Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jazz Punk from Rome; Erotic Open Mic; Kevin Baker & Dreamland; Mike Edison & Banned Books; Horror Doc Cropsey

8 PM, Tues. Sept 7
NEO & TRIBRACO (w/special guests The Lady & the Furnace)
Live Music

Neo & Tribaco are two jazz punk bands from the Italian avant-garde scene based in Rome. Seriously. During their fifty day stateside tour, Tribraco will introduce their new album, and Neo will record their next one with renowned Pixies/Nirvana/PJ Harvey producer Steve Albini. And they'll play here. For FREE!

9 PM, Thurs. Sept 16
Erotic Open Mic

Poetry, prose, songs, comedy, etc. All work must emphasize fornication or heavy petting. Reply to this e-mail to reserve a 5 min. performance slot. Third Thurs of every month. The bluer the better. How blue are you? FREE!

8 PM, Thurs. Sept 23

A "Dickensian epic" (Entertainment Weekly), "a wild ride" (The New York Times), "a populist masterpiece" (Publisher's Weekly), a "virtuoso performance" (Esquire), this vast, sprawling carnival of a book, set in turn of the century Coney Island, features prostitutes, dogfights, Bowery bars, opium dens, and characters with names like Trick the Dwarf, Gyp the Blood and Kid Twist. Plus Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Topsy, the elephant electrocuted by Edison. Dreamland opens with an act of misplaced--and very stupid--compassion. Eastern European immigrant and expelled member of the Jewish mob Kid Twist intervenes when villainous gangster Gyp the Blood is on the verge of murdering a young newsboy for sport. But surprise: that's no street urchin--that's Trick the Dwarf, self-proclaimed Mayor of Little City and a Coney Island tout, who dresses up as a boy, he says, as "a way I had of leaving myself behind." Trick hides Twist in the hind parts of the Tin Elephant Hotel, a place literally shaped like the great gray beast, and what follows is a remarkable, extravagantly plotted patchwork of bizarre stories and superbly drawn characters. All of it elegantly written and compassionate to the core. FREE! Complimentary wine. Books on sale at event.

8 PM, Tues, Sept 28
Former HIGH TIMES editor/blues keyboardist MIKE EDISON
His Favorite BANNED Books
w/special help from BOSS HOG's Hollis Queens on drums

The American Library Association's Banned Book Week (BBW)is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. More than a thousand books have been challenged since 1982, with targets ranging from Harry Potter to Huckleberry Finn. Click here to see a map of book bans and challenges in the US from 2007 to 2009.

My first experience with a banned book was in tenth grade. I grew up on a horse ranch in Alabama and went to a private school forty minutes away called Macon Academy. My father, a writer who, divorced from my mother, lived in New Jersey, had sent me the Cabernet colored paperback of Catcher in The Ryefor Christmas (along with a Swatch that had a lime green band and a skeleton face of exposed gears). I was discovered reading it one day by my English Teacher, a bullied looking man named Mr. Edwards. He declared, with a sort of wooden vivacity, that if I persisted in doing a report on "the offensive book," I would get a an F. I consulted my Mom--a woman who, it should be noted, had recently backed my lobe with a wine cork and pierced my ear with a stove-flame sterilized sewing needle (to a rumpus of Academy demerits and suspension, natch). "Take the F," she said, "Once you read it, you'll understand." I did. And did.

Between 1985 and 1988, Mike Edison wrote 28 pornographic novels, reported on German whorehouses and Spanish coke dealers for Hustler, and published a series of erotic “confessions” for the legendary Penthouse Letters. In 1998 Edison became publisher/editor of marijuana counterculture magazine High Times. Following HT, he was named the editorial director for Jewish culture magazine HEEB, for whom he went undercover and exposed Jews for Jesus as a Baptist organization. He is the long-time drummer for New York cult-garage band the Raunch Hands and a frequent collaborator of infamous punk rocker GG Allin with whom he wrote a number of songs and recorded two albums. FREE! Refreshments served.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Web Cam Jam; Green Drinks; Jennifer Egan; Jaret Middleton; Sugarbabies; Roadside Graves; Schayfer James & Honor Among Thieves

1 PM, Sun. Aug 2
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.

7 - 9 PM, Tues, Aug 3

It all started in 1989 at a pub called the Slug and Lettuce in Northern London, in which a handful of eco-conscious mates pulled some tables together and drank some beer. The concept evolved into GREEN DRINKS and now it's global. Each city has an organizer who arranges meetings in bars and restaurants (providing the greenest beer possible, and by green we mean enviro-minded, not colored; in our case, Climax, locally brewed in Roselle Park). Green Drinks meets in fifty countries from Argentina to Zambia. And now, METUCHEN! Jorge Szymanski, a Permaculture Design Consultant, will be on hand to moderate a round-table discussion on Permaculture and how you can use this design philosophy to plan, plant, and prosper with next year's garden. He will discuss the importance of composting, irrigation, micro-climates, and space planning to maximize garden yields while reducing chemical fertilizer use. Come have a beer and get green. FREE!

