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Posts Tagged ‘May Sarton’

Staff Picks: Menace, Music, Melrose Place

September 30, 2016 | by

What’s Jean-Francois Lyotard's Libidinal Economy doing in an episode of Melrose Place? You can thank the GALA Committee for that...

I know Patrick Hoffman as a real-life detective. So when I picked up his novel Every Man a Menace, I expected to find a bunch of believable lowlifes killing each other, believably, over a large shipment of drugs. I was not expecting—wasn’t demanding—subtle characterization, tricky narrative switchbacks, or vivid, moody prose. I also wasn't expecting the action to begin with a long acid trip. “In his mind’s eye, Raymond saw emeralds cut into shapes that couldn’t be described in human language … He saw the insides of stars like rooms in a house.” When Hoffman takes off his detecting hat, he’s closer to Denis Johnson than to Elmore Leonard. —Lorin Stein 

I’ve never watched much Melrose Place, but I’m always looking for reasons to start. I found the best one at Red Bull Studios, where Mel Chin and his team of artists, the GALA Committee, are displaying all the art they designed for the show. In an inspired marriage of fine art and pop culture, GALA convinced Aaron Spelling to let them pepper his sets with sly, subliminal artworks that most viewers never even noticed. (And how could they, with such melodrama unfolding around them?) A box of Chinese takeout with ideograms for “Human Rights” made a cameo in a post-Tiananmen Square episode; a dartboard with a silhouette of a woman who represents the show’s “target demographic” hung in the bar; and a blanket embroidered with the chemical structure of the morning-after pill found its way to one character’s bed just as she learned she was pregnant. The irony—such pointed social commentary in such hidden art—never got old; I wandered the premises long after most had left. It helped that a number of Melrose Place’s sets have been lovingly resurrected onsite. Yes, the pool is there. —Dan Piepenbring Read More »

Notes from a Bookshop: February, or the Folly of Love

February 12, 2013 | by


Sitting alone in my tiny bookshop on a cold February morning, I have the sensation that I’ve conjured a dream into reality. The light is crisp and blue through the door. A flight of red paper swallows—a Valentine homage to Chaucer’s poem “The Parliament of Fowls”—hangs from the ceiling, fluttering quietly from the heat whooshing out of the floor grate. The room is small, just shy of two hundred fifty square feet, and an old pickled farm table sits squarely in the middle. The top of the table is covered with books, and the shelves lining two of the room’s walls also contain a patchwork of brightly colored spines.

Valentine-themed woodblock prints handmade by my husband line the farm table and a grid of nature-inspired prints hold a wall. We live on an old dairy farm up in northeast Pennsylvania, and instead of cows in our three-bay English barn, we have two etching presses. Mark carves the images into blocks of clear pine, inks them up, and sends them through the press, cranking the smooth silver wheel like a captain on a ship. This is our store together, a kind of celebration of works on paper. We live on Moody Road, and so we call the shop Moody Road Studios.

An artist and a writer, respectively, my husband and I had both been teaching and working in the city for more than a decade, until a little over a year ago. The idea of running a bookshop never entered our consciousness while in New York, mostly because it never could have happened. Space and funding were impossibilities—as one might guess, a writer and an artist in business together don’t quite make for a crack commerce force. But here, on Main Street in the small town of Honesdale, everything clicked into place. Read More »