Laurie.'s blog

To Be A Slave

While browsing the Central book stacks, I re-discovered Julius Lester's To Be A Slave.

An award winning writer and retired professor, Lester delved into the slave narratives collected during the Federal Writers' Project. He selected personal accounts about the experience of the auction block, plantation life, resistance, and emancipation. Published in 1968 and named a Newbery honor book in 1969, To Be A Slave was one of the first nonfiction books in children's literature to share the personal testimonies of slaves.

Chicano Theater

Su Teatro, Denver's talented acting troupe providing the best of Chicano theater, recently purchased the Denver Civic Theater on Santa Fe Drive.

My friends and I were too young to understand the growing use of the term Chicano while elders preferred Mexican. When I was older, a writer summed up what Chicano meant for him - "the hyphen between Mexican and American." Chicano theater is another way of accessing the rich cultural traditions of Mexican Americans. If you haven't read any Chicano drama, take a look at the following titles:

Solomon Burke: King of Soul

Celebrate the memory of the "greatest soul singer of all time" with several CDs available at the Library. Solomon Burke died October 10, 2010 in Amsterdam but his amazing soulful voice will not be forgetten.

His songs "Take Me (just as I am)" or "Cry to Me" are personal favorites as is the collection "Don't Give Up on Me." If you are a fan of R&B (Burke partnered with the finest performers), his voice reaffirms there is still a place for S-O-U-L. Lower the lights and sit yourself down to hear a true master at work. Other favorites include:

National Coming Out Day

Hallmark doesn't have a card for the occasion but that doesn't mean a friend or family member won't need your support on October 11 for National Coming Out Day.

Whether you are planning a celebratory dinner party or an intervention, the Library has documentaries chronicling the history and experiences of homosexual American citizens seeking acceptance.  Here are a few of my favorites:

The Wisdom of Wooden

The Wisdom of Wooden

Sports Illustrated once noted about John Wooden: "There has never been a finer coach in American sports. Nor a finer man." Wooden, the beloved UCLA men's basketball coach, died at the age of 99 in June.

John Wooden's communication style was markedly different than say Pat Summit, another personal favorite. Wooden tried to make each day his masterpiece and coached by the Golden Rule. Coaching was the path of service to mankind for Wooden and effective teamwork was a hallmark of his coaching. He also had a fondness for maxims. A few of my favorites include:

Tweeting Death

Quick & Legal Will Book

Unless you plan on tweeting from the great beyond, you might want to consider who gets custody of your Facebook and Twitter accounts before you die.

While not always apparent to my colleagues, I like to plan ahead.  I drafted my first will when I was eleven. There have been many revisions since then with the most recent being prompted by the excellent New York Times article about what happens to your Facebook account when you die. The library has many resources available to help with will and estate planning including the suite of products by Nolo Press.

Sinner or Saint

I enjoy watching Ovation and was recently reminded of the amazing talent of Sarah Vaughan. Her vinyl album Sarah Vaughan in Hi-Fi, produced by Columbia, was a favorite at home.

I would duet with Sarah as a kid and while too young to understand the pathos of the lyrics, I was old enough to appreciate her incredible voice. If you're not familiar with Sarah Vaughan, treat yourself to 16 Most Requested Songs. I am fond of her ballads which are featured on After Hours.

America's Best Idea

Back in the day camping was cheap entertainment for large families.  My dad could fit five kids in a Volkswagen bug (before seatbelt laws) and we'd inch up Golden Gate Canyon.  When the car began to roll backwards, that's when we'd stop and pitch our tent.

Consequently, I am a big armchair traveler and have visited many of the 392 national parks via video and just a few in person. My favorite production produced by Ken Burns was shown on PBS last year and is available at the library: The National Parks: America's Best Idea. I have also been fortunate to visit many parks in person. Given that my bucket list is r-e-a-l-l-y long, I use the library's books and travelogues to help me prioritize my trips.

Meet Calatrava Wednesday

Plans for DIA redesign includes a light rail station and hotel.

Who is more talented: the architect who can envision space taking shape with glass and steel, the engineer who helps translate the vision to firm reality or the crafts trade who make it happen? No matter who you choose, Santiago Calatrava creates astonishing designs.

While the library has several books about Calatrava's designs, we are fortunate to have a translation of his dissertation which outlines his creative process. Take time to meet Calatrava and hear about his plans for the Denver International Airport on Wednesday, July 28 at the Denver Art Museum in the Sharp Auditorium from 5:30- 6:30 p.m. The presentation is free and open to the public with no reservations required.

Free Designer Weekend

Adult inspiration found in kid-friendly crafts

As a kid I marked time not by the seasons but by events. My most favorite event was the annual back to school shopping trip. My siblings and I would munch down on K-Mart’s blue light special sandwiches and parade like five hungry caterpillars collecting our yellow no. 2 pencils, pink erasers, and crayons. There is nothing like opening up a new box of crayons and breathing deeply.

I still celebrate the season by taking stock in my apartment. What needs a fresh coat of paint or where I can add new color? Renovation expectations are managed by a limited budget and talent. I rely on the experts like Todd Oldham, Libby Langdon, and Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan but the library has so many talented designers you can take home for a weekend.

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