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September 8th, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Canada; Music, Bands & Radio; Urban Life & New York City

Elephant Stone, Mercury Lounge, Sept 9, 7:30 PM

The Three Poisons, Elephant StoneI’m eager to hear the great sitar-inflected psychedelic band from Montreal, Elephant Stone Tuesday nite at the Mercury Lounge in NYC. They’ll be playing songs from their new album “The Three Poisons.” I’ve heard them play before and really enjoyed their blend of psychedelic sounds and bright pop harmonies. Come hear them if you think you’d like rock music that sounds like the Byrds crossed with an Indian influence. For his part, frontman Rishi Dhir (shown here on sitar) has playfully dubbed their sound ‘Hindi rock.’ Below are the details on their tour of the US Northeast.
Rishi Dhir, Elephant Stone, Bell House Brooklyn, April 2013
MON 09/08 Burlington, VT | The Monkey House
TUE 09/09 NYC, NY | Mercury Lounge
WED 09/10 Washington, DC | Black Cat
THU 09/11 Brooklyn, NY | Rock Shop
FRI 09/12 Philadelphia, PA | Milk Boy
SAT 09/13 Asbury Park, NJ |The Saint

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September 5th, 2014

By Philip Turner in: News, Politics & History

President Obama, Strolling around Stonehenge

Glad to see our hard-working Pres enjoying one of the world’s great wonders. Not surprisingly, right-wingers, many of whom probably don’t have a passport, are criticizing him for making this stop. Such know-nothings and idiots. From the look of it, some of them think he flew deliberately to Britain, just to see the ancient site, not conceding he had already been in Wales.

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September 5th, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Books & Writing

#FridayReads, Sept 5–George C. Chesbro’s “In the House of Enemies,” w/Mongo the Magnificent

Mongo cover#FridayReads—In the House of Secret Enemies by George C. Chesbro, ten short stories featuring one of the all-time greatest detective series characters, Mongo the Magnificent—criminology professor, ex-circus acrobat, and dwarf. I found this mass-market paperback, a 1990 Mysterious Press edition, when I browsed and shopped at Myopic Books on Milwaukee Ave in Chicago last month, a great second-hand store. The collection also includes a revealing intro by Chesbro, “The Birth of a Series Character,” explaining how he came to dream up the character of Mongo, and how he persevered despite little encouragement from editors, at least at the beginning. After the intro, Chesbro offers notes before each tale explaining the role it played in the development of the character. These stories were all written before he dared put Mongo in a full-length novel–hell, before he even if he could write a Mongo novel, or if the character could bear the weight of a full-length book—so these were all key experiments in character creation and development. The collection is full of great writing and shop-talk. I read the first few Mongo novels when I operated my bookstore, Undercover Books, but haven’t read one in many years. I love mystery series publishing, with so many great and memorable characters. Now, I gotta find more of Chesbro’s Mongo titles, which combine two of my favorite things—the circus and detective fiction!Mongo back cover

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September 4th, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Personal History, Family, Friends, Education, Travels; Publishing & Bookselling

Flashing Back to the Past–Me at Undercover Books in 1983

Undercover Books, the bookstore operated by my two siblings, Joel and Pamela, and our parents, Earl and Sylvia, opened for business on May 4, 1978. Five years later, we were enough of a fixture in the community that a local newspaper was arranging interviews with us, to talk about books, and the business. They did one on me, and one on Pam. When I visited her in Cleveland last month, I was surprised to see them preserved in a scrapbook she had. Here’s the one they did on me. To read the entire column, click on the image and pause the slideshow as it comes on-screen.

Sun Press profile

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September 3rd, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Bicycling; Urban Life & New York City

Bike Ride, Sept 3–Upper Manhattan Beauty Spot

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September 3rd, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Books & Writing

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Book Launch, as Oddly Reclusive as His Political Campaign

Pundits like to intone that political autobiographies, published under the name of top candidates for public office, are all but obligatory, but the thing is, they actually have to come out to have any salutary effect for the politician, otherwise they’re apt to become an embarrassment. That proviso seems to have eluded NY Governor Cuomo, whose own book, originally due out in August, has been postponed twice, and will finally, if it comes out now as (re-)scheduled, be out for only a couple weeks prior to the November canvass. That’s assuming Cuomo makes it past his Democratic primary challenger Zephyr Teachout, whom he’s energetically ignoring in advance of the Sept 9 vote for the Democratic ballot. I like Teachout, and will be voting for her and her Lt Gov running mate Timothy Wu. It’s not that I believe either will win his/her race, but it’s important there be a protest vote lodged against Cuomo, who’s often governed with more deference to Republicans than Democrats; short-circuited his own corruption commission before it had the chance to finish its job; selected a far-right Democrat, Kathy Hochul, as his Lt Gov running mate; and refused to debate Teachout. He’s insulting voters, including ones like me who voted for him in 2010.

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September 3rd, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Books & Writing; Media, Blogging, Internet; Urban Life & New York City

Hearing Harvey Araton Talk about “Cold Type”

I really enjoyed reading Cold Type after getting a copy at BEA in early summer, and it was fun meeting Araton last night at Book Court. It’s like a Tom Wolfe novel, in that it’s set against a churning social backdrop, the NYC that was emerging in 1994, just as the Internet was about to change journalism, but it has a lot more heart than Wolfe, with characters whose fates you really ponder, even the bad guys. Araton’s been writing about sports, in the NY Times and in books for years, but this is his first novel and it’s really good. I wrote about it on this blog June 14.

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August 29th, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Philip Turner's Books & Writing

Looking for a Laugh