Thursday, December 01, 2016

your december annogram

No snow yet
Wishing you joys of Christmas, Hanukkah, or your own tradition in this season of lights. I’m celebrating work in poetry anthologies Polterguest (Main Street Rag), Realms of the Mothers (Dos Madres), Our Last Walk (University Professors) and Theories of HER (Mercurial Noodle); journals Opossum Lit and St. Petersburg Review; and next year, my second book Free Ferry (Upper Hand) that you can pre-order now, and an untitled Main Street Rag anthology on bars.

Fall Festival of Writing

Join me at Scarsdale Library, Sunday, December 4, at 11:45am for readings by novice and seasoned local writers.  I will be selling my books and sharing with the day’s readers and attendees about the literary life and craft. Thanks to novelist Barbara Josselsohn and her talented student Mary Wasacz for inviting me to this lovely event. Hope to see you there!

Joe Bonamassa
Joe Bonamassa at Westbury

Bonamassa, one of the best blues guitarists today, gave a soulful two hour plus concert last month. While his wide range of blues is inspired by the Three Kings (BB, Freddie and Albert), he is rooted in the British translation of Delta blues evidenced in his Beck-like “Going Down” and Zeppelin’s “How Many More Times.”

In trademark gray pinstripe suit and sunglasses, Bonamassa opened with a Fender Stratocaster which he also used in his tribute to Leon Russell. He dazzled on a Gibson ES-335 (like BB King’s Lucille); vintage 50s Les Paul, Explorer, Firebird, and 335 variants with and without Bigsby vibrato.  And Long Island welcomed him warmly, with one fan exulting, “Joey Bag-o-Donuts!”

Bonamassa and band
 Also impressive—drummer Anton Fig, formerly on Letterman; keyboardist Reese Wynans, formerly of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble; ACM 2016 Bass Player Michael Rhodes, trumpeter Lee Thornberg, formerly with Tower of Power; Paulie Cerra, touring sax with R&B greats such as Stevie Wonder; and backup singers Lisa Richards and Susan McKinnon of Miami.

Thanks to my favorite blues guitarist, Michael Cefola, for help with this review.

New York Botanical Garden at Night

Enjoy the Holiday Train Show, 7-10pm, with cocktails, ice carving under starlight, pop-up acts by NYC street performers, and live music. Inside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, model trains zip over bridges and past replicas of New York landmarks.  December 2, 3, 16, 17, 23, 30; January 7, 14, $35 nonmembers/$25 members (adults 21 and over). Advance tickets recommended.

Sasha Meret at Rafael Gallery

Sasha Meret: Selected Works, an exhibit curated by Beth Gersh-Nesic, director, New York Arts Exchange, will be at Rafael Gallery in New York from December 2-22 and opening reception take place December 12, 6-8pm.  The gallery, normally open Monday-Friday, 11:30-6:30pm, will be closed for the holidays. Call Rafael Gallery (212-755-4888) for hours and times after January 5.

High-energy universe

On Friday, December 2, Westchester Amateur Astronomers will host Dr. Reshmi Mukherjee, an astrophysicist and professor of physics at Barnard, who will speak on high-energy processes in the universe. You can look forward to more monthly talks next year by noted astronomers and free star parties held at Ward Pound Ridge. In the meantime, enjoy this amazing photo of the Pac Man nebula by WAA astrophotographer Olivier Prache.

Create your own video

Frank Vitale
In one weekly class for 10 weeks at the School of Visual Arts, Manhattan, you'll receive hands-on training from Frank Vitale, 30-year film instructor as you script/shoot your first promo video. Equipment provided and 25 hours instruction is $340, which would buy a mere 45 minutes in professional studio. Sign up at or contact Frank ( Frank is a great teacher! Only a few spaces remain.

Unicorn Writers

Want to get your writer game on next year? Attend the Unicorn Writers Conference at Manhattanville College on March 27. If you can't wait for feedback from editors and agents, the conference is offering a pre-conference special for $150 to have 40 pages of writing reviewed by an expert. Send a check to PO Box 176, Redding CT 06876 and your manuscript and summary to

Last minute shopping?

