Fall Arts Preview: Fall Books

 

Fall Arts Preview: Fall Books


"Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick

It’s an American classic and all, but, ugh, 700 pages about a whale? Really? Nathaniel Philbrick, author of the equally seafaring In the Heart of the Sea, makes a case for why you should sit down and finally read something that’s a thousand times longer than a Facebook status.

 

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

This young-adult novel comes to us from Jack Gantos—author of the Joey Pigza and Rotten Ralph books—and happens to be about a nose-bleeding, grounded-for-life character…named Jack Gantos. Things get even stranger when he’s conscripted to type out obituaries for his town’s elders, an entryway into the strangest summer he’s ever had. It’s an unusual coming-of-age tale without a wizard wand in sight—imagine that."

 

Click through to read the rest of the article, or download the PDF above.

April Issue: Malled or Mauled?

Malled or Mauled?

A Q&A with a writer who, after getting laid off from a prestigious newspaper, found a retail job in the mall, then wrote a book about it: "Many retail employees don’t receive any training. Kelly reports that, due to low wages and few opportunities for advancement, 50 percent of retail workers leave every three months, leading to 100-percent turnover every year—and companies often conclude that it’s not worth putting in the time and expense to train. 'If you ask where something is and the associate doesn’t immediately know, it’s probably not because she’s stupid or lazy,' she says. 'Now that I understand that, I try to be nicer.'”

Read the rest of the Q&A here.

November, December, and January

Best of the Decade
An editorial feature package—edited by me and written with other editorial staffers—about the best county institutions that have been in business since the magazine was founded ten years ago. "One decade. Ten years of tireless research, experimentation, and reporting. Year after year, we scout out the most superlative offerings in Westchester County for our annual 'Best of Westchester' issue. Now, we’ve undertaken the enormous task of reviewing all of our previous editors' picks, distilling them down to the absolutely essential—the most stupendous, the most stunning, the most delicious, the most thrilling, the most dazzling—to bring you the 'Best of the Decade.' Think of it as the Best of the Best of Westchester."

Then & Now
A feature about how the county has changed in the past ten years: "Where do you go when, on a warm and breezy day, you want to have a drink or a bite to eat along the Hudson River? X2O? Half Moon? Red Hat on the River? The Day Boat Café? The Boathouse? A decade ago, none of these summertime staples would have been an option. The Hudson was not where we went to have fun. The river wasn’t for recreation—it was for work. (Not glamorous work, either—Riverkeeper called it the 'region’s sewer.') The water was polluted, the sites were choked off from the rest of the county, and it still had the workhorse vibe of lingering manufacturing industries, many of which had already taken flight, leaving chemical-filled messes in their wake."

She Checked It Out
A Q&A with writer Marilyn Johnson: "The old stereotype of the librarian with the tight bun, horn-rimmed glasses, and finger pressed to her lips in the 'shhh' position has been shattered. Now, you’re more likely to see librarians with tattoos, funky haircuts, and blogs that—rather than being meek and reserved—actually are quite loud-mouthed and opinionated. Marilyn Johnson, Briarcliff resident for the past 24 years, is one of the writers to shatter the fussy old preconception about librarians. Her book, This Book Is Overdue!, published in February, chronicles the work librarians do today, from getting the library plugged in to fighting the Patriot Act."

Happening Holidays
A round-up of holiday events outside of the usual performances of Handel and The Nutcracker: "People often forget that A Christmas Carol is one of the best ghost stories of all time. If you love Christmas/Halloween mash-ups, like The Nightmare Before Christmas, and want to see the Dickens tale become even more ghastly, the Westchester Broadway Theatre has a new show just for you. A Sleepy Hollow Christmas Carol, adapted by Jean-Paul Richard, weaves together A Christmas Carol and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. In it, Scrooge, played by Mamaroneck’s John Treacy Egan, is visited by Washington Irving, Rip Van Winkle, and the Headless Horseman."

Totally Goth
A review of a local production of Jekyll & Hyde: "Behind every great man there’s a great woman and, in the case of split personalities, there are two."

Four Questions For...David Harbour
A Q&A with an actor in The Merchant of Venice and The Green Hornet: "'Al Pacino is a real gentleman—generous and gracious. He’s really grounded in being an actor and loves working on scenes. But, on stage, he’s like an untrained animal—you never know what he’s going to do.'"

