BOOKS

Q&A With StoryCorps Founder Dave Isay: Love and the City

Daniel T. Allen  | February 14, 2012 4:00 AM
Author: Dave Isay
Publisher: The Penguin Press
Publication Date: Feb. 2012

StoryCorps is a nonprofit organization that records, preserves and broadcasts oral histories on public radio. Since launching in 2003, StoryCorps has collected over 40,000 stories from about 80,000 individuals. Until 2008, many of those stories were recorded in a booth in Grand Central Terminal.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the program’s founder, Dave Isay, published “All There Is,” a collection of StoryCorps’ most memorable love stories. MetroFocus spoke to him about love in New York City.

Q: What percentage of StoryCorps interviews would you classify as “love stories”?

A: I think that the theme of love comes up in every interview. I haven’t searched specifically but romantic love is probably in three-fourths of the interviews at least. People will talk about the most important things in their lives, such as their families and parents and kids and people who they’ve fallen in love with. (more…)

Op-Ed: Resurrect CBGB? No, Just Learn to Live With the Dead

Rob Sacher  | February 8, 2012 4:00 AM
Authors: Rob Sacher
Publisher: Selena Press
Publication Date: March 1, 2012

There are only a handful of rock nightclubs in the history of New York City where musicians actually took their art to extraordinary places — before almost anyone knew who they were, or what it was they were giving to us on stage. Among them was the highly regarded Luna Lounge, the Lower East Side club I was fortunate enough to co-own from 1995 to 2005. Another was CBGB, but I’ll address that club — and its rumored resurrection — a bit later.

Luna was, I believe, one place in a million, one place in time; a simple rectangular box bisected by a wall creating two rooms within one. And, within those rooms, people came to create and connect themselves among friends. Luna was also more than a club; it was a conduit to the consciousness of a certain generation of artists, musicians, comedians and painters who found a home running with a kindred spirit. (more…)

Eminent Outlaws: The Truth Behind Why So Many Gay Writers Love NYC

Christopher Bram  | February 3, 2012 4:00 AM
Author: Chris Bram
Publisher: Twelve Books
Publication Date: Feb. 2012

I moved to New York City from a small college town in Virginia in 1978, telling my friends (and myself) that I wanted to go to this big, noisy, dangerous city only because I wanted to be a writer; I thought all writers needed to live for a year or two in the “Capital of the Twentieth Century.” I was there to meet other writers and take advantage of the bookstores, art museums and repertory movie theaters.

Not until a few years later, after I was settled with a boyfriend, did I admit that I had moved to New York for sex and love. I knew unrequited love all too well in Virginia. I needed to come here to meet real gay men who might want to go to bed with me as eagerly as I wanted to go to bed with them. Which I did happily for two years, before I met Draper Shreeve, who is my partner to this day.

For a long time, I believed that my first set of reasons for coming to New York — work and culture — were lies and that the second set — love and sex — were the truth. But while I wrote my literary history, “Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America,” I realized that all of my reasons were good, and they were all true.

(more…)

Kickstarter Picks: Alt Cinema, 100 Story Houses and Aaron Cohens Galore

Daniel T. Allen  | February 3, 2012 4:00 AM

Kickstarter is a Lower East Side-based startup that helps creative people “crowd-fund” their projects.

MetroFocus regularly highlights local projects that seem to make the best use of this platform and have the potential to leave a lasting impression on the New York area.

New York seems to have an abundance of almost everything (except cheap rent) but often that “you can get anything here” feeling can be overwhelming. In different ways, this week’s Kickstarter projects are about curating the city, making urban life just a little bit more manageable by appreciating the little things that get lost in the shuffle.

(more…)

BOOKS

Bonjour Paris, You Talkin’ To Me?

Daniel T. Allen  | February 2, 2012 4:00 AM
Author: Vahram Muratyan
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: Jan. 2012

MetroFocus recently spoke via email to Vahram Muratyan, the graphic designer behind the book “Paris versus New York,” about his images comparing these two most impressive (if we do say so ourselves) cities.

Q: Alright, let’s start with what everyone wants to know: If Amélie and “Sex and the City’s” Carrie Bradshaw got into a fight, who would win?

