Monday, October 15, 2012

We Have Moved

Greetings, readers and writers.

You're probably wondering why the posts dried up a while ago ... We have been hard at work for several months, crafting a brand new Bluebird Books website with the talented team of Reuben Pressman and Hunter Payne of St. Petersburg, Florida.

And today, at last, is our launch day! We are pleased to present

Reuben and Hunter, in homage to our work with books and paper arts projects, crafted all of the design elements by hand, using paper, string and other analog materials -- cutting and pasting the old-school way!

This old Blogspot will soon become inactive, and we hope you will migrate with us over to the new Bluebird site. On the Blog tab, you'll find new material alongside an archive of old posts direct from this feed. Take a look and let us know what you think. Thank you, as always, for your support!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Talk Pretty: Sedaris Coming to Tampa Theatre

With a favored spot on my personal library shelf for years, David Sedaris brings biting wit to bear on the human experience through his stories and personal essays.

He is a regular contributor to the New Yorker, NPR and This American Life -- where I recommend you go take a listen, for a hint at what's in store when he comes to read at our historic Tampa Theatre, Thursday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m.

That's right people: If you haven't already heard, David Sedaris is coming to town.

This sardonic member of 'The Talent Family' never fails to elicit a dark chuckle or a lasting, thoughtful image. Usually both.

Inkwood Books, a longtime, independent pillar among Bay area book purveyors, will sell some of Sedaris' collections in advance and at the event, if you don't already have copies of your own.

Barrel Fever, classic. Holidays on Ice, forever the perfect gift book. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, my entry into his tales. I'll be bringing a fair collection to be signed. I will try not to embarrass myself.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Captive Poet Project

Here at Bluebird, we’re all about taking words to the street. That’s why we have wheels.

This is not a taco truck. But you can order a haiku, through the latest incarnation of our literary outreach: The Captive Poet Project.

At select Bluebird Books events in March – starting tonight – one of our Captive Poets will create an original, experimental haiku poem (up to five lines long) for you to take home.

Our Poets work on a typewriter before your very eyes, and each poem is custom made to order. We only ask for a $2 minimum donation. It helps us keep the Poets fed and watered (and of course, a little gas money never hurts).

During future events, you can get hands-on and write your own to add to our Pocket Book, a teeny ‘zine due out this fall.

Meanwhile, meet the Captive Poets – students of poetry and volunteers from local groups such as the IV Poets – and learn about English-language variants of the Japanese haiku poetic form.

See you on the Bus!

Nicole Kibert /

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Inspirations: The Sign of the Centaur

"The proprietor [of the Centaur Book Shop], Harold Mason, was a 29-year-old of independent means who was fascinated by books, particularly first editions by liberal intellectuals. His bookshop was a small, comfortable room in a 300-year-old house outfitted with bookshelves, wicker chairs, candlesticks, Japanese prints and a fireplace. Here one could find first editions of avant-garde books and current issues of the intellectual magazines of the day ...

The bookshop's name was taken from a line in the banned book Jurgen, by James Branch Cabell: 'Up on my back,' said the Centaur, 'and I will take you thither.' The association with Jurgen 'lent a mild wickedness to the enterprise,' Mason recalled. When importation of Lady Chatterley's Lover, considered at the time to be as sinful as booze, was prohibited, Mason arranged for a shipment of a case of books, after the spines had been replaced with those of another book of the same size.

From the Bluebird Collection:
Poster by Andy Beach for ICA, Centaur block print by Wendy and Marvin Hill.

A room over the shop became an after-hours gathering place for select patrons, artists, people of letters, and other friends. It was, like a Greenwich Village salon, bohemian and arty. This was during Prohibition, and 'in' members had their own liquor lockers and keys to the room. The outgoing Wharton [Esherick] was quickly inducted into the club, and he made a sign to hang over the door, a modernist centaur of wood and bent iron straps (the 'sign of the Centaur')."

-- From Wharton Esherick: Journey of a Creative Mind, by Mansfield Bascom, Abrams, 2010, reproduced in a pamphlet from the Excursus I: Reference Library at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Philadelphia 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bluebird Undercover: Debuting Feb. 9

At Bluebird, we've always got our face in a book. Get your own nose between the covers and show the world that you love reading too.

Bluebird Undercover is a photo project for bookworms, inspired by our upcoming participation in a PYT benefit for the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. (And frankly, it was also kind of inspired by Sleeveface. Because we love Sleeveface.)

So here's how it works: You can get a custom image made by Sasha Rae Photo at select Bluebird Books events beginning February 9 at Mermaid Tavern. You can also post your own Undercover photo to our Flickr Group page

Either way gives you a chance to show off that literary love in print: In April, the top 20 Bluebird Undercover photos will be used to create a cool full-color 2012 commemorative tour poster that will be featured year-round on the bus.

Visit our Tour Page to see where we're heading next, and check out the Sasha Rae Photobooth to learn more.

Cool? Now go get yourself Undercover.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Annotations (no. 4)

"If eternal return is the heaviest of burdens, then our lives can stand out against it in all their splendid lightness."

(Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, 1984)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bluebird Books: January Update

It's been a busy month behind-the-scenes at Bluebird Books!

While the fine folks at Peterson Auto tuned up the bus, we were hard at work putting the finishing touches on Kickstarter rewards. And this weekend we added some real gems to our book inventory while supporting a great cause, by shopping at the WMNF Annual Book and Record Sale, where proceeds benefit our longstanding community radio station. We crammed in elbow-to-elbow with the throng of book-lovers, who lined up early for a chance to browse the stacks.

We also rode out to St. Petersburg to visit with Kyle Durrie of Moveable Type, an inspiring traveling letterpress truck hailing from Portland, Oregon. Since Summer 2011, Durrie has been traveling around the U.S. in her converted 1982 Chevy step van, and snuggled inside contains everything a savvy printer needs to make one-of-a-kind cards and posters, including inks, paper and vintage presses. Clearly, a woman after our own heart!  

Many thanks to Jennifer Kosharek at Eve-N-Odd Gallery for inviting Moveable Type to the Bay area. Durrie said she's met a few other mobile arts venues during her travels, and we made a pact to plan a gathering of these pioneer vehicles in 2013. Imagine the creative caravan we will build!

Meanwhile, we're looking forward to our first public appearances of 2012 this February: a special event at Mermaid Tavern with Boxfotos for PYT, and a weekend at the Dunedin Fine Art Center. Stay tuned for a complete calendar with some cool surprises. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Blue Year!

We're starting 2012 on wings of joy. Our Kickstarter campaign was successfully funded, providing seed money to keep Bluebird Books rolling forward. We received some great accolades in the press, made our first appearance on the airwaves, and even got our first cover shot!

Looking ahead, we're excited about planning some great cultural events this coming year. On the list: a book signing event featuring printed works by local artists, an artist sketchbook showcase, a special appearance at a wonderful Bay area gallery, and possibly even a museum event. Stay tuned.