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Old Weird America: A New Monthly Series of Programs at KPL NS Library 2nd Thursday of each month @ 6 pm

The concept of “Old Weird America” was introduced by the music critic Greil Marcus in his 1997 exploration of Bob Dylan and the Band’s long suppressed so-called Basement Tapes from 1967.  Marcus, a vivid prose stylist began as a reporter for Rolling Stone and has authored books about origins of Rock-n-Roll (Mystery Train) and  Lipstick Traces, about the Punk phenomenon. The term has since been used to describe a lost American independence, a time when a person could make of him/herself whatever they were capable of—before mass communication flattened the imagination and consumerism suppressed our dreams of self-expression.  Marcus alludes to this concept as “that misty, funky version of Brigadoon that lies just outside the normal precincts of American culture.”—further seeing it as the "playground of God, Satan, tricksters, Puritans, confidence men, illuminati, braggarts, preachers, anonymous poets of all stripes". 

I believe his description applies to much of our history—especially before the constant connectivity to a mainstream American culture that began with TV in the late 1940s. (Radio was very local and an often eccentric communicator itself—a topic that may well enter into future stories).

In these presentations, I will use the term as a catch –all description for the eccentric, the odd, and the strange strain in American culture that still hides in the crannies of our 50 states—as we concentrate on peculiar characters and events in history.  I believe the weird is still out there. America can be seen as a “cabinet of curiosities”—borrowed from European traditions in particular, of course, but uniquely interpreted within the vast heart of a strange new land. This fresh world was ripe for democratization and commercialization, perhaps—but it also still exists as a haven for deeply personal interpretations within its lost corners and endlessly varied landscape. And not just on the lonesome desert byways, the bayou honky-tonks, and the cheap urban dens—but in middle America (see the disturbing Wisconsin Death Trip by Michael Lesy) –or small towns anywhere-- there’s a youngster who knows they are different—not a sad “freak”, maybe not a genius either—but one who decides to cultivate instead of hide what makes them unusual. We’ll talk about women with taboo ambitions—as in our first two explorations of Nellie Bly and Theda Bara—or Little Richard (Penniman)--a young man who transgressed traditional gender, racial, and religious roles to put the sex in rock-n-roll that even Elvis could not fully convey.  We will explore the obsessed hoarders, the mad artists, the squelched genius, and more of those people lost to history whose lives were ruled by their own compulsions. You may have heard of some of their names like Nellie Bly or Little Richard—but you probably don’t know the whole story—and just how far out on a limb they went to be true to themselves, for we know the world isn’t always kind to the outsider.

                                                                                                        Cathy Polovina

Old Weird America: A New Monthly Series of Programs at KPL NS Library 2nd Thursday of each month @ 6 pm

The concept of “Old Weird America” was introduced by the music critic Greil Marcus in his 1997 exploration of Bob Dylan and the Band’s long suppressed so-called Basement Tapes from 1967.  Marcus, a vivid prose stylist began as a reporter for Rolling Stone and has authored books about origins of Rock-n-Roll (Mystery Train) and  Lipstick Traces, about the Punk phenomenon. The term has since been used to describe a lost American independence, a time when a person could make of him/herself whatever they were capable of—before mass communication flattened the imagination and consumerism suppressed our dreams of self-expression.  Marcus alludes to this concept as “that misty, funky version of Brigadoon that lies just outside the normal precincts of American culture.”—further seeing it as the "playground of God, Satan, tricksters, Puritans, confidence men, illuminati, braggarts, preachers, anonymous poets of all stripes". 

I believe his description applies to much of our history—especially before the constant connectivity to a mainstream American culture that began with TV in the late 1940s. (Radio was very local and an often eccentric communicator itself—a topic that may well enter into future stories).

