Santa Fe rare book shop Photo-Eye is among dozens of jewels gathering at this weekend’s Art Book Fair at PS1 in Queens. Their books light a flame of book greed in our hearts so strong it hurts. This specimen from their shelves, Shuji Terayama’s Photothèque imaginaire, was designed and handbound in Tokyo, 1975, and belly-bound in an original printed obi.
"Playwright, poet, photographer, filmmaker and all-around provacateur Shuji Terayama is one of the most important figures in the Japanese counter-culture of the sixties and seventies. He produced over 200 literary works and over 20 shorts and full-length films as well as untold works of theater with Tenjo Sajiki and others. Like his films, the photomontages in Photothèque imaginaire… are self-consciously experimental, often surreal, and frequently confounding. And, like the Parisian Surrealists of the 1920s and 30s, he was a great fan of Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror. He vehemently opposed the protection of the status quo and attacked the righteousness of the Japanese family system and any vestiges of nationalism."
Colombia’s Paradero Paralibros Para Parques program has given birth to one hundred miniature libraries all over the South American republic, the majority of which are in Bogotá, Colombia’s main metropolis. The petite libraries are open a scant twelve hours a week, mostly on weekends, and are run by volunteers who also create events for kids and the community and help with homework assignments. Long live print, and long live Colombia’s national literacy organization, Fundalectura, who are responsible for these tiny monuments to the shared power and joy of knowledge.
Elliott Bay Book Company celebrates 40 years of independent bookselling today in Seattle, Washington, where we also threw down our first roots. After 36 years Downtown, they schlepped their assets over to Capitol Hill, into this 95-year-old warehouse that was once the sole Ford truck service center for Seattle. Now it’s a service center and warm hearth for devotees of the endangered real, live book, and its patron saint, the bookseller. If you’re staying with us in Seattle, you can take a long walk or a short cab ride to this epic church of reading — it’s really worth it.
You can’t overestimate how exciting it was to be openly gay in San Francisco in the 1970s. I mean, Stonewall had happened in 1969, gay civil rights legislation was passing in different states, and, you know, for the first time you could love openly and not be considered sick, not be arrested. It was a very exciting, heady time…
Alysia Abbott writes about growing up with her gay dad in SF in the 70s in her new book Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father. As a millenium of civil rights struggles whirs into action before our very eyes — nascent advances are made, fundamental victories are threatened — it’s good to take a close look at those who brought us this far by demanding the right to be themselves.
“I like to photograph tennis courts when they’re empty, deserted, abandoned, or in disrepair, and sometimes simply when it’s raining and no one’s around and they can’t be used. Seeing them in such a state has, for me, a special kind of eroticism, like the memory of a former lover one still feels for. Each court is in the midst of a landscape, near homes, among trees, or next to streets or buildings. Some are like the ghosts of a tennis court, with faded markings and sagging nets, where too many seasons have passed and not enough care has been given to them. Gathered together, these unoccupied tennis courts engender a special kind of metaphysic, one that relates to the ceremonial combat of an organized competition; the aesthetic atmosphere in which freedom and struggle flourish. Seeing courts in such varied states as these is like coming upon a memory, a new beginning, and another possibility all at once.”