Active October, part 1

Three events on October 1st

Literary Legends 2022It’s been an active October 2022, a mix of joy and anxiety, so much so that I have to diary this, and this is just the first part.

Saturday, Oct 1: Go to my former church at 9:45 a.m. We in the pickup choir rehearsed How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place, then sang it at the Jim Kalas service. I also told the story that I noted in the blog post.

There was a reception afterward in the quite lovely parlor. It’s always a bittersweet time returning to a place I spent 17 years worshipping. Some of the parishioners there still remember me, and vice versa.

My wife and I had a 3 p.m. play to attend. Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors was written by Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen, who have penned Ebenezer’s Big Christmas Show and Crime and Punishment: A Comedy. Dracula is described as “Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire tale… put into a blender with the comedic influences of Mel Brooks, Monty Python, and the 39 Steps.” The five-member cast, playing multiple roles, was entertaining.

Still, I wouldn’t have picked that particular day to see the production but for a scheduling snag of my own making. My wife and I have a subscription for plays at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady during the 2022-2023 season. Part of the package included a couple of shows at the affiliated Capital Repertory Theatre, usually designated as Capital Rep.

Who calendars for this guy?

It was not until I looked at the online tickets that I had scheduled us to see Dracula and Aladdin ON THE SAME DAY. I’ve seen two different movies in a cinema, back-to-back. But watching two plays in two cities six hours apart? That did not work for us.

I bumped Drac to October 1, knowing the following two weekends were out because I would be away at my sister’s high school reunion and visiting my daughter’s college. It wasn’t until I started putting the plays into the calendar on my phone that I realized I had created another problem.

The Literary Legends gala, the primary fundraiser for the Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library Foundation was ALSO on October 1. And as a board member, I had been working on the event! So I missed the setup (oy) but there for the event.

Sunday, October 2: the usual. Church, ZOOM meeting with my sisters. There was another event we could have gone to, but I begged off.

Readers Theatre

Monday, October 3: My second visit to the Capital Rep building, this time to help set up for the Wizard’s Wardrobe signature fundraising event, The Readers Theatre, “an evening of powerful readings.” Addressing the theme of Hope for Changing Times, the speakers included Alice Green of the Law and Justice Center.

My wife noted that I experienced the unusual Exacta, people recognizing me from working at FantaCo (1980-1988) AND being on JEOPARDY in 1998 at the same event. More surprising was that the latter was Nell Stokes, one of the other speakers, who I’ve known for about a decade. “I didn’t know you, but I was rooting for you!”

The other speakers were Paul Grondahl of the NYS Writers’ Institute, Jean-Remy Monnay, Holly McKenna, and an eighth-grader who had memorized her impressive talk. The host was Casey Seiler of the Albany Times Union.

Among the tasks for my wife and me was welcoming people at the door. My wife felt chilly, presumably from the night air. But I’m the one who was more likely to feel cold. I found it mildly curious but didn’t think much of it.

Friends and Foundation of the APL

Tuesday book talks

Most of my volunteer time involves the Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library. I’ve been on the Board since the merger of the Friends of the APL and the APL Foundation in 2020. Before that, I served on both the Foundation board and as an officer off and on for the Friends.

The purpose of the FFAPL is to provide “critical financial support to the Albany Public Library in order to help the Library provide education, literacy, career development, cultural enrichment, and lifelong learning.” The Friends and Foundation can do things that the library cannot. For instance, the library can inform the public about a library budget vote, but the FFAPL can advocate for a YES vote.


Every Tuesday, there is a book review or author talk. I’m one of the people looking for speakers. If you are in the area and want to consider this, contact my email or IM me on Facebook (Roger Owen Green, the one with the duck). Here are talks for the rest of the month, Tuesdays at noon, 161 Washington Avenue in the auditorium.

August 9 |Book Review | Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire by Caroline Elkins. Reviewer: Karl K. Barbir, Ph.D., professor emeritus of history, Siena College.

August 16 |Book Review | How To Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. Reviewer: Roger Green, MLS, former librarian & past president of the Friends of Albany Public Library.

August 23 | Book Review | The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville by Olivier Zunz. Reviewer: John McGuire, Ph.D., professor of history, Siena College.

