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 

Staff Recommendation: Fahrenheit 451

As a librarian and an avid fan of reading in general, I’ve read a lot of books. Well, I’ve read a lot, but there certainly are many books that I still haven’t read yet. Fahrenheit 451, a classic (and often banned) modern novel is one of those books that had me saying to myself, “Why have I never read this?!” Especially since this is a true book lover’s book.

But it’s also more than just that. As Neil Gaiman says in the wonderful introduction to this 60th anniversary edition, “This is a book about caring for things. It’s a love letter to books, but I think, just as much, it’s a love letter to people….” Since I think this book is so magical, I won’t spoil the plot. What I want to focus on is this book’s important message, gloriously amplified by Ray Bradbury’s lyrical descriptions (trust me, he makes describing moonlight sound heavenly).

What I loved so much about Fahrenheit 451 is its striking relevance to our world today, which can often be said for these types of dystopian sci-fi novels. Even though I found myself nodding along to Bradbury’s finger-pointing at the horrible aspects of modern society (which are eerily similar to the world of 2018), I also felt reassured to hear a voice who feels the same way I do. Books matter. Stories matter. People matter. Quiet thought and compassion matters. In a world that seems too loud and insane and imploding in on itself at times, it was refreshing to read the words of an author calling out into the void, saying, “Slow down. Look around you. Care more. Read a book.”

You can check out Fahrenheit 451 from the Greenfield Library at call# PS3503 .R167 F3 2013. This special edition of the book also includes historical context essays and reviews for some in-depth reading.

There is also an audio guide available from Greenfield CDs (GCD409), featuring a radio program and Bradbury discussing his work. We also have the 1966 film available behind the Greenfield circulation desk, just ask for call# GD23Coincidentally, HBO will be premiering a new movie version of Fahrenheit 451, to be released Spring of this year. You can watch the teaser trailer here.

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

Staff Recommendation: Look Inside, Cutaway Illustrations and Visual Storytelling

LookInside

This fascinating book reveals a variety of cross sections for the reader to gaze at, appreciate, and ponder. The Velasco brothers take the reader through the history and theory of these artistic cutaways, while delving into their aesthetic and edifying qualities.  From grand 19th century buildings, to modern transportation vehicles, and through wild rain forests and the human body itself, the book covers a lot of ground and explores the myriad ways in which these cross sections can be beautiful and educational. Large colorful prints of the cutaways dominate the book and are a reason, in and of themselves, to pick it up and start learning!

This book is available for check out at the Greenfield Library.  Just stop by the circulation desk and ask for call # T11.8 .V85 2016

Mike Romano – Circulation Assistant

Staff Recommendation – A Short Life of Trouble: Forty Years in the New York Art World

“Institutional thinking tells us to look very, very carefully before leaping—and such thinking virtually guarantees that we’ll never leap at all. As an antidote to this, my motto has been “Act first, think later – that way you might have something to think about.” (174)

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In 1969, the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City hired Marcia Tucker, as their first ever woman curator. Shortly after organizing an exhibition for the post-minimalist artist Richard Tuttle, the Whitney decided to terminate her after receiving dissatisfied reviews regarding the show’s conceptually perplexing style. A Short Life of Trouble: Forty Years in the New York City Art World, edited by Liza Lou, focuses on Marcia Tucker’s persistent desire to challenge the traditional norms and role of the institution through her radical approach to exhibition-making. Her memoir is adorned with personal details of the curator’s private life while simultaneously providing an insightful perspective behind Marcia Tucker’s decision to open the New Museum of Contemporary Art shortly after being fired from the Whitney.

Recommended for any individual interested in curatorial practices, museum and institutional policies, or to simply learn more about the founder of the New Museum, and her relentless desire to push the boundaries of the New York City art world.

This book is accessible through our Ebsco database as an E-book, simply follow the link below, and log-in with your UArts credentials.

Academic EBook Collection Complete

Nichole Seedes, Greenfield Library Circulation Assistant 

Libraries in the news: Library Company of Philadelphia

Just around the corner from UArts, at 1314 Locust Street (between Broad and 13th), is a Philadelphia treasure, the Library Company of Philadelphia. A feature article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer highlights the Library Company’s outstanding collection of African American history.

Library Company interior, 1878, when it was on Fifth Street.
Library Company interior, 1878, when it was on Fifth Street. ImPAC image file ATI-p030a

Originally a private membership library founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin, the Library Company is now free and open to the public and runs exhibitions and other public events. Check out their collections, and browse through ImPAC, their digital collections catalog.

Right next door to the Library Company is another outstanding research facility, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. If you’re ever doing research on Philadelphia, find out what these stellar libraries may have to offer.

Quay Brothers Love Libraries

UArts alumni (1969) and identical twins Timothy and Stephen Quay were featured on last week’s cover of City Paper, but it was the quote inside that caught this librarian’s eye:

“The thing that we liked instantly was that the college had a fantastic library and music library and a fantastic film course. We suddenly dove into a period of hunting and researching and learning things that we wouldn’t have had access to in high school. And you’d see a lot of other artists at work. It was really a hothouse — a humbling experience in the best sense of the word.”

The library is of course what was then the Philadelphia College of Art (PCA) library, and the music library they mention is that of the Philadelphia Musical Academy, with whom PCA had reciprocal library access.  The Philadelphia Musical Academy is today’s UArts School of Music, and PCA is the UArts College of Art and Design. The libraries are now the UArts Greenfield Library and UArts Music Library.

The film course they mention was probably taught by the late David Grossman, a local legend known for his repertory film screenings. Grossman is listed as teaching a Liberal Arts department film course in the 1967-69 PCA catalog.

What’s so great about the Quay Brothers? A September 7, 1999 Village Voice article says “To call the Quays’ work the most original and rapturously vivid image-making on the planet might sound like hyperbole until you see the films, which have no genuine precedent (the films of their forerunners, from Ladislaw Starewicz to Jan Svankmajer, are charmingly crude by comparison) and can redefine your ideas of cinematic space and causality.”

Find out for yourself by watching some Quay Brothers DVDs, available in the UArts Greenfield Library. Search the library catalog by author for Brothers Quay, which is how they used to prefer to be known.