Category: Books

Love Lost readings

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007 | All Things, Books, Events

From February 8 through February 14, Altoids opened a pop-up Curious & Original Chocolate Shoppe on Bleecker Street to celebrate the launch of its new Altoids Dark Chocolate Dipped Mints.

On Valentine’s Day, the company partnered with the nonprofit writing lab and free tutoring center 826 NYC (local chapter of the Dave Eggers-founded organization, 826 Valencia) to host a special night of “Love Lost Readings,” expressly for those seeking a literary respite from the Hallmark-manufactured madness.

Attendees sampled the dark chocolate mints (pretty good!), tiers of red velvet cupcakes, copious glasses of wine and artistically presented cups of espresso drinks by baristas from independent coffeehouse Ninth Street Espresso.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Andy Selsberg, contributor to The Believer, The Village Voice and GQ, described the most dysfunctional relationship ever. Starlee Kine, contributor to NPR’s wonderful This American Life, read her New York Times break-up piece from 2006. Leo Allen, stand-up comedian and prolific reader, added some levity to the love-weary festivities, and for the finale, author Jonathan Ames read terribly funny and terribly sad excerpts from his new book, I Love You More Than You Know.

For the event, Altoids printed up a selection of glossy postcards with tongue-in-cheek takes on traditional Valentine’s Day messages, suitable for a recent or imminent break-up: “I’ll love you until someone better comes along,” “We’d be made for each other if I were a jerk,” “It’s you. Not me,” “Another day closer ’til death does us part,” and my personal favorite, “I plan on breaking up with you over e-mail.

Love Lost Cards

You can laugh or you can cry.

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Scenes from the City

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007 | All Things, Arts, Books, Film, NYC History

Filmmaking in New York was the topic at this book talk, slide show and discussion at the Museum of the City of New York.

Scenes from the City

Commissioner Katherine Oliver of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting began the presentation, offering an overview of the 40-year history of the MOFTB. Last year, New York City hosted the highest number of film, television, commercial and music video shoots ever: 34,718 shooting days, up from 31,570 in 2005, and 23,321 shooting days in 2004. The city’s movie industry now employs 100,000 New Yorkers, and by the office’s calculations, brings in about $5 billion to the city’s economy every year.

Up next, a slide show presentation by James Sanders, architect and co-writer of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series New York: A Documentary Film (the DVD set of which I received for my birthday last year, compliments of J & J), its companion volume, New York: An Illustrated History, as well as Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies (another present, this one from DH. Do my friends and family know me, or what?) Sanders’s new book Scenes from the City: Filmmaking in New York traces the evolution of filming in the city over four decades, contrasting the pristine New York of the Hollywood studio (Rear Window) with the gritty (Mean Streets, Do the Right Thing) and glittering (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, When Harry Met Sally, and so many others) New York of location shooting.

Some fantastic photographs, taken from movie sets, behind the scenes, or on the streets during shooting. Like Celluloid Skyline, there were rare and unusual production stills, taken from studio archives and private collections around the country.

Afterwards, a talk with Rob Striem (on left, below), location manger on several recent “Made in NY” films, the MOFTB program which awards filmmakers a 15% tax break — 5% from the city and another 10% from the state — for projects where at least 75% of the overall production was made in New York City. Streim is currently co-location manager for Warner Brothers Pictures’s I Am Legend, a big budget, sci-fi thriller starring Will Smith, which famously took over the Brooklyn Bridge late last month.

Striem and Sanders

Upstairs, a glimpse of the MCNY galleries.

Black Style Now

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Travel Notes

Thursday, January 25th, 2007 | All Things, Books, Friends

Photographer Christoph Bangert made an appearance at the International Center of Photography for a book signing to celebrate the launch of his new book, Travel Notes: 22 Thousand Miles Across the Americas. The book chronicles Bangert’s 2002 journey by Land Rover from the southernmost tip of South America to the urban landscapes of New York City, where he was set to begin studies at ICP. Bangert, now an ICP graduate, recently spent five months on assignment in Iraq as a contributing photojournalist for The New York Times.

School of the ICP

Travel Notes serves as a breathtaking diary of the photographer’s 22,000-mile journey, beginning in Buenos Aires, over two continents, across the borders of fourteen countries, through mountain ranges and over countless bodies of water, to his new home in Brooklyn. Along the way, Bangert describes his adventures: a frigid night on Tierra del Fuego, a scorching day in the Atacama Desert along the coast of Chile (the driest desert on Earth), stranded for two days in the deep mud of a Bolivian salt flat, making a precarious crossing over Lake Titicaca, along the Pan-American Highway, through every country in Central America, into Mexico, crossing one final border into the United States towards his final, triumphant arrival in New York City.

Travel Notes

Bryant Park Skyline

What an amazing, life-changing experience. Puts me in the mood to plan my next big trip…

Later that night, at SK’s housewarming, I talked some more travel with fellow party guests DJ and RK, swapping notes on Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Costa Rica. The apartment was located inside a pretty prewar on West End Avenue with an elevator operator, steps from the private enclave Pomander Walk, which reminded me that even if it’s a little while before the next far-flung adventure, there’s still so much left to explore right here at home.

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