Author: Levi

Come Feed Your Wanderlust

Is there anything worse than being stuck in class for the summer? Probably, but today isn’t about that; it’s about your misery. And that’s exactly why we brought you a brand new feature shelf! Come check out some of our best Travel themed movies. We’ve got comedies, documentaries, and just plain ol’ summer classics. If you can’t get yourself “there,” you can get “there” to your living room.

Bloody Sunday Anniversary

Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. On March 7, 1965, police used brutal force to attack civil rights demonstrators on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. While Ava DuVernay’s timely blockbuster, Selma, has recently shed overdue light onto the incidence, there were predecessors who attempted to do the same. One such film is the ABC made-for-TV movie Selma, Lord, Selma. While the two films cover the same basic topic, their approaches are differ wildly. The former is grand, thunderous, and overarching while the latter is more intimate. This difference in scope is likely due to the fact that Selma, Lord, Selma is told from the perspective of an 11 year old girl, Sheyann Webb.

Upon hearing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. give a speech at her church, Sheyann feels compelled to join the movement and, by extension, the fateful march which crossed the aforementioned Edmund Pettus Bridge. The film chronicles her inspiration and youthful verve, and the parental anxiety which comes along with it. Here’s a clip to pique your interest:
Selma, Lord, Selma–Bloody Sunday Scene

With that in mind, come to the fourth floor of Max Chambers Library and check out this 1999 film. Make your own comparisons and let us know your verdict in the comment section.

New Month, New Features

Yesterday was the first day of the month, and you know what that means: changes to the feature shelf! This time around we’ve added a Women’s History section and a Crime and Suspense end cap.
The former contains a wide variety of films, from documentaries to feel good romantic comedies. Some titles include Mona Lisa Smile, The Purity Myth, Sexual and Racial Stereotypes in the Media, and Sophie Scholl. We tried to ensure the selection was inclusive of all types of women, but of course we are human and can make mistakes. Come check out the offerings, and if you think we’re missing something let us know! If it’s in the collection we’d be happy to display it.
As for the latter, we’ve selected some great classics! Pulp Fiction, Kiss of Death, and Along Came a Spider are just a few of the awesome films you’ll find. Everything you need to live (vicariously) on the edge!
So what’s the hold up??

The End is Nigh…er…Max Chambers?

March is a day and a half away and we’re still facing snow. Like, real snow. I know that’s no big deal to anyone up north, but for us it’s crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter–but I also love knowing the seasons are changing and the earth isn’t screeching to a cosmic halt. So, keeping in mind the possibility of an end to life as we know it (trust me, I’ve seen The Day After Tomorrow twice), I’ve decided to pick a couple of movies for this, our potential last weekend. Before we begin, it’s important to remember that apocalypse-appropriate films fall into two camps: tearjerkers and spirit lifters. We’ll start with the former so we can end on a high note.

Of course the ultimate tearjerker for any occasion is Pay It Forward, but this gem gets even more poignant when you consider it might just be the last thing you ever see. Sure, it’s a little overwrought and a lot cheesy, but from the opening scene to the final, hope-filled panorama there’s nothing so encompassing as this 2000 classic. I mean, think about it, you’ve got Haley Joel Osment proving cherubs are real, Helen Hunt being the alcoholic mess you’ve always wanted her to be, and a whole slew of good deeds reminding you that maybe humans weren’t quite the evildoers textbooks would have you believe. Dynamism and stuff, y’know?!

As for a little pre-death pick-me-up, I would suggest Grease. It’s fun, it’s light, it’s summery–everything you’d want to distract yourself from the tundra we now (for however long) inhabit. Plus, who doesn’t find pre-“Adele Dazeem” John Travolta titillating?! I know it’s a little cliche, and I can hear the groans now; but hear me out: when aliens discover the remnants of our society, you’ll want this one in your DVD player…if only to confused a little green man.

In any case, this blogger is signing off. If any of you feel like braving the weather before it’s too late, come up and see us. We’ll get you set up with the movies mentioned above and/or anything else your little heart desires. Stay warm, stay alive.

BREAKING: Multimedia Films ‘Looking for Valentine’s Date, Hoping to be Checked Out’

It’s finally February! Even though we’re technically still trudging through winter, something about this month always makes me feel energized. Exams are cropping up, temperatures are rising (ever so slightly), and spring is just around the corner. And on top of all that, love is in the air–and on our shelves!

As some of you may know, we like to keep our feature films rotating. This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re showcasing stories about that mysterious, elusive, necessary king of all emotions: love. We’ve got classics, including Now Voyager and My Fair Lady; rom-coms, such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding and What Women Want; and even a tragic documentary about the intersection between terminal illness and love (Death: A Love Story).

To make a long story short, we’ve got all our bases covered. From love-sick, jaded seniors to smitten freshmen, we think everyone will find something to get in the spirit this month. Also, if you’re staunchly anti-Valentine’s Day (or just a decent person with an interest in broadening a horizon or two) come check out our revised Black History Month collection, also available on the feature shelf. And on that note, this blogger has some films to peruse!

