Thursday, May 20, 2010

JUNE/JULY 2010: Web Cam Jam; Treasure Hunt; Welles Week; What's Your Exit?; Toenes Craig & His Dubious Repertoire

1 PM, Sun. June 6
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. 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. Web Cam Jam is more about the performers than the performance, but that doesn't mean you can't come and watch. NOTE: If you watched the Oscars last year, you heard Best Actress winner Kate Winslet mention this very same pub and the pickling contest her mother recently won there. Indeed, last April's Web Cam Jam, Kate's mom, Sally Winslet (now known as the Queen of Shallots), was in the foreground eating bangers and in January's Mr. Winslet sang the old broadside “Darlin’ Old Stick.” MUSICIANS WANTED! FREE! Comp cornbread (fresh from the oven)!

The only bookstore with a house band (the Roadside Graves), The Rac has hosted such music luminaries as Fugazi front man Ian MacKaye, Bouncing Souls front man Greg Attonito, poet/new wave punk Jim Caroll, 80s college radio darlings The Cucumbers, former High Times editor/GG Allin collaborator Mike Edison and his punk blues band Edison Rocket Train (featuring Boss Hog drummer Hollis Queens), and folk noir gangster John Wesley Harding, the first opening act for Bruce Springsteen in twenty years. Plus a slew of local bands: Like Trains and Taxis, Risk Relay, Glad Hearts, etc. YOU TOO CAN PLAY THE RAC! Your participation in the Web Cam Jam is your audition.

9:30 AM, Sat. June 12
Ages 6 & up!

The Raconteur, in conjunction with the Metuchen Masonic Lodge (and What's the Scoop), is again sponsoring a Metuchen based treasure hunt! In keeping with the rollicking spirit of The Man who Would be King, Freemason Rudyard Kipling's fantastic tale of two masonic scoundrels who set off from 19th century British India in search of gold and adventure and end up as kings of Kafiristan, and The National Treasure, in which hoard hunter Benjamin Gates follows a series of cryptic clues to find an ancient cache intertwined with the arcane history of Freemasonry, young adventurers (boys and girls 1st through 5th grade) work in teams, following clues and unraveling a variety of knotty riddles as they move from one mysterious location to another (various stores and outdoor landmarks) within the town limits of Metuchen proper. Each cracked conundrum will lead players ever closer to the final treasure! Expect anagrams, number puzzles, and a brass plated, cylindrical device known as a Cryptex. Raconteur gift certificates awarded to all participants. To sign up, click HERE. Space is limited. The hunt is completely FREE. On the same morning, the Mt. Zion Masonic Lodge is also sponsoring a Pancake Breakfast starting at 8am. Bring an empty belly! Start your adventure on a full stomach! Any questions, or if you would like to help, please click HERE.

8 PM, Fri, June 25

NPR alum Robert Kaplow’s novel Me and Orson Welles, a beautifully rendered and hilarious valentine to the burly thespian, was recently turned into a movie by indie filmmaker Richard Linklater (Dazed & Confused, School of Rock). Click HERE for film site. Set in 1937 New York, Kaplow's novel tells of a teenager hired to star in Welles' production of Julius Caesar. The film starred Zac Efron, Claire Danes, and Christian Mckay as Welles. The New York Times described McKay's performance as one of "seductive power and full bore charm," Roger Ebert called the picture, "one of the best movies about theater I've ever seen," the New Yorker's David Denby included it in his "Top Ten Films of the Year," and The San Francisco Chronicle, said: "Christian McKay, as Orson Welles in Me and Orson Welles, gives what I believe is the most exact and uncanny screen portrayal of a historical figure, EVER." Kaplow will introduce the film with a short reading from his book and follow the screening with an onstage conversation with The Star-Ledger's Peter Filichia. Find out how a cantankerous bouncer at a local New Brunswick band bar discovered the unagented actor playing Welles (seriously) and what exactly the "O" stands for in Robert O. Kaplow. Books on sale at The Raconteur and The Forum. Tickets $15. On sale online and at The Rac June 8. Presented in conjunction with The Forum Theatre.

Please Note: the event is at The Forum Theater, 314 Main Street, Metuchen, NOT The Raconteur. WELLES WEEK kicks of Tues with double feature screenings of beautifully restored 35mm prints of Touch of Evil, The Stranger, and The Third Man! Click HERE for schedule (show times TBA).

8 PM, Sat. June 26
A Literary Detour through New Jersey

We're called The Garden State because our soil is so rich that no matter how much we pave it or waste it, the land still calls to us. This recent anthology, edited by Alicia A. Beale and Joe Vallese, features new and previously published work from over 40 writers who get in tune with those echoes. Among the book’s contributors are Joyce Carol Oates, Tom Perrotta, Robert Pinsky, Jason Biggs, Alicia Ostriker, Paul Lisicky, and Sung J. Woo. Released by indie publisher Word Riot. I make no promises, but I'm told guest readers may include any or all of the emboldened names. FREE! Complimentary wine. Books on sale at event.

8 PM, Thurs. July 1

If you've seen those toxic green/neon pink chapbooks in the shop, you may be familiar with Toenes' work. He's a poet with an affinity for hot colors and dubious prose. FREE! Complimentary wine. Books on sale at event. Please note: this is a rental and, accordingly, The Raconteur makes no claims regarding caliber.