MDM 2021 Banner Horz

Our popular MOBY-DICK MARATHON is back & will be bigger than ever this September, as we emerge from our year of lockdown to gather at several Sag Harbor institutions.  We so look forward to sharing this magnificent book with everyone particularly after these struggles. No other work speaks so eloquently of themes we continue to wrestle with: social & economic injustice, moral turpitude, religious hypocrisy, environmental conservation and more. 

Details on how to sign up to read and sponsor a chapter are below.


Sign up to read HERE

ART Exhibit through Sept 17  On view in Canio’s Gallery: LOOMINGS artwork by Christopher Volpe, oil and tar paintings and mono-type prints inspired by reading Moby-Dick. Chris will join us for a MEET & GREET on Fri., Sept 17, 4-6pm.

Watch Christopher Volpe discuss Loomings, and his writings inspired by Melville’s Moby-Dick and his concern for climate/earth justice at this LINK.

Watch our Film Discussion on The Act of Readingwith director Mark Blumberg and cast members.  This charming, quirky documentary is about reading Moby-Dick through the eyes of high school students, teachers, reading challenged, Melville experts, and more.  “From flunking English to falling in love with Moby-Dick.”  Our moderated discussion can be view HERE.  View the Film HERE.

MOBY-DICK MARATHON Reading Schedule (subject to change)

Sign up to read HERE.  Make a Contribution HERE.

Friday, September 10

12:00 – 2:00pm Canio’s Books:  The Marathon begins with a Shinnecock Blessing for the Whale,  with Denise Silva-Dennis.

2:30 – 5:30pm Old Whalers’ Church (Harris Yulin as Fr. Mapple & Choral Society of Hamptons)

6:00 – 10:00pm The Church on Madison St. (Laurie Anderson performs, plus staged reading of the Sailors’ Play directed by Kate Mueth)

Saturday, September 11

10:00 – 1:45pm John Jermain Memorial Library

2:00 – 4:45pm  Sag Harbor Whaling Museum

5:00 – 10:00pm Canio’s Books

Sunday, September 12

!0:30 – 12:45pm  Eastville Community Historical Society

1:00 – 5:00pm  Canio’s Books LAWN (across street, 3 doors south)

5:00 Canio’s Books LAWN: AFTER PARTY with Silent Auction, Sea Shanties, Knot Tying Demonstrations, & more

Sponsor a Chapter 

Support our educational non-profit, Canio’s Cultural Cafe. Choose your level of support:

Ahab:   $125 receives a commemorative button and paperback copy of Moby-Dick. Click here.

Starbuck:   $225 receives a commemorative button, paperback copy of Moby-Dick & Why Read Moby-Dick by Nathaniel Philbrick. Click here.

Stubbs:  $350 receives commemorative button, paperback copy of Moby-Dick & Why Read Moby-Dick, and a T-shirt. Click here.

Ishmael:  $500 receives all of the above, plus a hardcover illustrated edition of Moby-Dick. Click here.

Queequeg:  $1000 receives all of the above, plus an exclusive offering to be announced soon! Click here.

To Sponsor, send an email to with MDM donor as subject, include your chapter and level.  Then either click above link to PayPal or mail your check payable to Canio’s Cultural Cafe to: Canio’s Cultural Cafe, 290 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963. Contributions are tax deductible. 




MDM 2019 Banner Melville plus text small

It’s Herman Melville’s 200th Anniversary and we are planning our most ambitious Marathon to celebrate!  

Did you know that Canio’s was the first institution to sponsor a Moby-Dick Marathon? Before Mystic Seaport and the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Canio’s & Sag Harbor hosted Moby-Dick Marathons! One could say we started the craze. And, it’s only fitting, as Sag Harbor & our whalers are included in this great American novel.

This year, acclaimed actor Harris Yulin will bring Father Mapple’s sermon to life at the Old Whalers’ Church, along with a local choir to help us sing the hymn, starting Friday @ 3pm. Right afterwards, Alec Baldwin will read!  Later on Friday night an acting troupe will perform the play in Chapter 40, Midnight Forecastle.

But wait, let’s not rush into the text. The Marathon creates a community. It’s moving to hear Melville’s words read aloud by different voices. And, it’s a great way to introduce people to a book that many find challenging.  We want those who’ve yet to start it, or read it through, to come and hear its mesmerizing language.  We want to encourage everyone to “get moby.”

Got Moby

Please join us at these events leading up to this best ever Canio’s Moby-Dick Marathon!

Moby-Dick Marathon Events

May 4, 5pm At Canio’s Books Mary K. Edwards, Melville scholar & sailor, who will speak about her sailing adventures aboard the Charles W. Morgan, an 1841 whaleship and what she learned about Herman Melville along the way.  DONE. Great start to the Marathon!

Thursday, May 30, 6:30pm At John Jermain Memorial Library To continue the build up to our Maration, we will screen the 1957 classic Moby-Dick Film with Gregory Peck. At the Library, one of five institutions where the Marathon will take place, see the schedule below. DONE. Great turnout.

Thursday, June 6, 5-6:30pm At Canio’s Books  Pre-Marathon Warm-Up with reception for artist Robert Carioiscia’s Whaling prints exhibition in homage to Sag Harbor & Moby-Dick.


