(UPDATE: Due to the coronavirus, this event has been postponed. The new date has not yet been announced.).
Two longtime New Yorker contributors — staff writer Patricia Marx and cartoonist Roz Chast — will open the second annual Hoboken Literary Weekend, April 3 at 7 p.m. at the city’s Mile Square Theatre. The Literary Weekend will continue through April 5; it’s organized by Hoboken’s creative and remarkable independent bookstore, Little City Books, and most of the events will take place there.
Marx and Chast will discuss their new book, “You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples,” and engage the crowd with their ukuleles.
David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, described Chast as “the magazine’s only certifiable genius.” In addition to her work with The New Yorker, Marx is a former writer for “Saturday Night Live” and “Rugrats.” She’s an amusing writer even in her promotional bio, describing herself by saying that “mainly she does errands and looks things up on Wikipedia” and that “she can take a baked potato out of the oven with her bare hand.”
Hoboken Literary Weekend will feature talks and performances from award-winning authors, artists, performers and journalists, hosted by the stellar team of store owners — Kate Jacobs and Donna Garban, who consistently attract talent befitting a much larger venue.
Last year’s Weekend was a success with 12 events focused on joyful literary entertainment, at multiple venues.
This year, Jacobs and Garban plan to make the weekend slightly less hectic, with fewer events.
“A theme of light-heartedness has emerged — maybe not accidentally in these dire days,” said Jacobs. “I feel a bit like the emcee in ‘Cabaret’: ‘In here, life is beautiful. Come to the bookstore.’ ”
She’s looking forward to the “sheer brilliance of every single visiting writer and artist,” she said.
There will be an emphasis on color and art from “Roz Chast cartoons to Maira Kalman’s paintings to Vashti Harrison’s beautiful children’s books and the fabulous colors of Tish and Snooky’s Manic Panic,” she said.
Sisters and native New Yorkers Patrice “Tish” Bellomo and Eileen “Snooky” Bellomo have been punk and hair color pioneers since the 1970s, adding glamour and free expression to the music scene. Their dyes reflect all colors found in the rainbow, and have established fashion trends. They’re also singers who have performed with groups such as Blondie, and Blue Coupe (featuring members of the Alice Cooper band and Blue Öyster Cult).
Tish and Snooky will be at Little City Books on April 4 at 5 p.m., to discuss their recent memoir and beauty guide, “Manic Panic, Living in Color: A Rebellious Guide to Hair Color and Life.” They will also hold a hair color demonstration.
April 5 at 4 p.m., painter-writer-illustrator and set designer Kalman will join New Yorker staff writer and former Paris correspondent Adam Gopnik in conversation about her beautiful illustrations for a new edition of Gertrude Stein’s “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas,” which depicts Stein’s life with Toklas in Paris. Gopnik, known for his essay collection “Paris to the Moon,” will lead a discussion about Toklas, Stein and their home in Paris in the 1920s.
A French snack is promised, along with a short film. The discussion will take place at The Hudson School Theater.
While Stein’s salon greeted Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Ezra Pound and many others, Jacobs and Garban have created a remarkable Hoboken salon — cozy, informal and cutting edge.
Jacobs and Garban — massive fans of the Elevator Repair Service, an Obie-winning New York-based theater ensemble — invited the company to Little City Books to workshop a new play, “Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge.” The play dramatizes the 1965 debate between writer and activist James Baldwin, a powerful voice of the Civil Rights Movement, and conservative author and commentator William F. Buckley, Jr., at Cambridge University in England. It will be performed at Little City Books, and followed by a conversation with the directors and actors, April 4 at 8 p.m.
Other guests include Hoboken storyteller Adam Wade, 20-time winner of the Moth Storytelling SLAM Championship (he’ll share stories about people he has met while living in Hoboken); and Jersey City resident Jared Diamond, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journal reporter who will discuss his new book, “Swing Kings: The Inside Story of Baseball’s Home Run Revolution.”
On May 2, Little City Books will have been bringing the unexpected to Hoboken for five years. Over the past few years, I’ve encountered many genres of music, spoken word and poetry there, on a stage surrounded with books.
I’ve heard Amy Rigby, for instance, read from her emotionally riveting autobiography, “Girl to City: A Memoir,” and provocative tales from Holly George Warren, discussing her Janis Joplin biography, “Janis: Her Life and Music.”
Jacobs and Garban’s success led to them opening a second store in January, in uptown Hoboken.
“It’s a fun adventure being part of a developing neighborhood that includes an Equity house, movie theater, gorgeous café, biergarten and climbing wall,” said Garban.
“We want the visitors to love Hoboken, and Hoboken audiences — which they always do. We’re so sincere!” said Jacobs. “And we want Hoboken to have an amazing weekend of art and humor, drama and wonder.”
For more details, and updates, visit littlecitybooks.com.
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