Student Recommendation: Black Lives, Black Words

“I started Black Lives, Black Words because I felt there needed to be an opportunity for me as a playwright to speak out against the sins committed in this world inflicted upon black bodies: Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, and the countless many others.” ~ Reginald Edmund

Reginald Edmund started a project that asked black playwrights, visual artist, and poets from the US, UK, and Canada to create a ten minute play answering the question, “Do Black Lives Matter?” This anthology is product of the project.

Cover of Black Lives Black Words

Black Lives Black Words takes its opportunity to use art as activism and places its reader and audience members in situations where they may feel comfortable until there is no room for the word even exist. There is humor, songs, and a diverse community all ready to be explored within these pages. Each play gives life to voices who we haven’t heard from and to voices we will never hear again. There is an endless stream of names that get lost, forgotten, and/or dragged through the mud in the BLM movement. Reginald and his team of incredibly gifted artist have done their part in making sure we never forget that these names are more than just names. The lives and words of these selected black people are consciously shared in a way that has left a lasting impact on myself.

I highly recommend heading over to the Greenfield Library and checking out Black Lives, Black Words (call #:  PN6119.7 .B53 2017 ) This title is also available in eBook format through EbscoHost’s Academic eBook collection.

~ Recommended by Briana Gause, UArts Music Library Work Study Assistant

 

Staff Recommendation: Tin House



I recently discovered the pleasure of reading professional literary magazines. In particular, the magazine Tin House which is carried by the Greenfield Library. At a glance, the magazine’s eye catching cover illustrations stand out on the periodical shelf. The journal even includes the artist’s interpretation of the illustration at the back of the book. But mostly it is filled to the brim with beautifully crafted short stories and poems in a format that is pleasant to hold and to read.

A literary magazine is the perfect option for my attention span and life obligations when I just want to get a little creative refresher in the middle of the day. Tin House’s selection recently featured a beautiful atmospheric short story by Ursula K. Le Guin called Pity and Shame that took me right out of my obligations and into a quiet interpersonal exploration between a mine examiner and his nurse. They offer this story as well as a selection of other work on their website at http://tinhouse.com/read-the-latest/

Tin House is also a great way of staying up to date with contemporary authors and to sample works before committing. It’s a little bit like a Spotify recommended playlist: it helps to identify artists you might enjoy delving into so you can look up their album (or in this case their poetry collection) and dig in even deeper.

I recommend just a glance at this literary magazine, you can always find the latest issue at the Greenfield Library. Maybe even at one of their previous issues like Candy because much like the sweets on the cover you may find yourself delectably hooked. 

~ Recommended by Jo Dutilloy, Greenfield Library Circulation Assistant 

Staff Recommendation – Stonewall Uprising (film)

Stonewall Bar 1969 – Disturbance at Sheridan Square, NYC. Scenes at Christopher St. and 7th Ave. South with police trying to clear crowds. Pictured, Stonewall Inn which was raided one day last week. July 2, 1969

In 60s-era New York, homosexuality was pathologized, criminalized, and punished by law enforcement. The American Psychiatric Association still classified it as a mental disorder, gay sex was punishable by fine or 20 years to life in prison, and routine police raids were conducted of any bars, baths, and spaces queer people were known to frequent.

Despite this, New York was still the big city, and by the 1960s there was a significant queer population that called the Greenwich Village area home, carving out a culture and place for themselves. Yet they were under constant threat.

On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a Mafia-owned gay bar, was raided by police on a routine attack. After several arrests were made, the patrons of the bar, as well as the growing crowd outside snapped – after years of oppression, enough was enough. Sparked by some of the most vulnerable within the queer community – trans people and cross-dressers – the crowd began refusing arrest, physically defending themselves, and attempting to drive the police away, trapping some within the bar itself. The scene became one that some people described as an all-out rebellion which continued for days. In the months that followed, queer liberation organizing sprang into high gear, sparking a seminal event in the American LGBTQ rights movement which drove forward social progress in the coming decades.

Produced as part of the PBS American Experience series, Stonewall Uprising is a collection of interviews and stories by those that lived these events. Archival documents, narrative commentary, and, most of all, eyewitness accounts give shape to this important story throughout the film. There is no better time than Pride Month to learn more about these events where it all began, and how they still reverberate in today’s politics and culture.

This film is available through the library’s subscription database, Academic Video Online (Alexander St. Press), in a series of parts.

— Mike Romano, Music Circulation Assistant

Staff Recommendation: The Philadelphia Story (1940)

I love old movies. And I especially love old movies with Cary Grant in them. I could probably write a whole review about the various Cary Grant films available in our library, because I’m sure I’ve gone through most of them at this point.

