Rosendalians and visitors to the town mostly know Mark Morganstern as the music-booking half of the husband-and-wife team who has run the Rosendale Café since the early 1990s. But the affable Morganstern has a secret identity: Besides being a bass player and a substitute teacher, he also has a master’s degree in creative writing and a passion for literature. His short story collection, Dancing with Dasein, was published by Burrito Books in 2015. And now he has a new novel, The Joppenbergh Jump, available in print-on-demand format from Recital Publishing.
Brent Robison and Tom Newton follow their own muses, along with their individual recognition that something inside each man dictates a need to create fiction. The two writers came to a decision to create books, to print literature, via their new Woodstock-based Recital Publishing after they got together several years back and found they had similar interests. They started producing literary podcasts, of their own and others’ work, under The Strange Recital, “a podcast about fiction that questions the nature of reality.”
“I hope I’m wrong,” Martha Frankel said about her decision to cancel the Woodstock Bookfest. “I hope in two weeks people think I’m a complete schmuck. That would be okay with me. I don’t want to be right about this. I just didn’t want to take a chance on anyone’s health.”
Best-known for directing such successes as Addams Family Values, Get Shorty and the first three Men in Black movies, Sonnenfeld’s importance to modern cinema expands considerably when his cinematographer credits are added to the list: the Coen Brothers’ first three films, Blood Simple, Raising Arizona and Miller’s Crossing. He also was the director of photography on Throw Momma from the Train, Big, When Harry Met Sally and Misery. On this occasion, Sonnenfeld is in the house to discuss his hilarious new memoir, Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother.
Saturday, Feb. 29: Big Black: Stand at Attica by Frank “Big Black” Smith, Jared Reinmuth and art by Améziane, is the memoir of Frank Smith, a prisoner-negotiator during the Attica prison revolt.
Reviewed: David Levine’s The Hudson Valley: The First 250 Million Years: A Mostly Chronological and Occasionally Personal History; Alan Via’s Doghiker: Great Hikes with Dogs from the Adirondacks through the Catskills; Rabbi Jonathan Kligler’s latest, Turn It and Turn It, for Everything Is in It: Essays on the Weekly Torah Portion; and Christian Hall’s American Fever: A Tale of Romance & Pestilence.
Back in December, 1905, when Kingston still got its water from the Zena reservoirs and Cooper Lake was twinkling in the city’s eye, Oscar Harrison was murdered near the water supply. An African American man, Cornell Van Gaasbeek, in whose house the body was found, was charged with the crime and tried in Ulster County Court. He was defended by a local reformer, part politician Augustus H. Van Buren, as the trial unfolded amid the charged racial climate of the early 20th Century.
Gaiman will soon be back, resuming his teaching responsibilities at Bard, and the Conversations are back on. Jemisin’s work is lauded by her peers at least as much for its elegant writing and powerful worldbuilding as for its thought-provoking treatment of politically and sociologically relevant issues such as genocide and climate change.
Monday, Feb. 3: In Yellow Earth, the site of Three Nations reservations on the banks of the Missouri River in North Dakota, Sayles introduces us to Harleigh Killdeer, chairman of the Tribal Business Council. “An activist in his way, a product of the Casino Era,” Killdeer, who is contracted by oil firm Case and Crosby, spearheads the new Three Nations Petroleum Company.
Sunday, Jan. 26: “My vision was: What if Aragorn had been a woman? What if a realm awaited the return of a queen?”