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This book is my promise to our Uncle Ben to immortalise him in print. Presented as a 'Japanese accordion' it is also an object of art.
54 backers pledged AU$ 4,154 to help bring this project to life.

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AU$ 4,154

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**We did it! We've reached our stretch goal as of the 13th January! Thank-you to all our backers—you will now all have your name included in a thank-you section in the book!**

**It's not too late to get involved.**

**Back the project at any level to get your name in print too! Just a couple of days left before it's too late!**

**As at the 8th of January 2017, this project is 100% funded. (Hooray!)**
**We've now added a Stretch Goal. If we reach $4000.00 in funding, we will be able to add a thank-you page to each and every book with a list of all  the backers who participated and brought this project to life.**
**It's not too late to get involved.**


First thing's first. I need to be clear about something. My Uncle Ben isn't really my Uncle Ben.

Uncle Ben in the backyard of the 'Negev' (his home)
Uncle Ben in the backyard of the 'Negev' (his home)

He's my dad's Uncle Ben. But the thing is, he's really our whole extended family's Uncle Ben.

A large portion of the family celebrating Uncle Ben's 100th birthday.
A large portion of the family celebrating Uncle Ben's 100th birthday.

HISTORY

You see, Uncle Ben, Ben Lever, Ben Lewartowski as he was originally known, was the first of our family to make it to Australia. When he was 17 years old, Uncle Ben's father Josel, sent him off from Bialystok, Poland to find a new and safer home for the family. Anti-sematism was rife in Poland and Josel had decided it wasn't a safe place for Jews.

Young Uncle Ben in Bialystok
Young Uncle Ben in Bialystok

So at just 17 years of age, Uncle Ben had a passport forged for him and a man was paid to smuggle him out of Poland. His goal was to try and join an Uncle in Argentina and pave the way for the rest of the family to follow.

On his first attempt, Uncle Ben was stopped at the German border and sent back to Bialystock. The only reason he wasn't sent to prison like the rest of the people in the group being smuggled out was that he was 'minder jahrer', under age. On the second attempt he made his way through Berlin, to Paris and then down to Marseilles, where he boarded a ship bound for South America...and...ended up in Melbourne, Australia!
Well—that's how the family joke goes anyway! 

Uncle Ben always laughed when this point was brought up and reminded us that he didn't do too bad for a 17-year-old. I agree. Australia wasn't such a bad choice. And yes, a pretty amazing journey for a 17-year-old. Imagine arriving in a foreign country with no contacts, no job, and nowhere to live! It took a lot of chutzpah to do what he did and in any case, we, all his extended family, are grateful to him for it. His seven brothers and sisters and his parents followed him out, including his sister Dora, my paternal grandmother, who married Isaac Gross and had two children, one of them being Moish, my father, who married—ok, you get the idea—in any case, that's another story!

PROJECT

Back to this story: Uncle Ben! Paved the way for the whole family to emigrate to Australia before the holocaust! Legend! But our family history, how we got to this point, how important it is to all of us, our family, that's not what this project is about.

This project is about what the man, Uncle Ben, became in his life. It is about how he lived. How he saw the world. It's about his wisdoms, his philosophies. It's about beer, and a promise.

From about the time I was of drinking age, I used to go see Uncle Ben most Saturday mornings down at his old boarding house which he called the 'Negev', in St Kilda and have a beer with him. We'd drink Fosters, eat Smith's chips and he would instil upon me what he called his 'wisdoms': The philosophies and knowledge, the observations and knacks he'd picked up during his life.

For example, those exercises you see him doing in the video? They're all his inventions. Picked up and adapted by watching people doing their tai-chi, or their yoga, or swinging fists in the early hours in drunken bar fights over girls or beers.
Or, for example, how Uncle Ben never waited to go to see the doctor when he was sick: he went when he was well, so he doesn't get sick.
And  for example, how a whiskey is his cure-all favourite medicine—wait—if I continue, I'll give away the whole book! 

Yes! So the book!! The whole point of this project!

It was during these Saturday morning sessions that I promised Uncle Ben I'd turn his wisdoms into a book. To immortalise him and his wisdoms in print! For him, for me. For our family. For the whole world!

The story I've written is called 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude', and it is based entirely on Uncle Ben and his wisdoms. It has been illustrated by Jhano in a mix of crayon and watercolour. 
The book is 32 pages long (plus front and back of book info) and will be printed on minimum 120g-thick paper. The thickness of each page will be doubled to 240g during fabrication. It is a sturdy hardcover book with a canvas spine.

