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Alex Kahn demonstrating a pen light at the puppet workshop at Westbeth.


Sophia Michahelles on paying homage to handwriting and the inspiration behind the Ex Libris ballerina.


A gorgeous Sunday afternoon and the workshop at Westbeth was abuzz with volunteers who’d spread their work out into the courtyard.  They were putting the final touches on the bibliomorphic puppets that will make their debut appearance tomorrow at 8.30 p.m. on the High Line for the Parade of Illuminations. 

Marta Sebestyen’s hypnotic voice wooed the artists as they worked and a large section of an outdoor table carried the evidence of a feast—  fried chicken, jalapeno-cheddar corn bread, coleslaw and brownies. Lenny, a regular volunteer, is responsible for the sumptuous food. Each day, he arrives laden with delicious, homemade dishes that he prepares himself!

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Jane Ciabattari is the author of the short story collection, Stealing the Fire. Recent fiction appears in The Literarian, KGB Bar Lit, Chautauqua Magazine, and the new anthology Long Island Noir, edited by Kaylie Jones.

Her reviews, interviews, and cultural reporting have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, the Boston Globe, The Daily Beast, the Boston Globe, The Paris Review, Bookforum, The Guardian online,,SalonLos Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, and Columbia Journalism Review, among others.

She served President of the National Book Critics Circle (2008-2011).