umbrella on line

ISSN 0160-0699

Volume 31, No. 1, Mar 2008

From the Editor

As we start our 31st year, I hope some of you will be participating in the Ninth Annual International Edible Book Event, which probably will be scheduled for the end of March or the beginning of April. Right now, if you go to (we are now directed by web services in Montreal), you can see who has registered for participation. I am sure there will more institutions coming in at the last minute. Saveur Magazine had a short notice in their Agenda for April.

We’re adding Peter Kuesterman (aka Peter Netmail) as a celebratory image, since he has been “baking books” throughout Europe including Russia just in February, to honor me and the Festival itself. I was in Minden, Germany two years ago when we had an amazing Edible Book Festival with senior citizens, who know how to bake up a storm with illuminated manuscripts and German and international literature “edible books” so gorgeous that it was a shame to tear them to pieces, but so it goes.

As I was finishing writing reviews this past week, I was listening to John Cage speaking and playing by chance operation his “music” and was so inspired as he inspired so many of my friends when he was teaching at the New School in 1957 and 1958. So last night as I am writing this, I participated in a “happening” by Allan Kaprow (whose show opened last night at MOCA in Los Angeles) and reading over the interview by Mark Bloch of Robert Delford Brown, you will see how he talks about Allan in the early days of Allan’s career and also Happenings. Throughout Los Angeles in the next three months there will be Happenings here and in San Diego to commemorate this great artist.

These past months, life happened and showed its less than happy face when I was getting out of paid storage in Pasadena after almost 15 years. This means I was going through my life again–my life in boxes–and it took its toll (i.e. time away from writing Umbrella, for instance. So forgive me for the lateness of vol. 31, no. 1, but life happened and stood in the way. But now we begin a new volume, a new spring (at least on this hemisphere) and economic problems, international problems, and a political campaign that is going, going and going….like the Energizer bunny.

I wish you only good things this spring, good books, good mail art, and some semblance of peace in this world beset with strife. Never would I have believed that this world we are in would be like this. It could not even be imagined! The only thing we can have is the hope that we will make a change, have a leader who listens to the people, and that global warming will not be so threatening if we take certain steps. Change those light bulbs!

— Judith A. Hoffberg