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Banned Books Week: The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall

Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness, a candid, semi-autobiographical novel about coming to terms with a lesbian identity, brought to the forefront the question of whether or not the frank portrayal of lesbianism in a book was grounds for charges of obscenity. First published July 1928 in England by Jonathan Cape, The Well was soon seized and criminalized for violating the Obscene Publications Act of 

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Banned Books Week: Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Likely one of the most frequently censored books in the history of American literature, Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller is a lascivious romp involving Miller's expatriate exploits among the world of writers and artists in early 1930s Paris. The book was first published in Paris in 1934 by Obelisk Press, publishers of books that were considered controversial in England and the US, such as Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness. Prior to 1961, Tropic of Cancer was 

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Banned Books Week: Green Eggs and Ham

Our next title under the microscope during Banned Books week is the canonical nonsense tale of Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. "I do not like them, Sam-I-am, I do not like green eggs and ham." The People's Republic of China most notably concurred with this key mantra of Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham. Beginning in 1965, it was forbidden to read Green Eggs and Ham in Maoist China because of its "portrayal of early Marxism," and the ban was not lifted until author 

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Banned Books Week: And Tango Makes Three

Greetings, and welcome to Banned Books Week! For each day of Banned Books Week, this blog will be highlighting a famous banned or challenged book. The campaign to highlght milestones in the history of banned and challenged books and promote intellectual freedom was spearheaded by library activist Judith Krug. She once said "You should have access to ideas and information regardless of your age. If anyone is going to limit or guide a young person, it should be the parent or 

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August in the Reader's Den: Slaves of New York, Part 2

Tama Janowitz and Andy WarholAugust will soon come to a close, and so we wrap up Slaves of New York by Tama Janowitz, this month's selection in the Reader's Den.

As the stories attempt to tie loose ends with familiar characters such as Eleanor and Marley, Janowitz also weaves in some stand-alone short stories about some even more downtrodden characters, such as "Case History #15, Melinda". Melinda is a bartender in Alphabet City who takes in too many stray animals, and eventually, a stray boyfriend, who inevitably betrays her. "Ode to Heroine of the 

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Meet the Artist: James Prez

Jim Prez's artwork finds a welcome home at the Mulberry Street Library. His 'book-tures' (sculptures comprised of a book base with found objects artfully fastened atop) make inspired use of thrift store bric-a-brac and second-hand books. I spoke with Jim about his booktures and other art projects.

Booktures and book reservesWhat is your background in art-making?

I have been making things since grade school but very early on I took to photography and worked on making photographs for many years. I don't have an art 

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Reader's Den in August: Slaves of New York

Slaves of New YorkWe continue with a New York-themed Reader's Den this month—featuring Tama Janowitz's collection of intertwined stories set in Manhattan in the 1980s—Slaves of New York. Artists, dealers, junkies, prostitutes, and writers are just some of the colorful characters envisioned in what could be considered a post-modernist comedy of manners. Stumbling towards equal parts fame and/or the gutter, the common threads of precarious real estate situations, often 

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Meet the Artist: Michael Pegues

Michael PeguesMichael Anthony Pegues, a contemporary of Jean-Michel Basquiat, has been a fixture on the downtown scene and a passionate artist for many decades. A survivor and a fighter, Michael never gave up his artistic ambitions and inventions, having been through many trials and tribulations. Last year Michael had a one man show at the FB Gallery. This year, he decided to give back to his community and make a piece of art for the Mulberry Street 

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Meet the Artist: Jennifer Steffey

Jennifer Steffey's trio of paintings, grouped together under the title of Agrivulture, will be on view at the Mulberry Street Library through August 30, 2013. An illustrator for the American Museum of Natural History, Jenn also has a wide range of independent artistic projects. Using pen and ink, watercolor, and even animation to capture her inimitable style, she is Influenced by comics and superheros, surrealism, photography, pop culture, and especially her 

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Meet the Neighbor, and Artist: Fred Gutzeit

One of the goals of exhibiting art in our library is to highlight the talents of local community residents. Fred Gutzeit is not only a frequent library patron at the Mulberry Street Library, but a vibrant visual artist who wanted to contribute his work so that other library-goers could enjoy and contemplate art during their visits here. Fred's been making art in this neighborhood for over 40 years. Much of his work has been heralded by the press, and exhibited in galleries in SoHo and the East Village. I 

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Meet the Artist: Ner Beck

On view now through May 28, 2013 at the Mulberry Street Library is NER BECK: An Exhibition of Photographs of Lost and Found New York City Street Art. Ner, a New York City graphic artist and designer, has had a lifelong interest in overlooked street art captured in photographs. These images are found on his daily walks in neighborhoods throughout the city. I spoke with Ner about his photography and his philosophy.

