Auditions

Call for Entries

Faith

Participate Please

Donations

Trips

Corrections or additions?

This article by Nicole Plett was prepared for the

March 28, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

At the Movies

When we first meet filmmaker Jason Rosette, he’s

"On

the Road" — speeding down a highway somewhere out West in

a car, his pine-tree-shaped auto deodorizer bobbing merrily from the

rear-view mirror. But the Rosette we meet is a three-year veteran

of pedestrian culture par excellence. In his former life as

a full-fledged member of the Manhattan street booksellers’ tribe,

Jack Kerouac’s beat classic was a volume he never wanted to be

without.

Rosette’s funky and entertaining 80-minute documentary "Book

Wars,"

can be experienced as much like a jazz jam session as poem or novel.

In a voice-over narrative, sometimes breezy, sometimes earnest in

tone, Rosette tells the story of his journey from student to

bookseller

to self-made filmmaker, and lets us in on some of the tricks of the

trade. He’ll share this story when he makes a guest appearance at

the New Jersey Film Festival Screening of "Book Wars" on

Friday,

March 30, at 7 p.m. The film screens Friday through Sunday, March

30 through April 1, on a double bill with "Live Nude Girls

Unite!"

a documentary about street vendors of another kind — San Francisco

sex workers — by Julia Query and Vicki Funari.

In the movie he wrote, edited, and directed, Rosette assembles a

fascinating

and often funny portrait of the stubbornly independent booksellers

and their sidewalk lifestyle. We watch them man their tables, set

up shoulder to shoulder on West 4th Street in front of NYU’s vaunted

Bobst Library near Washington Square. Complementing this village

egg-head

hangout is the group of vendors whose rickety tables on lower Sixth

Avenue are mostly arrayed with tatty old magazines and

"collectible"

comic books.

Armed with a hand-held camera, from his post behind his book table,

Rosette serves up an unvarnished gallery of portraits of aimless

literate

pedestrians and those only slightly crazed denizens of the Village,

the ones who usually mutter to themselves as they walk. Even more

compelling than the odd buyers are his portraits of the idiosyncratic

personalities of the booksellers themselves. His movie aims to debunk

the myth that the street sellers deal in stolen goods or that they

are homeless losers.

The key to these vendors’ livelihood is New York’s famed propensity

for addictions of all kinds — in this case books. From the

autobiography

of Star Trek’s William Shatner to perennial favorites by Carlos

Casteneda

and Kurt Vonnegut, these vendors fulfill the needs and fantasies of

passersby. Furthermore, until recently, the First Amendment apparently

protected book vendors from most authoritarian meddling.

Far from being poor and homeless, many of these entrepreneurs

(particularly

the oddball Paul who shares his home with a terrarium full of toads),

work tirelessly, from early morning to late at night, for the

satisfaction

of a cash income of somewhere between $100 to $300 a day.

Homeless no. But anti-establishment, certainly. Some are bibliophiles.

Others just latched onto New York’s book buying addiction as a logical

way to earn $100 a day and up — in cash. Vendors may scavenge

(aka recycle) goods from Manhattan’s notoriously upscale garbage

heaps,

but mostly they build their stock from library sales, church fairs,

and any number of basements of the esteemed state of New Jersey, here

dubbed "The Land of the Ten-cent Book."

Mayor Giuliani’s so-called quality-of-life campaign against street

activities of every sort is the snake in the grass of this story.

It provides the film’s only real element of drama and its provocative

title. Rosette chronicles how his "Edenic" community is

gradually

scattered by Guiliani’s campaign that introduces pressures of tax

ID numbers, shrinking sidewalk space, and a police presence that

includes

impounding the merchandise. The police crackdown comes late in the

film, impinging on the freedoms of a cast and characters both sane

and insane that we’ve come to respect.

But Rosette, too, has come to the end of an era. He tells us he’s

also sick of three years of "standing around." Maintaining

his place at the vortex of the literary tradition, like Kerouac, he’s

"On the Road" again.

— Nicole Plett

Book Wars , New Jersey Film Festival, Scott Hall,

Room 123, College Avenue Campus, New Brunswick, 732-932-8482; Website:

www.njfilmfest.com. On a double bill with Live Nude Girls

Unite! by Julia Query and Vicki Funari. $8. Friday to Sunday, March

30 to April 1.