Friday, June 7
NOON Congregate at Canio’s Books
12:30 – 2:30pm Bell rings to start
3:00 – 6:45pm Old Whalers’ Church
Alec Baldwin, Harris Yulin as Father Mapple & Choral Society of Hamptons singing the hymn
7:00 – 10:00pm Canio’s Books
Josh Gladstone/Kate Mueth in Ch36. Sailors’ play directed by Bill Burford/Bloodstone Theatrical

Saturday, June 8
10:00 – 12:45pm Whaling Museum
1:00 – 4:45pm  John Jermain Library
(Cheryl Hurley/Library of America, Bonnie Grice/Boots on the Ground Theater)
1:00 – 4:45pm John Jermain Library
(Journalist John Avlon)
5:00 – 10:00pm Canio’s Books
(Pulitzer Prize writer Philip Schultz, Iris Smyles)

Sunday, June 9
10:30 – 12:45pm Eastville Community Historical Society
1:00 – 5:00pm Canio’s Books, after PARTY with Silent Auction
(Nature writer Carl Safina, actor Paul McIsaac)

To read please email caniosculturalcafe@gmail with MDM subject and include the day & 3-hour window you’d like to read.  We’ll get back to you. Thanks!

From our 2017 MOBY-DICK Marathon

Button MDM SEA effect NEW

Marathon Warm-UP:

May 20, 5pm Melville aficionado Lisa Dickman, who will present “Herman Melville. Melville: the Modern Master,” a friendly introduction to the great American writer, to warm us up for the Moby-Dick Marathon, 2017! Come and participate in this lively discussion.

Thurs., June 1, 6:30pm, JJML:  Moby-Dick Film with Gregory Peck.
To continue the build up to our 2017 Moby-Dick Maration, we will screen the 1957 classic film with Gregory Peck at Sag Harbor’s JJMLibrary. The Library is one of five institutions where the Marathon will take place, see the schedule below. Come early to get a seat. Film starts @ 6:30!

Silent Auction Items from 2017

Jules Fieffer drawing, Pas de Deux with Whale. Signed, watercolor and ink, 14×17.” Retail, $3500. OPENING BID: $2100, bid increments $200. Call 631.725.4926 to bid. * SOLD *

Jules Feiffer Pas De Deux With Whale.jpg

Claus Hoie watercolor, Queequeg, signed “For Canio,” 6 x 7 1/4,” framed 14 x 16.”     Retail, $4500. OPENING BID: $_____, bid increments $200. Deatils soon.Call 631.725.4926 to bid. * SOLD *

Claus Hoie Queequeg For Canio

Moby-Dick Marathon Schedule, June 9-11:

FRIDAY, June 9:
11:00-12:15am Canio’s Books
12:30- 3:45pm Old Whaler’s Church
4:00 – 10:00pm Canio’s Books

SATURDAY, June 10:
10:00 – 1:50pm Sag Harbor Whaling Museum
2:00 – 5:45pm John Jermain Memorial Library
Cheryl Hurley/Library of America, Bonnie Grice/Boots on the Ground Theater
1:00 – 4:45pm John Jermain Library
Journalist John Avlon
5:00 – 10:00pm Canio’s Books
Pulitzer Prize writer Philip Schultz, Iris Smyles

Sunday, June 9
!0:30 – 12:45pm Eastville Community Historical Society
1:00 – 5:00pm Canio’s Books, after PARTY with Silent Auction
(Nature writer Carl Safina, actor Paul McIsaac)

Are you Ready to READ, Matey!?

To register to read, send an email with date and time period you are available to: caniosculturalcafe at with MDM reader as subject.  We’ll send a confirmation.


Chapter sponsorships help support Canio’s Cultural Cafe year-round programming & underwrite Marathon expenses.   It’s a fun way to honor your favorite chapter and help our efforts. Sponsors are listed in our program, and on the MDM Sponsors & Readers page.  Sponsorship levels include:

Ahab: $100 receives a commemorative button
Ishmael: $200 receives a button & t-shirt
Queequeg: $300 receives a button, t-shirt, & Modern Library edition of Moby-Dick with Rockwell Kent illustrations
Starbuck: $500 receives all of the above, plus commemorative poster
Melville: $1000 receives all of the above, plus two seats in a two-hour cruise with Captain Anton Hagen aboard the Marlinspike.

To donate, pick a chapter, your level of support, and send an email to caniosculturalcafe at with MDM donor as subject. Please include two alternate chapters in case your first choice has been selected. Popular chapters go fast. Then, send your check to: Canio’s Cultural Cafe, 290 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963.

We look forward to seeing you at the MOBY-DICK MARATHON!  Come in costume & join us at the finale party Sunday afternoon. We are grateful for your support.


Email us at caniosculturalcafe at with MDM as subject. We look forward to seeing you at the MOBY-DICK MARATHON!


Here’s a look back at our last Marathon:

JUNE 12 -14, 2015

We DID it!  The Moby-Dick Marathon 2015 was a BIG success!

A BIG Thanks to our Cultural District partners, all the readers & listeners. 
We couldn’t do it without you!

The MOBY-DICK Marathon 2015 celebrated the 35th anniversary of Canio’s Books!  In 1983, Canio Pavone started the yearly Marathon to celebrate Sag Harbor’s seafaring history and its literary tradition.  The Marathon ran for several years at the bookshop, in the 1990s it was held at the Old Whaler’s Church for a few years, and then at John Jermain Memorial Library in the early 2000s. 2015 is the 375th anniversary of the town of Southampton and the Marathon was part of the town’s celebration.

6 Locations, 163 Readers, 28 Hours, ONE Book!

Marathon hours:

Friday, June 12, 12 – 9 p.m.
12-3 Canio’s Books
3-6 Whaling Museum – FULL
6-9 Canio’s Books

Saturday, June 13, 10 – 9 p.m.
10-1 Bay Street Theatre – FULL
1-4 John Jermain Memorial Library – FULL
4-7 Old Whaler’s Church
7-10 Canio’s Books

Sunday, June 14, 11 – 4 p.m.
11-2 Eastville Community Historical Society
2-5 Canio’s Books with AFTER PARTY!


(From our friends at the NYC MDM. Thanks, Polly!)



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