Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday Afternoon in Apache Junction: Richard Grayson interviewed by ABC15 about his Green Party presidential campaign

Back in Apache Junction, we were interviewed this afternoon by Eric English of ABC15 of Phoenix about our candidacy for the Green Party presidential nomination. We are running in the February 28 Arizona Green Party presidential preference primary.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday Afternoon at the Brooklyn Museum: "HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture"

We spent several wonderful hours this Christmas Eve afternoon in an uncrowded Brooklyn Museum, taking in HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, nearly intact a year after its controversial mounting at the National Portrait Gallery that got right-wing nuts -- in other words, Republicans in Congress -- all agitated.

The New York Times called HIDE/SEEK "the first major museum exhibition to focus on homosexuality and to trace some of the ways that same-sex desire — and unconventional notions of masculinity and femininity in general — have been manifested in early Modern, Modern and postmodern American art, as evinced primarily in portraiture."

We found it utterly fascinating, even it did focus on the big names, both as artists and subjects, and are grateful to the Brooklyn Museum for bringing it to New York and to the exhibition's organizers, Jonathan D. Katz, an art historian at the University at Buffalo, part of the State University of New York, and David C. Ward, a historian at the National Portrait Gallery.

After spending a long time at HIDE/SEEK, we wandered around the Brooklyn Museum, which we used to go to starting when we were about four years old in 1955. Our pediatrician until we turned 18, Dr. Jacob L. Stein, had his office on the ground floor of Turner Towers directly across Eastern Parkway, and we often combined a checkup and polio shot with a visit to the museum, which has changed considerably over more than half a century.

On our last day in Brooklyn before we go back to Arizona tomorrow, it was great to visit the Brooklyn Museum, a place we've gone back to many, many times over the decades of our life. We hope to be back when we can.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Early Tuesday Evening in Williamsburg: Chabad's Menorah on the First Night of Chanukah at N. 7th Street and Bedford Avenue

Tonight is the first night of Chanukah (our old-school preferred spelling) and we caught the Chabad menorah at North 7th Street and Bedford Avenue lit for the holiday. We're heading west in a couple of days. Happy Chanukah!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Richard Grayson's "BROOKLYN, KENT STATE, MAY 1970" Is #1 Best Seller for Children's 20th-Century American History eBooks at Amazon Kindle Store

Richard Grayson's BROOKLYN, KENT STATE, MAY 1970: Diary of an 18-Year-Old College Freshman is currently the #1 bestseller at the Amazon Kindle Store in the category of Children's Nonfiction Twentieth Century American History eBooks.

BROOKLYN, KENT STATE, MAY 1970 is also currently #3 Kindle ebook bestseller in the category of Childen's eBooks in U.S. History and Historical Fiction and #11 in the category of Biographies and Memoirs of Educators.

Here is the promo material for the ebook, published by Art Pants Company:
In the spring of 1970, college students across the country protested the widening of the Vietnam War after President Nixon announced the invasion of Cambodia. On May 4, National Guardsmen, sent to Ohio's Kent State University to quell a student demonstration, opened fire and killed four students and wounded others. In the nationwide firestorm of campus protest that followed, colleges and universities were shut down as angry students brought a halt to the spring semester with strikes and takeovers of buildings.

Brooklyn College in New York City was no exception, and his account of the day-by-day events at the school, acclaimed author and diarist Richard Grayson (The Brooklyn Diaries, With Hitler in New York, Lincoln's Doctor's Dog), then an 18-year-old freshman, gives a young student's perspective to this scary, exhilarating time in American history.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Afternoon in Chelsea: US Veg Corp presents First Annual Green Holiday Festival at the Altman Building

On this cold, sunny afternoon we attended the first annual Green Holiday Festival presented by the good folks at US Veg Corp.

We were lucky enough to win a free ticket from our friends at The Skint, the wonderful website and email listing free and cheap events in New York, so we didn't have to pay admission to get into the Altman Building on West 18th Street.

We spent a long time amid a cornucopia of green products, services, food and organizations, with an emphasis on stuff for the holiday season.

We're grateful to The Skint and US Veg Corp for allowing us to spend a couple of hours at the Green Holiday Festival and see various green-minded gift vendors, non-profit information tables, live entertainment, and activities, all in celebration of green living.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Afternoon in the West Village: Marathon Reading of Frederic Tuten’s "The Adventures of Mao on the Long March" at the Jane Hotel

Although we have to teach on Sunday, we did get to go to the first ninety minutes of today's marathon reading of Frederic Tuten's postmodern fictional masterpiece The Adventures of Mao on the Long March to celebrate its fortieth anniversary and the seventy-fifth anniversary of New Directions, who published it in 1971.

The marathon was an extraordinary special presentation of The New Inquiry, BOMB Magazine, and ForYourArt, and the place was jam-packed with audience members listening to over sixty well-known readers, each taking a portion of the novel, which we first were entranced by in 1975 or 1976 when we were in the MFA program at Brooklyn College and working for the Fiction Collective.

The Fiction Collective is how we first came to Frederic Tuten's work, through his contribution to its 1975 anthology, Statements: New Fiction. (We had a story in Statements 2 two years later.) Jonathan Baumbach and Peter Spielberg, our teachers in the MFA fiction program and co-directors of the Collective, told us we had to read The Adventures of Mao on the Long March.

We met Fred Tuten at some of the Fiction Collective publication parties in the mid- to late 1970s and were always in awe of him. Teaching at the School of Visual Arts back then (as we still are now), we heard from several of his creative writing students at City College what a terrific creative writing workshop he ran.

And we learned so much from reading The Adventures of Mao on the Long March about the uses of history, appropriation of texts, humor, documentary, pastiche, irony, and that mixture of serious and playful narrative that makes it such an exhilarating read.

It was a pleasure to hear it read today by such great artists, editors and writers as Deborah Eisenberg, Laurie Anderson, Walter Mosley, Wallace Shawn, Grace Schulman, A.M. Homes, Paul La Farge, Ross Bleckner, Barbara Epler, and others.

Among the later readers would be Linsey Abrams, Dawn Raffel, John Haskell, Philip Lopate, Amy Hempel, Ernesto QuiƱonez, Oscar Hijuelos, Lynne Tillman, Richard Howard,

Francine du Plessix Gray, Jerome Charyn, Edmund White, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Brad Gooch, Patricia Marx, Cecily Brown and Wayne Koestenbaum.

Our cellphone takes horrible pics indoors, but we're sure there will be lots of good photos of this event as well as better, more detailed accounts by smarter, cooler people (update: see a professional's work at Philip Turner's post at The Great Gray Bridge) but we're grateful to the folks at The New Inquiry, BOMB Magazine and ForYourArt for making today's marathon reading a reality. Most of all we're grateful for Frederic Tuten, who spoke charmingly at the start of the reading, talking about being a 15-year-old in the Bronx who dreamed of the world of Manhattan intellectuals, artists and writers, who began submitting to New Directions even at that age.

We can say for sure that Mao on the Long March and Frederic Tuten's other innovative books were inspiring to an outer-borough kid in his twenties who wanted to be a writer many years ago. Now, at sixty, we were happy to stand on a crowded staircase and squint at the author and his readers and listen to the magic of a book we first loved a long time ago.