Top Of Page
Auditions

Actors Dance Studio , Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville, seeks

adult male and female actors ages 20 to 60 for a full-length original

play directed by Steve Gaissert. Performance dates are in June. For

audition appointment on Saturday, April 7, or Monday, April 9, call

609-637-0078.

Villagers Theater 475 DeMott Lane, Somerset, has auditions

for Terrence McNally’s "Master Class," about opera diva Maria

Callas reminiscing about her life while instructing a master class

in opera. Directed by Michael Driscoll, all roles are open; readings

will be from the script. Auditions are Tuesday and Wednesday, April

10 and 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the Villages Theater, call 732-873-2710.

Top Of Page
Call for Entries

The Kelsey Review accepts short fiction, poetry, essays,

samplings of novels, black and white line drawings, and cartoons from

writers or artists who live or work in Mercer County. The Review is

published annually and is distributed free to libraries and

bookstores.

Deadline is Tuesday, May 1. Call Robin Schore, editor, at 609-586-4800

extension 3326.

Garden State Horror Writers is accepting entries for its

second annual T-Shirt illustration contest. The winning artwork will

appear on all GSHW shirts and sweatshirts in 2001 and 2002 and the

winner will receive $100 prize and a shirt. Entries must be black

and white line art that is easily reproduced and should be no larger

than nine by twelve inches. Deadline is Thursday, May 31. Entries

should be sent to Garden State Horror Writers Illustration Contest,

Box 6476, East Brunswick 08816 with a self-addressed stamped envelope

and entry fee of $7. Call 609-443-3438.

Saint Peter’s University Hospital’s Health Center for

Women

seek entries of painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, prose,

poetry, or other non-performance creative media to promote breast

cancer awareness. The works should express your own experience of

breast cancer or be dedicated to someone you know who has been touched

by breast cancer. The Art Show and reception will be help on Friday

through Sunday, October 12 through 14, at Saint Peter’s Sister Marie

dePazzi Conference Center. Contact Charlotte Shipley at 721-745-6680

before Thursday, May 31.

Top Of Page
Faith

Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Mercer

County

has funds available to assist families with Passover expenses.

Families

in need are asked to contact the agency at 609-987-8100. Requests

are made to the agency’s professional staff and the confidentiality

of recipients is assured.

Top Of Page
Participate Please

Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church Nursery School seeks

flea market vendors for the annual spring flea market on Saturday,

April 28. $15 fee includes a table from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call Donna

at 609-771-0685.

The Arts Council of Princeton seeks crafters, food or

merchandise vendors, non profit organizations. or local performer

interested in taking part in the community=based festival

Communiversity

on Saturday, April 28 from noon to 4 p.m. Call 609-924-8777.

Top Of Page
Donations

2001 Fete Odyssey welcomes donations of furniture,

clothing,

linens, housewares, silver, china, art, patio furniture, furs, sports

equipment, antiques, rugs, jewelry, and collectibles. Working

refrigerators

are also needed to be used on the fields during the event. Cancer

care at the Medical Center at Princeton will benefit from the 48th

annual June Fete Auxiliary Benefit. to be held at the Princeton

University’s

playing fields on Washington Road in West Windsor, on Saturday, June

16. Call 609-497-4069.

Top Of Page
Trips

Burlington County Historical Society bus trip to view

the 40th Annual Philadelphia Antiques Show is on Tuesday, April 10,

with the bus leaving from the historical society on High Street at

8:45 a.m. $60 includes transportation, guided tour, box lunch, and

catalog. Call 609-386-4773.

Rabbi David Wolf Silverman will act as

"Scholar-in-Residence"

on a two-week tour of Eastern Europe focusing on Jewish heritage and

culture of Prague, Krakow, Warsaw, Vilnius, and Riga. Professional

local tour guide will lead the group from the Princeton area. Complete

itineraries and enrollment forms are available through Class A Travel,

425 Wall Street, Princeton or call 609-497-0011.

Friends of the New Jersey State Museum sponsor a

scientific

collecting expedition to China to visit the famous fossil sites at

Sihetun. Hailu You of University of Pennsylvania and the Beijing

Institute

of Vertebrate Paleontology is the guide on the trip from Monday, July

23, through Friday, August 3. Call 609-394-5310.


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