R.L. Stine: The Lost Interview

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R.L. Stine, wondering why this piece took so long.
Sometimes in the nonstop world of blogging you do something that takes a little more time, and which you're very excited about. But because of the nonstop world of blogging, and because you want to do it right, and because it takes more time to do that, the idea or scoop or interview you were so excited about gets pushed to the side, to do at night or on weekends, or in the rare blogging breaks. And sometimes by the time you get around to it, the peg -- and occasionally, the enthusiasm -- has been lost. Such pieces have been sacrificed for the greater good of "feeding the beast." They never get their day in the sun, and that is sad.

Today is my last day at the Voice (thank you, readers, coworkers, Tony Ortega, who hired me and set the last two crazy/wonderful years in motion, and everyone who supported and/or stayed friends with me throughout). And thank you to everyone I ever spoke to whose words didn't make it onto the published page. This one is for you.

On Thursday, January 13, 2011, I left my blog-shackles and my computer and trekked from Voice HQ to the Upper West Side to meet R.L. Stine at a Mexican restaurant for lunch and, presumably, what would become a published interview. He had been the inspiration, on the basis of a tweet, for my first viral blog post, "50 Reasons to Be Pretty Damn Euphoric You Live in New York City." I wanted to thank him for that (I think/hope I picked up the tab!), and also, I mean, it's R.L. Stine, a name I'd seen on bookshelves since childhood, a writing success story, an inspiration. He had a cranberry juice and his usual choice from the lunch menu; I drank Diet Coke and then coffee and, too nervous to eat, picked at whatever lunch I ordered. Three hours later we parted ways, me with a signed copy of one of his books from the Goosebumps stories; him with my promise to send him the link to the piece, "as soon as it was up."

That promise comes due today. Here is the lost (and, now, found) interview with R.L. Stine.

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How to Be a New Yorker: Excerpts from the Memoir of Les Rich

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In my story in the Voice last week, inspired by Joan and Leslie Rich's 1964 book, How to Be a New Yorker, I talked to longtime New Yorkers, former New Yorkers, new New Yorkers, and even a few people who've never lived in this town, about what they think it takes to be "a real New Yorker." As expected, the article spurred plenty more discussion on the topic, ranging from emails (thanks, all who sent notes!) to comments on the piece online. Among the responses was this gem:

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Occupy Wall Street Needs Help Reclaiming Their Library

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@NYCMayorsOffice
After a bit of a run-around yesterday preceded by early rumors that the 5,000-some books in the Occupy Wall Street People's Library had been tossed in dumpsters and destroyed, the Mayor's Office tweeted that the books (and other possessions removed from Zuccotti Park during the eviction) were safely ensconced at the Sanitation garage at 650 57th Street. We spoke to Mandy Henk, one of the People's librarians, who told us that they need help reclaiming their stuff. She says, "We got word yesterday when people went down that we could pick up stuff today, so six of us have gone down to get stuff. We need people with cars, though, to help us move our library."

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Occupy Wall Street Library Says 'It's Time to ShutDownNYC' After Books Reportedly Destroyed [Updated]

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Occupy Wall Street has tweeted that the 5,554 books comprising the OWS library have been trashed by the NYPD in the raid. GalleyCat reports that @OWSLibrary has been tweeting about the eviction and the destruction of their books, documents, and artwork throughout the night.

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Ralph Richard Banks Asks if Marriage is For White People Only

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Ralph Richard Banks is the author of the new book Is Marriage for White People? While Banks, a Stanford Law professor, was in town for an event at Cardozo Law School, we met him for lunch in the West Village to talk about why black folks marry so much less often than whites, why black women are the least married demographic, and why white dudes seem to be more accepting of a black woman wearing natural hair than black men.

(And, even though the book is largely about heterosexuals, we squeezed in some queer questions on Prop 8 and Tyler Perry.)

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Beth Griffenhagen, Author of Haiku for the Single Girl, Shares Her Tales of Plight

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"Sadly, the only
Guy I'm going steady with
Is my bartender."*

Have you heard of Haiku for the Single Girl? It's a new book written by 29-year-old Beth Griffenhagen, who, when not penning haiku, spends her days in the marketing department at Murray's Cheese. We talked to Beth, who happens to be having a big launch party tonight at the powerHouse Arena (drinks, cheese, and Cheetos will be served, and haikus will be read).

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St. Mark's Bookshop Has a New Petition

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Jeremiah Moss, the creator of the blog Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, has responded to yesterday's dispiriting denial of a rent reduction to St. Mark's Bookshop by Cooper Union with his own petition. (Nearly 44,000 people signed the petition to save the store, though those signatures did not convince Cooper Union to change their stance -- and, though Cooper Union is currently asking for a rent of $20,000, they have apparently told the bookstore owners they want to rent the space for $40,000.) Jeremiah's new petition asks for signatures to support a campaign to boycott whatever business moves into 31 Third Avenue if the bookstore is forced to close.

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Salman Rushdie Joins the Save the St. Mark's Bookshop Effort

Cooper Square Committee Protests Cooper Union Over St. Mark's Bookshop Rent

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Jocelyn Silver
Cooper Union held an inauguration ceremony today at noon for new president Jamshed Bharucha. In keeping with the revolutionary trend sweeping NYC, the Cooper Square Community Development Committee and Businessmen's Association staged a rather low-key protest for the struggling St. Mark's Bookshop at the ceremony, asking Cooper Union (their landlord) to lower their rent from $20,000 to $15,000 a month. There were about a dozen committee members present and passing out flyers. A few protestors also sang during the inauguration. Here are the lyrics of their song:


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Men of the Stacks Is Your Sexy Male Librarian Calendar: A Conversation With Mr. November

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Men of the Stacks
Have you seen the Men of the Stacks calendar? It's a calendar featuring 12 months of sexy male librarians, and it's been mentioned on Oprah's blog. If that doesn't excite you, are you even human? If that doesn't excite you, you should also know that Men of the Stacks is available for $19.99 (order it here), and that people all over the world, including in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Netherlands, and the U.S., have placed orders in the three days it's been available. They're the talk of Twitter (#menofthestacks). And, 100 percent of the profits go to the It Gets Better Project, a movement to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone. We spoke with Megan Perez, coordinator of the project (and Mr. November) about the calendar's success thus far.

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