Hepladock the Mylagoat
An item about a locally produced game that uses nonsense words: "'People think the hardest part of being an entrepreneur is coming up with the idea, but it’s not—it’s getting the idea in front of people,' Phelps says. After the meeting with the buyer, Barnes and Noble agreed to stock 48 copies of the game. Today, five years later, Yamodo sells more than 30,000 copies per year through Barnes and Noble, Toys R’ Us, and independent retailers, as well as its own website (yamodo.com)."

Book Clubs' Best Reads
A round-up of what local book clubs are reading: "Looking for a great book recommendation? Look no further than local active readers—the ones who go to their book-group meetings having actually read the books, not just to socialize."

November Culture Highlights
Barenaked Ladies, Anna Deveare Smith, Kathleen Hill, and more.

November Home Theater
The Kids Are All Right, Toy Story 3, The Pacific, and The Goonies.

December Culture Highlights
Cyndi Lauper, Judy Gold, and more.

December Home Theater
Inception, The Other Guys, Despicable Me, and Futurama Vol. 5.

January Culture Highlights
Citizen Cope, Twelfth Night, the African American Writers and Readers Literary Tea, and more.

January Home Theater
Genre movies: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Machete, The Naked Kiss, Shock Corridor, and Justified.

Please click the links to read the articles in full.

September & October Issues

September Issue

Fall Arts Preview
A look ahead at the movies, books, network television shows, and cultural events premiering in the fall. Due to the size and number of components in this package, it looks much better in PDF form than on the web. See "Recent Work" for an excerpt.

Where the Laughs Are
Comedians come to the county: "Who says that every-thing in Westchester has to be so serious all the time? No, we don’t have our own dedicated comedy club, and we’re missing improv culture that’s present in a place like Astoria, Queens. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want a good laugh every now and again."

Home Theater
Iron Man 2, The Secret of Kells, and TV on DVD

This Month's Highlights
Roller Derby, circus art, and more.

October Issue

Rock-a-Bye Baby
One local musician arranges Simon & Garfunkel and Billy Joel tunes for babies: "How many times can you listen to one baby-oriented album before you wish they’d be old enough to start listening to Metallica, just for something different?"

Haunted Hudson Valley
A preview of a new Halloween attraction in Sleepy Hollow: "Unlike at certain other haunted attractions, don’t expect to see a man with a Scream mask wielding a knife at an off-model Freddy Krueger here. Lance Hallowell, the man behind Norwalk’s Misery Mansion FestEvil and last year’s haunted hayride in Sleepy Hollow, is in charge of keeping all the haunts—including the 40 to 50 professional actors working in the event—in line with our local history."

Home Theater
Scary movies: The Exorcist, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Splice, and the Alien box set.

This Month's Highlights
An Arts Fest in New Rochelle, Harvesting at Stone Barns, John Lithgow's one-man play, and more.

September Issue


It's not Vogue, but the September issue is still my favorite issue of the year. Fall Arts Preview! I take a look at upcoming arts, culture, and events.

Fall Movies
"Where the Wild Things Are: It might seem like Maurice Sendak’s chidren’s book classic is impossible to adapt into a feature-length movie, but leave it to a couple of hipsters: Being John Malkevich director Spike Jonze and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius writer Dave Eggers have come up with a big-screen version that actually looks faithful to the spirit of the book. Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O. stirs up the wild rumpus by providing original music."

Fall TV
"Melrose Place: Consider Tuesday flashback-to-the’90s night. Coming on the heels of the CW’s 90210 revamp, Melrose Place is another resurrected, catty, soapy, California-based drama with an ensemble of fresh-faced up-and-comers (and a couple of original Melrose Place veterans). Watch it while wearing your old flannel and drinking a Zima."

Fall Books
"The Humbling: Philip Roth is one of the country’s most decorated authors, winning the Pulitzer Prize, the National Medal of Arts, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the PEN/Nabokov Award, and the PEN/Saul Bellow Award, among others. It’s strange, then, that the protagonist of his newest book has lost all confidence. The celebrated actor no longer feels at home on stage, and he has to learn to get through his most challenging performance: life in his 60s."

