Born In The USA


Bruce Springsteen fans have long awaited a book from Jersey’s favorite son, but few expected that it would be a children’s book. The Boss has teamed with cartoonist/ illustrator/writer Frank Caruso to produce “Outlaw Pete”, which is based on the song of the same name.

Here is the text of the press release:

Simon & Schuster announced today a major new book for the fall 2014 holiday season: Outlaw Pete by Bruce Springsteen and Frank Caruso, based on the celebrated song about a bank-robbing baby whose exploits become a meditation on sin, fate, and free will.Both the song (from Springsteen’s 2009 “Working on a Dream” album) and the new book Outlaw Pete were inspired by a children’s book, Brave Cowboy Bill (Simon & Schuster, 1950), which Bruce Springsteen’s mother used to read to him as a child. “Outlaw Pete is essentially the story of a man trying to outlive and outrun his sins,” Springsteen writes.

Frank Caruso, a cartoonist and writer, conceived of making the song into a book and created the illustrations to accompany Springsteen’s lyrics. “When Bruce wrote ‘Outlaw Pete’ he didn’t just write a great song, he created a great character,” Caruso said. “The first time I heard the song this book played out in my head. Like Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Dorothy Gale and for me, even Popeye, Outlaw Pete cuts deep into the folklore of our country and weaves its way into the fabric of great American literary characters. “

“This book will be treasured by anyone who appreciates Bruce Springsteen’s unique gifts as a storyteller,” said Jonathan Karp, President and Publisher of Simon & Schuster. “Frank Caruso’s illustrations vibrantly capture the spirit of Springsteen’s work.”

Picture books for adults have undergone a renaissance of late, from the success of similarly irreverent hits such as Ann Droyd’s Goodnight iPad and Adam Mansbach’s Go the F–k To Sleep to the resurgent interest in illustrators such as Richard Scarry, Maurice Sendak, and Edward Gorey. Simon & Schuster, which acquired World rights to the work, will publish Outlaw Pete on November 4, 2014.

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First Day of School

Polish street art collaborative Etam Cru contributed this timely piece called “First Day of School” to Stavanger, Norway’s Nuart Festival.


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Paris Through the Lens

Paris Through Pentax is a lovely short video created by Maison Carnot which is a digital video company.

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Luncheon in the Grass


The always witty Spanish street artist known as Pejac recently made a brief visit to Paris where he created this marvelous painting on a wall in the 13º arrondissement. Within the “splat”, he placed a nice copy of Édouard Manet’s controversial Le déjeuner sur l’herbe. You can see the original at the Musée D’orsay.



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At least it’s close to the airport


If you’re looking for an inexpensive, albeit inconveniently located, unique place to stay in New York City this may be the ticket. What do you think about staying at a floating, sustainable hotel made from repurposed truck parts sound? Designed by architects Matteo Pinto and Carolina Cisneros of design company ComboColab, the Truck-a-Float Hotel offers four separate sleeping pods made out of old windowed truck cabs. The unique accommodations, moored at Marina 59 by the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge , only costs between $60 and $90 per night.


The hotel’s pods where built out of roofing panels and wood with recycled pick-up truck caps. Each floating “room” has a two-person cot, a folding table, fan and mosquito netting. Bathroom facilities are nearby.


Maybe the biggest selling point for the Truck-a-Float Hotel is its proximity to JFK International Airport just across the bay.


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Homer’s Hometown

Last week Springfield, Oregon unveiled a mural art tribute to America’s favorite family. Created by artist Julius Preite, the 15 by 30 foot mural adorns the city’s Emerald Art Center. Sadly, this Springfield is not the real hometown of the Simpsons; everybody knows that. But since they went to all the trouble and expense, I guess Springfield, Oregon deserves its 15 minutes of fame for trying.




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Happy Labor Day from Down the Shore


During another lifetime, I lived in number of seaside towns on the New Jersey coast. Labor Day is always a bittersweet holiday for shore communities. For seasonal tourists, it marks the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of the school year, but locals secretly rejoice to see the crowds leave and to get the beaches back to themselves.











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And then there’s this library


I received a decent undergraduate education at the University of Florida. At the heart of the sprawling campus was a substantial library housing wide-ranging collections that  included rare book and manuscripts. It even had a terrific comic books collection. So I was a bit nonplussed to see that the state university system has opened a new campus—Florida Polytechnic University—that boasts a remarkable main building designed by Santiago Calatrava and a library with no books.


Actually, FPU doesn’t even have a true library; it has “the Commons”, which provides an area for “library services”. There are librarians, and a digital catalog with a whopping 135,000 e-books, but other than that it’s essentially bookless. Apparently, if a student wants to access tradition books they can only apply for interlibrary loans.

I’m no Luddite, but even a science and technology focused university deserves a real library, with real books. Although they won’t have to worry about Calatrava’s roof leaking on the books.


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Do Libraries Float


I love libraries and I love boats; what could be better than a library on a boat ? The Floating Library is a new pop-up project that will open at New York City’s Hudson River Pier 25 on the Lilac Museum Steamship. The special library collection will focus on art books and is being curated by artist Beatrice Glow. Sadly, the Floating Library will only be open from Saturday September 6 through October 3, 2014.

Here’s some more on the project from the website:

The ship’s main deck will be transformed into an outdoor reading lounge to offer library visitors a range of reading materials from underrepresented authors, artist books, poetry, manifestoes, as well as book collection, that, at the end of the lifecycle of the project, will be donated to local high school students with demonstrated need. Ongoing art installations include a Listening Room that will feature new works by six sound artists in response to literature, site-specific paper rope swings, The Line, by Amanda Thackray, and Leading Lights by Katarina Jerinic in the Pilot House.



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Been There


If you’ve been searching for a simple way to keep track of your peregrinations, the free iOS app Been, created by Martin Johannesson, is an elegant way to record visits to U.S. states and nations around the world. The app provides graphic visualization, as well as lists and ratios of countries by continent. Download it here.


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