Friday, February 29, 2008

...this time, really

Okay, one more, and then that is it, I swear, for the month, if not the year.

Not to be outdone by Grula, Gregg sent this one below in the middle of the night. Pic from a long-forgotten newspaper feature, that's Carol Sharar with the violin, Gregg and me, a few minutes before we walked onstage for my set and to sing one with Pete Seeger at an outdoor benefit concert circa 1996 (Pete joined us for Woody's Do Re Mi; thanks Pete).

It was that same summer that I was working on a short story called "Two Soldiers" that, a few years later, became the basis of The Ice Beneath You.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

okay, one more...

Alright, one more today...Grula just sent this. I had completely forgotten about this great picture. It was taken by famed folk/blues photographer Robert Corwin, somewhere in a back hallway in the middle of the night at the 1997 North American Folk Alliance, about one month before Don Brody died. That weekend's concerts were, matter o fact, the second to last time Camp Hoboken played together before Don's death (last time was at the Shannon Lounge in Hoboken). That's Don front and center, leading the way, with Grula in the baseball cap. Linda and Connie are in there, too. Only one missing is Gregg.

ah, the sweet, stupid memories

It's inevitable, of course, that publishing a novel where the setting and characters are so close to my heart (which is what you do with a third novel, right?) is going to force me to pull out the proverbial shoebox, looking dreamily at things I haven't looked at in years (and probably should never look at again). So expect a smattering of crumbs from the chicken-nugget-bucket that is my media memory over the next few weeks. Let's start with this below, shall we? Fort Eustis, Virginia, circa 1993, shortly after returning from Somalia. I was playing some gigs on the weekends and needed a b&w, so my buddy Trent Kolden put me up against the wall and took this shot. The hair you see sticking out from the front of the newsboy is about all the hair I had at the time: I wasn't Christian Bauman then, I was Private Bauman.

[UPDATE] Funny...after I posted the above, I saw how the picture in the right column looks like an old-age re-creation of the one from 1993. My daughter Kristina took the one to the right up in Burlington in the fall. So, somewhere between my early 20s and mid 30s I lost the cigarette and the hat, and gained hair and pounds. Fun for me.

For more of what we look like now, check out this down below, Carbone and Cagno at the Kitchen Table reunion at the Hoboken Museum a few months ago. Nice.

And, for more of what we looked like then, scroll way down to the old Camp Hoboken touring poster I found a while ago. (What I'd really love is a jpg of the circus-type original Camp Hoboken poster that Grula designed...I have the poster, but not electronically. Hint hint.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

sad news from across the river in Princeton

I heard today that Raymond Smith died last week, of complications from pneumonia. He was the publisher/editor of the Ontario Review and the independent press associated with it (they published my friend Barry Raine's memoir Where the River Bends a few years ago). I didn't really know Smith, but met him twice, both times at wonderful dinners at the home of a mutual friend. The first time with my wife, the second time with my daughter Kristina...around the time my first book came out, I think. I remember Raymond and his wife Joyce were both so kind and gracious to Kristina, who was I think in middle school at the time. They were also clearly devoted to each other, and doted around each other like little frail old birds at the end of the evening. How horrible that she has lost her companion.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

...and here's how it's wrapped

So, down below there I showed an early comp of the cover of In Hoboken. And now we have the real thing...look to your right (assuming this is still the top post). Many, many thanks to Neal Pollack for the nice blurb (one of these days I have to write an essay or something about the fine arts of giving and receiving blurb...but that's another story). Neal and I have actually only met in person once (a beer-drenched evening in Philadelphia many years ago, an evening of readings at the old 215 Festival...The Ice Beneath You had just come out, so I was reading stuff from that, and Neal was touring with a full band, and they absolutely rocked; that was a lot of fun). We knew each other from a small and far-flung tribe back in I guess 2003 trying through email and blogging to keep each other sane as Cheney marched us head-on into this war. Atrios was publishing some of what we were writing. And this was I think the same way I met Joel.

But boy do I digress. So to your right is the cover, and down below is the back-cover copy, as it will appear on the printed book (for those of you concerned about the "seedy" controversy of my previous post):

As in Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments and Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, IN HOBOKEN is about the music that makes it all worthwhile when you’re young and struggling—but in this New Jersey waterfront town, there is as much soul in the place and the people.

In the mile-square city of Hoboken, a twenty-four-year-old Woody Guthrie-obsessed guitar player named Thatcher Smith has come home from the army to a clerk’s job and a circle of unlikely friends trying to form a band. Critically acclaimed novelist Christian Bauman—himself a former soldier and itinerant guitar player—has returned with his finest writing yet, drenched in time and place and the vivid colors of its characters: Marsh, the polio-crippled rock & roll king of Hoboken; the bachelor painter Quatrone and his ancient Italian mother; Thatcher’s “brother” the virtuoso James and their “sister” the folk chanteuse Lou; the half-blind, half-mad Orris. Drunk in a sea of failed relationships, distant celebrity parents, and the certainty he was born fifty years too late, Thatcher navigates a year of life and death in Hoboken, New Jersey, the Bohemian city alive and kicking in the shadows of New York.

Christian Bauman’s first two novels The Ice Beneath You and Voodoo Lounge were based on his experiences as a young soldier in the combat zones of Somalia and Haiti, and on his wanderings around North America. Bauman is now a regular contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered and an editor-at-large for He lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with his wife and daughters.

Publishing is a funny thing, for many reasons, one of which is that these books are usually finished long before they hit the shelves of your local bookstore. In this case, In Hoboken was done last year, and I'm knee-deep in not just one but two new books (a novel called The Dog House, and a young adult novel called The Night Door). So it's kind of like by the time a book comes out, you've already moved on, you know? But it's fun, especially I think in this case, to come back to it, and see it come to life for everyone else. I'm very, very happy to see this one in the flesh, and really looking forward to it's publication next month.

Monday, February 11, 2008

"Seedy" Hoboken

It seems that the Star Ledger posted something about the book release on their website, and picked up some old back-cover copy about the book that says something about Hoboken being "seedy"...and that in turn has become the object of much discussion in the SL's comments section.

Let me just say: Hoboken isn't seedy. I'm not even sure what seedy means, but whatever it is, Hoboken isn't it. It isn't it now, nor was it in 1995 when the novel is set. The publisher put that word on their original draft of the back cover, and I requested it removed. It HAS been removed, in as far as it won't be on the actual printed book, but I guess the old descriptions of the book (along with the old draft of the cover art) are still up on etc. I'm in the process of begging to get the new cover art and especially the new book description up, but these things are slow-moving unfortunately. Meantime, rest assured, there's nothing seedy about nothing.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"In Hoboken" events

So, starting to get some info for the release of In Hoboken next month. Me and the wife and kids are going to have a little bit of a party on Tuesday March 11 in the back room at Maxwells on Washington Street in Hoboken. Besides the usual book release night hoo-ha, looks like we'll have us a bit of a concert. Mr. Cagno will MC the affair, with a pretty-dern-near-to-it Camp Hoboken reunion...Linda? Grula? Con? All that. We hear tell that young Perry Brody might swing by for a song. Right on. And as for Linda, she's got a new album and fingers are crossed to see if she has it in hand in time for this...

And then two nights later, on Thursday March 13, we'll do the hometown version for friends and neighbors out here in Pennsylvania. Some wine, some cheese, some books. All good. We'll be at the fabulous Farleys Bookshop in New Hope.

For you New Yorkers: we'll do a little something in Manhattan, and also in Brooklyn at Melville House. Details to follow.

But now...time for Quebec. J'ski.