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Wanna be a MANGA star?

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Wanna be a Manga star? Well, there is a FREE Manga & Comics Drawing Workshop at Thornhill Library this Thursday February 8th! Register Here! Now!! I know you wanna!

When I was a teen, one of our groups' favorite things to do was hang out at various red-neck diners drawing art and comics for each other all night. Maybe we were all on a kamikaze mission but... sharing all those comics and making zines together was certainly a blast! And sometimes we even sold them at All Ages shows making back our coffee money. DIY! There was always an edge... who could draw the awesomest MANGA? Make the coolest character? Have the weirdest plot? ... or get us in the most trouble?...

At any rate - Come to this workshop, brush up your comic skillz, and possibly MEET others who are as obsessed with Manga as you are!

Then publish your drawings: SUBMIT them to our TEENSCREATE page! From there it's just a short jump to DC... with maybe a few coffee shops and diners along the way...

In the meantime here are also some cool suggestions to get you started drawing.

Plus one of my favorite titles Steamboy by Katsuhiro Otomo. Who's your favorite Manga character?

Snow White Redux

by Alexandra - 2 Comment(s)

Okay... so this whole Twisted Fairytales thing is totally blowing me away. I don't even know where to start! With TWO Snow White revamps coming up this year alone, not to mention that "Once upon a Time" TV show on ABC (yeah... it's about Snow White too...) I realized it was high-time to shed some light on this trend. Thus begins the first of a chain of blogs dedicated to unravelling, demystifying, and just plain gushing over the many adaptations of our fave classic stories.

I'll start with Snow White because that's what got this ball rolling... but FIRST! A little history:


When the Grimm Brothers first published their works in 1857, the young girl who WE know as Snow White was then known as Snow-Drop or Sneewittchen. And while I just called her a "young girl" you might be surprised to know exactly HOW young. In the original version, she is only SEVEN YEARS OLD. As time went on, I suppose people decided it was just too creepy for some random prince to come waltzing by a glass coffin, see a pretty, little [dead] seven-year-old, decide he's gonna kiss her, and then take her to his castle to be his bride. As with a lot of these stories, the disturbing and scary originals are continually adapted to fit current trends and inclinations. So! At one point the story said that Snow White was a kid when she "died" but kept aging in the coffin, so that by the time the prince got to her she was... 16... (still not great...), and eventually, people just decided that she was 16 when she went into the woods, 16 when she died, and then 16 when the prince woke her up. Check out all the sordid details about your fave Fairytales from this awesome E-resource available for FREE from the Calgary Public Library: World Folklore Today and Folklife

But now let's take a look at something a little more twisted:

Mirror Mirror

With an All-Star cast and GORGEOUS costuming, this rendition promises to be a fun flick about "the untold story" of Snow White, full of political intrigue, role-reversals (I believe Snow saves Prince Charming on several occasions...) and some light-hearted jibes at an aging Julia Roberts.

Mirror Mirror has a release date of March 16th of this year, but to tide you over, you can watch the trailer on IMDB here.


Snow White and the Huntsman

Unlike Mirror, Mirror, this redux of Snow White promises to be much darker, and much angstier. Ready to leave Bella Swan far behind her, Kristen Stewart takes on this new role with gusto. She is apparently doing her own stunts, and even if she's not doing them so well, it's much better than letting Edward and Jacob get all the action.

Snow White & The Huntsman will come out on June 1st, but if you follow the title link there are lots of video clips and images to placate you in the meantime!

Once Upon a Time is ABC's crack at the fairytale revamp. It modernizes some of our favourite childhood characters (although it must be noted that they use the Disney versions of most characters, not the original ones, as ABC is owned by Disney) and drops them into a small town in the states, where time is frozen and Snow White's daughter is the key to unlocking an evil curse. I've never seen it, but I've only heard good things.

And it's not just movies and TV shows, although if you want the full list of film adaptations available through CPL, we have a list pending. There are dozens and dozens of books featuring Snow that we have currently circulating in our collection. I've only put the highlights of the other collections and ALL the YA ones here, but feel free to come into ANY branch if you're looking for a specific version.

