Saturday, August 28, 2021

Post on the Summer Reading Wall -- Win Dairy Queen!

We hope everyone had a great summer! Did you read? Let us know. Come down to the ARC to fill out your Summer Reading Card and post it on the wall -- Teak Godzilla or Team Kong. Then, we will randomly choose several cards in our Dairy Queen raffle!  Come down today!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Charlie Watts, 1941 - 2021

Charlie Watts was more than just the drummer for the Rolling Stones. He was a man of many genres. The Rolling Stones, of course, were rooted in Blues music. That was what brought Mick Jagger and Keith Richards together to form the band in the first place.

Charlie Watts worked in advertising at the time and had a degree in artistic design. 

And he loved Jazz music.

Poiseon Bild & Text (press photo by a photographer of the consulting company
Poiseon AG in St. Gallen, Switzerland)), CC BY 2.0 
via Wikimedia Commons
His addition to the Rolling Stones line-up was what gave the band their unique sound. Always on the back beat, Charlie Watts' drum kit was never extensive. Unlike other rock and roll drummers, Charlie kept his equipment simple.

Yet nothing he did was simple.

Charlie Watts was, arguably, the best drummer in rock and roll.

Stones' guitarist Ron Wood said it best in 2003:  “Charlie’s the engine. And we don’t go anywhere without the engine.”

He wasn't your typical rock and roll star, though. He shunned the spotlight.  He avoided groupies and, unlike others in the business, remained faithful to his wife for 57 years.

When he wasn't recording with the Stones, Charlie Watts played what he loved: Jazz music. 

He was also notoriously eccentric. He loved his suits and clothes. He also loved cars---but didn't drive. Sometimes he would be found just sitting in some of the classic cars he collected--going nowhere, but relishing the car itself.

Charlie Watts was 80 years old when he died in London on August 24, 2021.

Over the years, I have grown more in awe of the Rolling Stones. They often call themselves the "Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World."

True or not, it was Charlie Watts, sitting in the back behind a drum kit, that made the Stones who they are.

Below is a special ARC Spotify playlist featuring Charlie Watts -- both with the Stones and on his own.  Plus, a list of articles if you would like to learn more about him.

"Charlie Watts: the calm, brilliant eye of the Rolling Stones’ rock’n’roll storm" by Alexis Petridis via The Guardian

"No One Impressed Charlie Watts, Not Even the Stones" by Rob Sheffield via Rolling Stone

"Charlie Watts: The subtle magnificence of the Rolling Stones' drummer" By Mark Savage via BBC

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

ARCLight Podcast: S1E01 "A Librarian's Confession"

The new episode of the ARCLight Podcast is now available! In this season opener, Hersey's new librarian, Bruce Janu, recounts a time when he was a student at Hersey. In 1986, he took a book from the library and ended up keeping it for 35 years.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Check out the ARC display case. There you will find the infamous book that was missing for 35 years. Plus, you can read an article about the Jack the Ripper killings from an original September 1888 issue of The London Times.  This month, we are featuring books about Victorian London --- check them out in the ARC.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Artist of the Month: Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley, 1958
Uncredited, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Forty-four years ago, on August 16, 1977 Elvis Presley was found dead in his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.

Elvis got his start in 1956 and became a sensation after appearing on several televisions shows, most notably The Milton Berle Show in April, The Steve Allen Show in July and The Ed Sullivan Show in October. Each time he appeared on TV, the ratings for the shows shot up. He was censored because many thought the way he danced was obscene.  He became known as "Elvis the Pelvis" and on subsequent shows, he was only filmed from the waste up. The police chief of San Diego announced that if Elvis ever performed in his city, he would have him arrested for disorderly conduct.

Elvis in 1973
RCA Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Over the course of his career, Elvis moved from a teenage rock star to a movie star to a unique, Vegas-style performer, complete with elaborate sequined jumpsuits and big pork-chop sideburns. He had many names, such as "The Memphis Flash," "The Tiger" and the "Hillbilly Cat." He surround himself with a group of loyalists that became known as the Memphis Mafia. Their motto was "TCB" -- "Taking Care of Business."

Most people know him as "The King of Rock and Roll." 

Consequently, many tend to think that Elvis was the first to perform rock and roll. That is not true.

Elvis was important in the history of pop culture, though. What he did was introduce rock and roll to white audiences.

Rock and roll music was first created and performed by black artists, such as Ike Turner, Big Mama Thornton (who was the original singer of "Hound Dog"), Chuck Berry, Little Richard and more. In fact, Elvis got famous singing the songs first recorded by black musicians.

But, like much of the country, music was segregated as well. Music performed by black artists was called "Race music," and it didn't filter much into white America.

Until Elvis, that is. His appearances on television in 1956 introduced white kids to rock and roll, and white kids began listening to not just Elvis Presley, but the black artists who had created rock and roll in the first place.

It is not a coincidence that this is the same time the modern Civil Rights Movement began. 

This month we are featuring the music of Elvis Presley.  Check out our Spotify playlist and you can listen to some of his early classics, such as "Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock," and "All Shook Up." Plus, some of his later masterpieces such as "Suspicious Minds" and "Kentucky Rain." Plus, many movie songs as well.

Next month, we will feature those black artists who created rock and roll music. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 2, 2021

Summer Reading Book #6: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Alright. I've said this before. And I will say it again. This may be my favorite book so far this summer. (Sorry Pride)

To be honest, I haven’t read too many books like this---a book written in verse. And I loved how it looked on the page. I loved the cadence of it. It “sounded” good in my head, if that makes sense. 

The Poet X is the story of Xiomara Batista, the daughter of Dominican immigrants. She lives in Harlem in a cramped apartment with her parents and twin brother, Xavier. She finds refuge in her poetry, and keeps her thoughts and poems secret in a journal. 

Her poetry reveals a sensitivity and vulnerability that is absent from her tough exterior: 

The other girls call me conceited. Ho. Thot. Fast. 
When your body takes up more room than your voice 
you are always the target of well-aimed rumors, 
which is why I let my knuckles talk for me. 
Which is why I learned to shrug when my name was replaced 
    by insults. 
I’ve forced my skin to be as thick as I am. 

X has a hard time living up to the expectations of her mother, and always seems to be the one who is getting in trouble, whether it is over chores, school or boys. “You sure ain’t an easy one,” her mother always reminds her. She recognizes the double standards that exist in the way she is treated versus the often hands-off approach her parents take towards her brother, who she refers to simply as “Twin.” 

But poetry is her life, and when she starts 10th grade her English teacher, Ms. Galiano, not only says her name right on the first try, but also recognizes her talent for poetry. Soon Xiomara has joined the poetry club, and her world opens up. 

Of course, there is a love interest she tries to keep secret. She also learns that Twin has a secret of his own. Xiomara also is in confirmation class, but does not share her mother’s devotion to religion. Xiomara questions her religion and provides thoughtful and authentic critiques of the purpose of religion that I found extremely compelling, especially for a “YA” novel. And, as a result, a conflict with her mother soon explodes. 
But through it all, she has her poetry. And shines on stage at an open mic night. 

The resolution may come too quickly. And things may be wrapped up too cleanly, but Xiomara is a force to be reckoned with. Her voice through the verse is what makes this book so engaging. It is a quick read, and I loved being in her world and her thoughts. 
The Poet X is available in the ARC.