In these presentations, I will use the term as a catch –all description for the eccentric, the odd, and the strange strain in American culture that still hides in the crannies of our 50 states—as we concentrate on peculiar characters and events in history.  I believe the weird is still out there. America can be seen as a “cabinet of curiosities”—borrowed from European traditions in particular, of course, but uniquely interpreted within the vast heart of a strange new land. This fresh world was ripe for democratization and commercialization, perhaps—but it also still exists as a haven for deeply personal interpretations within its lost corners and endlessly varied landscape. And not just on the lonesome desert byways, the bayou honky-tonks, and the cheap urban dens—but in middle America (see the disturbing Wisconsin Death Trip by Michael Lesy) –or small towns anywhere-- there’s a youngster who knows they are different—not a sad “freak”, maybe not a genius either—but one who decides to cultivate instead of hide what makes them unusual. We’ll talk about women with taboo ambitions—as in our first two explorations of Nellie Bly and Theda Bara—or Little Richard (Penniman)--a young man who transgressed traditional gender, racial, and religious roles to put the sex in rock-n-roll that even Elvis could not fully convey.  We will explore the obsessed hoarders, the mad artists, the squelched genius, and more of those people lost to history whose lives were ruled by their own compulsions. You may have heard of some of their names like Nellie Bly or Little Richard—but you probably don’t know the whole story—and just how far out on a limb they went to be true to themselves, for we know the world isn’t always kind to the outsider.

                                                                                                        Cathy Polovina

Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at KPL

Celebrate the rich, diverse cultures of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! 

Join us for the following programs:

Saturday, May 5th
Politics & Military Action Book Club
Southwest Library
9:15 - 11:15 am
To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we will be discussing War in the Pacific theater during World War II.
This can include military actions in the Pacific Islands, Japan, China and Southeast Asia but also issues affecting the American home front, such as internment and Asian-American soldiers in the United States military.

Friday, May 18th
Movies After Dark!: Box Office Hits and Cult Classics for Adults
Southwest Library
5:45 - 8:45 pm
To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the May movie is 13 Assassins.  Cult director Takeshi Miike delivers a bravado period action film set at the end of Japan's feudal era in which a group of unemployed samurai are enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord and prevent him from ascending to the throne and plunging the country into a wartorn future.  (Rated R)

Sunday, May 27th
Sunday Crafternoon!
Southwest Library
12:30 - 3:00 pm
To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we will be trying our hand at Suminagashi, a Japanese paper marbling technique that features "floating ink." 

 

Be sure to also check out our display at the Southwest Library, made by KPL staff Kala and Melissa! 

 

 

Voices of Kenosha Veterans

A six part writing workshop for veterans who wish to put their memories and stories on paper to share with others.

This a writing workshop for veterans who wish to put their memories and stories on paper to share with others. We are starting a Voices of Kenosha Veterans writing group now. We will meet at the the Southwest Library six times, April 26, May 10th and 24th, June 7th and 21st, and July 5th at 2:00-3:30. Donna Kiser will facilitate the workshop to inspire and instruct the writing process.


Registration is not required. Call Kristin at 262-564-6132 or email kkornkven@mykpl.info for more information.

GoChip Beam: Streaming TV and Movies without the Internet

Kenosha Public Library and Community Library are pleased to announce the introduction of GoChip Beam devices into the library's collections. The new entertainment streaming devices allow users to access movies and television series anytime, anywhere and on any device without internet connectivity.

The GoChip Beam device contains a rechargeable battery, a wifi-broadcaster and either five movies of a similar genre or a season of television. After downloading an app and connecting to the GoChip Wi-Fi signal, up to eight simultaneous users can stream any movie or episode stored on the device to Apple and Android tablets or mobile devices as well as Mac and Windows laptops and desktops.

The libraries will initially have 8 GoChip devices available for patrons to check out. These devices can be checked out for 21 days with the option of 2 renewals if there are no holds. To find the devices in SHARE, simply search for “GoChip”.

New in 2018

2017 was an amazing year for KPL with the elimination of overdue fines on kid's books and magazines and the introduction of express checkout stations at the Northside and Southwest Neighborhood Libraries - 2018 has some big shoes to fill!

This year also saw the completion and launch of the KCLS Digital Archive which among many other resources houses digital archives of Kenosha area yearbooks some dating back to 1903! All free to you and viewable from the comfort of your own device. 