The interior of each book will be hand made in a 'Japanese accordion' form. We've chosen this format because we feel it transforms 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude' into not only a book, but a piece of art. It will be possible to read it as a normal book or to open it up to any length, or any chosen page or pages and display it on a fireplace or a shelf. 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude' is a book, and it's a piece of art—a solid, physical piece of art that you can hold in your hands and open, read and share.

'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude' is an illustrated text for all ages, young, old and everyone in between and production will be limited to 101 numbered copies—one for each year of Uncle Ben's life.

Photos of the test model for 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude':

 

 

THE TEAM

Direct links to team member sites:
Nathan: www.zamsteepa.com
Jhano: www.jhano.org
Jessica: www.jessica-astier.com
Julie: www.juliemathieu.net

BUDGET

I've based the budget on the real costs only, involved in bringing 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude to life (all figures in $AU): 

  • Printing (books, postcards, flip-books, covers):  1500.00 
  • Book Fabrication (each book made by hand):     1500.00
  • Kickstarter fees (approx 10%):                              300.00
  • TOTAL                                                                  3300.00

This project is very close to my heart. Uncle Ben was my uncle, but he was also my mate and I really hope, with your help, that I can come good on my promise to immortalise him in print. I've done, and will do everything possible to keep the costs as low as possible.

THE REWARDS

For you to be a part of this project I'm offering the following rewards:

TIER 1: Pledge $5
Receive a postcard of Uncle Ben saying 'thank-you' in the eleven languages he knew.

TIER 2: Pledge $20
Receive a physical flip book of Uncle Ben doing his unique exercises (as seen in the video, above).
PLUS a postcard of Uncle Ben saying 'thank-you' in the eleven languages he knew.

TIER 3: Pledge $50
Receive one copy of 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude', hand made, numbered, and signed by the author and illustrator.
PLUS a postcard of Uncle Ben saying 'thank-you' in the eleven languages he knew.

TIER 4: Pledge $60
The Uncle Ben Pack
Receive one copy of 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude', numbered, and signed by the author and illustrator.
PLUS a flip book of Uncle Ben doing his exercies (as seen in the video, above).
PLUS a postcard of Uncle Ben saying 'thank-you' in the eleven languages he knew.

TIER 5: Pledge $120
The Nathan Gross Book Pack
Receive one copy of 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude', numbered, and signed by the author and illustrator.
PLUS A flip book of Uncle Ben doing his exercises (as seen in the video, above).
PLUS A copy of 'My Daughter, my Assassin', signed personally by the author.
PLUS A copy of Nathan's award-winning 1st novel 'The Freeing of Jonathon Mark', signed by the author.
PLUS A copy of 'Ginger the Carrot' (an illustrated text for adults, published by Un Cafe, l'edition!) in English OR French, signed by the author.
PLUS a postcard of Uncle Ben saying 'thank-you' in the eleven languages he knew.

TIER 6: Pledge $250
Receive one of the original hand-drawn single-page illustrations from 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude. (Size: 15cm x 21cm)
PLUS The Uncle Ben Pack:
One copy of 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude', numbered, and signed by the author and illustrator.
PLUS A flip book of Uncle Ben doing his exercises (as seen in the video, above).
PLUS a postcard of Uncle Ben saying 'thank-you' in the eleven languages he knew.

TIER 7: Pledge $400
Receive one of the original hand-drawn double-page illustrations from 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude. (Size: 15cm x 42cm)
PLUS The Uncle Ben Pack:
One copy of 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude', numbered, and signed by the author and illustrator.
PLUS A flip book of Uncle Ben doing his exercises (as seen in the video, above).
PLUS a postcard of Uncle Ben saying 'thank-you' in the eleven languages he knew.

TIER 8: Pledge $1000 (Limited reward level - 1 available)
My next book dedicated to you with the dedication to appear at the front of every printed and digitally published copy.
PLUS Everything in the Nathan Gross Book Pack (as described in Tier level 5, above).

SUMMARY

I hope I've explained everything ok. If you have any questions please, just let me know. Together I know we can bring this project to life and in the process honour our Uncle Ben, his wisdoms, his life—his way of life—and his memory. My only regret if we are able to pull this project together, is that Uncle Ben won't be here to see it. He passed away in 2008, aged 101, 'with it' mentally, and spiritually, till the end. 