Ner Beck with 

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Brother, Can You Spare a Stack: Libraries are in the Spotlight at the Center for Book Arts

The Occupy Wall Street LibraryThe exhibit 'Brother, Can You Spare a Stack,' on view at the Center for Book Arts through March 30th, is a thoughtful consideration of the contemporary state of libraries by 13 socially engaged artists, librarians, and art collectives. Curated by Yulia Tikhonova, who organized the exhibition MAPnificent at the Mulberry Street Library in 2012, 'Brother, Can You Spare a Stack' breathes to life 

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Meet the Artist: Q&A with William Kozar

Whose art is showing now at the Mulberry Street Library? Why, This is Kozar! William Kozar's exhibit This is Kozar, Don't Hate me Because I'm Beautiful - Glitter Compound Paintings, is on view through January 2, 2013. An art opening and art giveaway will take place on Saturday December 22, 2012 from 11 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. in our Community Room.


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Meet the Artist: Bobbi Beck

Meet Bobbi Beck — our latest artist on exhibit at Mulberry Street Library through October 27. 2012. She has already exhibited at several other branches of the New York Public Library, and has always found libraries to be a welcoming refuge and source of inspiration for her work.

These drawings are autobiographical and reflect her day-to-day observations and feelings. They convey her emotional and visual renderings of humor, love, gender conflicts, marriage, family, health, joy and sorrow, anguish and global 

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Drawing From Life Experience: Lessons Learned

Mulberry Street Library was very excited to receive a grant from Lifetime Arts this year to participate in their Creative Aging program. Lifetime Arts is an organization devoted to enriching the lives of older New Yorkers through both the visual and the performing arts. We received our grant to offer Drawing From Life Experience, an 8-week drawing class for older New Yorkers. The students learned the principles of still life and live-model drawing, using a variey of papers and drawing materials. The culminating event on May 12, 2012 was held in our 

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April in the Reader's Den - "You Know Nothing of My Work!" by Douglas Coupland, Week 4

Primarlly I chose You Know Nothing of My Work! to highlight in the Reader's Den because I am a huge fan of its author, Douglas Coupland. He is famous for being associated with the phrase Generation X*, now a term nearly as well known as Marshall McLuhan's "global village." Coupland is the author of Generation X: Tales for an 

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April Reader's Den: You Know Nothing of My Work! by Douglas Coupland - Week 3

It is worth noting that both Marshall McLuhan and his biographer Douglas Coupland, each keen observers of modern communication technologies, are both from Canada. It is also a place called home to Harold Adams Innis, a contemporary of McLuhan's, who was another early pioneer of media studies. Coupland says of Innis and McLuhan "This ability to contemplate wide distances with no overriding imperialist 

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April in the Reader's Den: "You Know Nothing of My Work!" by Douglas Coupland, Week 2

A meme, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is defined as "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture." Memes these days spread like wildfire. Everything from celebrity gossip to socio-political movements jump from one mind to the next seemingly faster than the speed of light with the ease of electronic communications. This was Marshall McLuhan's modern vision, though his thought processes were extrapolated from historical roots.

Jenny HolzerThe subject of McLuhan's 

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April in the Reader's Den: "You Know Nothing of My Work!" by Douglas Coupland - Week 1

You Know Nothing of My Work! In case you know nothing of his work, we shall open April's book discussion of Douglas Coupland's biography of Herbert Marshall McLuhan with a video clip of the famous scene from Woody Allen's 

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Meet the Artist: Rebecca Memoli

On View at Mulberry Street Library from March 5 through April 28, 2012 are paintings by the artist Rebecca Memoli. The series, called Evaluation, is influenced by Dutch Golden Age still life. Evaluation is a visual meditation on an emotional state or situation in the artist's life. Although still-lives are traditionally created void of narrative, these pieces infer a subtle narrative using everyday objects. Often dirty, used, dank, or broken, the objects resonate 

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