Thursday, March 28, 2013

BRMC Album Cover Inspired by Book Cover

One of my favorite bands, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, has released a new album and its cover art was inspired by a book cover. Specifically, the inspiration was an old Italian and English edition of William Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Covers of Shakespeare's Macbeth and BRMC's Specter at the Feast alongside the album's track listing.
Image via

"I found this old-school edition of Macbeth," Robert Been, of BRMC, said in an interview, "and it always intrigued me that some of the greatest literature we have for schools, that are required reading, just have some of the most generic, lifeless, meandered covers that don't really relate to what's inside. They don't try to get creative to dress them up or to sell you on anything. You just turn the page and never think about it again. I just really liked the idea of this thing that was really unassuming. Almost something that you would throw away and never think twice on, but hopefully, if you turn the page there's something of substance beneath there."

I'm sure once you put BRMC's album on the turntable, or listen to it on your iPod, you will discover something of substance there. The title of the album, Specter at the Feast, was also inspired by Macbeth. Been told Q Magazine, "We were playing around with the word 'specter' for a while and Leah [Shapiro, drummer for BRMC] actually found an act in Macbeth was called Specter at Feast."

To preview and buy Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's Specter at the Feast, go HERE.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The 10 Best Books for Young Feminists

At a book festival last year, I bought Rookie Yearbook One, edited by Tavi Gevinson. I had heard about Rookie, the online magazine for teenage girls that Gevinson started in 2011 to fill the gaping void left by the absence of Sassy, the late '80s/early '90s glossy that spoke to girls about sex and sexuality, politics and activism, current events and more without being coy or condescending.

"Our content respects a kind of intelligence in the readers that right now a lot of writing about teenage girls doesn't," Gevinson told the New York Times in 2011. Indeed, Rookie has gone on to cover street harassment, transgenderism, bodily functions such as menstruation, drug and alcohol abuse, surviving in a small town, coming out, and being biracial while also featuring interviews with Aubrey Plaza, John Waters, Joss Whedon, David Sedaris, Daniel Clowes and others, and how-tos on zine making, thrift store shopping, and more.

The best of Rookie's online content has been gathered in Rookie Yearbook One, published in 2012 by Drawn & Quarterly. Flipping through it at the book festival and later in the comfort of my home, I caught myself smiling at the clever, self-aware writing and being thankful that teenage girls today have a publication that speaks to them intelligently about weighty matters and encourages them to be whole human beings. For this reason, I'm not surprised that Rookie Yearbook One is among "The 10 Best Books of the Year for Young Feminists" as determined by the Amelia Bloomer Project, which is part of the American Library Association.

In addition to Rookie Yearbook One, other books the Amelia Bloomer Project picked as being among the best for young feminists include A Little F'd Up: Why Feminism Is Not a Dirty Word, by Julie Zellinger; Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond, by Lilly Ledbetter; Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers, by Sarah E. Warren; and Womanthology: Heroic, by various authors. These books and five more were selected for their significant feminist content, excellence in writing, appealing format, and age appropriateness for young readers.

To see all 10 of the best books for today's young feminists, go to THIS LINK.

* Above image from

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Forgot Your Book? Underground Library to the Rescue!

If you take the subway, then I'm sure it's happened to you: moments before your train arrives, you realize you have nothing to read during your commute. Sure, you've got your smartphone to distract you, but it's a bummer there's no signal underground. What to do, other than stare blankly into space until your stop? Students from the Miami Ad School have the answer to your first-world problem.

For a class project, three students from the Miami Ad School - Max Pilwat, Keri Tan, and Ferdi Rodriguez - came up with the Underground Library. Not to be confused with the Underground New York Public Library, the Underground Library utilizes smartphone technology in a unique approach to reading while in transit. Pilwat, Tan, and Rodriguez decided to use the city of New York and its subway system to demonstrate their Underground Library concept. 

Affixed in an MTA subway car is a poster that says "Swipe for a FREE read." A rider swipes a smartphone across the poster, and data from that poster is transferred to the phone using near-field communication (NFC) technology, which is already in most smartphones. Looking down at the phone, the rider sees that the first 10 pages from one of the books shown in the poster have been downloaded to the phone. Now, the rider has something to read during the rest of the trip.

When the subway rider leaves the train and goes aboveground, the data on the smartphone will direct him or her to the nearest branch of the New York Public Library, where the book that the 10 pages were excerpted from can be checked out. I guess the potential collaboration between the Underground Library and the New York Public Library is what businesspeople call "synergy." Still, I think it's an excellent idea. If it's officially implemented, I think it will be hugely popular.

To read more about the Underground Library, go HERE and HERE.

* Above photos from

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Amazing 'Where the Wild Things Are' Amigurumi

I need to make these right now! Time to dust off the ol' crochet hook...

Image from

Librarians Featured in Four Eyed Archive

If there is a "librarian uniform," then eyeglasses would definitely be a part of it.