Fall Events
"Bike Rides: In between releasing albums with Brian Eno, staging critically raved-about tours, and generally being awesome, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne is a tireless bicycle advocate. It’s no shock, then, that he is an advisor on this exhibition, which features two-wheelers that have been customized and repurposed by artists. We love the Pimp my Piragua bike, which is essentially a giant boom box with huge speakers attached to the bike frame. Keep an eye out for museum-sponsored bike rides (where some of the artwork actually performs), bike raffles, and other fun two-wheeled events."

In addition to the Fall Arts Preview, it was also an issue devoted to kids, so wrote about the best in children's books and movies.

Book Reports
A survey of almost two dozen local children's book authors and illustrators: "No matter what your book is about, two things will always happen on a school visit. A kid will ask you about dinosaurs, and another how much money you make. I know a fair amount about dinosaurs. As for the other question, I usually reply, ‘More than you do.'"

New Classics
Local children's librarians and film educators were asked to name recent classic books and movies: "It’s inconceivable that you haven’t heard about the young wizard and his attempts to avenge his parents and stop the evil Lord Voldemort. 'Part of the series’ appeal is the proximity of the magical world to our world,' Rovenger says."

On top of all of that, there were my usual departments:

Craft Work
A look at some upcoming craft fairs: "Why learn to knit, decoupage, or make jewelry when you can buy artisanal goods from neighbors much handier than you?"

Culture Etc.
Los Lobos, John Scofield, Alan Menken, and more.

Home Theater
Sugar, The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition, and more.

June Issue

There's so many good things to write about in the summer--especially if you're a culture editor.

Summer Reading

A round-up of summer books suggested by our bookstores: "Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you can give up all your intellectual pursuits. Off to the library with you. We solicited recommendations for summer reads from our local, independent booksellers. From their suggestions, we culled a list of recent and upcoming books that are smart, fun, and thoughtful—so you won’t feel like your brain is melting in the sun."

The Dan’l Webster Inn and Spa

A small piece within a larger travel package about an inn in Cape Cod (second item down): "The 300-year-old Colonial B&B and spa is the perfect gateway to Cape Cod; you save yourself all of the gas it would take to sit in the bumper-to-bumper traffic all the way to Provincetown."

Ask the Expert

In a column that answers persistent questions, a fashion-industry vet explains why men's pants and women's pants are sized differently: "“Historically, men’s sizing followed the measurement system because of the nature of men’s tailored clothing, which originated with Savile Row in London. Men were more likely to buy suits and coats made by tailors, and these tailors kept all measurements in formal customer record books. Women were more likely to either make their own clothes or use less established enterprises like seamstresses to make their clothes."

Culture, Etc.

Moon, the Old 97s, mambos, and more.

Home Theater

Revolutionary Road, Woodstock, and Spring Breakdown, plus this month's Quadricentennial events.

April Issue

In times like these, it's refreshing to see such a thick issue.

The Gowns in our Towns
A round-up of profiles of local college students: "Q: When the election happened, and Sarah Palin was picked as a VP candidate, did everybody look to you as a representative of Alaska? A: Absolutely. People were always asking me about Alaska and cracking jokes about her. When I first came here, I would get questions like, ‘Do you live in an igloo?’ or ‘Are you an Eskimo?’ During the election, people were finally asking me actual questions about Alaska."

Laid Off...Now What? & Open..Now?

In a special look at the economy, we profiled residents who have recently been laid of as well as new businesses opening in a tough climate. (I profiled Jules C., the seventh person included, for the first item, and Five Corners, the sixth business, for the second article.) "Q: Is there an upside to being unemployed? A: I can do small improvements around the house. I always have a home-cooked meal prepared. I also work on my art. I do commission artwork, but no one is paying me to do that now."

Better Than Epcot

A look at the county's cultural centers: "India Center president Ralph D’Souza says the India Center of Westchester includes 'Indian Americans from all regions of India and really represents its many cultures and religions.' It makes sense, then, to offer classes in a slew of languages, including Telgu, Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil, and Hindi. Languages at the India Center aren’t just spoken, they’re sung, too, with classes available for Carnatic, Hindustani, and other classical or semi-classical vocal styles. (You can also learn to back up these singers on the sitar and tabla, or with Bharata Natyam or Kathak dance.)"

