Noon, Sun. Feb 1
Transatlantic Web Cam Jam Session
The first Sun of each month The Raconteur will host a transatlantic jam session. The shop's session will be concurrent with a very similar session occurring in Reading, England at a pub called The Retreat. The performers will build on/riff off one another via a Google web cam. TWCJS is more about the performers than the performance, but that doesn't you can't come in watch. Raconteur musicians will play in the rear of the shop. Retreat musicians will be projected on a 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.
8 PM, Sat. Feb 7
Reading/Art Exhibition/Live Music
http://www.idiotsbooks.com/ http://www.bfslattery.com/fiction.html MATTHEW SWANSON, born at the foot of a volcano, will read from his work against a backdrop of ROBBI BEHR's projected illustrations (think Ralph Steadman) while musicians contribute tones, both dulcet and jarring.
Compared to Phillip K. Dick and Jonathan Lethem by The Village Voice, BRIAN SLATTERY, author of Spaceman Blues, a loving tweak of vintage pulp, will read his book while musicians attempt to distract him with guitars. Offensive to the eye and ear.
DR. BRIAN A. WECHT, B.A., PhD., member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, will deliver a stirring lecture titled "String Theory for Idiots" which may involve musicians. FREE! Refreshments served. Books on sale at the event.
8 PM, Thurs. Feb 12
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola & starring Mickey Rourke, Matt Dillion, Diane Lane & Dennis Hopper
If Raiders the Lost Ark was the film that defined my childhood, then Rumble Fish is the movie that characterized by teens. My mom took me to see it when it first came out. I was thirteen and couldn’t understand her breathless reaction to Mickey Rourke’s Motorcycle Boy. At fifteen, I bought my first bike, a used Nighthawk with a tiny teardrop tank, smoked my first filter-less cigarette, and saw the movie again. This time I got it, and for a month, I’m embarrassed to admit, I would respond only if my parents, teachers, and friends called me Motorcycle Boy.Filmed almost entirely in black and white with allusions to French New Wave and German Expressionism, this tale of alienated youth centers on the relationship between the Motorcycle Boy, a revered former gang leader/existential Fonzie, and his younger brother, Rusty James (Matt Dillon), who struggles to live up to his brother's legendary reputation. In addition to Diane Lane and Dennis Hopper, the cast includes a host of fresh faces who went on to thriving careers, including Nicolas Cage, Christopher Penn, Laurence Fishburne, and musician Tom Waits. All the performances are excellent, but it’s Micky Rourkes' finest hour as the evocative biker. “That's a deep motherf**ker, man," says the old black guy in the pool hall "He's like ... royalty in exile." Granted, Pope & Barfly are great movies, but Rumble Fish is, I think, the best example of Mickey Rourke’s damaged charm: empathetic and sorrowful, with a junkie's whisper-soft voice during even the worst emotional violence. FREE! Refreshments served.
8 PM, Fri. Feb 13
w/Jonathan Badger & Borne
Though guilty of the occasional atonal freak out, Risk Relay care as much about the quasi-symphonic art-guitar music of composers like Rhys Chatham as they do about the punk pop form. Their songs hover gorgeously for extended lengths, letting guitarists Ed and Mark intertwine spindly tonalities as carefully as it's possible to do at wall-shaking volume, while Ed's untutored voice seditiously intones words that flirt with pop stupidity, high-art eloquence, and urban cool. When they bear down and rock, they do it with a blurry intensity that finds gorgeousness at the heart of discord. Tonight is a must-go for any post punk Garden Stater with a "Washing Machine" T-shirt, who considers themselves the least bit cool. FREE! CDs on sale at the event.
2 PM, Sat. Feb 14
MOMMY'S HAVING A WATERMELON
Reading/Signing/Sing-a-long with Danny & Kim Adlerman
Mommy's Having A Watermelon, co-written by Danny and Kim Adlerman, with mixed-media illustrations by Megan Halsey, is a lovingly humorous tale about a girl who discovers that her mother is not having a watermelon like she thought (on account of a seed she may have swallowed when the girl accidentally spit it into her mom's water glass.) The story is told in 6 very short chapters and the simple dialogue makes it an easy reader for children ages 7-10. There are bonus watermelon recipes at the back including, Watermelon in a Blanket. This is the tenth book by Danny and Kim who also produce music for little and big people. FREE! Books/CDs on sale.
7:30 PM, Weds. Feb. 18
The Zimmerli Musuem, Voorhees Campus, Rutgers University, New Brunswick
THE ZIMMERLI MUSEUM, the third largest university gallery in the country, is hosting The Rac-On-Tour, a literary road show that attempts to bottle The Raconteur "experience" and uncork it at other locales. The event will include readings by Robert Kaplow, Clay McLeod Chapman, the enigmaticJack A. Napes (in latex werewolf mask--natch), and Alex Dawson. With live music by Arlan Feiles. All are contributors to The Raconteur Reader, an annual compendium of short prose and song lyrics published by Raconteur Books. FREE! Refreshments served.
