The Bookstore, a fixture in the Town of Lenox for well over 40 years, was actually born in the neighboring town of Stockbridge, in the living room of a small rented house behind an alley that housed a then little-known café that later came to be known as Alice’s Restaurant.
The date of the move to Lenox is lost to antiquity, but it is safe to assume it happened in the late 1960s or early 1970s. So much of what happened in those days is lost in memory, eh? Yours, mine, ours?
It was (appropriately) on April Fool’s Day in the year of our republic’s bicentennial that the store legally passed from its owner/founder David Silverstein to current owner and sole proprietor Matt Tannenbaum. The anecdotal purchase and sale agreement happened a month or so earlier, the details of which can be found on web sites not on this plane.
One thing is for sure, though, a good time has been had by all since 1966. Ten years was enough for David, but Matt has kept the place alive and thriving for over 40.
The name says it all, doesn’t it?
A book or two, a glass of wine, a summer evening . . . a winter afternoon.. . The possibilities, though not endless, do appear wider than if there was no bar at The Bookstore, yes?
The bar is open whenever the bookstore is, and sure enough the bookstore stays open later some nights when the bar is open as well, especially Friday or Saturday nights.
But if it’s a Monday through Thursday afternoon, say around 2 or 2:30, for instance, and you happen to inquire whether you can get lit, the answer most assuredly is yes you can!
Some restrictions may apply.
But they usually won’t.
Photo: Eileen Hoffmire
Shade Gallery was launched the summer of 1976 by three young South County artists, Jim Youngerman, Alan Silverstein, and Michael Ansell, as part of the newly purchased Bookstore.
The idea was to exhibit artists whose work we knew and liked and respected. We sought out interesting new work from LA, Boston, and New York and brought it to the Berkshires. We wanted to offer curated exhibitions to the kinds of people who would come to a gallery that was inside (downstairs, in those days) a bookstore.
And it worked!
Here are some of the names of the artists whose work has been exhibited at The Shade Gallery @ The Bookstore:
Lucien Aigner, Michael Ansell, Bart Arnold, Robert Batterton, Larry Blizard, Alice Brock, Bruce Houston, John MacGruer, Jane McWhorter Peter Murkett, Laurie Pincus, Daisy Rockwell, Myron Schiffer, Alan Silverstein Bob Swisshelm , Jim Youngerman, Mary Beth Edelson
Here’s a list of some of the writers we’ve hosted over the years.
I tried to count them all one time, but I kept losing track. Michael Gizzi, pictured here, was one of the ones we had the most fun with.
Merritt Abrash, Joan Ackermann, Ryan Afromsky, Lucien Aigner, Deborah Alecson, David Anderegg, Faith Andrews, Debby Applegate, Jon Ash, John Ashbery, Benjamin Barber, Patti Barrett, Fran Bartkoswski, Barbara Bartle, Milton Bass, Ruth Bass, Jonathan Baumbach, Sandra Beasley, Ann Beattie, Peter Bergman, Ira Berkowitz, Richard Berlin, Deborah Bernhardt, Roy F. Blount, Jr., Paula Bohince, Stephen Borelli, Jim Bouton, Will Boyce, Alice Brock, Irene Quinzler Brown, Richard Brown, Elizabeth Brundage, Erik Brunn, David Budbill, Richard Burdick, Jennie Butler.Chris Carnavale, Sharon Charde, Alan Chartock, Roselle Chartock, Karen Chase, Alana Chernila, Stephen Cohen, Clark Coolidge, Stephen Cope, Bill Corbett, Alfred Corn, Maureen Corrigan, Amy Cotler, John Crowley, Howard Cruse, Rabbi William Cutler.Jeff Danziger, Harry Ellis Dickson, Dennis Drabelle, Peter Kane Dufault, Richard Dunlap.Cornelius Eady, Gerry Elias, ElizabethElliott, David Emblidge, Joan Embree, Helen Epstein.Peter Filkins, Rita Foley, Belle Fox-Martin, Freddy the Pig, Doug Friedman, Hannah Fries, Dave Fromm.
John Gennari, David Giannini, George Gilder, Louisa Gilder, Nini Gilder, Michelle Gillett, Carol Gilligan, Jim Gilligan, Michael Gizzi, Peter Gizzi, Tom Gizzi, Stephen Glantz, Claudia Gold, Yael Goldstein, Linda Greenhouse, Colin Harrington, Nancy Goldstone, Richard Greene, Whit Griffin, Arlo Guthrie.Leslie Harrison, Susan Hartung, Gerry Hausman, Lori Hausman, Gordon Hayward, Manfred Hecht, Deborah Herman, Jeff Herman, Sorina Higgins, Andy Hughes, Mark Hyman.Carol Goodman Kaufman, Joseph Kaufman, Mary Beth Keane, Robert Kelly, Ben Kilborne, Jamaica Kincaid, Danny Klein, Samara Klein, William KuttnerFrank Lachmann, Michael Lally, Peter Landesman, Jeanne Lemlin, Bernice Lewis, Dick Lipez, Zach Lipez, Mark Liponis, Anna Lotto.Gerard Malanga, Marie-Elizabeth Mali, Taylor Mali, Brendan Mathews,Harry Mathews, Bernadette Mayer, Charles McCarry, Edward McCrorie, Homer “Skip” Meade, Richard Mears, Ellen Meerpoool, Eve Merriam, Susan Merrill, Paul Metcalf, Gary Metras, David-Seth Michaels, Jeff Migdow, Gladys Montgomery, Marty Moran.Victor Navasky.Donald Oakes, Kevin O’Hara, Dean Olsher.Tina Packer, Paul Park, Jim Paul, Peggy Penn, Eve Perera, Jax Lowell Peters, Valerie Petersen,Mark Pettus, Nathaniel Philbrick, Sonia Pilcer, Andrew Pincus, Marjorie Pivar, Richard Price.Claudia Ricci, Laurie Robertson-Lorant, Daisy Rockwell, Seth Rogovoy, Jon Rosen, Marc Rosenthal, Rabbi Dennis Ross, Ed Rothstein, Lincoln Russell.
Lucille Salatan, William L. Shirer, Christine Siereau, Roberta Silman, Bob Smith, Bruce Snider, Pad Spence, Peter Spiegelman, Willard Spiegelman, Judy Staber, Maureen Stapleton, Rosemary Starace, Barry Sternlieb, Allison Stokes, John Suiter, Jon Swan.Hudson Talbott, Rose Tannenbaum, Tess Taylor,Lysley Tenorio, Mary Ann Tirone-Smith, Hap Tivey.Antoine Van Agtmae, Kristen Vandenberg, Cherry Vanilla, Edith Velmans, Loet Velmans.Stacy Wakefield, Cody Walker, Lewis Warsh, Laird White, Jan Wiener, Jonathan Wilson, Simon Winchester.William Yenner, Geoffrey Young, Jeremy Yudkin.Genie Zeigel, Nick Zinner.