Bookends 2011: Prefacing the Brooklyn Book Fest


The Community Bookstore in Park Slope is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a day of readings by Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt and other local authors this Saturday, Sept. 17. It's one of dozens of Bookends events that round out the Brooklyn Book Festival.

The Brooklyn Book Festival, Sunday, September 18, packs an unfathomable number of readings and panels with 260 of the country’s best writers into an 8-hour day (check out the lineup here). Fortunately, the organizers add a string of events each year called BookEnds that help draw out the readings and bookish fun in Brooklyn for four days. Below are the official events at venues across the borough, September 15-18.


Thursday night kicks off Bookends, with a release party of Bookforum’s Fall 2011 issue at BookCourt at 6:30; an evening of spoken word with acclaimed poet Willie Perdomo and City Tech students at the Brooklyn War Memorial in Cadman Plaza Park (6:30); a literary-infused wine event with the executive editor of Wine Spectator, Thomas Matthews, and Wall Street Journal wine columnist and Bright Lights, Big City author Jay McInerney at Brooklyn Winery (7:30-9, RSVP required); Franz Nicolay, Sweet Soubrette and other musicians singing, rapping and beat boxing about classics like Madame Bovary at the Bushwick Book Club show at Goodbye Blue Monday (8:00); experimental poetry and music with the Tracie Morris Band and Tyehimba Jess at ISSUE Project Room (8:00; $10); and an opening night party at powerHouse Arena with writers from lit journals Electric Literature and Tin House and live music from 7-9.


On Friday, chef and author Jamie-Lynn is combining a cooking demo and wine tasting at Boulevard Books & Café followed by a pre-fixe dinner and show at her southern-themed restaurant in Dyker Heights, Jamie-Lynn’s Kitchen (6:00; $22 for demo or $40 for dinner; RSVP at 718-680-5881). The PEN American Center’s popular Literary Pub Quiz returns to St. Ann’s with authors Ben Greenman, Amy Sohn, George Prochnik and James Yeh (7-9); Ringshout at MoCADA brings together African-American women writers Catherine McKinley, Emily Raboteau and Sharifa Rhodes-Pitt, who combine reportage and personal narratives (7-9; $5); BRIC Rotunda Gallery celebrates 30 years as Brooklyn’s oldest continuously operating gallery with artist writers Alan Gilbert, Tracie Morris and Jen Bervin, the band Strange Farm and projections (7-9); Canteen Magazine and 3rd Ward are teaming up with a discussion on  “Marketing Literature in the Age of Gawker” with Tao Lin, agents, music and an open bar (7:00); and Greenlight Bookstore is hosting The Brooklyn Indie Party! with food, drink, and a who’s who of lit mags and publishers including A Public Space, BOMB Magazine, Melville House, Ugly Duckling Presse and Akashic Books publisher Johnny Temple doubling as DJ for the evening (7:30).


The literary events this Saturday are non-stop. For the kiddos, BAMcinématek presents a series of shorts called Books to Film for Children (ages 5-8) plus a book signing with author Doreen Cronin (10:30 am; $12-$9); Boulevard Books & Café in Dyker Heights combines a Jiu Jitsu course for kids with a reading of The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers (11; $5); and at the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army, author/illustrator Nina Crews leads a first-come, first-served collage-making class (12:30).

Grown up fare begins with The Brooklyn Local, the artisinal marketplace at the Tobacco Warehouse that will benefit City Harvest, featuring Brooklyn chefs and authors Melissa Clark, Marja Vongerichten, Frank Castronovo, Frank Falcinelli, Peter Meehan, Rachel Wharton and Dana Cowin (11-4; $5). Later at Franklin Park, Slice Magazine presents Beer is Culture with Sixpoint, whose new cans boast literary quotes (8-12).

Aviation buffs will appreciate the readings and tour of historic planes in Hangar B at Floyd Bennet Field to commemorate Cal Rodgers’ record-setting, transcontinental flight on Sept. 17, 1911 from Brooklyn (11 and 1pm). Park Slope’s Community Bookstore hosts another major anniversary party at the Old First Reformed Church to celebrate 40 years with authors Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, Mary Morris, and Jon Scieszka (2-5). And 20 years after it first addressed the melding of black culture and dominant culture, Trey Ellis revisits his influential essay, “The New Black Aesthetic” at the Brooklyn Public Library (2:00).

The literary conversations continue at MoCADA with American Book Award-winning novelist Tananarive Due, featured guest of The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College’s Literary Salon (3-5; $10 or $25 with book purchase). At WORD, graphic novelist Craig Thompson holds court at a cocktail party celebrating his latest book, Habibi, followed by a presentation, interview and Q&A session (8:00; $40 includes food, drink and book). And Marilyn Johnson, author of This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All will lead a discussion about the current state of librarianship at the Dweck Center (3:30).

Art and literature mix at the Invisible Dog Art Center’s multimedia theatrical event, Chaos Manor, based on Sam Stephenson’s acclaimed book The Jazz Loft Project, featuring audio recordings, photographs, live music, and performances from the text (8:45), and at DUMBO Arts Center, poet Charles Bernstein reads from recent works at the exhibit “Gladly Will I Sell For Profit, Dear Merchants of the Town, My Hat Laden With Snow,” with artists Aeron Bergman and Alejandra Salinas (8:00).


Post-festival, author and composer Daniel Felsenfeld will curate a special edition of “Opera Grows in Brooklyn,” with opera based on works by living Brooklyn authors, followed by a discussion with Robert Levine, author of the new book, Weep, Shudder, Die: A Guide to Loving Opera (6:00; $20/$15 in advance). Nearby in Brooklyn Bridge Park is an outdoor screening of HOME, featuring stunning aerial images of Earth (7:00); and to close out this major cultural event, Brooklyn Bowl invites attendees and panelists alike to their closing party at 8pm with DJs (and authors) Kevin Young and Colson Whitehead and a group sing-along of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” with The Tokens.

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