8 PM, Fri. Aug 6

Expect to inhale Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad. Then expect it to lodge in your cranium and your breastbone a good long while. I expect this brilliant, inventive novel to become enshrined. Such rash speculation is foolish, I know—we live amid a plague of bloated praise. But A Visit From the Goon Squad is emboldening. It cracks the world open afresh. Would that Marcel Proust could receive A Visit From the Goon Squad. It would blow his considerable mind. “Pitch perfect. Shape shifting. Is there anything Egan can’t do?" The New York Times. "A profound and glorious exploration of the fullness and complexity of the human condition. An extraordinary new work of fiction.” The New York Press. "A triumph of technical bravado and tender sympathy“ The Washington Post. "Clever. Edgy. Groundbreaking." The Chicago Tribune. “It may be the smartest book you can get your hands on this summer.” The Los Angeles Times. Read the recent front page NY Times rave for Goon Squad HERE. FREE. Comp wine. The Keep (her Escherian last book and one of my favorite modern novels) and A Visit from the Goon Squad on sale at event.

8 PM, Sat. Aug 14
Who is An Danotomine Eerly??

With special guests Jonathan Andrew & Rev. P.A.S.
As the Irish-American poet Dallin lay dying he recalls the surreal geography and traumatic events that lead to his end. A wind-beaten house, a still-looming tragedy, a ghostly barroom, and the campus of a condemned university. The ailed poet and his beautiful, haunting wife AƬsling flee an obscure political persecution that culminates in her planned murder. The impact of her death afflicts Dallin in ways he cannot comprehend. All this ends in his meeting An Dantomine Eerly. As Dallin confronts his moment of death, the book assembles itself as a collage of the affinities, falsehoods, and absurdities of memory and reality. Think pre-fame Palahnuik and early David Foster Wallace. Books on sale at event.

W/live music by Jonathan Andrew, formerly of The Angry Monsters, currently in Mike Ferraro & the Young Republicans. Comparisons run from Pixie lead Frank Black to XTC.

Plus spoken word artist/old school punk Rev. Pedro Angel Serrano, just your average Puerto Rican gay skinhead. Rev P.A.S. is the subject of the quirky doc Driving Jersey and the host of Old Man Pedro on WRSU.

8 PM, Sat. Aug 21
Live Music

Subterranean indie stars Snowbabies have been packing New Brunfus basements for the past year. The Raconteur (along with their upcoming Maxwell's gig) marks their move to above ground venues. Their sound is elusive, hinting at everything from alt art-rock to old-school country to the two finger frets of Django Reinhardt. But perhaps the biggest influence on the band is the city around them—listen closely, amidst the whirling guitars and vocal harmonies, the xylophones and singing saws, you just might hear a Robert Wood ambulance or a George Street jackhammer. Special guest: O Lucky Man. FREE! Comp wine. CDs on sale at event.

8:30 Thurs. Aug 26
After Party (Following their MCAC performance in the Sr Ctzn parking lot)
Live Music/Special Guests

Their sweet-tempered country-rock is far more slippery than it might first appear and often conjures images of a roadhouse Bad Seeds. “I've drank enough to know that I've drank enough," announces front man Gleason on the world-weary “Live Slow,” the one song that comes closest to encapsulating the enduring spirit of the Graves. Performed with an uncommonly deft touch and subtle grace, their songs concern themselves primarily with the pause for breath that comes after reaching original destinations, and the long, careful glance at the atlas that comes before deciding where to go next. FREE! CDs on sale at event.

8 PM, Fri. Aug 27
Live Music/Escapism/Sword Swallowing

Singer/songwriter/artful pianist Shayfer James just shot a video on the greasy outdoor pianos that studded Manhattan street corners this past month. His songs are dark, dense, and Dickensian, and his fingers tickle the keys with the dodgy subtlety of a Fagan pickpocket. He's performing here with Honor Among Thieves, a group of sideshow escapists known for lightbulb eating and power tool insertion. No fooling. FREE! Comp wine. CDs on sale at event.

8 PM, Sat. Aug 28
Live Music

I saw Hansen sing when he was still a senior at Edison High. He was in their production of Cabaret. He played the asexual emcee opposite my girlfriend's cousin (the reason we were there) who played Sally Bowles. I'm pretty unforgiving when it comes to community theater, let alone high school theater, but this production of Caberet, specifically this kid's idiosyncratic performance as the emcee, absolutely blew me away. Anyway. Fast forward one year and I run into him at one of those strip mall Halloween superstores where I'm getting some last minute cobweb fluff for The Raconteur's haunted bookshop. I find out he has a band. I book that band. They play. Fast forward one more year. They return.FREE!

6:30 PM, Sun. DATE TBA
Field Event

Summer's here, which means it's once again time for The Raconteur's annual Dictionary Put. $5 for three throws. Participants hurl a hefty 15 lb OED bound in duct tape. Farthest throw wins a $25 gift certificate to the Raconteur and gets their name written on the fore-edge of the dictionary, which remains in the shop. This event is more similar to Open Stone Put of the Highland Games than the Shot Put of the Olympic Games. The toss allows a run up to the toeboard or "trig" to deliver the dictionary, and the thrower is allowed to use any style of release. Most athletes in the toss use either the "glide" or the "spin" techniques. Oakland Park ball field (just off Grove). To register YOU MUST E-MAIL raconteurbooks@gmail.com. Entry fee payable at event. Followed by pints at the pub in our cleats and piped baseball pants.