Monday, September 19, 2016

Brooklyn Book Festival & New York Art Book Fair

Until Sunday, I had never attended the Brooklyn Book Festival.  More than once, though, despite the required trek, I had thought about attending, but I never managed to do so. And then, through the graces of Park Slope Community Bookstore in Brooklyn, I was invited to participate in a reading and conversation, titled "Inventing History in New Fiction," with authors Susan Daitch (The Lost Civilization of Sollucidir) and Jeremy Davies (The Knack of Doing), and New York Magazine critic Christian Lorentzen, at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights.

Before we took the stage, I had an opportunity to chat with Sarah Schulman (who shared a copy of her acclaimed new book, Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair, Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016, with me) and also see Jaci Jones LaMon, among others.  I won't recap the event, which went very well, beyond saying that we had a good crowd for 10 am; that it was great to to meet and hear Daitch, whose work I'd been reading since the late 1990s when she published Storytown, learn about and hear Davies's work as well, and to be in conversation with Lorentzen, a superb critic. Our hour raced by, and then we signed books and I bought a number myself.

Many thanks to friends and fellow writers who headed over to hear us, buy books (we sold quite a few), and ask excellent questions!

Me, Susan Daitch, Jeremy
Davies, and Christian Lorentzen


Outside MoMA PS1
After leaving the Brooklyn Book Festival I head north to Queens, where the final day of the annual NY Art Book Fair, mounted by Printed Matter at MoMA PS1 was underway. I had attended the NYABF a number of times, though I'd missed it last year. This time I had more incentive, since ITI Press was there with copies of GRIND, as was New Directions. The trip on the G was pleasant enough, but the day had begun to warm considerably time I got to Court Square, so I found myself crinkling a bit in the kiln of the exhibition rooms, which were packed with artists, authors, and people taking in the dizzying array of options. (I can only imagine how hot it must have been on Saturday, when a supposed 15,000  people passed through MoMA PS1's doors.

Dread Scott
At ITI Press's table
(artist Sebastian at center)

At the New Directions table, which was on the first floor, I picked up copies of the new double-novella volume by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, and the distilled Emily Dickinson envelope poem collection, among other goodies, while at the ITI Press table I signed books and chatted with founders and artist-authors Catherine Taylor and my co-author Nicholas Muellner, as well their as their cool interna (whose name escapes me) and a number of people who passed by. Afterwards I wandered around and though I'd vowed not to pick up so many books, I ended up with several bags worth, as well as very affordable prints, drawings, and photostats.

More people browsing ITI
Press's offerings
Mieke Chew at New Directions' table,
with designer Alvin Lustig's ND cover
 posters behind her

I even grabbed a book and signed poster by the artist Dread Scott, whom I'd last seen performing his fire hose piece beneath the Brooklyn Bridge a few years ago, and a massive volume, on discount--which were legion on Sunday, something I have to remember--of Robert Ashley's graphic scores and several of his operas, which I'd love to see performed live. (I missed one that was staged just not long ago in...Brooklyn!) Here are a few photos from the event. Next year if it's as hot a day I hope they at least consider a few more strategically placed fans.

Inside the Dome

The Zine tornado machine

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