other Korean, who owns In the Bag, a luggage outlet, and Dmitri, who sells second-hand stereos at HiFi FoFum. Alternating between humor and melancholy, Woo eschews immigrant clich├ęs to focus on complicated familial relationships and a rogues gallery of surprising and sympathetic characters. SUNG J. WOO's short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney’s, and KoreAm Journal. His short film, Fork and a Chopstick, was an audience choice screening at the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival 2008. Everything American is his first novel. Visit his Web site at FREE! Books on sale at event.

8 PM, Thurs. Aug 13
Live Music

The Back Pockets is three girls, two boys, and one old geezer who looks like a cross between Dusty Hill and the guy with ripped flannel elbows drinking brekkie shots of Ten High who just stole your smokes. They play banjos and bongos, fiddles and flutes. Sometimes they lay electric guitars across their laps and saw on them with a violin bows. The girls dress like flappers, acrobats, or, on occasion, the Daryl Hannah android from Bladerunner. The boys wear Mexican wrestling masks and fencing helmets. They like sidewalks at night, homemade things, and carnies. They frequently rig and engage tightropes and trapezes during their shows, and have played whole songs hanging from their knees. The sound is folk, but the experience is Stomp. They're painters as well as musicians. They hail from Atlanta, GA. They sometimes describe themselves as Jefferson Airplane meets Blue Man Group. FREE!

8 PM, Fri. Aug 14
Live Music

One part pop, one part soul, one part jazz, Like Trains and Taxis is one of the most appealing bands I've seen in a long time. As many of you know, I once tended bar and booked music at a sweaty little jughouse in NB. Every Weds through Sat. we slid over the slate pool table to make room for bands like 3 Piece & Biscuit, a lusty quartet that played some of the best original soul I'd ever heard. Until now. Upon the recommendation of Raconteur volunteer Mallory (you know her, she's the one with the Gilda Gray haircut and the tattoo owl that looks like a pineapple), I went to see LT&T play a gig at George Street Playhouse early last month (Mal was playing accordion in a different band on the same bill). Backed by bassist Owen Susmen and drummer Mike Del Priore, Chris Harris (who styles himself as a modern-day urban love prophet in the tradition of Marvin Gaye) sat at his keys, porkpie askance, dancing in his seat like Little Stevie and crooning jazz pop grooves reminiscent of Maze's brightest days. Good stuff. Don't miss it. FREE!

8 PM, Sat. Aug 15
Tom Cheche

Tom Cheche's broadcasting and newspaper career took him from the locker rooms of the NBA Champion New York Knicks and the NHL New York Rangers to pit roads at Daytona and Indianapolis, from the broadcast booth to the team bus. This is what came first. "Exit 10" is the story of a lousy athlete who knew he'd never get off the bench. Instead, he became the next best thing: a sports reporter who spent three decades interviewing his heroes.

8 PM, Fri. Aug 21
DANIEL EGGERS & CO. play a final show at The Rac before returning to South America
Traditional Brazilian Music

Daniel Eggers is a young man from Peru. I met him two years ago. He'd heard I did events and had popped by the shop to perform an audition of sorts. After retrieving a battered rosewood from the cluttered bed of a dusty El Camino he proceeded to play ten minutes of what is likely the most beautiful guitar music I've ever heard. Naturally, I booked him immediately, and, accompanied by his friend Pocho on the djembe, he captivated one of the biggest crowds (Lennon-ex May Pang aside) we've ever had at an in-store event. We've had him back several times since and each time he's played a different instrument from a different region in a different style: the quenna, the charango, the tarka, etc. This time, the last time as I understand it, he's playing bossa nova. Bossa nova is performed on classical guitar and is played with the fingers rather than with a pick. It emerged primarily from the upscale beachside neighborhoods of Rio De Janeiro and was made popular by the release of the1959 film Black Orpheus. It spread to North America via visiting American jazz musicians and the resulting recordings by Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz cemented its popularity, ultimately leading to a worldwide boom with the Getz/Gilberto "The Girl From Ipanema." FREE! Complimentary wine.

8 PM, Thurs. Aug 27
Sheila Kohler

As many of may know, I'm getting my MFA in Creative Writing and Literature at Bennington College. Ms. Kohler is one of my professors and I had the pleasure of hearing her read at my most recent residency this past June. Being South African, she pronounces her English phonemes with a strong Dutch inflection, which makes her an absolutely exquisite reader. It's been said that actor Christopher Plummer could captivate an audience by reading the phone book and, indeed, so could Sheila. But instead she'll be reading from her brilliant novel Cracks, a feverish mash up of Lord of the Flies and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie set at a South African boarding school for girls. The film version of Cracks, due out later this year, stars Eva Green (Casino Royale) as the provocative and charismatic Miss G, a teacher who encourages a sapphic “crack” (or crush) held by one of her pupils. Hormones rage when a beautiful and mysterious new student arrives, inspiring jealousy and umbrage, which lead—perhaps—to her inexplicable disappearance. Sheila Kohler is also the author of six other novels: Crossways, The Perfect Place, Children of Pithiviers, Bluebird: The Invention of Happiness, and Becoming Jane Eyre (due of this Dec). FREE! Complimentary wine. Books on sale at event.Eva Green as Ms. G in Cracks