Picture/Storybooks in the Juvenile Collection:

Adult Spin Offs:

Young Adult and Graphix:

Non-Fiction

I'll be home for Christmas...

by Alexandra - 1 Comment(s)

Everyone has a list of Christmas Classics that they work their way through every year. I only have three that I haven't yet watched in 2011 (both "Grinches" and "Home Alone")... but it's only Christmas Eve! I like to keep the magic going and watch a bunch of movies well into Boxing Day as well. "Love, Actually" and "The Holiday" are two that I've already seen six times this year, but that's 'cause they're good year-round, and I'm a perennial Christmas-in-July-er.

But when I was looking at my list, I realized that there's a pretty huge gap in the genre, and that movies geared towards teens just aren't factoring into the Hollywood Christmas equation. I find this strange, since Teen Choice is pretty much ruling the scene in every other facet of entertainment. At any rate, it seems like flicks go straight from sickly sweet Kid's movies to R-rated College movies, and there's no mid-range for Jr. High or High School. Maybe I'm wrong though. Maybe you can help me compile a list of the best of the best for Teen Christmas. It's going to be piecemeal, we're going to have to stitch it together bit by bit, but maybe that's what Teen Christmas is all about... holding on to what remains of your childhood, grasping on to what you want out of your future... and add a healthy dose of sarcasm and humour. Merry Christmas... and pardon my gifs.

There is one GLARING exception to that statement, which is, of course, the glaring exception to MOST things. It's Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. Part Christmas, part Halloween, part creepy, part adorable, mix some morbid, macabre, grossie bits with equal parts lovely, romantic, heartfelt bits, and you've got yourself an instant teen classic. It's not for kids (I wasn't allowed to watch it 'cause my mom new I'd get... nightmares...) and not for adults, unless they grew up with it (Movie Maniac Moe can't watch ANY Tim Burton movies because the animations freak her out). But teens hold up Jack Skellington as a paradigm of awesome; you can see his face plastered on everything from hoodies to watches... and poor Sally fits into our metaphor of a patched-together Christmas perfectly.

Mean Girls is NOT a Christmas movie, but it does have two of the greatest snapshots of School Christmas ever to be caught on film: 1) Candy Grams, the best-tasting, most bittersweet test of popularity to ever exist, and

2) The annual Talent Show/Christmas Pagaent/Winter Musical showcase of mediocre "dance skillz" by resident school hotties.

This is pretty much exactly what Jr. High was like for me, and if you haven't seen it yet, watch it, and tell me if it holds up to your school experience. I LOVE THIS MOVIE!

Ummmmmmmm Charlie is a kid in the first Santa Clause, and a graffiti-ing teen in the second... that counts, right? Teens love spraypaint, right?

There's a pretty excellent scene in the full-length Grinch where our green buddy tries shaving for the first time. That's a standard teen trope if ever I saw one!

Buddy the Elf's parents were High School sweethearts. And now I know I'm stretching this way too far. Also thanks to hawkeyefan31 for this gif. If you can't tell, I'm just learning how to make them, and they're pretty sad.

And of course, Christmas Classics aren't limited to movies. After all, what is Christmas without music. Here are some of my favourite Christmas tunes... I'm sure I'm missing plenty, so please send along your favourite playlist so I can add it to mine.

Top of the list is Sufujan Stevens Songs for Christmas. If you haven't already heard it, I'm really sorry Christmas is over and you'll have to wait until next year (because we all know Christmas music after the 26th is a taboo - right?). Songs for Christmas is a brilliant album where Stevens remixes a ton of Christmas classics, mostly religious, in his folksy, quirky way. He also throws in some great original compositions.

Next on my list is Hawksley Workman's First Snow of the Year which captures the joy you feel as a kid when you look out the window and shout 'It's snowing!!' and also, his great tune Merry Christmas (I Love You)

I just recently discovered The Bones of Winter by Said The Whale. This is a darker, more sombre tune that captures the desperate feeling we sometimes have around winter solstice when we know there are 3 more months without sun... it is a lovely song.

Similarly, Joni Mitchell's River is sad song capturing the desparation of loneliness... absolutely beautiful.

I love Fall Out Boy's cover of What's This? It's lots of fun.