You Put in Good Work, Now Read Some Good Work

Finals are officially winding down and this blogger couldn’t be happier. Looking around the library the past two weeks it’s been hard not to draw certain parallels. For instance, a lot of people (myself included) looked like extras from the Walking Dead. More disturbing still, I haven’t seen anyone work so hard to keep a place clean since my mom the summer between 7th and 8th grade year. (Thanks, custodial team, you’re the real MVPs.) But all that aside, things could have been much worse; we could have been cooped up in Northeastern State’s library–the horror!!

Yes, I concede, finals are awful; but Max Chambers has some pretty good stuff going for it, not least of which its collections. Speaking of which, I’ve got a great find for you guys this month: John W. Work’s book/score collection, American Negro Songs. Don’t let the name fool you, this isn’t some pseudo-racist collection of black stereotypes. Dr. Work was actually “a noted musicologist affiliated with Fisk University and the celebrated Fisk Jubilee Singers.” For those of you who aren’t familiar, Fisk is a well-respected historically black college located in Nashville, Tennessee. Some notable alumni are W. E. B. DuBois and Ida B. Wells.

Dr. Work’s book covers everything from the origins of African-American “folk songs and spirituals, [both] religious and secular” to the different sub-genres associated with this kind of music. Plus, the book includes music and lyrics to 230 different songs. Published first in 1940 and again in 1998, this is definitely a piece of history. If any of you are interested, it’s housed with the scores on the south side of the fourth floor. Come see us at the service desk and we’ll help you find it!

And just for the fun of it, here’s a video of the aforementioned Jubilee Singers performing one of the pieces found in the book:

Waste Deep Waters

I’ve never been one for objective blogging, but there are occasions worthy of exception. This is one of those occasions. October is, undeniably and irrevocably, the best month of the entire year.* Hands down. Bar none. That being said, expect some serious posting this month. I’m talking about a genuine onslaught of pure kitsch, camp, fright, and foliage. And, in true frightful fashion, I’m going to kick us off with a doozy of suggestion: John Waters.

I know what some of you are thinking: “There’s nothing scary about Hairspray!” And you would be correct. But let’s not forget Waters’ illustrious career in shock. He is, after all, the undisputed King of Filth. We can only surmise Hairspray happened during an off year for Waters’, otherwise indie film buffs everywhere would be out one tall, gangly, potentially criminal hero.

I know what the rest of you are thinking, too: “If this guy is about to suggest I watch that awful, disgusting film Pink Flamingos…” And one could argue you’re correct in your outrage. Therefore, rest assured there will be no ingesting of that most foul of excrement on this blog. There will, however, be plenty of bad taste. What’s life without a little satire?

Waters’ career can be traced back to humble beginnings in the remarkably classy (see: working class) city of Baltimore, Maryland. As a young man, Waters befriended neighbor and fellow outcast Glenn Milstead (also known as the rattling roller coaster of a drag queen Divine); and the rest is history. Starting with Mondo Trasho (1969)–a surreal glimpse into the lives of a crazed hit-and-run driver and her soon-to-be chicken-footed victim–the pair offered up a slew of warped perceptions of Baltimore and, by extension, the suburban middle class. This skewed and arguably artful perception is further showcased in Desperate Livng (1977). As a film, Desperate Living offers little in the way of production; but what it lacks in technical panache it more than makes up for in storytelling finesse. This delightful train wreck follows the lives of Peggy Gravel, a crackpot suburban housewife, and her murderous maid, Grizelda Brown, as they are exiled to live in the filthiest part of Baltimore. So, if you have a strong backbone and the idea of an Evil Trash Queen intrigues you, come check out a copy from the library.**

While Waters’ has continued working under the same thematic arch well into the 21st century, it’s clear that there is a pivotal moment in his career, at which point he switches gears and begins producing films more palatable for the general public (i.e. Hairspray). Lucky for us, Max Chambers is home to a copy of that turning point, the film which bridged the gap between pure shock value and quasi-permissible cultural critique: Ployester (1981). In relation to Waters’ other works, Polyester is equatorial in the sense that it exists at dead center yet doesn’t disappoint in making mild-mannered audiences sweat. This is a film which makes an earnest attempt to welcome the fringe of the mainstream community. The production is glossier, the acting is more professional (evident from the casting of former heartthrob Tab Hunter), and the plot is at least somewhat believable. I won’t spoil it for you, but if anyone’s unfazed by pornographer husbands and discontented, cross-dressing wives I suggest you come pick up a copy immediately. After all, it’s nearly Halloween and we should all know nothing’s scarier (or more strangely realistic) than a dysfunctional family.

With all that said, don’t expect anything tame from the Pope of Trash. Thankfully, that’s what October and Halloween are for, movies you’d otherwise never take home to Mama. If you haven’t been scared off yet, you’re exactly the type of person who could glean from a Waters’ film what’s intended to be gleaned. I think Roger Ebert put it best when he spoke about Waters’ magnum opus (and decidedly grossest film), Pink Flamingos: “It should be considered not as a film but as a fact, or as an object.”