A: Amélie is cute and naïve, but she got herself involved in other people’s lives way too much. Carrie is self-centered and surrounded by a bunch of self-conscious, independent female friends — and men. She would kick Amélie’s ass.

Q: What made you so interested in the New York/Paris comparison?

A: I’m a Parisian and I’ve been obsessed with New York since I was a child. Since then, I’ve managed to come here often. I spent a few months living in New York in 2010 and I started to count all those little things that made my two beloved cities so special. You can find the differences in the small details.

Q: What was your first memory of New York City?

A: My first souvenir was a meter of snow. And the seemingly endless perspectives created by the streets…When you were a child, it’s even more impressive.

(more…)

Q&A With Unidentified Graffiti Artists: Beauty in the Belly of the Beast

John Farley  | January 31, 2012 4:00 AM

In 2009, graffiti was at the height of its powers. Artists who had once risked heavy jail time for their craft were now receiving mainstream gallery representation. It was under these circumstances, at a big gallery show, that two New York City street artists who go by the names Workhorse and PAC were introduced. The encounter might have been forgotten if PAC hadn’t mentioned an abandoned subway station — the holy grail of graffiti spots — that he knew about.

(more…)

BOOKS

‘Dear Diary’: 400 Years of NYC History, Up Close & Personal

Teresa Carpenter  | January 24, 2012 4:00 AM
Author: Teresa Carpenter
Publisher: Modern Library
Publication Date: Jan. 2012

I’ve been keeping a nightly diary for more than 30 years. It started as one of those line-a-day books in which weepy teenage girls used to opine about crushes and friends — but only to themselves in ballpoint. It occurred to me, as I moved past my teens, that penning this juvenilia may not have left a compelling social record, but it had, at least, developed some mental discipline. And if one aspires to become a writer, then one should write something every day.

That diary, or rather the stack of black and red volumes in the back of my closet, remained a purely personal matter until I married. My husband, who knew better than to peek at those pages, nonetheless recognized my fondness for them; on my birthday in 1987 he gave me “The Faber Book of Diaries,” 400 years of British diary-keeping edited by the mystery writer, Simon Brett. It was a splendid and illuminating work.  I placed the book on my bedside table where it has remained, ever since.

(more…)

Q&A With An Expert Who Teaches Technology to Local Seniors

John Farley  | January 17, 2012 1:37 PM
Author: Abby Stokes
Publisher: Workman
Publication Date: January 2012
Click here to learn more about social media classes for seniors

Ask anyone who has ever attempted to learn about computers and the Internet later in life, or anyone who has tried to teach their grandparents about email — the whole endeavor can quickly devolve into an epic struggle against the machine itself. Seniors navigating the strange new world of social media and mobile devices have to contend with new gizmos, ever-changing memes and shifting notions of privacy. (more…)

Q&A With Novelist Alex Gilvarry: Williamsburg Fashion Meets Guantanamo Bay

Georgia Kral  | January 9, 2012 4:00 AM
Author: Alex Gilvarry
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: January 2012

Boyet (Boy) Hernandez, the fictional protagonist in “From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant: A Novel,” is an up-and-coming Filipino fashion designer in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when he’s mistakenly arrested on terrorism charges and sent to Guantanamo Bay prison.

Alex Gilvarry’s debut novel, set in the post-9/11 New York fashion world, is written in the style of a memoir, jumping seamlessly between tales of nights out with models and designers in the city and Boy’s darker experiences under the watchful eye of his captors in Cuba. (This Wednesday marks 10 years since Americans began detaining people at Guantanamo Bay.)

(more…)

Lombardi & Landry: The Path of Two NFL Coaches From New York to the Hall of Fame

Ernie Palladino  | December 29, 2011 4:00 AM

Hollywood may have its share of Schwab’s Drugstore discoveries, but there are no better success stories than those which New York produces. Liza Minelli sang (we don’t recognize Sinatra’s hijacking of that wonderful song), “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere” — but they’re more than just fanciful lyrics.

As the Giants gear up for this season’s final showdown against the Dallas Cowboys, there’s one tale of “making it” in New York that’s worth remembering: The ascension of Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry to legendary coaching status with the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys (respectively). Those two men weren’t born head coaches. They had to work their way up the ranks. And they did that right here, as New York Giants assistant coaches under Jim Lee Howell from 1954-59. (more…)

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