And what is Christmas without Vince Guaraldi Trio's Christmas Time is Here ! I'm sure I don't need to tell you that this masterpiece is a Christmas staple and among the most popular Christmas tunes.

So there you have it. The best of the best we could come with with for Christmas and Teens. If you know of a teen movie or song that I'm missing out on, weigh in on the comments board. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas, and we'll see you on the other side.

***Stars, dust & magic***= Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful continued...

by Adrienne - 4 Comment(s)

With holiday magic in the air, I thought I might get away with writing about some great fantastic (and magical books) without having a bunch of people vomit all over me... However, I also happen to know that a lot of you secretly and not-so-secretly love fantasy. And these are books with a twist.

As a teen, a friend introduced me to The Sandman by Neil Gaiman and although I had always shunned comic books, an instant romance was born. Gaiman is a mysterious magician weaving stories that are bizarre and strange, that usually leave you with more questions than answers. He also picks stunning illustrators to work alongside him. One of my favourites is Charles Vess. Vess' style could be best described as Art Nouveau meets 1930's comic book. Instructions, also by Gaiman, is a fairytale poem that might leave you rather quizzical and Stardust: Being a Romance in the Realm of Faerie, is pure indulgence! Go on fairy lovers, love it up! Of course you can always count on Gaiman to never follow the staight and narrow... There's DVD and Blu-Ray versions too. MirrorMask is a lovely, bizarre story that I reviewed earlier as an audiobook. It explores the intricacies and complications of mother/daughter relationships and I had the priviledged coincidence of listening to this in the car this summer while travelling back from Drumheller with my mother. Here's to unplanned synchronicity! MirrorMask is also a beautiful graphic novel illustrated by Dave McKean and a great video.

I discovered that Charles Vess has also illustrated some YA novels by one of my favourite Canadians (Saskachewanite to be precise), Charles DeLint! They're great! And short. In Seven Wild Sisters ginseng, bees and faeries mix! Featuring an Apple Man, an Old Aunt and Wild Hills, here's a short excerpt: "Most of her time was taken up with the basic tasks of eking out a living from her land and the forest... But you could buy your food instead of having to work so hard growing it.' 'Sure I could. But I've had to have me money to do that and to get the money, well, I'd have to work just as hard at something else, except it wouldn't necessarily be as pleasing to my soul.'... 'You find weeding a garden pleasing?', 'You should try it girl. You might be surprised.' " Medicine Road stars the Dillard twins Laurel and Bess (from Seven Wild Sisters) in a wild adventure in the Native Southwest. Check 'em out! Charles DeLint is also an artist, poet, folklorist & critic as well as playing in various bands -- he has just released a CD The Loon's Lament with his wife MaryAnn Harris and John Wood. It features cover art by Calgary's own Lisa Brawn!

The latest superstar to hit the scene earned his stripes working on animation for Toy Story! William Joyce has come up with the brilliant idea of re-working the characters of St. Nicholas, The Man in the Moon the E. Aster Bunnymund and others into "The Guardians of Childhood"; modern day super heroes inhabiting familiar, yet not-so-familiar folktales. These display some stunning SteamPunk style illustrations with a ton of adventure to boot. Maurice Sendak has said that The Man in the Moon is "a fabulous recapturing of an old, real fairy-tale world. Dark Mysterious. Stunning!" and Joyce's latest release Nicholas St. North and the battle of the Nightmare King has hit the shelves... just in time for the holidays.

And what fantasy suite is complete without a title such as The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle? “We are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream.” The graphic novel adaped from Beagle's 1968 classic is lushly illustrated by Renea DeLiz and coloured by Ray Dillon. The library has just ordered Beagle's new book First Last Unicorn and other Beginnings. This includes letters, an unpublished novella about The Last Unicorn, interviews, correspondence and other snippets giving delightful insight into the creative process of this beloved master of fantasy. Over the holidays watch the DVD and Blu-Ray versions and then check our stacks in the New Year for the new book. Start the year off right!