Uncle Ben was my Uncle—he was our Uncle Ben—but he was also my mate, and I miss him.

I look forward to welcoming you on board as a producer for 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude', and to immortalising Uncle Ben in print.

Risks and challenges

I have successfully self-published three other book projects and crowd funded my book 'My Daughter, my Assassin' and I am confident that this project will also be a success.

There is however the risk as with any printed project that during the printing process we might hit a slight bump in proceedings. In the event that this happens the obstacles will be overcome. In the event that this causes a delay to delivery dates, I will let you know.

And as with all crowd-funded projects in general, there is the risk that the target won't be reached and the project will fall through. I'm confident this won't be the case! But if it is, it won't cost you anything! Your pledge is only charged to you if the project reaches its goal.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 5 or more About $4

    Postcard of Uncle Ben

    Receive a postcard of Uncle Ben saying 'thank-you' in 11 languages (the number of languages he knew how to speak) for backing his project.

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    2 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 20 or more About $14

    Flip book

    Receive a physical flip book of Uncle Ben doing his unique exercises (as seen in the video, above).
    PLUS a postcard of Uncle Ben saying 'thank-you' in the eleven languages he knew.

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    6 backers
    AU$
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 50 or more About $36

    The 'Japanese Accordian' style book.

    Receive one copy of 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude' book, hand made (Japanese accordion style), numbered (limited edition of 101 copies) and signed by the author and illustrator.
    PLUS a postcard of Uncle Ben saying 'thank-you' in the eleven languages he knew.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 23 backers
    AU$
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 60 or more About $43

    The Uncle Ben Pack

    Receive one copy of 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude' book, hand made (Japanese accordion style), numbered (limited edition of 101 copies) and signed by the author and illustrator.
    PLUS
    A physical flip book of Uncle Ben doing his unique exercises (as seen in the video, above).
    PLUS
    A postcard of Uncle Ben saying 'cheers' in 11 languages (the number of languages he knew how to speak) for backing his project.

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 16 backers
    AU$
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 120 or more About $87

    The Nathan Gross Book Pack

    Receive one copy of 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude' book, hand made (Japanese accordion style), numbered (limited edition of 101 copies) and signed by the author and illustrator.
    Plus a physical flip book of Uncle Ben doing his unique exercises (as seen in the video, above).
    PLUS a postcard of Uncle Ben saying 'thank-you' in the eleven languages he knew.
    PLUS A copy of My Daughter, my Assassin, signed personally by the author.
    PLUS A copy of Nathan's award-winning 1st novel The Freeing of Jonathon Mark, signed by the author.
    PLUS a copy of Ginger the Carrot (an illustrated text - for adults, published by Un Cafe, l'edition!) in English OR French, signed by the author.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    AU$
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  6. Reward no longer available

    Pledge AU$ 250 or more About $181

    Single Page Original Book Artwork

    Receive one of the original hand-drawn single-page illustrations from 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude. (Size: 15cm x 21cm)
    PLUS The Uncle Ben Pack:
    One copy of 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude' book, hand made (Japanese accordion style), numbered (limited edition of 101 copies) and signed by the author and illustrator.
    PLUS A flip book of Uncle Ben doing his exercises (as seen in the video, above).
    PLUS a postcard of Uncle Ben saying 'thank-you' in the eleven languages he knew.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 4 backers
    AU$
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 400 or more About $289

    Double Page Original Book Artwork

    Receive one of the original hand-drawn double-page illustrations from 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude. (Size: 15cm x 42cm)
    PLUS The Uncle Ben Pack:
    One copy of 'The very real story of the very, very Old Dude' book, hand made (Japanese accordion style), numbered (limited edition of 101 copies) and signed by the author and illustrator.
    PLUS A flip book of Uncle Ben doing his exercises (as seen in the video, above).
    PLUS a postcard of Uncle Ben saying 'thank-you' in the eleven languages he knew.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    AU$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 1,000 or more About $722

    Dedication Pack.

    My next book dedicated to you with the dedication to appear at the front of every printed and digitally published copy.
    PLUS Everything in the Nathan Gross Book Pack (as described in Tier level 5, above).

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    AU$
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Funding period

- (30 days)