Bookstore People: Muralists and Doodlers

Will Kasso

If you have driven through Trenton and seen a mind-blowing portrait painted on a wall, you have already met Will Kasso.  Painter, portraitist, graffiti artist, Kasso is a national presence in our small town.  Curator at Gallery 219 on Hannover Street and founder of the Sage Coalition (which supports public art festivals and street beautification projects).

When you catch him at Classics, he is usually hunting for books with his daughter in the kids section

 Kasso

“My daughter curated her first artshow opening at the “Kids Bridge Arts Camp”…she just texted me saying: “Dad, the artshow is tonight…wear something nice without paint all over it”…lol”

Roger Long

Roger is a retired art teacher, a habitual doodler and a transplanted Californian.  Good natured and easy going, Roger always lends the room an atmosphere of fun.

When you catch him at Classics, he will be hunched over a Scrabble board on Friday nights.

 Long

“Jefferson made the New Testament readable by cutting out all the nonsense, making it readable and worth reading.”

Trenton Literature Year in Review: 2013

Pulitzer Prize winning Trentonian Poet Yusef Komunyakaa published Testimony, a collection poetry inspired by Charlie Parker

Trenton Poet Laureate Doc Long had reminiscences published in Volunteers in the African Bush, a collection of essays about the early years of the Peace Corp in Africa

Capital City Open Mic celebrated its one year anniversary in April

The New Jim Crow Committee of Trenton met and discussed Michelle Alexander’s book and mapped out ways to put responses to the book in action.

The Trenton Books at Home Program handed out thousands of books for Trenton kids.

Trenton author and radio host Yolanda Landy Robinson published Don’t Be Bitter Be Better, a book of inspirations.

Trenton author Natasha Buckalious Parker published her poetella, Ah Hood Romance

Trenton author Will Foskey published Poeticine

In November, Trenton author Marie Murf Antionette, author of The Struggle and A Girl Named Job, was bookseller for a day at Classics.

In February, Barbara Keogh became the reigning Classics Scrabble champion.

volunteers sierra leone

Neighborhood News: Downtown Trenton: November 2013

New Jersey Capital Philharmonic Orchestra

Did you think that the Trenton Symphony had left the capital city? Not quite accurate. The New Jersey Capital Philharmonic will be performing its first concert at Patriots Theater at the War Memorial December 31st. To learn more about the New Jersey Capital Philharmonic Orchestra, please visit the web site at www.capitalphilharmonic.org

Humans of Trenton

Based on the fantastic Humans of New York, the Humans of Trenton is a living encyclopedia of the amazing people of the Capital City.   Read about them here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/HumansOfTrenton

New Restaurant

Thomasena’s at 241 E. Front St, near the DMV and City Hall.  Soul southern food.  Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/ThomasenasTakeout

Sidewalks

The City of Trenton fixed the sidewalks on Lafayette in front of Classics.  Come on by with your scooter for a smooth ride!

Barbara Keogh’s Reading Wishlist

Artist and Classics co-op member Barbara Keogh covers the store Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 12 noon to 2 pm.  Here is her list of books and DVD’s she would like to read and watch.

1. 32 Candles by Ernessa Carter

2. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

3. At Canaan’s Edge by Taylor Branch

4. An Easy Burden by Andrew Young

5. White Collar Factory by Jack Washington

6, 7 and 8. Be Cool, Maximum Bob and Pagan Babies by the recently deceased Elmore Leonard

9 Fallen Man by Tony Hillerman

10. Devil’s Corner by Lisa Scottoline

11. Barchester Towers and The Warden by Anthony Trollope

12. Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot

13. Marguerite de Valois by Alexander Dumas

14/15 Complete Works of O’Henry in 2 volumes

16. DVD: The Devil Wears Prada

17. DVD: Walk Hard

18. DVD: Nothing But The Truth

19. DVD: Bulgarian Lovers

20. DVD: Last King of Scotland

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Love Letters to Jersey 1932

I enjoy finding interesting things tucked into books that come into Classics.  I’ve found money, four-leaf clovers and personal checks written by witches.

My favorite, though, was found in a book of poetry in written by Richard Nixon (not THAT Richard Nixon, the other one).  There was a bunch of ephemera in it and as I went through it a story of lost love emerged.

First, I find, tucked between pages 22 and 23, a postcard that had written on it

“My Christmas thought/ Could not be bought.  /I searched the city through.  A sorry guest, / For the very best / Were none to good for you.  Richard.  Paris 1932.”

Second, later in the book, I find a typewritten letter, written from Paris on New Year’s Day addressed

Dearest Clarice.

You complain that I never open my heart.  Let us take the fanciful case of a man who after many years finds his soul face to face with a woman he once loved,–a woman presumably in love with a perfectly good husband to whom she reads her letters.  Such a man might well hesitate to unlock his heart, tho he might paraphrased Browning a little and say, Open my heart and you will see /  Graven upon it only Thee.  So it ever was, so shall it ever be.

“No, I didn’t stay on in Jersey beyond the merrie month of May, having finally been driven out of that terrestrial paradise by the Demon of Loneliness.

I was cheered by your news that this has been a successful year for Melvin and I hope that good humor in which you are ending it will extend far enough into the new one to stimulate you to write me again and soon.  Stella Farwell write me from New Orleans that you had been there twice since last spring, looking younger and handsomer than ever.  No wonder you are in such good humor, with a good husband who has had a successful year and with Time treating you like a spoiled child.

