Thursday, July 26, 2007

Go see the Go-Go

Tonight I got my Fringe on early. I went to the Just Off Broadway Theater to catch True Confessions of a Go-Go Girl. It's a Eubank Production. I have never known those folks to be afraid to do anything on a stage and this play is no exception. While the Eubank family are known for their alternative indie musical stagings, Go-Go is a straight drama, with comic and naughty bits sprinkled in. There's no intermission and the play is barely an hour, it zips right by.

Solid performances and staging. Great physical work from the actors in a play that seriously looks at feminism and a facet of the sex industry.

Once you get your ticket, have a seat. Director Steve Eubank is paying tongue-in-cheek homage to a sappy soapy play called Vanities by placing some of his actors on stage to get into costume and makeup while the house is seated. Nice touch there, Steve. I loathed Vanities. It was insipid, whereas your drama is thoughtful, comic, and heartfelt.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ginny Weasley and the Library Potter Party

I can't remember when I had more fun at a Library event. Or more fun, period. Last night (this morning), my Library held its Harry Potter Extravanganza. We turned one of our Branch libraries into Hogwarts. We had a Potions Class, Herbology, Wizard Chess, O.W.L and N.E.W.T testing, Divination, History of Magic, and Magical Creatures.

Hermione (Elizabeth) ran the Potions class with able assistance from Madame Rosmerta. The kids (and some adults!) made sandy candy and bouncy balls from cornstarch and other kitchen chemicals I couldn't name. Herbology had students planting seeds into pots and taking the pots home. Professor McGonagall (Helma) proctored the O.W.L. and N.E.W.T testing with a knowing eye. Divination included a visiting instructor, Madame DuBuvoir (Joanne), who conducted palm readings. Kids were still lined up to have their palms read at 1 am. Professor Trelawney (Nancy) donned her flowing robes and scarves and stared dreamily and threateningly into silver, blue, pink and clear glass balls. Professor Trelawney's hot babe of a husband was a walking Master Zoltar fortune-telling box.

Right next to the REAL OWLS from the Park Service (three beautiful and serene birds, one all white!) Professor Binns (Ron) conducted a review of History of Magic for his eager students.

Some students didn't make it to class. Ginny, for one. She spent most of her time with Professsor "Mad-Eye" Moody (Jamie), looking for deserving Gryffindors to give golden tickets (good for one free book) or avoiding Professor Snape (Angie), who was wont to take points from Gryffindor whenever he caught Ginny out of class or running in the halls. Which was all the time.

Hagrid (Rich) towered over everyone and was a great sport about everything, especially ultra-high kicks that made stilettos look like ballet flats. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley (Dorothy and Mitch, the best sports who work for our Library) primly greeted all students at the library doors. Our own Colin Creavey recorded the entire night's festivities with gusto, even if he was working a mad cold. He said he'd post the pics soon. Ron Weasley finally showed up. Late. Ginny let him have it for that.

But the Library staffer who earned the biggest rounds of applause was Dumbledore. He patrolled the halls with beneficence and a wary eye for all students and teachers in his Dumbledore robes and fooled everyone!

Of course, like most teachers and students, we all needed a butterbeer at the end of the school week. Dumbledore, Trelawney, Hagrid, Snape, Hermione, Ginny, Colin, Moody and Rosmerta headed into Hogsmeade, which bore uncanny resemblance to Westport, in search of libations. Ginny stupefied numerous revelers who hooted about Harry Potter. Moody gave great glares and we marveled at the collective IQ of Westport inhabitants to resemble a very bad Quidditch score.

Monday, July 16, 2007

What the hell...?!

Kind of country do I live in when I can't get a baseball game on the telly at 9 pm!?!?!? I ask you!!!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Brainy Babes and Cool Guybrarians

It's official. The whole world knows what we've all known for years. That librarians are cool, hep and techno-savvy. The New York Times' Librarian article in today's paper profiles a young hipster social networking group in New York called the Desk Set.

FYI all you locals: Kansas City has one, too! We call ourselves LA (Librarians' Anonymous).

The best part of the article? It name-checks an ALA session that Daphne and I attended and that was organized by a good friend who is a young, hipster librarian scholar/academic. Smartica reports there were 300 people, SRO and SitRO, in her presentation space. It was an excellent session and the KCPL Young Friends of the Library were featured prominently.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Year in the Death

Chris Crutcher remains one of my favorite authors of all time. His books are beloved by teens across the nation and astute adult readers looking for a story full of emotion, action, wit and intelligence will never be disappointed in a Crutcher novel. His quartet, Running Loose, Stotan, The Crazy Horse Electric Game, and Chinese Handcuffs, are Crutcher at the top of his game.

Every book since then has been great, but none have achieved the completeness of story, mastery of character ,and depth of emotion and realism as his first four novels. Which is not to criticize. All Chris Crutcher novels are worth the time taken to read them. Even a Crutcher novel not as good as the top four is still better than most of the books out there.

Deadline is good, not great, Crutcher, but still better than the majority of teen novels put to paper. Ben gets a disturbing medical report just before his senior year starts. He has been diagnosed with a rare blood disease that is too difficult to treat and he has less than a year to live.

Armed with this knowledge, Ben, a 120lb whippet-thin cross country runner turns out for the football team and steps up his efforts to date the elusive and athletic Dallas Suzuki. When Ben isn't cramming every drop of life in his quickly shortening one, he is searching for all the education he can get--these methods include tormenting his right-wing conservative civics teacher, consoling the town drunk (harboring a dark secret of his own), and trading therapeutic quips with his psychologist.

How does Ben manage to accomplish all this during his treatment for cancer? He doesn't. Take treatment, that is. Ben, a legal adult at 18, has exercised his doctor-patient privilege and refuses to tell his family, friends and teachers about his condition.

The conversational style will immediately hook readers. All the teens in Crutcher's books are articulate and inquisitive. Sometimes everyone, teachers and teens alike, are a bit glib, but the rat-a-tat style will get anyone past those snarky moments. There aren't too many authors, teen or adult, that write like Crutcher, but Gail Giles' most recent book, Right Behind You, has the same high octane pacing and conversation.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Rules for the Day

1. Do not kick elevators that take too long to arrive.

2. Do not say "SHIT" (outloud) when the safe won't open.

3. Do not get pissed when the umpteenth repairman comes to the desk looking for a broken photocopier that could be on any one of nine floors.

4. There's no need to call Uncle Enzio just because people can't work. Even if Uncle Enzio needs a job.

5. Just because a staff member has lost their temper and is crying and sputtering is no reason to think about having a drink after work.

6. You may NOT slap a patron who is insisting he surf the Innerwebs even though the system is down.

7. Staring beatifically (and vacantly) at people who are pitching fits is the best revenge.