You belong to three book clubs, your idea of a perfect weekend is
strolling up and down Eighth Avenue at the New York Book Fair, your
bathroom is stacked with back copies of the New York Review of Books,
and you’ve got Amazon, bn.com, and exlibris.com bookmarked on your
computer. Admit it. You’re a bookworm.
Bookworms and people who just plain love to read have a treat in store
for them – that is, if they can get in: Bloomberg and the National
Book Foundation "An Evening with the Winners of the 2004 National Book
Awards" speaking about the "writing life." The National Book Award is
one of the country’s most prestigious literary awards. But then, if
you’re a bookworm, you already know that.
The tour has only three stops – the New York Public Library, on
Wednesday, February 23; the Princeton Public Library, on Thursday,
February 24; and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington,
D.C., on Tuesday, March 22. Admission to the Princeton event is
limited first to cardholders and then to a waiting list.
This year’s winners will discuss and read from their books and take
questions from the audience. A reception with the authors will follow.
The winners include:
Nonfiction. "Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder
in the Jazz Age" by Kevin Boyle is part-courtroom drama, part
biography, and an engaging look at race in America in the early 20th
century. Boyle teaches 20th century American history at Ohio State
Young People’s Literature. "Godless" by Pete Hautmann weaves the tale
of a teenage boy who decides to invent a new religion with a new god –
the town’s water tower. Hautmann lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin and
writes fiction for adults and teens. His poker-themed crime novels,
and "The Mortal Nuts," were selected as New York Times Book Review
Poetry. "Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003" by
Jean Valentine (Wesleyan University Press) brings together more than
70 new poems with selections from eight previous books. Valentine is
the author of 10 books of poetry. She lives in New York City and is
currently a teacher at Sarah Lawrence, the Graduate Writing Program at
NYU and Columbia, and the 92nd Street Y.
Fiction. "The News from Paraguay" by Lily Tuck is an historical epic
that tells an unusual love story in 19th century Paraguay. Born in
Paris, Tuck divides her time between Maine and New York City and is
the author of three previous novels. Her stories have appeared in The
An Evening with the Winners of the 2004 National Book Awards,
Thursday, February 24, 7 p.m., Community Room, Princeton Public
Library. Free, but tickets are required. Library cardholders may
obtain a maximum of two tickets at the welcome desk or by calling
609-924-9529, ext. 257. Those without library cards will be placed on
a waiting list and notified of availability on February 24.
The New York Public Library event takes place Wednesday, February 23,
at 6:30 p.m., in the Celeste Bartos Forum, entrance on 42nd Street
between 5th and 6th Avenues. Free. Call the National Book Foundation
at 212-685-0261 for reservations.
Singles: It’s a Comic, No, It’s Your Next Date
It’s a cross between stand-up comedy, speed dating, Oprah, and the
Newlywed Game, says Colette Hawley, a New York comedienne and host of
"Dating It," a production that Hawley and her husband, Jack, a
producer, hatched three years ago. "Jack did one show with once comic
dating six different girls. And I said, ‘Well, let me say something
about that – how about this: three girl and three guy comics and let’s
have them date audience volunteers." "Dating It" comes to the Stress
Factory Comedy Club in New Brunswick on Thursday, February 17.
Hawley serves as emcee, as she has for similar shows at Luna Lounge on
the lower East Side of Manhattan, Madison Square Garden’s former
Comedy Garden, and at comedy festivals in Montreal, Minneapolis, and
Vancouver. "I come out and set the stage with the rules. I usually say
something to break the ice like, `I’m married but God knows that’s the
best time to start really dating.’" Hawley’s ice-breaker is followed
by six sexy, young, single comics, three male and three female, who
come out one at a time for a three-minute stand-up routine.
"After the first comic is finished, she sits at a table with two
chairs," says Hawley, who then goes into the audience to scope out a
possible "date" for the comic. "I might say, `Hey, who wants to date
Shawna, I pick someone and interview them, just like Oprah might do,
ask them ‘What do you like about Shawna,’ and so on. Whoever I think
is a) cute and b) has energy gets to go up to the table and have a
three-minute speed date. I hover around them like Endora from
The comic in the hot seat gets the banter going – and the audience
howling – with cut-to-the-chase quips like, "How long do I have to
wait to sleep with you so that you don’t think I’m loose?" At the end
of the "date," the couple each circle "yes" or "no" on a card
indicating whether they would like to move on with this "relationship"
to the next level of the show or politely stop the match then and
there. The results are kept secret until all of the comics have
performed and dated. If a pair both circle "yes," then it’s a match.