Despite the fact that Cary Grant is in this film, full of gentlemanly sharp wit and amazing suits, it is Katherine Hepburn who truly steals the show and makes this her movie. A strong-willed, spoiled, and haughty aristocrat from the Main Line, Hepburn’s character finds herself in a series of awkward situations the day leading up to her wedding to an equally wealthy (yet completely dull) second husband. Grant plays her ex-husband, who invites himself to the wedding festivities, with a tabloid reporter (Jimmy Stewart) and photographer in tow disguised as friends of her brother. Hilarity ensues like most of these 1940s “screwball comedies,” including one of my favorite scenes of Hepburn and Stewart drunkenly dancing late into the night before the wedding day.

People sometimes pre-judge black-and-white films like The Philadelphia Story as being boring and stuffy, but this movie is actually really funny. Watch for a great scene right at the beginning of the film involving Hepburn breaking a golf club over her knee.

If you enjoyed this movie as much as I did (Greenfield Library GD2171), check out Bringing Up Baby, (also available in the Greenfield Library, GD1895) another award-winning film starring Grant and Hepburn as love interests, and equally ridiculous.

~ Recommended by Lillian Kinney, Cataloger/Archivist, Greenfield Library

Staff Recommendation: The Toaster Project: or, A Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch

Have you ever looked at a simple machine or object and figured, given the right materials, you could make one? If you have, where do you think you would even get those materials? In The Toaster Project, Thomas Thwaites sets out to make, you guessed it, a toaster, completely from scratch. This small book is divided into sections based on the materials needed and how Thwaites sets out to acquire them, from pouring a gooey potato concoction into hand-carved molds to make a kind of plastic, to digging for iron ore. There are even correspondences with different experts who charitably (and with varying levels of enthusiasm) try to help Thwaites with his seemingly ridiculous goal.

I first picked up The Toaster Project in college to pass some time. It’s a pretty short read and, in my opinion, interesting enough that you can get through it in one sitting. It’s ended up really sticking with me, and when I saw it in our collection I knew I had to pick it up again. I think what I love about it is that the book and the project are at once self-contained and expansive. There’s something satisfying about getting from one end of the book to the other, seeing the initial conception of the idea and the journey all the way to the final strange-looking, mildly-functional toaster. Thwaites set out to make something and then made it, and that’s that. But the book also brings up broader questions about industry, the environment, the human experience, and more. Where do your things really come from? How long do they take to make and how long do they last? How separated are we from the production of the things around us? And what even is a toaster?

If you’re interested in those kinds of questions, or just in design, fabrication, sculpture, industry, environmentalism, or really any number of various related topics, I suggest giving this book a try. Aside from the project itself, the writing in the book is honest, funny, and just the right amount of self-deprecating. And if you’re interested in Thwaites’ work, you should also check out another of his well known projects, GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human.

Find The Toaster Project at Greenfield Library, call # NK1447.6.T49 A35 2011

~Recommended by Kait Sanchez, Music Library Circulation Assistant 

Digital Resource of the Week: Artstor

The University Libraries provides students, faculty, and staff access to Artstor’s expansive digital image library consisting of over two million, high-resolution images from museum and archival collections around the globe.

Did you know that, in the past year, Artstor has implemented a variety of new tools that are totally worth checking out? Whether you’re looking for visual study tools to help you prepare for an upcoming art history exam or are wondering how to properly cite artwork in your bibliography  — the Artstor online database has you covered! Here are two new features available on Artstor that we thought were pretty awesome and wanted to share with the UArts community:

Artstor’s new Quiz Mode feature provides students with the ability to create an interactive flashcard feature that can be used to study for exams while in fullscreen mode. This flashcard feature is even available on mobile so you can study on the go! To activate Quiz Mode, first select an image and click on the Full Screen icon to launch full screen. In the lower right corner, click Quiz Mode Off.

Notice how the captions disappear and you can use the arrows on your keyboard to navigate through the group of images? Pretty cool right?! Visit this image group tutorial we created and try it out yourself!

Artstor also provides students with the option to create citations instantly in APA, MLA, and Chicago styles. All you have to do is navigate to your the image you’d like to cite, open it, then click the “Generate Citation” button. Next, a window will appear providing you with the artwork’s citation in three different formats available to copy and paste directly into the bibliography section of your paper:

To get the most of out your Artstor experience, it is imperative that you register and create an Artstor account. You can access the Artstor database by visiting library.uarts.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have any questions, need assistance setting up your Artstor account, or are interested in learning more about Artstor, please contact Laura Grutzeck, our Visual Resources and Special Collections Librarian by email or stop by the VRSC located on the mezzanine level of Anderson Hall!

