Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Missing You: From One Tourist City to Another (Bus in Piazzale Roma)

The above advertisement on the side of a bus in Piazza Roma reads "You are missed in New York City: while we wait to see each other again, discover all the things there are to love in NYC at NYCGO.com."

Friday, February 19, 2021

One Step Closer to Publication: Advance Copies of CIAO, SANDRO!

With some regional visitors in town for Carnevale, gondoliers temporarily returned to their stations this past week. But in the weeks before, when the above photo was taken, no gondoliers were to be seen-- except, as chance would have it, the one captured above tutoring his son.


Though the official publication date of the children's picture book, Ciao, Sandro!, that I wrote and Luciano Lozano illustrated is 8 June 2021, I recently received 15 advance copies, of which you can see some examples above and below in what I suppose might be called their "native habitat."

During non-pandemic times, such advance copies would be among the titles displayed at the Abrams Publishing booth at the annual Bologna Children's Book Fair, the most important such fair for the children's publishing industry, attracting over 1,400 exhibitors and  around 30,000 visitors from around 80 countries, and typically held in March. Last year the fair was first postponed, and then canceled outright. This year its date has been pushed back from March to 14-17 June. 

One need not be in the industry to attend, and along with a staggering array of titles and publishers from around the world, its exhibitions of the original artwork of illustrators from every corner of the globe would merit a visit all on their own.

I spent a full day at the 2019 edition of the fair, and look forward to doing so again in 2021. In terms of scale, it's rather like the Venice Biennale of the children's book publishing world, with as many things to see and almost as much ground to cover as the Biennale's Arsenale setting.

You can pre-order Ciao, Sandro! now if you'd like by hovering your mouse over the word "PRE-ORDER" on the Abrams Books for Young Readers site and then clicking on one of the choices that appear. 

Or, more directly, you can pre-order it now if you're in the United States by clicking here.

If you live in the UK the direct link is here.

(And both of the above sites benefit independent bookstores rather than monopolistic chains.)

The opening two-page spread of the book (a few other pages can be found at end of post)

A quick search also shows that is available for pre-order on sites in the Italy and the EU, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia

All of the above links are to the US English language edition. The sale and purchase of translation rights between publishers is chief among the industry business transacted at the Bologna Children's Book Fair; no foreign editions have yet been announced for Ciao, Sandro!


The pandemic has been a terrible time for gondoliers and taxi drivers and delivery drivers (who have seen their volume plummet with the closure of hotels and restaurants) but, in the absence of water traffic, an almost edenic time for rowers.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Of Carnevale Present: Martedì Grasso (Fat Tuesday), This Afternoon (9 Views)


I can't explain to you why this woman was originally photographed by her two collaborators tented in plastic...

but am happy to report that she was freed from her confinement without incident.


An Italian from out-of-town (he had to repeatedly ask the sweeper the name of Venice's mayor) pretends to trip over a mound of confetti and streamers--and will subsequently spend a few minutes lying flat on the pavement bellowing Brugnaro's name and threatening a lawsuit (to universal befuddlement). 

Observing the effort it takes for groups to properly arrange themselves to be photographed...

gave me a renewed appreciation of the manner in which gondoliers do it so beautifully without even trying.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Carnevale Present (Yesterday, To Be Specific): 8 Views


Everyone out in the calli and campi yesterday for Carnevale wore masks, but there were hardly more than one or two dozen adults in costume... In just one year the whole relationship between Carnevale and masks has changed: the latter term now refers to Covid protection, not the papier machè (or plastic) sort that had become one of the city's most ubiquitous and recognizable commodities in the last three decades.

Before one year ago it would have surprised absolutely no one that the streets of Venice should be crowded on the last Sunday of Carnevale, but it was actually startling to find the Rialto Bridge so busy yesterday. Not as crowded as it would have been on any Sunday during Carnevale prior to this year--that is, so packed it's a challenge to get across it in either a decent time or temper--but with more people on it than I've seen there since 2019. And so, too, were the paths between the bridge and Piazza San Marco. Again, not so crowded as they used to be on a Carnevale weekend, when the entire area around Piazza San Marco had to be blockaded in an effort to keep crowd density from reaching dangerous levels, but filled with people--even as many of the shops have emptied out. 

There was no big stage in Piazza San Marco, no official events. The cafes Florian and Quadri were closed, as was pretty much every other business beneath the arcades--many for good. The Piazza was fuller than I'd seen it in over a year, with a higher percentage of Italian speakers--it's pretty much all I heard--than has been common there for, I suspect, for a very long time. I suspect many were from the mainland, from nearby, Mestre...

But, that written, I'll leave the rest to the images (the final one taken today, not yesterday).



One sign that much of the crowd came from outside Venice: people wait in line to enter the Disney Store 

While a duo dressed in the Bauta wait on the dock for their two photographers to start shooting them, and some teens relax at water's edge, a trio + dog row past in a sanpierota.

Venetian schools are off this week for Carnevale and smaller children are out playing in costume: above, a caped reveler heads home with his parents for lunch today.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Of Carnevale Past: 9 February 2018

The dance troupe of the Isadora Duncan International Institute performs in the androne of Palazzo Contarini-Polignac, the former home of Duncan's patron Winnaretta Singer.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

A Glimpse of Carnevale Through the Fog of the Present, This Afternoon

A gray, lightly foggy day, brightened up by a glimpse (unfortunately after they'd passed) of these two costumed people in a sandolo being rowed alla Valesana on the Grand Canal. This year the Carnevale has gone online and you can catch up with its programming on the official site here (some parts of which are subtitled in English).

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Of Carnevale Past: 17 February 2015

Crowds in the Piazza like this have become distant memories

In the absence of real Carnevale in Venice this year I've been thinking of posting one different image each day from prior years. Some might be images I've posted when they were originally taken (usually with a group of other images), others might be ones I've never posted before, like the one above. 

This plan could change without warning, or be interrupted on one day or another by something more timely, but I'll at least start out with this plan in mind and see how it goes.