Category Archives: Anniverary

June 15-My Babies Frankenstein:An Installation

My babies Frakenstein

This interdisciplinary event has two components: the exhibition of the installation My babies Frankenstein, by artist Dolores Zorreguieta, and a discussion between the artist and Psychoanalyst Katie Gentile based on her book The Business of Being Made: The temporalities of reproductive technologies, in psychoanalysis and culture (Genders & Sexualities in Minds & Cultures). The installation is compiled by nine life-size babies made entirely from different parts of recycled bottles with a light bulb attached to their bellybutton. This piece reexamines the traditional role of the woman as a “natural” procreating force and our desire to tailor our babies to enhance our sense of plenitude. The book, which features a photograph of one of these babies, is the first to critically analyze assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) from a transdisciplinary perspective integrating psychoanalytic and cultural theories. Gentile and Zorreguieta will discuss both the installation and the book, and how their work impacted each other’s practice. A Q&A will be conducted at the end of their conversation.This interdisciplinary event has two components: the exhibition of the installation My babies Frankenstein, by artist Dolores Zorreguieta, and a discussion between the artist and Psychoanalyst Katie Gentile based on her book The Business of Being Made: The temporalities of reproductive technologies, in psychoanalysis and culture (Genders & Sexualities in Minds & Cultures). The installation is compiled by nine life-size babies made entirely from different parts of recycled bottles with a light bulb attached to their bellybutton. This piece reexamines the traditional role of the woman as a “natural” procreating force and our desire to tailor our babies to enhance our sense of plenitude. The book, which features a photograph of one of these babies, is the first to critically analyze assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) from a transdisciplinary perspective integrating psychoanalytic and cultural theories. Gentile and Zorreguieta will discuss both the installation and the book, and how their work impacted each other’s practice. A Q&A will be conducted at the end of their conversation.

My Babies Frankenstein:An Installation
Thursday, June 15, 2017
7–9pm
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Avenue. (at 165 St.)
New York NY 10032

 

Commit to Word Up

Some of the Word Up volunteers at our annual gift swap. www.EAbreuvisuals.com

Some of the Word Up volunteers at our annual gift swap.

This month, Word Up celebrates 5.5 years of existence.

It seems a lifetime ago that we were celebrating 5.5 months, back in December 2011. That moment was significant: it was then that our fledgling group of core volunteers looked into our collective future and decided that, yes, we could try to meet the desire that everyone around us was expressing—we would commit to staying, to fighting to keep this space for arts and organizing that was open to all.

It was at that moment—at 5.5 months—that NoMAA signed a lease on behalf of the Word Up volunteers, and everything was full of promise: we finally had more time to plan and promote events, to make more book sections, to open accounts to get more books in Spanish, to develop our internal collective structure. We wanted to stay, and so we began the hard work of trying to.

With the milestone of 5 years past us, we are once again standing on a threshold looking into our collective future. We want to exist long enough to celebrate our 25th birthday (at least!)—to be around as long as it takes a generation to grow up with a community bookstore/arts space and be shaped by its existence. Our goal is to be sustainable over the long term.

If you visit or use Word Up in any way—if you like the idea of what we stand for and what we are trying to do—please consider donating to us before the end of 2016. We are not supported by big foundation grants or large state funding—the bulk of our income comes from book sales and individual donations, and the in-kind generosity of hundreds of people from Washington Heights, Inwood, and all over the city.

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December 17 – ¡Fiesta de fin de año! Year-end party!

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Come celebrate the end of 2016 with us. We are requesting a $5 (or any multiple of $5) cover charge. All proceeds will go to continuing the programming that Word Up has offered for the last 5 years, and to increasing our Spanish and English inventory. There will be music, camaraderie, and more! http://www.wordup.nyc
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Para seguir nuestro festejo de 5 años de Word Up, vengan a celebrar el fin de año con nosotros. Se cobran $5 (o un múltiplo de $5) de entrada, y los fondos que recaudemos se destinarán tanto a continuar la programación que Word Up ha ofrecido durante los últimos 5 años, como a aumentar nuestro inventario en español e inglés. ¡Habrá música, camaradería, y más! http://www.wordup.nyc
¡Fiesta de fin de año! Year-end party!
Saturday, December 17, 2016
7-11pm
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Ave. (at 165 St.)
New York, NY 10032

It’s a bookstore

The week leading up to the opening of Word Up last year was a week that a lot of people thought we were crazy. As we posted a long time ago, this is what the space looked like when we first moved in:

Beginning of June 2011


Curewell just moved a few doors south.

We moved in the night of June 13. Then we came back at 4pm on June 14, in case anyone showed up, because that was the day we were originally going to open. Someone came by all right, 4pm on the dot: Marilyn from the New York Times. Then came Mike on behalf of the Manhattan Times, with Carla of DNAinfo. Everyone had camera in hand, but all we had at the time was a big empty space and piles of boxes and bags.

Photo credit: Mike Fitelson

It wasn’t till the next day when there was more interesting stuff to look at. . . .

Photo credit: Art by Dj Boy

The afternoon of June 15, Dister looked for inspiration in the books that had arrived from consignees. That evening, he and Feegz staked a claim, on the bookshop’s behalf, to the front wall.

As they painted the wall, people came in and asked us questions.
—A bookstore? A bookstore? Here? A bookstore?
—Don’t open a bookstore. You gotta open something HOT.
—A wha?
—Yeah, good luck with that.

These unsolicited comments led Dister to make the sign that many have since snapped photos of:

In the meantime, Abby Walthausen, whose poetry book The Internet is available at the shop, created the Word Up foil painting.

Foil on the left (where did my photos of foil-painting-in-progress go?)

