You may have heard of Stephen King. I think he sold a book or two”¦ or 350 million. The world-famous author and his son, fellow author Owen King, packed the St. Ann’s & the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn, NY on Tuesday, September 26, as part of an event put on by Books Are Magic, a bookstore in Cobble Hill. We got there for the 8:00 PM event at 4:30 PM, and the line was already wrapped around the block. I asked the group sitting in folding chairs in the front when they got there and the casually responded, 9:30 AM. Introduced by Emma Straub, owner of the bookstore and daughter of King collaborator Peter Straub, the Kings took the stage to raucous applause. The two were there to introduce their latest project, the 700-page novel Sleeping Beauties, as well as take part in a self-led Q&A.
It’s been nearly 20 years since I last spoke to or heard from George Tabb. His voice over the telephone sounds substantially raspier than I remembered. “You have to have your life go horribly wrong to want to do punk rock,” he says, and if that’s the case, then Tabb is punk as fuck.
A nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn, NY, Tabb moved to Greeenwich, CT when he was just 7 years old. This may have marked the beginning of his road to ruin. He didn’t get along with his father and was bullied by the local kids for being Jewish. “The kids there had no idea what a Jew was. They would search my head looking for horns or think I drank baby blood,” says Tabb of the experience. As Tabb got older, he moved to Tallahasee, FL to go to college. Things weren’t much better there. “My college roommate’s father was the Imperial Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan,” notes Tabb. However, Tabb would soon find an escape, playing in his first punk rock band in 1979.
The French Connection, which remains one of the benchmarks in the history of cinema, particularly instrumental in ushering in a new wave of motion pictures during the latter quarter of the 20th Century in which real, gritty, uncensored, and violent police crime drama narratives were portrayed realistically, uncensored, and cinematically expertly, celebrates its 45th anniversary today.
Originally released on October 9th, 1971 in the United States, The French Connection is based on a true story about a French shipping magnate who plans to smuggle over $30 million in heroin to America to make a deal with some New York underworld gangsters, only to have it thwarted by a ragged yet alpha duo of unconventional and extremely unorthodox cops.
The hustle and bustle of Manhattan is legendary, but I don’t think it is so poignantly captured anywhere as it is on the Lower East Side. A mixture of struggling artists, immigrant culture, historical landmarks, a yearning for a sense of family and community, and an element of crime and danger has made the neighborhood what it is. However, an evolving gentrification has become more and more prevalent throughout the years, pricing out the people that gave the area its character, and many of them have had to move away. Mom and pop businesses are forced to close their doors as the big boys are moving in. Those still standing can do little other than to turn away from eyesores like the 7-11 that now stands on Ave. A. But there’s one woman that’s not going down without a fight.
Wendy Scripps was born in the Bay Area of California, but moved to Manhattan in 1982. Her mother, a Brooklyn native, told Wendy she was born to be a New Yorker. “Once I got to New York, I knew that was where I was supposed to be,” says Scripps. “It fit like a glove.” Scripps’ parents were both active in the art communities. Her mother was a dancer, well ahead of her time. She was a Martha Graham dancer and the first to teach the art of Bharatanatyam (an ancient Indian dance) in America. Scripps’ father was active in the theater community doing stage design, but also loved rock n’ roll music. He began taking Scripps to rock n’ roll shows at a young age.
The Muppets have been named New York City Family Ambassadors by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city’s tourism and marketing organization, NYC & Company.
As part of the year-long honor, the Muppets will help to spread the word on New York City’s various family-friendly options for anyone traveling to any of the five boroughs, including food, shopping, attractions, parks, and cultural institutions. Those curious about where to visit can head to NYC’s family section, where the likes of Kermit the Frog will help with navigating, Miss Piggy will help with shopping, and, of course, the Swedish Chef will recommend restaurants.