Celia Cruz – Toro Mata
La Sonora Ponceña y Yolanda Rivera – Rumba En El Patio
Adalberto Santiago – Ay Caray
Marvin Santiago – Fuego A La Jicotea
Slaughterhouse-Five banned by US school
Kurt Vonnegut’s celebrated second world war satire censored along with teen novel Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and young adult novel Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler have both been banned from a school curriculum and library in a Missouri school following complaints from a local professor about children being exposed to “shocking material”.
Ockler’s novel, which tells of a girl’s summer romance as she attempts to get over the death of her first love a year earlier, is being removed from the school curriculum and library in Republic, Missouri, along with Kurt Vonnegut’s classic novel Slaughterhouse-Five. The ban follows a complaint from Wesley Scroggins, a professor at Missouri State University, who wrote in a column for a local paper last year claiming that Vonnegut’s novel “contains so much profane language, it would make a sailor blush with shame”. He said that Ockler’s book, described by Kirkus Reviews as a “sincere, romantic tearjerker”, “glorifies drunken teen parties, where teen girls lose their clothes in games of strip beer pong”, and laid into Laurie Halse Anderson’s acclaimed novel Speak, which he felt “should be classified as soft pornography”.
Scroggins’s complaints sparked a review by the district school board, which voted this week to keep Speak but to remove the novels by Vonnegut and Ockler. Twenty Boy Summer focused on “sensationalising sexual promiscuity”, Superintendent Vern Minor told the News-Leader. “I just don’t think it’s a good book. I don’t think it’s consistent with these standards and the kind of message that we want to send,” he said. “If the book had ended on a different note, I might have thought differently.” Slaughterhouse-Five, meanwhile, contains “really, really intense” language and does not have “any place in high school”, according to Minor.
Following the decision to remove her novel from school shelves in Missouri, Ockler said that “you can ban my books from every damn district in the country — I’m still not going to write to send messages or make teens feel guilty because they’ve made choices that some people want to pretend don’t exist. That’s my choice. And I’ll never be ashamed of my choice to write about real issues.”
Writing on her blog, Ockler was adamant that “not every teen who has sex or experiments with drinking feels remorseful about it. Not every teen who has sex gets pregnant, gets someone pregnant, or contracts an STD. Not every teen who has sex does so while in a serious relationship. Not every teen who has sex outside of a relationship feels guilty, shameful, or regretful later on.”
The “crazy train”, she added, “has finally derailed” following the Missouri ban. “Look, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times more. I get that my book isn’t appropriate for all teens, and that some parents are opposed to the content. That’s fine. Read it and decide for your own family. I wish more parents would do that — get involved in their kids’ reading and discuss the issues the books portray. But don’t make that decision for everyone else’s family by limiting a book’s availability and burying the issue under guise of a ‘curriculum discussion’.”
Scroggins, meanwhile, told the News Leader that while it was “unfortunate [the board] chose to keep the other book [Speak] … I congratulate them for doing what’s right and removing the two books”.
Jason Turner maintains that his plans to revive Creem are still on track, despite a long-running legal battle over ownership of the magazine and an inability to pay its employees.
By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
Steve Baltin had been toiling as a freelance music writer for a decade when an entrepreneur named Jason Turner approached him a year ago about resurrecting Creem magazine, the irreverent and sardonic publication that defined rock in the 1970s. The offer to edit a once-famous magazine was tempting, to say the least.
“He talks a very good game, and he has these grand ambitions of creating this vast music network,” Mr. Baltin said. “I’m old enough to have grown up with Creem, and like many people who were hooked into this, I was excited about being involved.”
But a year later Mr. Turner’s plans to revive Creem appear bogged down in financial and legal problems. Mr. Baltin says he was never paid the salary he was promised; freelancers he hired haven’t received their payments either.
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The Secret Bookstore
by Thessaly La Force
Watch this beautiful video about Brazenhead Books, a secret bookstore that’s been tucked away in Michael Seidenberg’s apartment on the Upper East Side ever since the rent for his original retail space in Brooklyn was quadrupled. (Jonathan Lethem used to work there.)
“This would have not been my ideal,” he says. “I wouldn’t have thought I want to have a bookshop in a location no one knows about.” But Brazen says it’s a continuation of being the kind of bookseller he wants to be—not on the street, not at book fairs, but inside, the shelves lined with first editions, knickknacks, and, one hopes, a cat.
“I don’t know if it’s my familiarity with failure,” he adds. “I find ways to survive without it making enough money to be what you would call a successful business. If it’s all about money, there’s just better things to sell.” And how do those of us who’ve never been find him? He’s in the phone book, he says with a smile. Hiding in plain sight.