Pure Poetry

Celebrating National Poetry Month: "D
o you think that you will never see a poem as lovely as Westchester County? Since April is National Poetry Month, we figured we'd try to capture the county in verse. Here, we asked the local Longfellows at the Hudson Valley Writers' Center in Sleepy Hollow to write haikus inspired by Westchester."

He Talk Pretty

A blurb about David Sedaris: "'I haven’t the slightest idea how to change people,' author and humorist David Sedaris wrote in his book, Naked, 'but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.' Hopefully, he doesn’t include himself on that list—we like him the way he is."

Culture, Etc.

This month's highlights: Earth Day, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, and more.

Fall Arts!


As promised, the September issue came in today with my big, fat Fall Arts Preview eating up some of the feature well (15 pages, plus more after the jump). This is my favorite kind of package: the kind where I get to tell people what to do with their free time, like see Andrew Bird or Burn After Reading.

The Fall Arts Preview package has many components, including:

Fall Events

Everything from the county-wide clay arts exhibitions to Dar Williams' concert: "This fall, almost every local art institution is going to have one thing on its mind: clay. Sure, you played with it when you were a kid and giggle when you think of the pot-throwing scene from Ghost (all that wasted clay!) but when was the last time you really gave clay any thought as a medium?"

Fall Movies

From Burn After Reading to Benjamin Button: "We’ve seen lots of disasters in films: earthquakes, volcanoes, diseases, The Happening. But what about an epidemic of blindness? Fernando Meirelles’ film, based on the 1995 novel by the Nobel Prize-winning José Saramago, imagines just that, with Julianne Moore starring as the one woman in town with immunity. Blindness was chosen to open this year’s Cannes Film Festival—but left with mixed reception (September 26)."

Fall TV

What's coming up on the networks: "You know that old sitcom formula in which two seemingly incompatible personalities are forced to live together? My Own Worst Enemy ups the ante by having those two personalities share a body. Taking a page from Fight Club’s book, one man is torn between his two identities: one is a suburban father, the other an operative trained to kill (10:00, NBC)."

...and Fall Books, which I didn't write but I assigned. And that's all in addition to my normal arts-related pages and front-of-book matter:

Mysterious Master

A short item about a church that found a master painting hiding in plain sight: “'When he started to work on the painting, parts that looked like they should be gold started to turn into silver,' Monsignor Corrigan says. 'That made me very nervous. I said a prayer. But when I saw it restored, it was totally spectacular.'"

Home Theater

September DVDs, including The Godfather, The Great Pumpkin, and The Fall: "Even though Halloween isn’t for another month, we all have days—no matter what time of year it is—when we can relate to poor little Linus, waiting for the Great Pumpkin that may never arrive."

Arts & Entertainment

Paula Cole, Mavis Staples, and more.

In addition to the Fall Arts Preview, this month was our "Sex Issue." Though I didn't write anything for it, I did assign this piece about the 12 things a sex writer has learned throughout her career and this piece about where to find love in the county.

June Issue


Our first summer issue: summer vacations, summer books, and more.

Summer Reading

A round-up of the buzz books for summer, including new works by David Guterson and Alan Furst.

Take a Few Days Off

Our huge feature on weekend getaways includes my contribution about The Villa at Saugerties in the Catskills: "Say goodbye to the chintz, the brocade, and the stuffy Victorian furniture. Just because you want to get away for the weekend doesn’t mean you want to leave your sense of style behind with the babysitter." (About three-quarters of the way down the page.)

Grilling the Experts

Grill tips from the pros: "McGrath says that natural wood chips are the best source of fuel, but if you’re using charcoal, 'you want it to be white-hot, not red-hot. That’s the best way to grill something.'" (Second item down)

The Director's Cut

An article about Bruce David Klein, director of Meat Loaf: In Search of Paradise: "Klein, Meat Loaf says, 'is a pesky little thing and he manages to wiggle and squeeze himself into places that I didn’t necessarily like all of the time.'" (The link to this story is being repaired.)

Culture, Etc.

A new art exhibition about space exploration, Chuck Mangione, and more.