While the Zimmerli usually charges $3 to view their collection, the night of the event it will all be free. So get there early, roam the labyrinthine galleries, enjoy the Daumier, their impressive accumulation of Soviet art (the biggest outside of Moscow), and a particular fine exhibition called "Inspired by Literature," which includes Sean Scully's stunning color intaglios for Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.
Described as a "tattletale psychiatrist turned rodeo clown" by acclaimed author Tom Robbins, CLAY MCLEOD CHAPMAN has spent the past decade in New York theaters reinventing the art of the campfire tale with his critically acclaimed Pumpkin Pie Show, a rigorous session of theatrical tale telling. He's been called "hauntingly poetic" by Time Out New York and compared to William Faulkner by The Village Voice. The Scotsman, Scotland's leading newspaper, called him "Stephen King transformed into a punk, preacher poet." His most recent project, Hostage Song, an Off Broadway rock musical about terrorism, was praised by The New Yorker and The New York Times.
NPR alum ROBERT KAPLOW's last book, Me and Orson Welles, was recently turned into a movie by indie filmmaker Richard Linklater. Set in 1937 New York, Kaplow's novel tells of a teenager hired to star in Welles' production of Julius Caesar. In theaters this spring, the film stars Zac Efron, Claire Danes, and Christian Mackay as Welles. Critic Roger Ebert called it, "one of the best movies about theater I've ever seen."
JACK A. NAPES works as a hammerman (pounding tent pegs) for a small traveling circus. His short story, "Dogman," is tattooed in full on the broad back of his burly friend and circus colleague, Big Ink. When not on the road, he lives in New Jersey.
Dubbed an "Angry Young Man," by The Village Voice, Rutgers graduate ALEX DAWSON has written 15 plays for the New York stage. His work has been called "intense" and "original" by Esquire, "Profane, funny, compelling, and tragic" by The Star Ledger, "gritty and lyrical" by Show Business Weekly, and "disturbing, hysterical genius" by author Jerry Stahl (Permanent Midnight). Booker Prize finalist Paul Watkins (The Ice Soldier)—labeled the "British Hemingway" by Entertainment Weekly—recently called Dawson's work "Extraordinary." A former bouncer and bartender, Dawson is a licensed Central Park carriage driver and the owner of The Raconteur.
ARLAN FEILES: Arlan sings about the street and the barking of distant dogs. He writes about greasy brother crows wheeling, beak to heel, in a troubled sky. He moans about how he's sick of love and of himself. He's been compared to a young Bob Dylan and a class five hurricane ("if songwriters were bad weather..." you get the idea). He plays a mean little harmonica and a damn sweet guitar.
Books/CDs on sale at the event.
8 PM, Sat.. Feb 28
Alethea Black, Rebecca Donner, and Jennie Kaufman will be reading three short stories that explore the hidden meaning behind such phrases as “Reality: A nice place to visit, but...,” “It isn’t fun until someone takes their skirt off,” and “Whoever gets there first, start drinking!” They’re not sure who is which or which is what, but they’re certain you’ll be entertained. And if you enjoy the complimentary wine so much you find yourself slipping your shoes off as you listen, who are they to judge?
ALETHEA BLACK recently completed a short story collection entitled Wise As Serpents, Harmless As Doves. She is currently working on a novel whose subject she still believes is top secret, even though every time she has a third glass of wine, she tells people about it. Her stories have appeared in numerous magazines and have won first place in literary competitions judged by Joan Silber and ZZ Packer. This spring, dramatic readings of two of her stories, collectively titled “Marriage and Other Odd Occurrences” and starring Dennis Boutsikaris, will be performed at RiverSpace in Nyack and as part of the Insights & Revelations performance series.
REBECCA DONNER was born in Canada but spent her formative years growing up in Los Angeles, an experience that inspired her critically acclaimed first novel, Sunset Terrace. A graduate of the MFA program at Columbia University, Rebecca worked at the New Yorker, served as the literary director of the renowned KGB Fiction Series, and was editor of the story collection On The Rocks: The KGB Bar Fiction Anthology. Last summer, DC Comics published her graphic novel, Burnout. Rebecca is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and a contributor to Bookforum magazine. She lives in the East Village, and is working on her third novel.
JENNIE KAUFMAN's fiction and essays pop up every few years in literary magazines. She has also written screenplays; her debut, Mustardville, was first runner-up at the New England Screenwriters Conference. Her novel The Ark tells the story of a tortured gay rebel on a tiny island paradise, and her newest novel, Cartoon Gravity, is a comic exploration of failure, forgiveness, and the joy of art. FREE! Comp wine.
Rapscallion Club YA Book Club March 8; Artist Joan Arbeiter & Photographer Kyo Morishima March 13; Poet/Inferno translator Jean Hollander (Organs & Blood) March 14; Musician Ryan Bing/Glad Hearts March 25; Cuban author Achy Obejas (Ruins)March 26