Put down the video game controller and pick up a pawn, bishop or knight. Chess for beginners is here. Learn the original strategy-based game with people of all ages.
Summer time in Austin, Texas cannot be defined by the temperature outside. If it were, then we wouldn't have a Fall or Spring. Instead, universities, teachers, parents, and especially students define it by the months-long reprieve from the daily obligations of school. Retailers and restauranteurs mark Summer as when the tourists come to town. For festival goers it is the time between SXSW and ACL. For myself, I like to honor its arrival by joining the Summer Reading Program at my neighborhood branch of the library. Because I continue to work full time during that period of the calendar I can't necessarily devote more time to reading. Therefore, I have adopted my own personal challenge. Each year I have a goal to use the summer months to try a genre I don't normally read. Last year it was graphic novels and the year prior was nonfiction. In doing so, I discovered that I rather enjoy graphic novels and that they include so much more than superheroes. I also learned that I mentally focus much better on nonfiction material when I listen to it rather than read it, especially when it's read by an enthusiastic and passionate author or actor. So far my favorite of these is Michael Pollan, most notably known for Omnivore’s Dilemma, and who has a new one out soon I look forward to trying. I haven't decided yet on this year's genre, but it will undoubtedly be a mind opening experience. The pretty great thing about APL is that no matter which subject matter or material type I choose, I will have tons of titles from which to pick. The other awesome thing about summer reading in Austin is being part of the Summer Reading Program. It is a great way to inspire kids to join the youth summer reading program and encourage people all over town to read by showing off your progress. I have seen whole families come in to pick out items they planned to read together. Now that makes me excited about summer!
This is such a hard question for me to answer because I have mixed feelings about books that are turned into movies. Sometimes I love the book so much I am almost offended they’d try to tackle condensing it into cinema form. Then there are times that the images the author evokes peak my curiosity about how it would look on film. The best example of the latter is Water for Elephants which after reading it had me saying to people, “I think this might be a good film” and after it went celluloid exclaiming, “that was a very nice interpretation, I’m glad I read it and saw it.” I will admit that on occasion I am so unimpressed by a book I can’t see why anyone would bother making it into a movie. I feel fairly certain there is a large part of the well-read population who understands these conflicting opinions. Perhaps you are one of them. Also, you may be one who favors the argument that art, from fashion to storytelling, is recycled or reinvented in some way anyway. Like me, you may find that there are a few reasons one might not mind the prolific trend to turn the written art into a more readily available visual medium. The first being that it gets people to read. The second is that it inspires dialogue on various subjects. I doubt one could find an educator alive that would say there is not value in people participating in those two activities. There is a plethora of evidence that engaging the brain like this is beneficial. I’d argue that it has social benefits, as well. When An Inconvenient Truth went from a book to a movie it made global warming issues more accessible to mainstream America and changed the way we, as a society, viewed our impact on the environment. That being said, I encourage filmmakers to continue this tradition so that we are continually inspired to pick up a book and have a conversation because of the movie.
So this brings us back to the initial question posed in the title of my blog, Film V. Books: Which do you like better? I welcome conversation and opinions because I am sure there are some points I have not addressed. Also check out the screening of the film based on a book, Life of Pi on May 16, 2013.
Guest blogger: Shannon G.
The weather is heating up and so are the local events. This marks the 2nd year that the Austin Public Library partnered with Big Medium to present the West Austin Studio Tour! WEST is a free, self-guided tour that showcases Austin talent among a diverse creative community. The West Austin Studio Tour is presented by Big Medium, an Austin-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting contemporary art throughout Texas. In addition to WEST, Big Medium programming includes the East Austin Studio Tour and the Texas Biennial.
The tour is always free and this year it was held the weekends of April 27-28 & May 4-5 from 11 AM – 6 PM. The West Austin Studio Tour encompassed the area west of I-35, east of Mopac/Loop 1, south of HWY 183, and north of HWY 71/Ben White and HWY 360. Among the venues featured were artist studios, exhibition spaces alongside residential spaces transformed for the event.
The Yarborough Branch plays host to the photographic series "Thank the Romans", created by photographer Chris Evans. Chris Evans is a recent graduate from the St. Edward's Photo-communications department. After initially being interested in geography he promptly changed the trajectory of his studies to photography. Since the switch, Evans has worked extensively within photography with an emphasis on portraiture. He is specifically interested in how locations lose place authenticity caused by a commodity driven society. Evans intends to pursue an MFA in Photography and eventually teach at the university level. Chris is interested in the ethical implications of photographic portraiture.
Evans photography depicts people living in the everyday moments. At first, nothing seems particularly special about the imagery of a person in commute. But, then you notice the look on the person’s face – the expression of those who are wandering aimlessly, roaming about innocently and the moment is captured. Almost as if the photographer had stolen it from the subject.
"We are always looking at each other; it is part of who we are. However, this process of looking becomes questionable with the introduction of a camera. The implication of the interaction is inevitably changed: the moment is captured, made permanent and infinitely reproducible" – Chris Evans
Evans work will be on display in our conference room during regular open hours until May 25.
Monday, May 13
Ruiz Branch Library
1600 Grove Blvd.
Adults interested in crafting
Back by popular demand we are going to revisit our bunting class! We've got an array of oilcloth, laminated cotton, and regular cotton cloth that you can use to create a one-of-a-kind bunting that will make your backyard the best (and most festive) place to be this summer.
As always, all supplies are provided. Hope to see you there!
On Tuesday, May 7 at 6:30 p.m., UT's Butler School of Music is sponsoring a Texas Music Panel in room MRH 2.634 at the School of Music. The room is on the first floor, near the Trinity Street Entrance (see this map on the UT website). The scholar for the series, Dr. Caroline O'Meara will moderate a panel with the following members:
- Joe Nick Patoski, author of biographies of Texas music legends, including Willie Nelson, Selena and Stevie Ray Vaughan
- Dave Oliphant, who has written two books on the history of jazz music in Texas
- John Wheat, Coordinator for Sound Archives at the Briscoe Center for American History at UT
- Tim Hamblin, Video Archivist at the Austin History Center
The America's Music series of music documentaries explores the history of music in America. We want to conclude the series with a closer look at the history of music in Texas. Come hear how Texans have contributed to the history of music in America.
America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway is a project of the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint, and the Society for American Music. America’s Music has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.”