San Francisco Stories

I recently shared a post about Short Edition free story vending machines coming to Philadelphia. Now, it seems the concept has already reached San Francisco and the Café Zoetrope, which is owned by the director Francis Ford Coppola. Take a look:

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Hammer & Pickle

The legendary New York street artist Robbie Conal recently visited Philadelphia and left us some crazy anti-trump wheatpaste artwork. Hammer & Pickle is a clever update on his 2015 series called Bullu Culprit/Can’t Even.

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A prophet is not without honor

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Libraries Lead

April 8-14 is National Library Week in the United States, an annual celebration of the life-changing work of libraries, librarians and library workers. Libraries aren’t just places to borrow books, study ,or get out of the rain—they’re also creative and engaging community centers where people can collaborate using new technologies and develop their skills and passions.

Libraries of all types have long been evolving to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Diverse groups including senior citizens, the unemployed, the homeless, small business owners and students depend upon libraries and the resources they offer. Resources like e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners and programs for job seekers are just a few ways libraries and librarians are transforming to lead their communities. Community members can also develop their own leadership skills at the library, with endless opportunity to build skills and confidence through resources and programs.

The library helps lead our communities by advocating for widespread access to crucial services and lifelong learning. Libraries level the playing field for people of any age who seek information and access to technologies to improve their quality of life.

National Library Week 2018 celebrations will mark the 60th anniversary of the annual event. If you can, make the time to visit your local library and thank your library workers for their dedication to learning, reading, education, and free speech.

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Automat Art

Instead of cigarettes, these old mechanical vending machines in the Netherlands now dispense one of a kind, handmade artworks. Each Pakje Kunst. or pack of art, costs just €4 and supports local artists and art programs. The two year old project, which was inspired by the similar Kunstautomat project in Germany, has two dozen vending machines dispensing art surprises in towns and cities around the country. The packets contain mini-paintings, jewelry, sculptures, drawings, ceramics, and more.

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Discovering Books


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Frankenstein Deluxe

To commemorate the bicentennial of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein  this year, Les Éditions des Saints Pères in Paris has published a limited edition, deluxe facsimile of the original manuscript in the author’s own handwriting.

Frankenstein is a canon in the history of Literature,” said Jessica Nelson of SP Books. “But the original story is often lost on the modern public. Everybody knows the legend of Frankenstein but perhaps this has cast a shadow upon the novel itself. We wanted to publish the manuscript to pay a tribute to Mary Shelley, and the 200 years anniversary of the novel’s publication, but also to give the public access to the source of it all: the very manuscript that shaped 200 years of imagination and retelling.”

This limited facsimile edition was based on the original manuscript held in the Oxford Bodleian Library. While pricey at $250, for bibliophiles and sci-fi collectors the book offers glimpses into Shelley’s creative process, with marginalia by the author and her husband, the poet Percy Shelley.

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Bookstore Tourism: Dubai

In what seems to be a disturbing trend around the world, yet another staff-less bookstore has opened in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Book Hero, which is open 24 hours a day, has off-site management, but has zero booksellers on the premises. When queried on this business model, the owner Montserrat Martin said, “We don’t employ staff because we trust our customers.”

On the positive side, Book Hero stocks more than 20,000 titles in English, Arabic and French. The pricing is also quite reasonable at $2.50 to $5.50 per book. Unlike the employee-less bookstores in Beijing that I wrote about last month, payments are made to a “trust box”, no apps, subscriptions, or digital technology required.

Some of us value the advice and recommendations from actual human booksellers. Not to mention, the social aspect of bookshops. I for one will continue my book buying from shops that value the expertise of their staff and have at least one bookstore cat or dog on site at all times.

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April Is The Cruelest Month

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Happy Easter


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