"The audience is completely involved," says Hawley. "Even if you’re
not onstage you get to be the voyeurs and end up picking the winning
couple. After each comic is paired with a "date," Hawley launches into
a slew of Newlywed Game-type questions to test each couple’s
compatibility like, "You are on a first date, and the check comes. Do
you run to the bathroom or fall asleep?" Each man and woman writes
his/her answer on a card so the other can’t see, and then Hawley
compares the answers out loud to the audience.
"I do mortifying and hilarious things," says Hawley. "I might say,
‘It’s been said that you can tell a lot about a person by how they
dance,’ and then I make each dance for 15 seconds." She also makes
them do other things she doesn’t want to reveal before the show to
protect the surprise element. The couple at the end with the most
points is sent by the show on an actual full-length date.
"It’s a genuine dating event, strictly meant for entertainment. The
show is never the same twice," says Hawley, who started out in musical
theater, then segued into comedy five years ago. She adds that one of
the reasons the show works so well is the humor quotient. "If you read
any magazine about relationships, or ask a girl or guy, what’s the
most important quality in a mate, they’ll say a sense of humor. People
want to imagine that they themselves are funny, or they want to
imagine that their life will be filled with laughter, that humor will
make their life fun and help them get through problems. Those are
valid fantasies. Dating is all about fantasy."
In her own life, however, Hawley is suspicious of funny men. Does she
think her husband is funny? "My husband is playful; he thinks I’m
funny. I personally don’t trust funny people, funny men particularly.
I love them but I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with one. If
you think about it, almost all humor comes from a place of anger and
depression. The personal things I know about the funny men I know are
– Jamie Saxon
Dating It, Stress Factory Comedy Club, 90 Church Street, New
Brunswick. Reservations necessary. $12. Discounts and coupons
Arts Council of Princeton invites creative works of literature and art
by students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Submissions may be in
English or Spanish with a maximum of 700 words. Illustrations must be
in black and white and no larger than 8.5 by 11 inches. Visit
www.artscouncilofprinceton.org or call 609-924-8777.
Princeton Center for Yoga and Health offers a martial arts program
"Inspire" for children with special needs. Begins on Wednesday, March
2. Call 609-924-7294 for information.
Princeton HealthCare System offers flu vaccines for any person 18 or
over. $20. For appointment call 609-497-4206.
New Jersey State Council on the Arts offers apprenticeships grants for
traditional folk arts. Stipends range from $1,000 to $3,000. Call
609-292-6130 for an application.
Top Of PageVolunteer
Contact of Mercer County seeks volunteers for its 24-hour Crisis
Intervention Hotline. The 10-week course begins Tuesday, March 15,
9:30 a.m. or 7:15 p.m. Classes will be held at Trinity United
Methodist Church in Ewing. Visit www.contactofmercer.org or call
Princeton HealthCare System offers an eight-week volunteer training
course for hospice program volunteers. Classes begin on Thursday,
March 10, 5:30 p.m. at 208 Bunn Drive. Call Helaine Isaacs at
609-497-4959 for information and registration.
Fresh Air Fund seeks families to volunteer as hosts for two weeks or
longer this summer. Visit www.freshair.org or call 800-367-0003.
Top Of PageFor Seniors
Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein urges eligible senior citizens and
residents with disabilities in District 14 to apply for the 2004
Property Tax Reimbursement, also known as the senior citizen property
tax freeze. Visit www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/index.html or call
Top Of PageSports
New Jersey Devils Alumni Association offers college scholarships to
high school senior hockey players. Call 201-935-6050 for a copy of the
rules and application.
New Jersey Bandits Football seeks spring football team players ages 17
and up. E-mail email@example.com or call 732-382-8894 for
Men’s Adult Baseball League of New Jersey is admitting new individuals
and teams for the spring, 2005 season. Individual players must be 18
and up. Visit www.amateurbaseballnj.com or call Dave Micallef at
GSBL Wood Bat League seeks players from 14 and up. Visit
www.gardentstatebaseball.com or call 732-382-4610.
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