For FALL 2010's delicious offerings of books, art, food, film, and unique travel--check out the NEW ISSUE of our online magazine FEAST--you will not go away hungry-- http://www.feastofbooks.com/

Between issues, read our blog posts as we and our special guests share thoughts, ideas, and recommendations about books, art, food, film, and travel. We love to hear from our readers, so please post a comment! Thanks-- Rosemary Carstens, editor

SNAX ONLINE is moving during the first quarter of 2011 -- stay tuned!

Snax Online is undergoing a redesign and will be moving to a new location. Check back from time to time for a link. In its new format, this blog will cover a wider range of topics but also its usual five. In the meantime, keep up with what's happening in the world of books, art, food, film, and travel at http://www.FEASTofBooks.com --

See you in 2011!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

BLACK CHROME – Keeping the rubber side down . . .

The CALIFORNIA AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM in Los Angeles continues to have a rotating spectrum of fascinating exhibitions. Beginning late September 2008 and continuing through April 12, 2009, visitors will have an amazing opportunity to learn about the contributions African Americans have made to motorcycle culture, mechanical technology, and aesthetics, since World War II.

Each month a special event focuses on some aspect of the innovation and creativity Black Americans have brought to American motorcycling, from Bessie Stringer’s cross-country travels in an era where there were few roads and practically no women bikers to many others who road the highways, designed stunning choppers, and raced high-powered drag bikes. This is a chance to glimpse a little-documented segment of our culture.

The image above is the East Bay Dragons at Miss Helen’s Bar-B-Que, September 1966. The image to the right is Lana “Mintu” Hines, Managing Editor of Black Biker magazine, Iron Horse Chopper, Sacramento, CA. Photos courtesy of Black Biker magazine.

For more on this exhibition, as well as a fabulous presentation of members of the BLACK PANTHERS photographed by Howard Bingham in the sixties, and Bay Area artist DEWEY CRUMPLER’s showing of bold paintings, sculptures, videos, and installation pieces, go to: http://www.caamuseum.org/. It’s a chance to veer off the usual museum paths and see something extraordinary, broaden your vision!

--Rosemary Carstens

Friday, October 17, 2008

Once again, Ron McLarty proves he's an entertainer . . .

Remember how wonderful it was to discover The Memory of Running, the debut novel by RON MCLARTY? McLarty’s third novel—Art in America (Viking 2008)—is sure to charm you once again with McLarty’s keen observations on life, his skill as a storyteller, and his sardonic understanding about the oddities and flaws of human beings. As he expresses it, “Art in America is a funny and affectionate story about a down-on-his-luck writer who finally finds success and love.”

Middle-aged New York writer Steven Kearney is down on his luck. He has written thousands of pages of novels, plays, and poems--not a single one of which has ever been published. After being thrown out of his Manhattan apartment, Kearney takes shelter with his longtime pal Roarke, an actress and director. One day, out of the blue, he’s offered a position as playwright-in-residence for three months at the Creedemore Historical Society in rural southern Colorado; they want him to write and direct a historical play about the town. But when he arrives, all hell breaks loose with land disputes, a former big-city cop-turned-sheriff trying to keep the peace, activist groups roaming the hills, and a nosy national media all contributing to a rollicking climax.

Each of Ron McLarty’s books has been well received and the critics are raving about ART IN AMERICA. The Christian Science Monitor’s review rounds out the consensus when it says,

Art in America finds a charming groove with plenty of chuckles. Those turn into snorts of hysteria once the curtain opens on Kearney's Creedemore epic, which is of a scale and lunacy deserving an honorary Tony for funniest play never staged in real life. If you enjoy your antiheroes scruffy and your comedy topped with a dollop of Americana, buy a ticket for Art In America.
For more information about author and book: http://www.ronmclarty.com/

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Telling Our Stories – The Intimacy of Memoir

As first heard in the gritty black-and-white film The Naked City in 1948, “There are eight million stories in the naked city.” Everyone has a story and appearances can be deceiving when it comes to knowing who has led a remarkable adventure, survived a harrowing experience, or been celebrated at some point in his or her life. Three books recently crossed my desk about women who stepped out, survived, or were deeply affected by a brief star turn. Each is compelling and inspiring in its own way, and each reminds us of how seldom we know another’s secret heart.

THE LOVELIEST WOMAN IN AMERICA: A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries, and Her Granddaughter’s Search for Home, Bibi Gaston. William Morrow 2008. I met Bibi a few years ago at a party and, as we sat together enjoying glasses of wine, she told me that recently, out of the blue, she had received 1,500 pages of her grandmother’s diaries from the 1920s and 1930s. Before that she had known nothing about her father’s mother except that she had been very beautiful and had killed herself in 1938. Her grandmother, Rosamond Pinchot, had been born into an illustrious political family, was dubbed “the loveliest woman in America” at the age of 23. She was a celebrated actress, an accomplished sportswoman, and a well-known socialite. By the age of 33 she was dead by her own hand. This candid book relates Bibi Gaston’s own journey as she explores her family’s secrets and the convoluted maze of subsequent events following Rosamond’s death. It’s a fascinating tale!

PACIFIC LADY: The First Woman to Sail Solo Across the World’s Largest Ocean, Sharon Sites Adams with Karen J. Cootes. University of Nebraska Press 2008. In June 1965, Sharon Adams sailed solo from the mainland United States to Hawaii. Just four years later, she completed a 74-day sail from Japan across the Pacific to the coast of California. No woman had ever done either before! This was an age when high-tech navigation equipment and communications were unknown. Imagine the challenges she faced and yet she is virtually unknown. Adams had always been athletic and a tomboy, but these were times when women adventurers were few and far between. Following the death of her husband, this intrepid sailor “discovered” the sport and had her first lesson, bought a boat, and within eight months set out to achieve her first world record. A truly inspiring story for anyone dreaming of taking on a challenge!

CANCER IS A BITCH (Or, I’d Rather Be Having a Midlife Crisis), Gail Konop Baker. Da Capo 2008. Life can really whack you upside the head sometimes. That’s what happened to Gail Konop Baker, an accomplished columnist and freelance writer, a runner, yoga practitioner, doctor’s wife, and mother of two. As she puts it, in her early forties, just as her life was cooking on all burners, “my right boob turned on me. Seven biopsies in five years, the last one ductal carcinoma in situ.” Gail’s valiant fight again this dreaded disease put her priorities quickly in order. At this point in her life, she had expected “to be feeling bad about my neck; instead I was feeling bad I wouldn’t live long enough to feel bad about it.” This story is as much about family, friends, and love as it is about cancer. The author pulls no punches, but she writes with humor as well as candor—it’s a real story with no bullshit in sight. Author's website: http://www.gailkonopbaker.com/

-- Rosemary Carstens