NEW YORK, NY (September 6, 2007) – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller, today announced the next event in its new series, “Upstairs at the Square,” held at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in Manhattan (33 East 17th Street at Union Square). On Tuesday, September 19th, at 7:00PM, Dito Montiel, buzzed-about director of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (which dazzled audiences at the Sundance Film Festival and opens in New York and Los Angeles on September 29th) and author of a companion memoir by the same name that inspired the film, and his good friend, downtown singer-songwriter Jesse Malin, whose latest album is The Heat, read and perform their work. Journalist Katherine Lanpher will again host the program. Admission is free, and no tickets are required. Seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“As far back as I can remember ... I can remember Manhattan.” Orlandito “Dito” Montiel, son of Orlando, a Nicaraguan immigrant, and an Irish mother, grew wild in the streets of Astoria, Queens, pulling pranks for Greek and Italian gangsters and confessing at the church of the Immaculate Conception, gobbling hits of purple mescaline and Old English, sneaking into Times Square whore houses—“Kids from nowhere going nowhere.” At 14 Dito watched as his best friend and surrogate older brother, Antonio, beat another kid to death with a baseball bat during a gang fight. A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (http://www.firstlookstudios.com/guide) is the quintessentially American story of a young man’s hunger for experience, his dawning awareness of the bigger world across the bridge, and of the loyalties that bind him to a violent past and to the flawed and desperate Saints that have guided him—a streetwise Meetings With Remarkable Men with echoes of Whitman and Kerouac, Saturday Night Fever and Dion and the Belmonts. Dito tasted short-lived notoriety as a model for Versace and Calvin Klein, and as the leader of “the most successful unsuccessful band in history,” Gutterboy, a 15-minute darling signed to Geffen for a then unprecedented million-dollar advance. But at its heart, it’s all about the Saints: Dito’s father, Antonio “our insane warrior hero,” Bob Semen, Frank the dog walker, Jimmy Mullen, Cherry Vanilla, Allen Ginsberg and all the others, the drunks, coke-heads, junkies, the insaniacs like Santos Antonios who said, “Now Dito remember, in life you gotta be crazy.” The film, starring Robert Downey, Jr., Shia LaBeouf, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest, Channing Tatum, and Rosario Dawson, won both the Dramatic Directing Award and a Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble Performance at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
The role of the artist according to Jesse Malin (www.jessemalin.com) is to put you “right there in a time and place so you can smell it” - like a Scorsese film, or a Hubert Selby, Jr. novel, or one of Jesse's songs. The Heat is Malin's second album and fans of his 2002 debut, The Fine Art Of Self-Destruction, will find much that is familiar in the potent songs of loss and defiance and flawed humanity. But there is also much that is new as well. “The punk rock type of singer-songwriter is still where it's at for me - people like Strummer and Jones, Kurt Cobain or Paul Westerberg,” he enthuses. “A raw edge with great songs underneath.” Although the songs were written out on the road, Malin's streetwise vignettes are still pregnant with the imagery and character of his native New York and, in particular, its dark underbelly. Slices of life about prostitution (“Arrested”), incest (“Basement Home”) and urban decay (“Silver Manhattan”) are songs in which you can smell the time and place. Ryan Adams had wanted to produce again but was too busy, although he did find time to play some guitar and contribute backing vocals on “Block Island.” Pete Yorn adds vocals on “Silver Manhattan” and Jody Porter of Fountains of Wayne also guests on guitar. But the core of the record is played by Malin's touring band. “I always wanted to make a record that could work live with a band,” Malin says. “I loved the acoustic shows I did last year. But these songs can be played with some artillery.” It's been an extraordinary couple of years for Malin, once the singer with hardcore New York punk rockers, D Generation. At the end of 2002, The Fine Art of Self-Destruction was praised by press in the U.S. and Europe. Jesse supported Ryan Adams in New York City last July 4th at Battery Park for a free concert to 10,000 people, supported the Counting Crows on various UK tours and played three nights with Bruce Springsteen, whom he met at the Light of Day benefit concert last November. Now Malin has turned up The Heat. “It's a record about seizing the moment. It's about surviving, about ignoring the people who put you down and finding a way to stick to your dream.”
Katherine Lanpher is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist. Springboard Press will publish her first book, Leap Days: Chronicle of a Midlife Move, this October.
The next “Upstairs on the Square” will take place on Monday, October 30th at 7PM.
Audio downloads of all three summer events, including the series premiere on June 21 (Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert and singer-songwriter Jen Chapin, whose new album is Ready), the event on July 19 (Absurdistan author Gary Shteyngart and pop sensation Sondre Lerche, whose latest album is Duper Sessions), and the event on August 16 (Coronado author Dennis Lehane and singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik, whose new album is White Limousine) are available on Barnes & Noble.com (www.bn.com/writers).