Monday, September 3, 2018

And so it begins again...

September 1, 2018

The end of summer means fall is just around the corner and I am back on the road! This year I will kick off my 2018 ART OF ACTIVISM fall tour with a stop at the Spencertown Festival of Books. 
Donna Kaz at Spencertown Festival of Books
Spencertown Festival of Books 

Spencertown Festival of Books has been held every year since 2006 at the Spencertown Academy Arts Center.  A sleepy, verdant hamlet located in Columbia County, NY, Spencertown has a Country Store stocked with homemade pastries and jams and the best BLT I’ve tasted north of Manhattan. There is not much else to do in Spencertown except to experience the Academy – a cultural and community center housed in a landmark 1847 Greek Revival schoolhouse. Each year the Academy hosts a line up of events, one of the most popular being their festival of books – a curated used book sale with some of the best looking used books around. At this year’s festival I slipped a collection of short stories by Rick Bass under my arm and headed for the cashier while my husband, Richard, grabbed up novels by Helen Simonson and Anthony Trollope and followed me. 

Me and "UN/MASKED" 
But used books are not the only thing Spencertown Festival of Books offers. Every day the festival stage features readings from writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. They even host a young writers contest and I was so happy I arrived early to catch Claudia Maurino read her excellent and moving essay, “Loss,” as the nonfiction prize winner. Read it here.

Saturday, September 1st was my day as a featured author and I was paired with Linda Dahl, the author of the recently published “Fight Doctor.”  Now at first I thought my memoir about surviving domestic violence would not be a good fit for a memoir about boxing. But we were billed as “two formidables” and took our cues from each other, reading about struggles with finding our place as women in the world. 
It was a beautiful, sunny and, thankfully, not very humid day as a solid crowd gathered to hear us read. I so appreciated the nods of recognition from the local crowd as I read my story of being a masked avenger taking on sexism in the arts. As I began to talk about sexual abuse and assault, my thoughts suddenly fixated on my good friend Charles Harper, who I used to visit this area with back in the 80’s.  I write about Charles in “UN/MASKED” and felt him with me during the hard parts of my story. 

Of course my reading would not be complete without a banana toss and a Guerrilla Girl On Tour poster give-away. These have become my signature moves and make my readings more like parties with food and party favors. 

So thank you, Spencertown Festival of Books, for a memorable Labor Day Weekend 2018 and a great kick off of my fall tour. I could not leave without a last look through the great selection of books on sale and a slice of my friend Magadini’s blueberry pie. 

Lee Magadini
See you on the road!  For a complete list of tour stops go here