Later in the book, there is a Christmas card from Richard “with much love.”

Finally, there is a wedding invitation

“Mr. Richard Nixon has the honor to announce his marriage to Madame A Lelu in Paris on September Twenty-sixth, 1940.”

Photographing Caroline Gibson, by Ricardo Barros

Caroline Gibson with Rawhide Mask

I believe that, if you make room for them, good things will happen in your life.

Caroline Gibson and I had never met before I photographed her. I had no expectations of the imagery we produced at our first meeting. In fact, I thought it was me who was doing her a favor. My wife, Heather, had seen Linny’s artwork and wanted to help her by arranging for its exhibition at a nearby art center. Heather ‘volunteered’ my services to produce newspaper publicity prints for that show.

Linny knocked on our door after dinner one evening and proceeded to unpack her artwork in our living room. She was employed by a local hardware store. The pieces she laid on our rug blended off-the-shelf, hardware inventory with organic materials such as leather, wax, and sticks. They suggested rituals, perhaps those of a priestess, even though some of it was discomforting for me.

I sensed Linny’s integrity and responded to the intensity of her passion. I found myself unpacking more and more equipment. Soon our living room was cluttered with my photo gear and her artwork. My pictures, which were supposed to depict her artwork, evolved into images of Linny interacting with her sculpture. Ultimately one of these photographs became her portrait, although I didn’t recognize it as such at the time. The next day I simply made Linny’s publicity prints, archived the negatives, and moved on to address other concerns.

Years later, when searching for photographs to include in an exhibit of my own, I rediscovered this image. This time I was able to see this portrait in a different context. It helped me realize that those who follow their passion are on the road to self-discovery. I learned that when people fuse Inspiration with Integrity, they produce an expression of Identity.

Linny had left me a gift. She helped me learn that this is exactly what portraiture is all about. And, quite unexpectedly, my inadvertent, first, sculptor portrait eventually became the cover of my book, FACING SCULPTURE: A Portfolio of Portraits, Sculpture and Related Ideas.

Ricardo Barros

Ricardo’s book, FACING SCULPTURE: A Portfolio of Portraits, Sculpture and Related Ideas is on sale at Classics Books.  Learn more about Ricardo’s photography at http://www.ricardobarros.com/

 

Things You Should Do in a Bookstore

My friend sent me a list of things a bookseller posted of things NOT to do in a bookstore—don’t bring active kids, don’t bring in food, if you’re in a hurry don’t be mean to us, don’t talk on  cell phone.  What a whiner.

That’s not to say Classics Bookstore encourages food fights or rudeness, but please.  If you have to take a call, take a call.  If you are in a hurry, we will try and help.  If you are hungry, I have menus for the Hummingbird Jamaican restaurant, Big Easy restaurant and we convinced Settimo Cielo to deliver to the mystery aisle.  Just clean up after yourself and we’re good.

So rather than list all the things you SHOULDN’T do in a used bookstore, here’s a list of what you SHOULD do.

Ask us if you can’t find something.  Don’t be shy.  Looking for your favorite genre, your favorite author, a recommendation for something to read ?  We can help.

Read books to your kids while you are here.  We love to hear parents reading to kids in the back.  This is not a library where you are going to be hushed.

It’s okay to talk about your Kindle.  The books at Classics have a good self esteem!  They aren’t threatened by eBooks any more than stairs are threatened by escalators.

Tell us about the books that you love.  People who shop in bookstores (especially used bookstores) are the best people in the world.  They are smart, they are good people, and passionate about what they love.  Of course we want to hear about the book you are reading–why do you think we work in a bookstore?

Have Fun.  Because, really, if you aren’t having fun at least once in a while, you are not doing something right.

Want a place be surrounded by books?  To talk to the best people in New Jersey?  To catch a game of Scrabble or Uno?  To hang out with old friends?  To meet new ones?  To help build a downtown?  To help get free books into the hands of local kids?  To join a community of excellent people?  Come to Classics Books in downtown Trenton.

There are lots of things you SHOULD be encouraged to do.

 

Uno

 

 

Neighborhood News October 2013

Classics Books Hidden Trenton page is updated. Check out all the nice things people said about us! (some was deserved!)  http://hiddentrenton.com/?p=14

Downtown Trenton has beautiful architecture.  The picture below is the Masonic Temple right around the corner on Barracks.  If you are visiting Classics o a Saturday afternoon, circle the block and take a look!

The Big Easy (around the corner on Warren Street) now delivers!

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Bookstore People: Radio Hosts and Rockers

Yolanda “Landy” Robinson

The spirit behind Living a Powerful Life, Landy is a Life Coach who seeks to empowers her clients to release that which no longer serves them. She is a force in Trenton: Host of On the Reel Radio (which you can listen at Listen in @ www.wifiam1460.com), the muscle behind In Her Shoes, emcee of the African American Day Festival, creator of the Adult Prom and supporter of all things Trenton.

When you catch her at Classics, you will find her talking to everybody who walks in—an instinctual host even when she isn’t on the radio!

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Ian Gentles

Lead singer of the rock group the Working Class Hussies, Ian is the only man I know who can rock out to the lyrics of School House Rock.  A songwriter, musician, and singer, Ian he has over three hundred completed original songs, recorded at his recording studio, known as the ‘Tree House.’

When you catch Ian at Classics, you will either find him playing Axis and Allies in the back, with guitar and drum kit in the mystery aisle or reading books about World War 2.

Watch his Classics video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Kj1CtvibWM

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