Christopher P. Stephens, Bookman
Chris Stephens has been a book dealer since 1965 - earlier if you count childhood buying and selling.
Stephens has sold major collections to university libraries all over the world. He has operated appealing bookstores in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, Hastings on Hudson, NY and several in NYC, NY. He is a wholesale dealer to other bookstores all over the world.
Chris loves books.
Stephens now maintains a lively internet operation out of his new home in Scranton, PA.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Ralph Fasanella used to enjoy hanging around riverrun and chatting with Frank Scioscia. The men were both sons of Italian immigrants. Both were sympathetic to unions and mistrustful of management. Fasanella was as tickled as Scioscia that riverrun bookstore was in the old Anaconda union hall.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Shelves are filled with interesting and useful shapes in appealing earth tones. "That's what I like best for pottery," Marian tells a fellow potter. "I use red clay. I always have. And I like rich greens and browns over that dark clay." The pots are beautiful. I particularly like a huge one with an abstract leaf pattern.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Marian Ferrer opened her pottery studio/shop in Dobbs Ferry a couple of years before Frank Scioscia opened his pre-riverrun bookstore. The Dobbs Ferry Bookstore was less than a block from Dobbs Ferry Pottery. The proprietors became friends.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Sol Stein came into riverrun with a whole string of compliments for Frank Scioscia and riverrun.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
In the 1970s Tom Disch lived on Union Square in Manhattan with Charles Naylor. There were books in most of the rooms and long metal shelves filled with boxes of books all the way down the long hall.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
"I started working at William Morrow as a production assistant. Every week I had to type up a production report. And I didn't really know how to type. I was supposed to file all this stuff - manuscripts, cover art, production galleys, bound galleys, individual pages.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
William Faulkner first fell in love with Estelle when they were in high school. What with one thing and another, she married some other guy. Her parents felt quite strongly that this other guy had a more promising future than Faulkner (or Falkner as it was spelled at the time).
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
"Nothing changed my life more than computers," says Dominique Bohr. "With a computer and the internet, you are plugged into the world's greatest library - that is the best thing."
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I’d never heard of a dramaturg. Amlin Gray opened a window to behind the scenes at the theater. I wondered if the research was mostly to help costume designers.
“No,” he said. “ Or partly. Costume and scene designers are usually very good researchers on their own. Primarily though, a dramaturg assists the actors and the director with background material, context, and literary flow”.
As a dramaturg, it helps to have experience as a playwright. Amlin Gray is a playwright. He downplayed it in our conversation, not even mentioning that he’d won the prestigious Obie Award for exceptional achievement. He won that award for his play, How I Got That Story, about a war correspondent in Vietnam.
Gray did talk some about his plays when we chatted about Joyce Carol Oates.
“She’s amazing,” said Gray. “She still teaches and she writes about a book a week!
“For Faust in Hell, Nagle Jackson commissioned 7 playwrights, each to write a short piece for one of the 7 sins. I wrote for Greed. Oates wrote for Lust.”
The other sins? The other playwrights?
“Edward Albee was Envy. His piece was great. Jean-Claude Vanitallie wrote Pride. Rommulus Linney – Rage. Christopher Durang – Sloth. John Guare – Gluttony. It was a great line-up of playwrights.”
Gray told me which piece he liked best of the seven. “It was brilliant, really brilliant,” he said, but I’ve irresponsibly forgotten which sin, which playwright. I do remember his admiration for everyone though, and his pleasure at meeting with them. “We were all brought together at the last to fine-tune before the production.”
From what languages does Gray translate?
Did he say Greek also, or did I just read that somewhere? I asked him later. “I don’t think I said Greek because I don’t have the same command of Greek I have of the other languages. One time though, I was asked to translate and adapt Sophocles. I used a dictionary and a grammar, but I was surprised at how much Greek I remembered from college.”
Amlin Gray talked enthusiastically about a few of his projects - being playwright in residence at Milwaukie Repertory Theater and his adaptation there of Don Quixote for young people, his interest in covert plots within the ostensible plot, teaching at Sarah Lawrence, his specialty in Shakespeare. He told how Shakespeare’s fairies, “in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, for instance, are a little more sinister, have a little more edge to them then generally recognized today.”
Although Amlin Gray specializes in Shakespeare, his interests are broad ranging.
“I adore Japanese theater. Kabuki is just so extravagant and then on the other hand, Noh plays are so austere.”
How well I know (and admire) this characteristic! riverrun salutes all of us who buy too many books, and offers a special salute to Amlin Gray.
synopses, production history, and purchase information for these Amlin Gray plays:
Founding Fathers, How I Got That Story, Kingdom Come, Monkey's Teeth, Pirates, Villanous Company, Bindle Stiff, The Dream Chain, The Fantod, Outlanders, Wormwood
Sarah Lawrence faculty bio (alphabetical, skip down to Gray)
commentary on the 2004 revival of How I Got That Story
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Steve Kanfer made the two RIVERRUN signs in the window on the north side of the street - 7 Washington. Kanfer brought them into riverrun in the 1980s. He brought plenty of books, plenty of customers, and plenty of music into riverrun as well. Steve Kanfer accompanied fiddlers and guitar players on his saw or his washboard.