Will, Robin, and others cleaned, and Vern processed consignment books. Alison made sure people were eating. Dj Boy ran around and took pictures, left the shop to take pictures of some other event, then returned to take more pictures. Neighbors—strangers—walked by, sat in our few chairs, and watched, and talked. Slowly it dawned on us that we should get their emails and phone numbers . . . to ask them to come back the next day to help. Some of them did, and have been helping out as Word Up collective members ever since.

On June 16, it was time to get serious about furniture. After all, the grand opening was to be June 17! With the help of Bob and Mino from People’s Theatre Project, we had selected some furniture from Materials for the Arts the previous week, but finding help for the pickup was proving difficult. In the end, Inju from Kaboom Press helped with some heavy lifting in Long Island City, and with guiding the goods into the Craigslisted truck.

One of the rolly cases didn’t quite fit inside the truck. If you think this looks precarious, imagine the feeling (and that nerve-racking bouncing) while sitting in shotgun riding on the bridges between boroughs.

Back at the shop, Sandy kept watch, then helped unload once we arrived. A whole load of neighbors showed up to move the furniture into place. People who came to put their books or art on consignment were set to work immediately! At the end of the night, though, there were still massive piles of boxes all over the place. But we did need to sleep . . .

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To celebrate our anniversary, we have commemorated some of these early icons. If you donate at various levels, you can get a T-shirt or button, showing the rolly cases that we have pulled and pushed out with much effort day after day over the past year, signaling to all who walk past our storefront that there are books within.

Adult tees are available in XXS to XXL, in heather red, heather gray, and heather dark gray.

Kids’ sizes available in blue/red.

Buttons are good for all ages!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And we made magnets so that you can stick a bit of proof of our beginnings onto your fridge:

With Dister’s original lettering

Now that we’ve been here for almost a year, we’ve built up a whole new set of iconic images based on the people, books, and experiences that have comprised Word Up over the past year. We hope we’ll be able to unveil new things at next year’s anniversary, and all the ones beyond—because we plan to be around for those, unlike what we thought at this time last year, when we thought this was a 1-month project, a transitory activity, rather than a real, live manifestation of all our neighborhood has wanted for so long, and has worked toward building for a year, with real sweat and spirit.

This time last year, we almost had the key to the store . . .

The morning of June 12 last year, a few of us got up way too early on a Sunday morning then drove through the Harriman fog to Pine Bush, New York.

Some people think 20 feet is not that long, but some of us are just not that tall.

There we picked up a 20-foot U-Haul and emptied out a garage that had been doubling as a warehouse. After arranging hundreds of boxes at the back of the truck, we brushed the dust off our bruised arms and began the trek back to NYC at dusk.

View from the garage emptied out in Pine Bush NY

The return trip was fraught with minor complications: we entered the GWB on the wrong level . . . we had to remember the details from our crash course on truck routes now that we were back in the city and needed to park in Lower Manhattan . . . we were forced to get a better handle on the width of our vehicle once those yellow taxis started swarming around Madison Square Garden . . . we had to find a lot that would take a 20-foot truck after hours . . . without going too much into detail on the numerous ways we almost ended up with various tickets and violations throughout the evening, we report that every single altercation ended in the most charmed way possible—as if the city wanted us to make sure we got this truck of books to the new, then-temporary home of Word Up the next day.

We were so hungry, Gabe ran out to get a hot dog, and I got behind some horses so that I’d have to drive slowly till he returned with two cooked dogs.

Then, the next morning on June 13, after unloading some of the boxes at one location in Lower Manhattan, we began the slow trip back uptown to stock Word Up. Of course it was right around rush hour.

We sat in a lot of traffic on the drive back uptown.

Because we wouldn’t be arriving uptown in the truck till well after business hours were up, we had to figure out how to obtain the key—so that we’d have somewhere to unload this truck full of books. Thus the first of the kind of tag-teaming that goes on at Word Up: Harol had the key and gave it to Diana, who met up with Robin, who passed it onto Gabe and Jacob and Vern, after we did a quick detour picking up furniture from Alison. That truck traveled the city before it got to 176 St. and Broadway; that key traveled the Heights before it got to 4157. But there we all finally were, at the same time, now with Will rolling in to help unload. In the dark. Because we didn’t yet have electricity. That late, late hour of June 13, we finally had a place we could enter; we just couldn’t see it, really. Didn’t stop Dj Boy from showing up that night with a camera. But no matter what, a grand opening date change was in order: originally set to open Word Up on June 14, that evening we pushed the opening till 3 days later—to June 17. Plenty of time to obtain electricity, furniture, more books, and more volunteers, right??

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The events we have had so far during our Birthday Fund Drive have been a lot of fun, and full of a lot of love, so thank you for coming out. We had a great day of readings on Sunday and got a lot of folks outfitted in our new T-shirts. On Monday, The Cheese Guy and the Truck Farm gave us a lot to reflect on, and to be inspired by. Tuesday night, at No Name, the Eric Vetter-hosted comedic and storytelling series that has been running at Word Up since September 2011, the crowd got some respite from the rain and enjoyed stories from Tom Shillue, Leighann Lord, Marilyn Torres, Lee Alan Barrett, and Armando Batista, and more.

And: THERE ARE ANOTHER 4 DAYS OF BIRTHDAY EVENTS! We’ve almost been here for a full year, which was the last thing we thought would happen when we dragged ourselves out of bed the morning of that Pine Bush trip. So please come celebrate with us—and launch us all into Year 2 with the knowledge that you’ve made it real clear that you love books, that you want books, that you need books to spread through our community. Show up to our Birthday Fund Drive this week and help ensure that Word Up remains here, in our neighborhood, and built by you.