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News + Views

Cousin Corinne’s Reminder

By South Brooklyn Post

The Fulbright Triptych, which has been in the permanent collection of the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn. State University for many years, will be exhibited in New York at the German Consulate General (along with other selected works) from June 16 - September 15, 2011. The Consulate is located at 871 United Nations Plaza at 49th Street, NYC.
Painting by Simon Dinnerstein of Park Slope. Pages 58 - 59 of Cousine Corinne's Reminder

Article by Jed Dougherty

Cousin Corinne’s Reminder, an independent literary journal published by one of the owners of BookCourt, in Cobble Hill, is a collection of short stories, art reviews, architecture visions, visual art, comics and poetry produced primarily by Brooklynites. It publishes bi-annually and can be purchased at BookCourt for $14.

A release party takes place at BookCourt Thursday, July 14, at 7 p.m. Meet the authors, drinks and food–and raffle for $500 BookCourt certificate.

Photo by Yvonne Todd, page 212 of Cousin Corinne’s Reminder

The third issue of Cousin Corinne’s Reminder grabs Brooklyn and kneads it onto glossy pages. Really, it grabs a very certain part of Brooklyn. The journal speaks from the coastal strip that stretches from Fort Greene around the prow of DUMBO, rising south to Red Hook and then inland through Carroll Gardens and up the Gowanus towards the baby-raising heartland of Park Slope. The hopes and fears of this slice of the world are detailed in CCR: getting sore feet from wearing sandals to the Met, disconcerting vacations to exotic locales, balancing artistic expression with careers and families, Autistic children, cancer. The best writing and art in this beautiful collection both reflect these sentiments and give them a wry gravitas often lacking from the “white whine” cliché of the area’s artistic expressions.

Among the standouts in the current issue is a brilliant artistic critique of Simon Dinnerstein’s The Fulbright Triptych, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri. Both are residents of the Brooklyn neighborhoods I spoke of earlier, and Lahiri’s description of her interactions with Dinnerstein and his art evokes the very pinnacle of what makes this part of Brooklyn such a special place. The piece, titled “The Space Between The Pictures,” takes the reader on a journey first into Lahiri’s mind, as she contemplates a reproduction of the piece, then through her meetings with Dinnerstein, ending with the writer and artist viewing the actual massive artwork, currently on display at the German Consulate General in the UN Plaza. The layers of art, critique, shared experience, and friendship slide over each other in what ended up being probably the most enjoyable art critique I’ve ever read. Plus, now I have yet another reason to visit the German Consulate.

The journal includes many strong fiction pieces. Among the best is “Echolalia” by Emily Raboteau, about a man coping with his son’s autism and the rift the struggle has created between him and his wife. His struggles to comprehend the child he helped to create are heartbreaking but never sappy. As a side note, it is always excellent when you get to the end of a story, find it terrific, and go back to read the author’s name — only to find that the writer is not the gender you expected.

Another strong entry, and my personal favorite of the fiction, is Arthur Bradford’s, “Resort Tik Tok.” It’s a gonzo tale of a writer looking for inspiration that borrows more than a little from Hunter Thompson’s underappreciated The Rum Diaries.

Intro to Cousin Corinne’s Comix Block, page 165

The comics section is full of gems, most notably an excellent piece by JG Thirlwell and Jen Ferguson contrasting the DUMBO of today with that of the pre-gentrified ‘80s. In a couple pages it captures the strangeness of the neighborhood. In DUMBO, the Farragut houses butt up against some of the most expensive real estate in the city. Weird mirror images sit across an invisible line in the street – rich people supermarket, poor people supermarket, rich people convenience store, poor people convenience store – the new money isn’t trickling over that line. The comic serves to remind us that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Also it has anthropomorphic rabbits, always good.

Brooklyn native Todd Colby’s poems are hipster love notes, which I mean in the best way possible. Whether he is running “a hand over the back of your leopard” or “kissing that little love button,” he is flying full speed ahead.

There is much more to read and discover in this stellar compilation. It is available for $14 at BookCourt so buy this bad boy and I promise you won’t have a boring subway ride for the next 3 weeks.

Note: 150 people showed on the full moon of July, 14, 2011 for BookCourt’s release party for the 3rd issue of Cousin Corinne’s Reminder.

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