Archive for October, 2011

Announcing Two Streams Press, The Publishing Arm Of Lorne Bair Rare Books – And, Our First Publication!

Monday, October 24th, 2011 by Lorne

I’ve been contemplating a publishing enterprise here for a number of years — after all, what better way for a lapsed poet and one-time editor to compensate for his creative deficiencies than to start publishing books of his own? But despite the obvious attractiveness of the idea,  I was never able to quite work up the energy or enthusiasm to make it happen.  It finally took my great and talented friend Winslow McCagg, who’s been producing amazing paintings out here in the wilderness for the past twenty years, to point me in the right direction. When Winslow told me he’d been offered a one-man show at the presitigious Burwell-Morgan Mill in Millwood, Virginia, my first question was: “who’s going to produce your exhibition catalog?” When Winslow allowed as how he hadn’t really given it much thought, the question turned into a statement: “I will produce your exhibition catalog.” And so Two Streams Press was born (don’t try to find the link – we haven’t finished the website yet).

 

 

The result, after months of photographing and editing more than fifty of Winslow McCagg’s paintings, securing essays from a number of eminent scholars and authors, another month of pre-press, layout, editing and proofreading, is Winslow McCagg: Recent Paintings, an ambitious, 52-page full-color catalog that includes text by Howard Means (most recently the author of Johnny Appleseed: The Man, The Myth, The American Story, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2011); Raul Zamudio (independent curator & art critic, author of more than 200 published critical works); and Martha Gehman (prolific stage & screen actress and a noted collector). We’re exceptionally (and justifiably, I think) proud of this first effort, which we hope will bring some much-deserved recognition to Winslow’s work, which Raúl Zamudio calls “…a unique and masterful aesthetic métier that culls disparate forms with deftness and verve.”

 

 

And for those of you who would like to see McCagg’s paintings in person, please accept this invitation to join us at the Burwell-Morgan Mill on October 28th from 5 o’clock to 8 for what promises to be a spectacular and well-attended opening reception. More than 50 of Winslow’s works will be exhibited for sale, in one of the best art spaces in Virginia.  And so will copies of the exhibition catalog which, in all selfishness, I encourage you to snap up in quantity. And a free copy of the book to anyone who can guess the origin of the name of our press!

 

POSTSCRIPT: another great and talented friend, the videographer and film editor George Patterson of The Downstream Project, has produced a short-short documentary on Winslow’s work. It’s a great preview of the upcoming show, and a nice way to spend five minutes (though you’re welcome to fast-forward past a certain talking head!). While you’re at it have a look at the Downstream Project’s website - they’re doing valuable work and if you have any interestt in the conservation of the Shenandoah River basin I strongly encourage you to support them.

 

Another one bites the dust…NYC or BUST.

Friday, October 14th, 2011 by Jordan

For the past two months I have been marinating, then percolating, then stewing over writing this blog entry. I knew this day was going to come (at least, I was hoping this day was going to come), but now that it has come, I’m at a loss for words.  I have what they call the block of the writer. It reminds me of that scene in Almost Famous (aka the second best movie of all time) where poor little Opie tries to write the article that will not only start his career but push this struggling pathetic rock band of which he writes into stardom. He pencils, “Russell’s fingers fly like airplanes of music” on a sheet of paper only to crumple it up and throw it on the floor of the bathroom to join the steadily growing pile of failed first lines.  Since July I’ve been thinking of that perfect first line. You know, the one that will capture my audience of 10 and force them to keep reading until the bitter end? It’s pointless, this is all I have to say:

I got into graduate school. In New York [CITY]. Starting in January. To pursue my MLS, of course.  Hey-zeus Christo!

I’ve known this exodus to New York was going to happen for some time now, but I have been reluctant to tell the world exactly what my plans were, mostly because I had no solidified plans. Though I kept telling myself, “don’t worry you’ll get into library school,” and even when my parents, family, friends, even my dog, reassured me of the same thing, I couldn’t be sure until I actually got in. Well! Check that one off the bucket list.  Now everything else will fall into place, like a job [hint, hint, readers. I'm actively seeking employment in the New York City area!], a place to live [check that off too, hello tiny closet space in the East Village!], and all of those other stresses that come about when one has to relocate to another city.  Add a “what the hell am I going to do with my HORSE?!,” and well, you’ve got my situation.

Now, to follow up from above, I don’t believe this blog post will launch my career.  Nor will it launch the already launched career of Lorne Bair Rare Books, proprietor of this blog.  However, the bildungsroman novel that could be written of the two years I’ve been here of my life and the life of the shop may quite possibly be a candidate for runner up on the New York Times Bestseller list. Fantastic things have happened, not only to the business, but also to me, since that fateful day in December of 2009 when I stepped into the terribly messy space [nah, it wasn't that bad...] that neither Lorne nor I would even consider calling a proper bookseller’s office now. So many fantastic things that I can’t put them into words, or even a bullet list. It would be much, much too long.