August 30 | Book Review | Her Honor: My Life on the Bench . . . What Works, What’s Broken, and How to Change It by LaDoris Hazzard Cordell. Reviewer: Bonita Sanchez, MSW, retired academic & lifelong social worker.

ROGER GREEN? Yikes, I better read the book!


For the last decade, there has been a Literary Legends gala. This year’s honorees are Sylvie Kantorovitz and Edward Schwarzschild. Sylvie is the illustrator of many picture books. Ed has been a novelist, but his next book is “a non-fiction, interview-based documentary.”

The gala is the primary way the FFAPL makes money to provide to the Albany Public Library. You could be a sponsor, offer auction items, buy ads, and/or attend the event on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at the Delaware Branch of the APL, 331 DELAWARE AVENUE, from 7-9 pm.


Part of my specific task involves recruiting new people to the board. We can use help working on events such as book sales, the gala, talks, and even things no one is doing now. We could also use help with the prosaic but important tasks such as finance, organizational structure, and board recruitment.

Hey, if you live in the Albany area and want to know more about participating in this manner, please let me know.

A matter of good timing

The bike and the bus

On October 12, things worked out for me splendidly. It was a matter of good timing.

I had four or five suits or at least the jackets when I retired from work in June 2019. My wife, I know, was evaluating whether I needed all of them since I scarcely wore them all, maybe thrice a year.

Early in October, I went into the closet to discover I had only two jackets. One was a little small. the other, unfortunately, had moth holes. And I needed something to wear to the  Literary Legends gala.

This might have meant going to a store to buy a new suit, but by then, it was the Tuesday before the Saturday event. Tuesdays in October meant Bible Guys at 9 a.m. and then introducing the speaker for the FFAPL Book Talk from noon until 1:30.

By the time I ate lunch, emptied and refilled the dishwasher, and took a shower, it was close to 3 pm. I wanted to get home before my daughter did, around 4:45 after a yearbook meeting.

The journey begins

3:17 Leave the house, go to the shed, get the bike, ride it to the CVS 3 blocks away. Pick up a package from Amazon that was delivered there. It’s curious that another box from Amazon, with much the same item, was delivered to my house on the same day.

Rode my bike back one block to West Lawrence and Western to be in a position to catch either the #114 going down Madison Avenue or the #10, heading down Western. As it turned out, both arrived on time, at 3:35 and I took the latter to Lark St, rode the bike to the tuxedo place a couple of blocks away.

Got measured for the suit, which I would pick up on Friday via bus. Ride the bike three blocks to Washington and Henry Johnson, where I just catch the #10 bus that got me to a block from my house.

I park my bike in the shed and I was in the house at 4:21, in plenty of time to beat my daughter home. Except for the fact that she came home early, c. 4 because she wasn’t feeling well. But it was the effort that counted.

FFAPL Literary Legends Gala 2021

Eugene Mirabelli, Lydia Davis

The Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library is having its Literary Legends Gala 2021 on Saturday, October 16 from 6 to 8 pm. It will be held at the Pine Hills branch of the Albany Public Library, 517 Western Avenue. The first six annual galas were in person. The one in 2020 was, no surprise, virtual. This year’s event will be a hybrid because that’s what 2021 looks like.

The FFAPL “provides critical financial support to the Albany Public Library in order to help the Library provide education, literacy, career development, cultural enrichment, and lifelong learning.” These include supporting specific Library programs and projects, beyond the budget and scope of APL.

Our guests

The honorees are Lydia Davis and Eugene Mirabelli, each a professor emeritus at SUNY-Albany.

Lydia is a short story writer, novelist, and translator. “Her honors and awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation, as well as the Man Booker International Prize.” I bought her Collected Works (2009) in 2013 when she was honored by the Friends, a predecessor of FFAPL.

I attended Gene’s book launch for Renato! earlier this month. It is revised and reassembled from three of his earlier works. At the reading, he read from chapter 3 of what was part of The Goddess in Love with a Horse. It was so engaging that I bought the collection. Thirty years ago, I met Gene a few times, then hadn’t crossed paths with him until this year. He is just as engaging now as then.

