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Let there be light boxes: Shane Jones.

Art Beat

OVERTURE, CURTAIN, LIGHTS Summer is coming. I can tell, not from the weather, but because Stageworks/Hudson have announced their 2010 season. It begins June 16 with the 1660s/1960s “bodice- ripping mashup” Or, by Liz Duffy Adams, which runs through July 4. Next up is a new play, Imagining Madoff (as in Bernie Madoff), by Deborah Margolin, which runs through Aug. 8. This will be followed by The Amish Project by Jessica Dickey (a regional premiere) on Aug. 18, and this year’s Play By Play festival, Blue Moons, on Sept. 29. For more info, call 828-7843.

LOCAL HERO In these days of ever-shorter publishing lists and ever-increasing numbers of self-published books, local author Shane Jones had something very unusual happen to him. He’s an overnight sensation. OK, not quite overnight—his novel, Light Boxes, was first published by a small press in Baltimore over a year ago. The press run was, the author estimates, between 500 and 600 books. (This is the version reviewed in these pages last July.) Then something amazing, unexpected and extremely rare happened: Filmmaker Spike Jonze, of Where the Wild Things Are and Adaptation fame, took out an option on the novel. This sparked new interest in the publishing world, and Viking/Penguin bought the rights and reissued the book on the Penguin Original imprint.

Light Boxes is, as the publishers succinctly describe it, “about a town of balloonists who fight a war against the month of February.” (It does sound like a plot in one of Jonze’s films, doesn’t it?) Jones told an interviewer that it’s “a myth, a fable, a war story, a detective story, a bunch of stuff thrown together.” Our own Josh Potter wrote:

“Like the spare text that constellates the stark white pages of this slim volume, the story is rendered in simple clean lines, like a schematic on graph paper. . . . The quality is more akin to archetypal mythology, where the logic of the world is simple, but the reader learns not to assume anything about the world that is unspecified. The whole thing has a set quality akin to George Saunders’ The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil (minus the allegorical comedy), while its quaint, steam-punk historicism calls to mind Lars von Trier’s film Dogville.”

Which brings us to the point of this write-up: Jones will be signing Light Boxes on May 27 at 7 PM at the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza (Western Avenue, Albany). For more info, visit

—Shawn Stone

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