In the new year, we will welcome the Arrowhead Library System to SHARE - increasing the number of titles available to you by 1.6 million! 

Hoopla is even easier to watch with a newly announced Roku Channel. Just download it to your device and access your selected titles right on your tv! Starting in 2018, KPL users will be able to borrow 6 titles a month from Hoopla rather than 8. This allows more people access to this amazing service and aligns with our partners in the SHARE system. 

The Kenosha Public Library Board of Trustees has recently approved Sunday summer hours at the Southwest Library. This means that the Southwest Library will now be open year-round on Sundays (unless a holiday gets in the way) from 12pm-4pm. 

Thank you for making 2017 one of our most successful years yet. We can't wait to continue to serve you in 2018!

 

Thoughts, comments, or questions? Feel free to reach out to me anytime at bcummings@mykpl.info

Brandi Cummings
Communications Specialist 

Fine Free Children’s Books & Magazines

 
Starting November 20, children’s books and magazines checked out at a Kenosha Public Library branch will no longer accrue overdue fines. Fees will still apply for damaged and lost items.

What materials does this apply to?

Children’s books and magazines will be signified by a call number beginning with J, E, R, or TODDLER.
For example:

Title: Charlotte's Web
Call number: J Fiction White

Title: Pigs
Call Number: J 636.4 N429

Title: I Love You Like a Pig!
Call Number: E BA

Title: Porky and Bess
Call Number: R WE

Teen materials will continue to accrue overdue fines.

Why is KPL doing this?

We believe that children’s academic success depends on access to the library. We see overdue fines as a barrier to service for young children whose families cannot afford even small fees or have limited access to transportation. In order to ensure equitable access to our materials, KPL is eliminating overdue fines on children’s books and magazines to remove the unnecessary stress, fear, or apprehension of library use. We are forgiving current fines on children’s books and magazines to welcome back library users whom we haven’t seen in awhile.

Will I be charged overdue fines on items owned by other libraries?

You won’t be charged overdue fines on any children’s book or magazine you check out at a Kenosha Public Library location. That includes children’s books or magazines owned by other libraries that you place on hold and have sent to an Kenosha location for pickup. You will, however, be responsible for overdue fines when you visit other libraries to check out items, if those libraries charge overdue fines.

How will the library get items back without the threat of overdue fines?

Many libraries across the country have eliminated fines on children’s books. Those libraries continue to experience prompt return of library materials without the threat of overdue fines. And most importantly, they have witnessed many more children using the library.

Patrons will still be responsible for replacement costs for lost or damaged items.

For more information on your account please use the account tab on our website or call 262-564-6101.

 

 

WILL THE REAL WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE PLEASE STAND UP?

 

For any fan of the plays of Shakespeare, or a research historian like myself, the question remains --who really wrote the poems and plays attributed to this barely known author who seemed to come from nowhere to enlighten the world with his wisdom? Please join me in a discussion of this fascinating question Thursday April 27 at 6:30 pm at the Northside Library.

Many well educated people—even devotees of the plays of William Shakespeare are unaware of the long-standing controversy over the writings known as the “authorship question.” In fact the real author of the 37 plays and 154 sonnets that set the standard for perfection in the English language was questioned as early as the 18th century and still represents the greatest literary mystery of all time. Although he writes as a believer in the genius from Stratford as the author Shakespeare, Stephen Greenblatt’s, Will in the World, acknowledges that there are not enough facts to justify a definitive biography of the man William Shakespeare, or to explain the source of his unparalleled erudition.  Alias Shakespeare, by Joseph Sobran gives us the history of the authorship question itself and presents his version of a solution—that “Shakespeare” was a convenient nom de plume for nobleman Edward de Vere, the seventeenth Earl of Oxford.  Mark Anderson begins with the premise that Oxford wrote the plays in his, Shakespeare” By Another Name: The Life of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, the Man Who Was Shakespeare

 Hundreds of biographies depict the life of the famed Bard of Avon, repeating the same facts and speculations about the grain merchant, real estate speculator, theater owner, and possible actor and playwright with little variation or substantiation.  Stephen Greenblatt’s, Will in the World, employs a useful approach to Shakespeare biography—that of placing the man in his time.  We know, for instance that a William Shakesper (note the spelling, different in each known record of the name—but never spelled Shakespeare) was born in the Warwickshire hamlet of Stratford in April of 1564 and died there in April of 1616.  He lived in London for a time, but so little is known of his actions that even the earnest chronicler must admit that there can be no definitive link between his written work and “the known circumstances of his own life.” Thus Greenblatt produces a readable and well-researched history of an Elizabethan man.

