Revolution #134, June 29, 2008
New York Revolution Books Store Opening:
Alive With A Revolutionary Vision
We received the following letter from New York:
Tuesday evening, June 16: The new Revolution Books store in New York City buzzed as 100 people packed the space to celebrate its opening, delighted to meet each other and hear performances and learn what this store is all about.
People from the struggles of several generations—from the 1930s to today—participated. Universes, the multi-disciplinary ensemble from the Bronx, dedicated an a capella selection from their new 90-minute performance, “Ameriville,” about Katrina and America, to the people of Iowa now confronting massive floods. They took us into the waters searching for lost loved ones with a slow gospel tune demanding “where is Noah now?” The beat got more fierce as they sang, taking you to a rooftop in New Orleans, looking up to see Air Force One doing a “fly-by” over thousands abandoned to die.
The evening ended with Michael Wimberly and Laurence Goldman performing a free-flowing montage of African, gospel, jazz, and Native American rhythms and tunes—Wimberly on African djembe drum and drawing piercing notes out of a conch shell; Goldman on a bass, punctuating the performance with vocals calling out for revolution. At the center of the piece was their powerful and angry rendition of Oscar Brown’s “Bid ’Em In,” an evocation of the slave auction block.
Marc Levin, the producer of the documentary SLAM and a neighbor, told how intrigued they were to learn that the new store on the block would be Revolution Books and not a dreaded high-end boutique in this rapidly changing area with a radical history. John “Tito” Gerassi, the internationally renowned Latin American history scholar, urged the store to reach the new generation. Frances Goldin, literary agent for Barbara Kingsolver and Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Lynne Stewart, the people’s lawyer who was prosecuted for representing defendants targeted as “terrorist” by the system, also greeted the crowd.
A speaker from the bookstore staff said: “This is a place that refuses to accept the world as it is; a store alive with a revolutionary vision of a world you would want to live in—a store animated by Bob Avakian’s re-envisioned communism.” He talked about the potential of Revolution Books to spark a new spirit of scientific and radical thinking in a dangerous time where critical thinking is increasingly being locked down and circumscribed in every arena in society.
You could feel something new coming into being—and this was just the “first night” opening of the new Revolution Books in New York City. A mid-summer open house is planned and a major grand opening will take place in September to coincide with the opening of the new school year. A full calendar of author events and discussions is scheduled (see Revolution Books Calendar online or revolutionbooksnyc.org).
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