Staff Recommendation – David Bowie Made Me Gay

Newly arrived at the UArts Music Library, David Bowie Made Me Gay, by Darryl W. Bullock, is a chronicle of the past century of the extraordinary contributions to the world of music made by people in the LGBTQ community.  Bullock covers several historical time periods, mostly focusing on countries within the Anglosphere. Taking us through the drag parties of the 1920-30s Pansy Craze era, the underground LGBTQ life of the WWII and post-war period, the liberation of the post-Stonewall era, to the ongoing fight for acceptance in American society, Bullock paints the development of LGBTQ music within its own community and larger society.  The growth and enrichment of musical genres such as blues, jazz, pop, and rock flow through the narratives. More than Bowie himself, notable artists portrayed include Freddie Mercury, Elton John, Leslie Gore, Boy George, and George Michael. We recommend this book for anyone with a curious desire to learn more about LGBTQ history, music, and culture.

David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music, ML3470 .B85 2017  

 

 

 

 

 

– Mike Romano, Circulation Assistant, Music Library

Staff Recommendation: Princess Mononoke

Released in 1999 and holding a 94% audience approval rating, this Miyazaki film was hailed as “The ‘Star Wars’ of animated features!” by the New York Post. Princess Mononoke brings together the world of the spiritual and the realities of man. Similar to Pan’s Labyrinth, and Miyazaki’s later movie Spirited Away, this film exists in a world where fantasy and reality push against each other as humans seek to destroy the old ways to make way for new.

At the center of the story is a young man named Ashitaka, who makes his way to a mining village after being cursed by a dying animal god.  There he meets Lady Eboshi, whose desire to acquire more iron for the village has put her in direct conflict with the nature gods that inhabit the land nearby who are lead by Princess Mononoke, a human girl raised by the wolf god. As his curse spreads, Ashitaka seeks to find a balance between these two opposing forces before both are destroyed by their own short sightedness.

This incredible film asks the questions; ‘Can Man and Nature coexist?’ ‘Is it possible to stand in the middle of conflict, or must we choose sides?’ ‘Who is really the villain?’ ‘Is there a place for those who are different?’With beautiful animation and subtle storytelling, Hayao Miyazaki asks us to come to our own conclusions through the actions of Ashitaka, Lady Eboshi and Princess Mononoke.

You can find this DVD at the Greenfield Library, stop by the circulation desk and ask for call # GD1475

~ Recommended by Lauralee Martin, Greenfield Library Work Study Assistant

Staff Recommendation: Jazz Italian Style, from its Origins in New Orleans to Fascist Italy and Sinatra

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Taking readers on a transatlantic musical journey, Jazz Italian Style explores how jazz permeated Italian culture, both through Italian immigration to the USA, and through the post-WWI introduction of jazz to the peninsula itself.  Jazz, an African-American innovation in music, evolved a distinctive Italian offshoot by the 1930s, due to the works of Italian-Americans on one side of the Atlantic as well as mostly northern Italians on the other side. Italian jazz musicians on both sides of the Atlantic would then in turn influence one another. The resulting distinctive style of jazz  became associated with Italian fascism and was even supported by Mussolini as an expression of national pride. Despite this dark co-optation, the style lives on today and is cherished by many around the world. This book will give you an appreciation for names of musicians such as Nick LaRocca and Gorni Kramer, and a unique picture of how this particular Italian style of jazz influenced the world of music.

This book is available at the UArts Music Library, call # ML3509.I85 C44 2017.

Mike Romano – Circulation Assistant, UArts Libraries

Staff Recommendation – The Artists Way

Do you ever feel creatively blocked, a feeling like all the color and life is lost from your artwork or craft? The Artists Way, by Julia Cameron, is a guidebook designed as a course in creative artistic recovery. Each section of the book describes practices, mindsets, and techniques for creative people, all of which build upon each other, to guide the reader into a more authentic artistic expression. The course is 12 weeks long. The aims include overcoming creative blocks and self-destructive beliefs, while building creative relationships, gaining confidence, and re-connecting to what she believes are the spiritual underpinnings of the creative drive.

In my opinion, this book is a valuable read, even if one does not pursue the entire 12 week course. The various practices described within it encourage one to be more mindful and creative on a consistent basis. For example, the practice of writing a full page of thoughts every morning, described in one chapter early on, can have the effect of bringing one face to face with what is going on the their life, paving the way for action. I recommend this book to anyone with an open mind who feels the need to re-connect to their creative self, whether you want to dive into a full-on course, or could use a few well placed pointers.

The Artists Way is available in the Greenfield Library open stacks at BF408 .C175 1992.

Mike Romano, Music Library Circulation Assistant