Sobran’s Alias Shakespeare, begins with the question of how a possibly illiterate provincial actor and merchant could have such intimate knowledge of court life, classical and contemporary languages, and the professional and esoteric knowledge of medicine, law, philosophy, music, even falconry, as evidenced in the plays.  Even a genius, he argues, must have some sort of education in order to articulate his profound abilities.  Sobran presents the case for a succession of candidates for authorship, such as Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, and Walter Raleigh.  The only person, he contends, who had the background, life history, knowledge and known writerly ability was courtier and intimate of the Queen herself, Edward de Vere, the seventeenth Earl of Oxford. The book will get you thinking seriously about the authorship question.

If you want to travel further into the uncanny coincidences between the works of Shakespeare and the life of Edward de Vere (referred to as Oxford), Mark Anderson’s biography, “Shakespeare” by Another Name is the place to begin your research. Oxford grew up at court, studied law and medicine, travelled extensively and had access to rare translations of classical literature alluded to in “Shakespeare’s” work. Furthermore, he had a close relationship to the Earl of Southampton, for whom the famous sonnets were written, a connection which has always confounded even the most ardent of supporters of Shakespeare from Stratford.

 

EVEN IF YOU'RE NO EINSTEIN THESE AUTHORS MAKE MODERN THEORIES ACCESSIBLE

This Fascinating Choice of Books About Physics Was Written by Mark Polovina

Black holes. Dark energy. String theory. Ever wonder what’s going on with modern physics? What the heck are these folks talking about? Standing on the shoulders of such giants in the field as Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking are Lisa Randall and Brian Greene, who shed light on this otherwise obscure subject in an engaging style that is readily understandable to the interested layperson.

 Randall, author of the popular Knocking on Heaven’s Door ; How scientific thinking illuminates the universe and the modern world, and her latest, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: the astounding interconnectedness of the universe is a renowned particle physicist and theorist in the field of dark matter and dark energy, which are newly discovered entities that interact with regular matter in a way that is not yet understood,but which may unify the heretofore incompatible known laws of the very large and the very small. In Dark matter and the dinosaurs, Randall posits that our solar system passed through a disc of dark matter floating in the Milky Way, dislodging a comet that fell toward the inner planets 66 million years ago, killing off the dinosaurs and about three fourths of all other species on Earth. In making her case, Randall explains a great deal about our galaxy and it’s inhabitants,sounds like heavy reading, but she has an entertaining style that is readily understandable to those with little technical background. Randall explains how connected our planet is to the makeup of the universe, but also  how fragile our place there may be.

 Greene, author of  The Fabric of the Cosmos: space,time and the texture of reality and The Elegant Universe (which has been recently been presented on PBS as a Nova television program), is a specialist in string theory, which proposes that everything is composed of minutely small loops of energy, vibrating through eleven spatial dimensions-which opens up a new can of worms, hinting at the probable existence of multiple universes, all of which may be holographic projections from the surfaces of black holes.Greene has a knack for translating the extremely complex equations of higher mathematics into everyday language and images, setting a humanistic tone throughout.This book takes us on an exhilarating ride into unexpected layers of reality that underlie the surface of our visible world, and grapples with the core question of how  fundamental science can progress if great swaths of reality lie beyond the reach of our perception.  Non scientists will enjoy these wild trips into the weird terrain that is our own cosmos. After reading these books, you may never see a starry night sky in the same way again. Prepare to be amazed-courtesy of KPL!                          

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