Melissa, a teen librarian, in spectacular specs.
Image via

So many of us librarians - or librarians to be, in my case - are bespectacled that it should come as no surprise that we're represented in the Four Eyed Archive. This online archive is actually a new Tumblr site that celebrates eyeglass wearers. No longer a source of embarrassment, being four-eyed is now something to flaunt! (My, how times have changed. Note "geek chic" for further proof.)

Among the MLS set featured in the Four Eyed Archive are Lydia, a reference librarian, and Carolyn, a law student/librarian. There's also Josh, an executive editor at Library Journal, and Ashely, a taxonomist and admitted "information hoarder." They and others who are profiled were asked: What did your first pair of eyeglasses look like and how did you get them? How many pairs of glasses do you own? Do you have a favorite pair of glasses? Why? How often do you wear glasses? When picking out a new pair of glasses, what is your process? What are your qualifications? Have you ever broken or lost your glasses?

(My favorite answer to the question(s) "Do you have a favorite pair of glasses? Why?" is from Casey, a software business analyst: "Every year I upgrade to a new pair and every year they look nearly identical to the previous ones, so it's hard to pick a favorite." I can so relate.)

Want to be included in the Four Eyed Archive? Submit your answers to the above questions and a photograph of your eyeglasses, plus provide your name (however you want it to appear online), age (optional, really), and profession, at THIS LINK.

PS. I've been eying this pair of SEE glasses:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Memorable Movie Moments Set in Libraries

Libraries have been the backdrop for some of the best scenes in modern cinema. Can you imagine a Harry Potter film without the Hogwarts Library? How about All the President's Men sans that great aerial shot of the floor of the Library of Congress? These two memorable movie moments set in libraries and fourteen more are spotlighted in the BookRiot article "16 Great Library Scenes in Film."

"I really liked your computer trick": Andie is wooed in the school library in Pretty in Pink.

Naturally, there's that unforgettable scene in Breakfast at Tiffany's where Paul (played by George Peppard) loudly professes his love to Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) as they sit hunched in the New York Public Library. (I'm sure others would say that their favorite library scene in Breakfast at Tiffany's is the one that occurs earlier in the movie, when Holly leads Paul to the famous NYPL branch on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, where they find and sign a copy of Paul's book, to the obvious dismay of the librarian on duty.)

Then there's the suburban high school library in John Hughes' film The Breakfast Club, where five students from five different cliques are sent for a Saturday detention session. Who can forget the now notorious dance scene, where Allison (Ally Sheedy), Claire (Molly Ringwald), John (Judd Nelson), Brian (Anthony Michael Hall), and Andy (Emilio Estevez) stomp and twirl to the song "We Are Not Alone" that's blasted into the library?

My favorite library scene is from another John Hughes film, Pretty in Pink (which, surprisingly, is not even mentioned in the BookRiot article). It's when Andie (Molly Ringwald) is sitting at a row of computer terminals that are situated in the middle of her high school library. While working at the computer, she gets a mysterious message that is NOT from Duckie. Looking at the scene now, it's amusing to see the antiquated computers, but the sentiment of that scene still moves me.

For more great library scenes in movies, including Ghostbusters, The Shawshank Redemption, and Atonement, see BookRiot's article HERE.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Brooklyn Librarian Starts Accordion Club

Librarians are truly a multifaceted bunch. Among the many hats that we wear are fund-raiser, curator, storyteller, book seller, crafter, computer whiz, fact finder, class instructor, bookmobile driver, grassroots organizer, community gardener, and sometimes, conflict mediator and a much-needed shoulder to lean on. To that already impressive array of roles, you can add "accordion player."

Librarian Mayumi Miyaoka performs at the first meeting of the Brooklyn Accordion Club.

Brooklyn-based librarian Mayumi Miyaoka is a bona fide accordion enthusiast. She's also an expert player of the melodic box-shaped instrument. Slowly, she's starting to "build a community of accordion players of all levels and admirers in the heart of Brooklyn" with her Brooklyn Accordion Club, which she began last month.

The Brooklyn Accordion Club's first gathering was held on February 10 at a cozy bar in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, called Local 61. The turnout was excellent, with approximately 25 accordionists and squeezebox fans in attendance. As the sun's rays streamed into the bar that afternoon, one accordion player after another performed for the admiring crowd. Classical music and folk tunes, plus some Tom Waits and Beruit, filled the room that day, along with a warm, welcoming vibe.

That first meeting of the Brooklyn Accordion Club was such a great success that Miyaoka is hosting regular get-togethers. The club meets the second Sunday of even-numbered months (February, April, June, August, October, and December) at the same time (2 to 4 PM) and the same location (Local 61, 61 Bergen Street).

If you're interested in becoming a part of the Brooklyn Accordion Club, be sure to "Like" its Facebook page HERE.

* Above quote and photographs from Brooklyn Accordion Club's Facebook page