I’d love to end with some very heartfelt textbook paragraph about how much I have grown, how far the shop has come, and that my spirit will live on in the office for years to come.  But we all know that doesn’t need to be said.

Instead, I’ll end with this.  Dear occupiers of Wall Street: I’m moving to New York December 1. Though I will be unemployed and seeking work, I will never, ever join you.  If you get in my way, and put as much as one unwashed finger on my Bergdorf Goodman jacket, that I purchased with money I earned, I will cut it off. You’ve been warned.

With all the love in the world,

Jordan deButts

p.s. don’t worry, this isn’t my last post, even if it sounds like it is.

The British Have Invaded, And They’ve Got Our Kids!

Thursday, October 13th, 2011 by Lorne

It’s been a great couple of weeks here at Lorne Bair Rare Books – Catalog 13 is more than 60% sold in just over a week; Ashley Loga (about whom more soon) came, saw, and conquered our hearts; Jordan found herself an apartment in Manhattan; and Ernesto Mango Smoothie, who’s been looking a little undernourished lately, ate a cricket. Or most of a cricket, anyway.

But there’s an old adage in the book biz that you’re only as good as your next book, and truth be told it’s been a little while since we’ve been able to spin a Tale of Splendid Acquisition that made our hearts go pitter-patter. But lo and behold, in an unsolicited box of pamphlets received this morning from one of our long-term suppliers, we found this:

 

 

Now, for those of you unfamiliar with David A. Noebel’s theories of Commie Rock-n-Roll Mind Control, here’s a sample:  “…The destructive music of the Beatles merely reinforces the excitatory reflex of the youth to the point where it crosses the built-in inhibitory reflex. This in turn weakens the nervous system to a state where the youth actually suffers a case of artificial neurosis. And the frightening, even fatal, aspect of this mental breakdown process is the fact that these teenagers, in this excitatory, hypnotic state, can be told to do anything – and they will…  Since our teenagers under Beatlemania will actually riot, it is imperative to understand the basic underlying philosophy of the Beatles. Are they susceptible to the enemies of our republic? Are they religiously capable of wreaking havoc for ‘social’ reasons?…the beatnik crowd, represented by the Beatles, is the communist crowd. The truth of the matter is that many of the beatniks on our college campuses are communists firmly entrenched in atheistic literature and moral degeneration working for ‘social revolution.”

I swear to whichever god you worship, we’re not making this shit up. Noebel goes on to describe the “lewd, disgusting, revolting” antics at several different Beatles concerts, and also to expose the hidden communist messages contained in the children’s records produced by the Children’s Record Guild — aimed at 2 to 5 year olds, with titles such as “The Little Puppet” and “Tom’s Hiccups” — all of which apparently contained “a certain power of suggestion and musical arrangements designed to be frustrating and hypnotic [as well as] such things in the background as a ticking clock, a metronome and properly placed wind sounds – all elements used in the process of hypnotism.”

I would point out that at the time he wrote these words, the author was only 27 years old, giving the decided lie to the hippie dictum “Never trust anyone under thirty.” And I’m hapy to say that, having gotten such an early start in reactionary religio-political discourse,  Mr. Noebel is still among us and still plying his trade! He’s now the director of Summit Ministries, an anti-secularist training school (don’t we call those Madrassas?) in Manitou Springs, Colorado, where he’s presumably happily engaged in churning out fresh crops of right-wing nut job conspiracists. Lest you fear that Mr. Noebel’s theories are insufficiently grounded on a sound intellectual foundation, let us set your minds at rest — he does hold anHonorary Doctorate from American Christian College in Tulsa.

So, are we making this shit up? Well, gentle reader, there’s just one way to find out – buy your copy today!

 

 

The vocabulary of the Worker is MUCH different from that of any old Employee.

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 by Jordan

It is a rare occasion when I pick a book up off the shelves here and laugh out loud upon reading the first paragraph.  And on an occasion such as the aforementioned, like, say, when I find a copy of Eli Jacobson’s English for Workers tucked among a large group of pamphlets, it would be cruel not to catalog it and share it with our readers (I think we’re up to five now?).

Here is that delightful first paragraph:

I cannot speak English. I cannot read English well. The workers in the shop speak English. I cannot talk to them. I do not understand them. I have to go to school to learn English.

A few paragraphs later, and the chapter lesson ends with the sentence, “I must know English to do good work in the union.”  The entire text is laced with political propaganda, with a whole chapter devoted to the “traitors of the working class,” scabs. My favorite part thus far (because I haven’t read the entire text yet), however, is the beginning of Exercise B of Lesson X, “Classes and the Constitution, uses of the numerical adjective, possessive of nouns.

What color are these workers? One is black and the other is white.

Is one of the workers black? Yes, he is black, but both are workers.

… Have you a prejudice against a black worker and not against a white worker? No, I have no prejudice against any worker.

Who has prejudices? The capitalists and the middle-class have prejudices.

I don’t want to give away any secrets, but I have a feeling that some of the people featured in our next catalog (look out for it in November!) should have read this book as a child.

Until next time!
J