*There’s really no use arguing this point with me.
**All John Waters films currently in the collection are only available on VHS

Thanks for Sharing, Clark

It’s about 30 minutes before closing time and I don’t want to leave. That sounds insane, I know; but I just found the coolest item on the fourth floor. A few minutes ago, as I was shelving some scores, I caught a massive eye-sore in my peripheral. Whatever it was it looked over-sized and bulky and very indecisively brown—-a tragedy made more pronounced by some neighboring paperbacks, all shiny and pastel. Of course I had to give the thing the attention it demanded. Fortunately, my brain has never duped me more thoroughly than today. As luck would have it, there wasn’t any eye-sore to be found (unless you count the fake trees up here, but that’s a blog post for another time) just a gorgeous leather-bound Debussy score.

It sounds silly, but I’m finding myself invested in a small piece of history. This particular score was gifted twice: once to Max Chambers Library in 2005 and another time, long before, to a man named Clark. On the second page of the score is a handwritten note from someone in Paris in 1930. The score was a Christmas gift to the aforementioned Clark, and apparently a well-deserved one. “With greatest affection and deep gratitude,” reads the message. I just can’t shake the feeling that this small, cosmically insignificant collection of papers probably meant the world to someone. It’s days like these when I remember how much I love my job. People often say libraries are boring, but I have to disagree. Libraries are, by their very nature, a place for us to get in touch with ourselves. They are places for us to reflect on what has been and how that informs what is and what will be. The fact that I don’t read music, I know little to nothing about Debussy, and I couldn’t carry a tune if I tried means nothing when you consider that this score made me think. It brought a sense of interest and investment to a subject I would have otherwise never considered. It made me contemplate the connections in my own life. That’s what I love about libraries. And that’s what I love about Max Chambers.

I guess the point of all this is to say that being here in the library isn’t such a bad thing. The next time you have a little extra time to study, consider doing it here. You never know what you’ll find on a study break or how it might affect you. Oh, and for those of you who are interested, here’s a little Debussy for reference:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvFH_6DNRCY

L’Elisir d’Amore to be Performed at UCO

Is there anything more powerful than love? Obviously. The seductive scent of fresh pizza. Also, love potions. Duh. Just ask Nemorino, the protagonist of Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore–about the potion, I mean, not the pizza. Well, maybe the pizza. I hear Italians know a thing or two about that, but I digress. The point is, love potions are crazy and you should know as much about them as possible.

What’s the best way to brush up on your 19th century love potion statistics? Watching the aforementioned Opera, of course! Lucky for you, UCO has just the place–Mitchell Hall. That’s right, the UCO School of Music is poised to present this enduring classic April 24-27. And it’s shaping up to be quite the performance.

In fact, Kevin Eckard, D.M.A., the production’s director, says the department “chose to present this opera because [their] current students have the talent to pull off this production.”

I don’t know about you; but I’m more than okay with talented students doing cool things, especially when one of those students is a former library employee. More specifically, a Multimedia employee. We’re practically famous up here. Well, at least by association, anyway.  Right? Whatever. In any case, our very own Tookah Sapper is preparing for a leading role in this classic piece of comedic gold. Don’t believe me? Here’s the picture:

Cast Members from L'Elisir d'Amore

See, told you she was in it.

Sounds fun, right? There’s nothing better than feeling cultured. And because for most of us it will be just that–a feeling–UCO has been gracious enough to provide English surtitles for the performances. For those of you who like to really know your stuff, however, Max Chambers Library has a few audio copies of the production. So, come up to the fourth floor and give the opera listen or two before you head on out to the live production. We have both LP and CD versions, by the way!

Don’t forget! This Thursday through Sunday (April 24-27) at Mitchell Hall! It’s the place to be, I promise. Show starts at 7:00PM Thursday-Saturday and 2:00PM Sunday afternoon.

A Nod to Black History and Bright Futures

Remember earlier this month when I mentioned pulling movies for the feature shelf? Well, guess what–the project panned out!

Voila! A composite of the finished product.

Early in February, while we enjoyed a lazy Saturday, a patron gave the rest of the staff and me a rude awakening. Well, actually it was incredibly polite; but you get what I mean. He was a nicely dressed man who, by all acounts, seemed indomitably happy.He approached the desk, movies in hand, only after perusing the feature shelf for a short while. He didn’t seem troubled or upset in the least. In fact, I couldn’t even figure out what he needed at first–and (darn it) my record was so strong up until that point!

Anyway, it turned out the man was curious about how we chose our featured films. He couldn’t help but wonder why there wasn’t a nod to black history month anywhere on our shelves. And can you blame him? Just a few feet west of the shelves is a charming display dedicated to the success of the civil rights movement. It only made sense that we should oblige as well. So that’s exactly what we did.

Yes, you read that correctly–did. Unfortunately, I was a bad blogger and didn’t get the word out as it happened. But! There’s still time to take advantage of the awesome selections we curated.   Come enjoy such classics as The Color Purple (who doesn’t love Alice Walker?), Imitation of Life, and Satchmo’s live recordings! The selections will be available for perusing as a unit until Feb. 28th, 2014. However, they’ll still be dispersed throughout the standard stacks even after this end date.