Archive for September, 2008

A Busy Tuesday

In addition to the Hitchcock screening, there’s also this at the Y next Tuesday:


Russian-American novelist Irina Reyn will speak on her new novel, set in Rego Park’s large Bukarian-Jewish enclave, on Tuesday, September 23, at 1:30 p.m., at the Central Queens YM & YWHA in Forest Hills. Born in Moscow, Reyn spent much of her childhood in New York and her work is a sharply drawn portrait of the Russian-American dream, from the inside. Her novel, What Happened to Anna K., reimagines the classic story of Tolstoy’s tragic heroine, setting the story in the Bukharian Jewish community. Reyn’s novel stands on its own, though, as a depiction of an immigrant community in Queens, its dreams and thwarted aspirations.


An Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, Irina Reyn is editor of Living on the Edge, and has published short stories and essays in publications such as The Forward, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Moscow Times.  Her talk is first in the fall Meet the Author Series sponsored by the Rabbi Simon Hevesi Library of the Central Queens YM & YWHA, at 67-09 108 Street in Forest Hills. All events are open to the general public, with a $4 donation requested.  For more information, call 718-268-5011, ext. 151, or email

These Y e-mails never quite do the subject justice, so here is a review of the book that I found online:

From Publishers Weekly

Set among early 21st-century Russian Jewish immigrants in New York City, Reyn’s debut beautifully adapts Anna Karenina’s social melodrama for a decidedly different set of Russians. Anna, 30-something with a string of bad relationships behind her and a restless, literarily inclined soul, is wooed into marriage by the financial stability and social appropriateness of Alex K., an older businessman with roots in her Rego Park, Queens, community. As Anna chafes at her unromantic life, trouble hits in the form of David, the hipster-writer boyfriend of her sweet, naïve cousin, Katia. The furiously flying sparks between Anna and David provide cover as Katia is quietly pursued by Lev, a young Bukharan Jew who, like Anna, is a dreamer whose relationship with the émigré community is fraught. Reyn’s Anna is perhaps even harder to sympathize with than Tolstoy’s original, but Reyn’s sparkling insight into the Russian and Bukharan Jewish communities, and the mesmerizing intensity of her prose, make this debut a worthy remake. Lev’s and Anna’s divergent trajectories and choices illuminate how perilous the balance between self and society remains.


September 17, 2008 at 10:12 am 1 comment

Hitchcock Happening

It’s time for the annual(?) screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. Those of you with a good memory will recall that this same film was shown in November 2007 by the same folks and for the same cause. Good thing some of us dig watching the same movie over and over again. (And I dig cutting-and-pasting from the post I did last year!)

Alfred Hitchcock’s 

Screening at the Midway Theater
Tuesday, September 23, 2008, 8 p.m.

Queens Blvd/70th Road in Forest Hills

For those outside of FoHi, take the E, F, V, or R to the 71st Ave/Continental stop, exit station, and turn 360 degrees until you spot the theater. Or, take the LIRR to Forest Hills Station or the Q60 bus to 71st Ave, Queens Blvd.

Suggestion donation of $5.00 will go to the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. 

For more info, contact Steve: 917-558-3802

September 15, 2008 at 2:35 pm Leave a comment

Arts and Herbs in LIC

I logged a few hours at PS1 this past Friday. Despite being too busy to justifiably chop the day up, I had made plans to meet a friend there, and hating to cancel, decided to take my 3-year-old too so that I’d get some face-time with her in the mix. What a treat! 

To begin with, PF1, the urban farm, is still up in the courtyard, and it is an amazing meld of artistry, ingenuity, and environmental sanity. You have to see it to truly understand how great it is–herbs, vegetables, and other edibles planted in thick cardboard, industrial-use looking cylinders, bunched together to create a sculpture that rises off the ground. There’s a reflecting pool and the coolest outdoor seating I’ve ever sat in. My little one was especially enthused by the chicken coop. A chicken coop!!

Inside, the exhibit Arctic Hysteria is still going on. It’s mostly video installation, and much of it is, well, hysteria and a bit hysterical, and all good. I loved Mika Ronkainen’s “Screaming Men,” Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen compilation of “Complaints Choir” performances, and Jari Silomäki‘s ongoing photographic project My Weather Diary. A smart, engaging, and thought-provoking exhibition at our local contemporary art center. And since it only runs through Sept. 21, I felt compelled to share.

There are other things going on there too, including three pieces by Olafur Eliasson, you know, the Icelandic guy who’s responsible for the waterfalls along the East River (those, too, make for a fabulous destination). One of his works is none other than a waterfall, though small scale.

Did I mention that PS1 is a 15-minute subway ride (express) away from Forest Hills?

September 13, 2008 at 10:18 pm Leave a comment

To Explain…

Well, I don’t really have one good-big explanation for drying up like a late-summer flower. More like lots of small ones–computer busted; had a house full of kids, some not my own; was exhausted from work; was tired of being chained to the computer, and with the blog, concerned about how compulsive you have to be about staying on top of things; and so forth.

And the longer it went on, the easier it became not to look at the blog, though I often thought about it and how much fun I have had doing it. I must say, it has been a nice break. I wish I could say, “I’m baaack!” but I’m still working through in my mind how back I can and want to be. My daughter is now in nursery school most mornings of the week, so both of my kids are out of nest, at least for a few hours every day. And yet, I’m busier than ever, probably because I’m helping green and tech my son’s school, editing several books for work, and starting to take classes in botany, a long-held interest that I put on hold once I got preggers with #2.

Life went on, with much of my day still spent in Forest Hills. I took long walks, actually achieving a bit of success at losing some-5 pounds that gnaw at my self-esteem like maggots. I got back on my bike and started taking some lovely rides around the area because this is the best weather to tour Forest Hills and much of Queens. Never mind that some jerk high schooler practically ran me over in his teenage-packed car on the GCP service road; the ride through Flushing Meadow, amid the excitement of the US open and the flowering weeds and reeds stays with me, while the gash on my foot continues to heal. I’ve eaten at Dees a lot because it’s so damned kid-friendly (and I have to say, Dee makes one heck of a delicious hamburger) and once we took over the outdoor seating at the Theater Cafe, where the food is so-so but the desserts are oh-so. I saw ELEGY at the Kew Gardens theatre and thought it was great, even if it wasn’t as nasty as Philip Roth’s original. I made several raids on Forest Hills’ library and read, among many other things, Humphrey Burton’s mega-bio on Leonard Bernstein, in preparation for the big shindig all over New York this fall. I’m lovin’ that library.

Looking at this summer/fall semi-inventory of activity, I see that even though I turned inward to a certain extent, my connection to my neighborhood and borough was ever in place. I’m hopelessly but happily rooted here after all is said and done (or not done).

Thanks for bearing with me.

September 10, 2008 at 8:32 pm 5 comments

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