The event

The gala features an online auction, already started and going on through October 16. And you don’t have to be in the Albany, NY area to participate. Here’s the link.

Tickets: ONLY A LIMITED NUMBER OF IN-PERSON TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE. All In-Person Tickets are “Honorary Committee” tickets at $125 each. All in-person attendees must show proof of vaccination. Virtual tickets are pay-what-you-wish, with a recommended donation of $25.

Two nearby banks have given the event organizers permission to use their parking lots for the event, Citizens Bank, 501 Western Avenue (enter from the West Lawrence St. side), and Trustco Bank, 1084 Madison Avenue, both nearby.

Being for the benefit of…

Yes, THAT Paul Simon

I shall have gone to three benefit events in a two-week period in October. None of them, unsurprisingly, were in person. Two of the three I HAD attended in person LAST year. But that was so long ago.

Wizard’s Wardrobe

The Wizard’s Wardrobe is a program in Albany’s South End. “Children spend time with a special tutor just for them — to read, write, and explore the wonderful world of books.” It was started by two members of my church, Deb and Eric Fagans. They were inspired by the TED talk Once Upon a School.

The program grew out of the relationship our church had developed with the Giffen Elementary School in the South End of the city of Albany. Several of our members tutored at Giffen and held an annual Book and Author event there.

The benefit on Monday, October 5 featured Katherine Paterson, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Bridge to Terabithia. She read as did local authors Margaret Miki Conn, Lorraine Garnett, and Marion Roach Smith. The Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York performed The eyez in the wall, written and directed by Aaron Moore. The ASL Interpretation was provided by Marian Eaton. The Master of Ceremonies was Rex Smith, Editor of the Times Union newspaper.

There was a ZOOM afterparty following the presentation. I knew about half of the participants personally. One of the attendees was Gregory Maguire, a local author who’s done well. He wrote the book Wicked, upon which the musical was based. What’s the correct protocol for departing a gathering online?

Green The Senate, Save the Planet

Paul Simon hosted an event to support seven US Senate candidates on Thursday, October 8. The singer wrote, “In a year that has been incredibly challenging, often overwhelming, and too often heartbreaking, it is easy to become discouraged. But future generations are counting on us, and I urge you to channel your energy in these final days before Election Day to help secure a pro-environment majority in the Senate.”

Simon began the program by singing American Tune. Then there were videos, including from the sponsor Give Green and from former Presidential candidate and rich guy Tom Steyer. Some of the candidates gave brief video presentations.

Then Simon interviewed three of them: Steve Bullock (MT), Jamie Harrison (SC), and Theresa Greenfield (IA). Paul was an unsure questioner, seeking to ask certain things and at the same time wanting the candidates not to be hemmed in by his queries. Still, the candidates acquitted themselves well.

After another video, Paul sang The Boxer, Homeward Bound, Sound of Silence, and Here Comes the Sun. He was accompanied by a guy named Mark Stewart. He was wearing a mask, but I think he’s this guy.

Literary Legends@Home

The Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library are having its annual Literary Legends Gala on Saturday, October 17 from 7 to 10 pm. Each year, the group “selects a new outstanding person of letters in our community, and invites the community to celebrate them with a cocktail reception in their honor.” Well, not in person THIS year.

The FFAPL is honoring the writer Elisa Albert. Past honorees have included William Kennedy, Paul Grondahl, Amy Biancolli, Gregory Maguire, Barbara Smith, Marion Roach Smith, Dr. Leonard Slade, Athena Lord, Frankie Bailey, Alice Green, Peter Golden, Lyn Lifshin, and Dan Wilcox. (The second time Gregory and Marion appear in this post.)

The gala is the primary fundraising effort of the FFAPL, which “provides critical financial support to the Albany Public Library in order to help the Library provide education, literacy, career development, cultural enrichment, and lifelong learning.” It can provide mini-grants for the library to offer programming that the APL cannot. One can buy tickets here.

BTW, on October 20 at 12:15 pm, there will be a ZOOM review of the book Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide by Richard Dawkins. The reviewer will be Carl Strock, a former columnist for the Daily Gazette, Schenectady. It is free but one must preregister here.

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