Not much shakin’   Leave a comment

Sadly, I’ve been to more Barnes and Noble stores the past few
months than indie shops, and not getting into NYC much of late,
and lacking tons of cash to blow on rare books also has attenuated
my indie bookstore excursions and succumbing to buying things
online more often than not. It’s nice to see that Barnes is still
stocking new fantasy SF and horror titles, but not much in the
way of back-titles or deep back titles any longer, and they still
have music magazines but not nearly as much as they once
did. The UK magazines like UNCUT and Mojo are a few of the
only good UK media and music mags worth buying any longer. Most of the
American ones are not very good these days, sadly. And there’s
almost no Fantasy or SF mag. action at B&N, they don’t even
stock LOCUS which is a great crime and shame. At least,
not the Barnes and Nobles near me. Borders Books did,
when they were still going. Cannot even find Video Watchdog
any longer, although perhaps it’s only going out subscription
and as an e-zine these days? I have no idea.
I even finally acquired a copy of Donald R. Burleson’s seminal
1984 Greenwood Press study on H. P. Lovecraft from none other than Larry McMurtry’s fine bookstore in Texas (online) for a very reasonable price last
year, a book I’d meant to buy decades ago but couldn’t afford
such an academic tome at the time. That’s what it’s come to.
Got a mint fine beautiful copy from him, too. His bookstore
is Booked Up (http://www.bookedupac.com/), I heartily recommend
shopping with his fine store online or off, if you ever get to the
fabled Archer City, Texas, I should think that Mr. McMurtry
requires no introduction, otherwise! I also got a copy of Burleson’s
Disturbing the Universe on HPL Deconstructed from a separate
online source quite reasonably not long ago. It’s ok to use Amazon
and ABE as long as you go with some reputable and deserving
book dealers and indie shops, I would say, also Goodwill shops
seem to offer some amazing deals online nowadays. As long
as it’s going to the right sources, hey, online is fine. It still won’t
replace real bookstores though, of course. I also heard that
Borderlands Books in San Francisco (never been there or the store,
but do hope to someday soon) was in grave danger of closing
the past two years or under, but they appear to have run enough
of a save the shop appeal that they have raised the funds to keep
Borderlands going indefinitely! Great, guys. I only wish I had
thousands of $ to send you for books and to help the cause.
But I hear Borderlands is an amazing shop, also featuring a cafe,
and tons of author signings and events all the time. I’m envious.
(http://www.borderlands-books.com/)
I did make two trips the past two months, out to Suffolk County, L.I. to West Babylon’s fine indie music shop Looney Tunes, which does stock a good wall of rock and music books, but needs to stock more zines and things
than they do now. One trip was to catch an in-store performance of our friend
Jesse Malin on the release of his fine new CD New York Before The War,
in May, at which he did a two-main acoustic performance of select
songs from the new album, other older tunes, and one Big Star song.
This was a stupendous event, got a signed CD by Jesse and his
guitarist Derek Cruz, and the show was fantastic as always.
I went out to Looney Tunes again a few weekend ago, and
bought a bunch of items, including a fantastic Albert King’s
double CD Best Of compiliaton from Stax, I already own the
late great B. B. King’s King of the Blues box set, so I’m covered
with B. B. that’s for sure. LooneyTunes also is the place to go
on L.I. for rare and new vinyl, but the prices on much of the new
stuff is a bit, er, exorbitant. But LooneyTunes remains one
of the finest indie music shops on Long Island or in the entire
tri-state area, though many Brooklyn shops like Rough Trade
or Academy Annex probably have them beat by a few miles,
if truth be told, but we meed more shops like LT on L.I.! They’re
worth the road trip out there. I also ate at the fabulous South
Bay diner on Sunrise Highway one of these trips, a great diner
in the middle of kind of a wasteland area, and it featured
a beautiful young maiden on the cash register which also
helped assuage the wasteland-esque nature of Suffolk Long
Island. It’s time to go back for more coffee soon.
I recently signed an online petition to try to help save the Forest Hills, Queens Barnes and Noble from extinction over the landlord wanting
to raise the rent astronomically high there by next year: I know
it’s not an indie shop but I used to shop a lot at that Barnes
and Noble when I was living in Queens and Brooklyn years ago,
and I have a soft spot for it, even though we still have larger
B&N stores out here still on L.I. They also held an event
last Sunday 5/31/15 which I didn’t hear about early enough
to attend, at the store to try to raise awareness of it’s possible
closure, including authors and readings and buy-ins, etc.
Wish I could’ve attended but alas, I could not. I do hope
they find a way to save the Barnes and Nobles, and also,
I hear P.S. Books in DUMBO Brooklyn is also now in danger
of closing soon due to high rents and taxes, and I liked that
shop when I went a few times the past few years, so let’s
hope P.S. finds either a way to stay open, a new home,
or both.
Meanwhile i notice Barnes and Noble in Park Slope and
the Court Street shop in Bklyn Heights are both apparently
doing well and going strong, presumably due to the wealthy
nature of the only people who can really afford to live in those
tony neighborhoods these days. I recall when I lived in
the area, Montague Street and Court St. even had some
good indie comics, music and guitar shops and things but
I fear most of those if not all, are now long gone or moved
to Greenpoint, Billyburg or Bushwick, although the Hts.
still has Court Books and a few other things to recommend it.
I haven’t really been over to that area in a while, and I was
in DUMBO and P.S. Books briefly this past December, but
I had no time to shop, alas, so was only in the nabe for
a few hours and it was bloody cold that day as well.
I did venture two summers ago up to the venerable
Book Barn in Niantic, CT, which was a load of fun but
elicited not much in the way of true rare/signed/antiquarian SF
Horror or Fantasy titles, but some cheap general genre stuff,
and last summer I was briefly in Providence, RI and
finally made it to Cellar Stories in downtown Providence,
a great and fine shop, I bought a few choice books,
sold a few things, and they had Necronomicon Press
new and OOP titles at the register, Arkham House books,
and an excellent Horror SF and Fantasy section(s),
as well as some great film and entertainment/music and
poetry rare and OOP books and cheap, mainly as well.
If you get to Providence anytime soon, go check out Cellar Stories,
this is how the bookstores in Providence used to be,
as well as the late great Merlin’s Closet, although
that shop was so fabulous nothing much could touch
it in its day, I only wish I could go back in the time
machine for Merlin’s Closet, which helped put me
in touch with the Lovecraft Mafia (haha) and
I only got to shop at once or twice, but was key in
my getting involved with the whole horror, Lovecraft
and pulp fiction field in the early 1980s.
Otherwise, watching a ton of films, old and new.
Mad Max: Fury Road was JUST GODAWFUL. I shall rant
about that another time. Also finally watched Rich
Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly, which I thought was
a fine version of Philip K. Dick’s classic paranoid
novel, much better than Minority Report or
Total Recall, by far, and the most faithful Dick
adaptation I believe I’ve yet seen.

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