Consider two fantastic Nashville organizations:  FashionAble for distinctive women's jewelry, leather handbags and wallets made by craftswomen worldwide seeking financial independence; and Thistle Farms, for natural oils, balms and soaps made by women who have come off the street and are building new lives in a safe community setting.

Holiday Coffee Cake

This has to be the ideal breakfast cake, perfect for house guests to help themselves with a cup of tea or coffee: not too fattening, easy to make ahead, delicious. You probably have all the ingredients, save the lovely green apple. 

2 cups all-purpose organic flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup white sugar plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
10 tablespoons unsalted organic butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole organic milk
1 organic green apple, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thin slices

4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons organic flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon organic butter, cut into small cubes

Preheat 375°F oven. Grease 9-inch pie or square pan. In bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. In separate bowl, mix 2 tablespoons sugar with cinnamon, set aside. Using electric mixer, blend butter with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and eggs. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk, beating until just combined. Pour half of batter in bottom of pan, cover with apples, then cinnamon-sugar, and rest of batter. Mix brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon; sprinkle over cake, dot with butter, and bake 30-35 minutes.

Poetry readings / book launches

Ruby Silvious, artist of 363 Days of Tea
Riverrun Books and Manuscripts, December 2, 6pm, 363 Days of Tea book launch

HVWC, December 2, 7:30pm, Columbia, Manhattanville, Rutgers MFA poets ($10)

Zinc Bar, December 3, 4:30pm, Natalie Diaz, t’ai freedom ford ($5)

HVWC, December 3, 7:30pm, Michael Cunningham ($10)

Scarsdale Library, December 4, 12 noon, Fall Writing Festival—Ann sells her books

Mercantile Library, December 7, 6:30pm, Realm of the Mothers book launch

HVWC, December 9, 7:30pm, Amy King, Camille Rankine ($10)
Eamon Grennan

New York Botanical Garden, December 10, 2pm, Billy Collins, Eamon Grennan ($25)

Zinc Bar, December 10, 4:30pm, Chialun Chang, Cecca Austin Ochoa, Tommy Pico, ($5)

National Arts Club, December 15, 7pm, Natalie Diaz, Ross Gay, Aimee Nezhukumatahil

Zinc Bar, December 17, 4:30pm, Alex Quan Pham, Ronaldo V. Wilson ($5) 

New releases

A Tibetan Grammar, by Bénédicte Vilgrain, trans. Keith Waldrop (Burning Deck Press)

Our Last Walk (University Professors Press)

Polterguest (Main Street Rag Press)

Realms of the Mothers (Dos Madres Press)

ʼRound the Net

Thanks and/or congratulations to the following for these links and good news:

Walt Whitman,
photograph by Matthew Brady
Translator Neil Blackadder for telling us about Theater in Translation

Actor Josh Brolin on a masterful reading of Whitman in this Volvo ad

New York Times columnist David Brooks on the incandescence of Gwen Ifill

DJ Bill Flanagan for asking if rock 'n' roll is dead or merely old

Translator Isabelle Fuller for this musical take on a difficult election

Poet Cindy Hochman for her latest reading at Cornelia Street Café

DV Activist David Kroenlein for sharing this veteran's story of sexual assault

The late Sir George Martin
PBS for the extraordinary George Martin-produced documentary series on rock and pop music, Soundbreaking

Actor Celia Pilkington for receiving funding for the play Bigger Than You, Bigger Than Me

Music archivist Jay Shulman for noting the loss of Mose AllisonRaoul CoutardLeonard CohenMort OkunLeon Russell, and Robert Vaughn

Linda Simone and her lovely watercolors
Poet Linda Simone on discovering Black Lives Matter: A Poetry Reader and on her first art exhibit in her new hometown of San Antonio

Signature for 10 books to read and know about the late poet-songwriter-musician Leonard Cohen

Executive Coach Trish Tagle for interviewing Greenburgh Arts & Culture Executive Director Sarah Bracey White about her amazing achievements in growing community art

The UK’s Zoomorphic on its marine life-inspired anthology, Driftfish

We close this year by celebrating the strength and diversity of our creative community, and our mandate to bring our individual gifts into the world for healing, for joy, for wholeness.

Until next time,