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At Last Night’s Hubert’s Freaks Event: Insanity and Hilarity Ensue

Hubert's Freaks cover.jpg
I just received a great report from Gregory Henry about last night’s event at The Strand.

“It was at a standing room-only book reading last night at Strand Book Store for HUBERT’S FREAKS: The Rare-Book Dealer, the Times Square Talker, and the Lost Photos of Diane Arbus, a true story about a man named Bob Langmuir who buys the archives of Hubert’s Freak Show (the old Times Square institution) and much to his astonishment, finds previously unknown photos by Diane Arbus inside.

Much like the book, the event was insane. It started nicely enough, with Gibson reading from the book and taking questions. But at one point, he called on a man who began to try to hijack the reading. The man in reality is Bayo Ogunsanya, and he’s suing Bob Langmuir, saying that he sold him some of the Arbus photos without knowing what they were, and now Langmuir will be getting rich off of them (they will be auctioned off today at Phillips de Pury auction house).

You can read about Ogunsanya’s lawsuit here.

Ogunsanya began demanding to be thanked in the book, insisting that he had been lied to, and had to be heckled down by Gibson and booed down by the audience. (Seriously, shouldn’t Ogunsanya’s lawyer have advised him not to attend the reading, since the lawsuit is still ongoing?)

Then, a self-described “magician and escape artist” jumped up and started to harass Gibson and Langmuir, saying that “Presto” the Magician (another Hubert’s freak) was dying in a rest home, and could use some of the money from the auction and the book.

A third character, a Hasidic man, announced to the crowd that he had sold Langmuir the photos. In my humble opinion, it’s insane how this world (of art and book collectors) contains so many characters who all come out of the woodwork when it seems like there’s money to be had.

The Strand has a video up from the event here
All in all, a crazy night.”

Could tonight’s “A$$hole!” event at Sidewalk Cafe surpass this level of craziness? We’ll find out tomorrow. BTW, check out Martin Kihn’s kick-ass video at his site, one of the most effective book trailers I’ve seen this month.

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