Tag Archives: Scott Vankaughnett

Expanding the Feast at Eat My Words!

Long ago there was a vague concept, an idea that the vibrant arts community of Northeast Minneapolis somehow needed a stronger voice for the creative folk who live, write, perform or otherwise work with words, books, literary forms of every sort.  Over time the concept morphed.  It would take the words written or spoken by community members to speak for the role of the written word in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area.  And thus began Voices of Northeast, video interviews with those good people whose words and work with words expand the very definition of the arts community.

What video conversations need more than easels and potting wheels is “recording space” — not so much “30 Rock” stages and cameras but quiet space that conveys a bookish feel, space that welcomes the viewer/reader to connect with the speaker, and for the guest speaker to feel not on stage but in a comfortable setting.

Eat My Words! Bookstore, the unique bookstore in the heart of the arts community, offered an ideal setting, a cozy space (complete with piano and an ever-changing art exhibit) that I’ve come to call “the parlor.” Most important, EMW extended knowing welcome to two volunteers with a hand-held camera and lights, a mission to share the views of those who give life to words, and a mission to incorporate the “literary arts” into the Northeast arts community. Thus, for the past couple of years, scores of episodes of Voices of Northeast have emanated from the back room at EMW.  One of the interviews is with Scott VanKaughnett, friend and proprietor of EMW  http://umedia.lib.umn.edu/node/1347781

All of which is background, a roundabout way of sharing my unbounded excitement about the new home of Eat My Words Bookstore.  Just last weekend EMW moved from the original site at the corner of 2nd Street and 13th Avenue Northeast just up the block to 214 13th Avenue NE, former home of Two12 Pottery.   Past posts have covered the basics of the move, the collaboration with the previous owner, potter Bob Sorg, and hopes for the expanded bookstore. (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/eat-my-words-a-moveable-feast/)

Beyond our highest expectations, we can now share with readers just how wonderful this move is – all of the good things that will be happening in the NEW Eat My Words!   The space offers bibliographic elbow room for the shop’s 20,000 volumes (no more iffy basement…)   It’s bathed in gentle sunlight room and nooks just right for cozying up with a great read, tantalizing displays of Bob Sorg’s pottery, unique greeting cards, and, still room enough for Voices of Northeast to continue weekly interviews with people whose art form is the written or spoken word!

There is also great space for the incredible public programming series that EMW is now able to expand! This month’s programs are but a sample of the mix:

  • Thursday, August 10, 7PM – – Poetry Reading: Freddy La Force, Georgia Linden, Stephanie Mann. P
  • Friday, August 11, 7PM — Nate Graznow & Steven Hildreth
  • Friday, August 18, 7PM — Film Meets Poetry: Kathryn Oakley & Damian Kussian.
  • Friday, August 19, 3PM – Michelle Leon—I Live Inside: Memoirs of a Babe in Toyland

Each of these programs is announced and generously annotated in the beautifully wrought EMW online events calendar.  In fact, there is so much going on at EMW that the only way to stay in touch is to make haste to get on the list:  http://www.eatmywordsbooks.com/events/?view=calendar&month=August-2017

It is an honor to congratulate and thank Scott VanKaughnett and the staff of this unique community treasure.  Congratulations on your new digs – and sincere admiration for your vision, your commitment and your voice for the writers, readers and word lovers who weave their ideas and energy into the very fabric of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts area.

 

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Independent thinker? Think independent bookseller!

When legendary philosopher and social critic Jerry Seinfeld reminds fans that “a bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking” he refers to thinking about something more than “books about nothing.” I’m sure he’s also not thinking about chains but about the thinking possibilities that thrive in the atmosphere that only an independent bookstore can create.

Often nestled in quiet neighborhoods, indies reflect, shape and create vibrant communities of individual and collaborative thinking about ideas, stories, what’s been and what has yet to be.

This past few days I’ve been so busy hanging out in my neighborhood indies that I nearly overlooked the fact that next Saturday, April 30, we celebrate the second annual Independent Bookstore Day.   In 2015, the inaugural year of Independent Bookstore Day, at least 400 indies participated. Sponsors of IBD have made special efforts this year to reach lesser known and possibly more remote indies that enrich the lives of countless readers who yearn for more access to the written word.

For Twin Cities thinkers Mary Ann Grossman, renowned book editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, provides some great tips to local happenings. (http://www.twincities.com/2016/04/21/local-merchants-celebrate-independent-bookstore-day/)  She describes the ten TC’s bookstores that have joined forces to introduce a Bookstore Passport that encourages readers to travel the indie route for intellectual and economic gain.  She also notes the local authors who will be participating at indie bookstores. There will no doubt be further coverage in the local and neighborhood press in the days to come.  Bookstores are also working together and with supporters to create maps and guides to the fascinating mix of indies that the intrepid seeker can find on some unexpected sites ranging from rehabbed commercial enterprises to strip malls.

My recent time spent thinking in and about the atmosphere of two very special indie bookstores inspires my enthusiasm for IBD.    It’s interesting to observe that both of my Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood bookstore favorites, Corner Books and Eat My Words, feature used books. For me, used books somehow enhance the reading adventure – maybe because of the time spent with thinkers who have are inclined to  leave their indelible mark on the volume – by way of margin notes, bookmarks and/or coffee stains. I wonder as I read just what that reader was thinking as she thought about these same words.

One of my most frequent bookish haunts is Corner Books (http://www.cornerbooksmn.com, in the St. Anthony Village mall.  This past week proprietor Carol Urness celebrated her rich life of books with a most wonderful event.  In a three day celebration of eighty years of life Carol  shared a wealth of treasures – etchings, atlases, objects d’art and other fun stuff – with long-time friends, customers, scholars, birders, writers, and librarian colleagues. I couldn’t resist dropping in each of the three days of this unique tribute to the life of the mind.  I will happily share more about Carol and Corner Books when I can corner this unique dynamo for a long conversation and, as soon as she recuperates from the celebration, she will find an hour to guest star on Voices of Northeast. (http://ias.umn.edu/2014/07/29/northeast/)

My other neighborhood indie favorite is Eat My Words where proprietor Scott Vankaughnett has built a community of thoughtful readers not with written words alone but with a rich agenda of creative programs designed to pique the fancy of any thinker. More about Eat My Words on an earlier blog post (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/hungry-for-a-good-read-try-eat-my-words/) – or view a delightful interview with Scott on the Voices of Northeast site. (http://ias.umn.edu/2014/07/29/northeast/

Saturday, April 30, 2016 — Independent Bookstore Day

Support this community of thinkers built by independent booksellers, bibliophiles and discerning book buyers