Marian Seldes, 1928-2014

Marian SeldesThe theatre world lost one of its greats yesterday. The multitalented actor Marian Seldes died in New York on Monday, October 6, 2014 at age 86.

Television and film audiences would recognize her from her work in various films such as 1995’s Truman, with Gary Sinise in the title role, Leatherheads (2008, with George Clooney and Renee Zellweger), multi-Oscar-nominated epic film The Greatest Story Ever Told, and 2003’s ensemble film Mona Lisa Smile. She also made guest appearances on numerous television episodes, including roles as Mr. Big’s mother on Sex & the City and Murphy Brown’s eccentric aunt. But her favorite parts belonged to the stage. Her last appearance was in 2007, but over the course of a 60 year stage career, she built a collection of five Tony awards for best actress and one Special Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2010. This included a Tony for her marathon run in Deathtrap with John Wood and Victor Garber, which ran 1793 performances, 1978-1982.

IMDB – Marian Seldes

Wikipedia – Marian Seldes

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.

What do olives and the twist have in common?

Nothing, but I do have a story for you all:

This morning, as I trudged across campus, I found my thoughts wandering. At least when I could hear them, anyway. The wind was angry, and I wasn’t about to try to interrupt it. One question rang clearly, though: If my short walk from car to building shook me, what must it be like for people without a destination? That is to say, how difficult must it be for someone coming from somewhere and going nowhere, trapped in an unforgiving cold? It’s a travesty, really, to know that not everyone has the luxury of milling about from warm place to warm place. It’s a privilege we often take for granted. And yet this travesty isn’t new at all. In fact, it’s been rearing its ugly head for centuries. Poverty and disadvantage are as old as us.

I didn’t think so much about that last bit until I got to work. I opened up our homepage, eager to pull some films for the feature shelf (more on that later), and found this little gem staring back at me:

 

 

Isn’t serendipity a strange thing? There I was, mulling over a million thoughts of inequity, and here’s this ad, offering a potential answer. I’d like to believe this is the result of some UCO magic, present but never seen. But that’s a topic for another post. Or maybe another blog altogether. Try not to judge me too harshly for eccentricities. Anyway, I was excited to see one of our own intellectuals tackling a subject so relevant to modern, western society.  I mean, think about it, Victorian culture continues to have a pretty big influence on our lives. We haven’t completely transcended strict societal expectations, after all. As you can imagine, I was eager to find out more.

Now, anyone who’s taken an English Lit. course or two knows that one name stands out in a discussion like this–at least in my humble opinion. Dickens. Lucky for me (and hopefully you too, interested reader *nudge nudge*) I discovered that Max Chambers has Dickens abound. My personal favorite is our copy of Oliver!, the West End’s take on Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist. Its got great music; an awesome cast; and, as far as musicals go, a flare for staying true to the original story. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself!

See, told you. Be sure to swing by and check it out sometime before Drs. Sheetz-Nguyen and Button’s book talk. Who knows, maybe you’ll see me there and we can have a discussion about it all.

 

Have fun and take care,

L.P.

Veterans Day

Today I attended UCO’s Veterans Day Service in honor of the men and women that have fought and continue to fight in our armed forces. As I stood next to my boyfriend and the assembled war heros, families, and friends, the UCO band begun to play the national anthem. I raised my hand to my heart, something I hadn’t done in a long time, and paid my silent respect to our nation. In those solemn moments I reflected on what that flag, waving in the Oklahoma wind, meant to these men and women; what it meant to me.

I looked into my heart and felt the lack of pride in my country, but discovered a reformation of pride standing beside these service men. They fought, risking their lives for beliefs, that although this nation doesn’t always reflect, are what this nation represents. They did not fight for the sake of fighting, they fought because there was injustice, a people or persons that needed their rights defended. They weren’t defending  just American rights, but foreigner’s rights as well, human rights. They believed that everyone deserved those human rights, whatever nationality. A belief that struck me profoundly.

At the conclusion of the ceremony we were asked to stand once more as the brass quartet played Taps. The wind chased clouds across the Oklahoma sky as melancholy notes drifted through the gathering. We all pondered on the brave soldiers, those living and those deceased, and felt the severity of their sacrifices.

Today I hope you have taken the opportunity to thank the service men and women in your life. Let them now how proud you are and give back to them in whatever way you can.

Andromeda

As winter creeps into our homes and sweaters migrate to the top of closets, the night sky displays some of the most beautiful celestial bodies. One object to catch the amateur astronomers breath is the Andromeda galaxy. Which is not just a star, but billions of stars! When viewed with the naked eye it may appear small, but in fact it’s radius, under long exposure, is greater than our moon.

This spectacular celestial body is our closest neighboring spiral galaxy and in the distant future, 4 billion years or so, will be a part of our personal “backyard”. Andromeda and the Milky Way are on a collision course. With the Hubbell Space Telescope, NASA has predicted the melding of our two galaxies and the end results of the pairing. Although we will not be around, those lucky enough to be may enjoy an even more breath taking night sky. 

Work Hard, Play Harder

Representation of readers’ console sans Dorito crumbs and finger prints.

Why beat around the bush? Homework sucks. And so does spending your day working on it in the library. But! We here in the multimedia department may have just found your silver lining.

Just last week we stocked the feature shelf with some awesome video games for Wii and Xbox. So, next time you’re trapped in the dark recesses of academia, why not pop your head out for a little break? Swing by the fourth floor, grab a few games, and have something to look forward to when you get home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genealogy

What is in our past that plays a role in our future? There has always been the question of where we come from. For some of us our genealogy has been methodically gathered and sorted. We are lucky enough to have a clear image of where our ancestors came from, who they were, and what pieces of them reside in us. For others of us we need to gather that information and comb through the passage of time.

Luckily for those able to access the Max Chambers library, a large collection of genealogy has been stored and simply awaits the perusal of fastidious eyes. Take the time, dig for those treasures in the past and there will certainly be surprises.

Gandhi

Looking at the small figured man wrapped in a dhoti, windsor glasses perched on his nose, wisdom and patience seem to exude from his frail figure and slightly up turned smile.

Gandhi is a manifestation of the silent, but strong willed. He understood himself and the strength granted him by his innate character. Have we not all faced moments of injustice and immorality? When faced by these are we then caught off balance, one foot poised to strike out at iniquity, one shakily on the ground? Gandhi planted  himself in the path of injustice. He centered himself, and the world around him, when brought face to face with immorality.

Strength and weakness are not measured in our spoken voice, nor in the force of our kick. There is strength in the unspoken word, in a stance well grounded. Gandhi spoke to the world, without uttering a word. His actions and brave decisions demonstrate what a powerful man he was.