Tolkien and Robin Hood Fans will appreciate Mouse Guard by David Petersen. Mouse life is treacherous and towns must be gaurded. Hence the formation of.. "The Mouse Guard"! Immerse yourself in a leaf-ridden, Ork-like medieval mouse's reverie (nightmare or dream?)! Mouse Guard vol. 01 Fall 1152 was critically acclaimed as best Indy Adventure Book of 2006 by Wizard Magazine and I can see why.

Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard vol. 01 also created by David Petersen. This album brings together 17 different comic artists - aka "mice", as they gather together at June Alley Inn to compete to clear their pub tabs by telling the most creative and fantastic stories (a fun nod to the classic "Canterbury Tales" by Chaucer!)

AND... I'm so excited I can barely contain it!!! Alex may geek out about being a Potter fan but I'm a total Lord of the Rings girl and.. Yes! they released an unexpected trailer for Peter Jackson's upcoming The Hobbit! .... Why can't it be next year already?!?!?!?

en...JOY!

Use Your Pencil Hugo- Bleak, Bizarre, Beautiful cont..

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Sometimes opening something has such a velvety quality, the unknownness of it so black, the mystery so tangible you can almost feel it; like rubbing paper between your fingers. Opening The Invention of Hugo Cabret: a novel in words and pictures is like that. And the adventure unfolds from there. The biggest discovery being how Brian Selznick has almost single handedly reinvented the form of the novel and what a book can be. The story is told in pictures and then in words, back and forth, never repeating scenes. Words and pictures move the story along sequentially; they are not meant to expand on one another nor elaborate. Yet enhance each other they do. Different in this way from a graphic novel, the pictures take up the whole page adding unimaginable layers of depth. Each speaks 1000 words or more, describing both setting and scene with lush pencil strokes, sturdy in execution yet exquisite in detail. It just makes me want to run my fingers over the page, flip them back and forth, back and forth... The quality of the paper is rich as well, reminding me of the the lushness of Vida Simone's art and the memory I have of a personal performance with miniature puppets she performed for me in my apartment (among others) as part of her show at The New Gallery years ago. Telling stories in her own personal way. Hugo Cabret does the same thing.

So flip through the pages I did! And discovered, much to my delight, that the individual sequences of images throughout the book act like mini flip books, animating individual scenes, imitating the earliest animations and stop motion film sequences of silent movies. This adds a physically tangible metaphor to the history of cinema that the book probes to a certain depth; satisfying in metaphor of not breadth. To this add steampunkish elements tying clockwork magicians to the mysteries of the human heart and human bonds. It's no wonder it won the Caldecott Medal in 2008.

Et tu parle Francais? Since the book does take place in Paris.. get the the French version here. The book has so many layers. Its very form is half of it! This leaves me wondering if a film on the book can truly do it justice. Yet the story is so strong in and of itself, and.. it does deal with the invention of cinema, so a film MUST have something to add to the discussion of itself... "Hugo" In theatres TODAY (November 23rd) you can watch the trailer here. One thing I don't doubt= I am excited to see it!

I'm even more excited to read and experience Selznick's next adventure in the re-invention of the novel = Wonderstruck. Here he talks about how he wanted to tell 2 stories. One about Rose, set in the past, told in pictures and one about Ben, set in the present, told in words. At some point the stories meet in the middle and either a puzzle is solved and/or a new mystery evolves. See the website here.

Let the mysteries begin. Perhaps all is not lost to e-books and cyberspace. Selznick has given us something in these books akin to the realization that the specialness of a handwritten letter or home made card can never equal an email or Facebook Message. So go ahead - use you pencil!

Bleak, Bizarre, Beautiful

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Fall is a Beautiful, Bleak, Bizarre and Bountiful season. Things start falling apart and looking strange, half eaten, fiery and orange. You can smell the death and decay, feel the sting of the wind, and the wind of things slowly but surely changing into the mood for Halloween. Crisp fall leaves fall down making us cold and wanting to snuggle up with a good cozy book. It is a suitable time to explore the bizarre. We have some amazing YA Graphic Novels (aka comic books) that have beautiful art and strange stories. So much so they are more like ART novels. The black ink drawing's in Salem Brownstone could be compared to Aubrey Beardsley's illustrations of Salome by Oscar Wilde. An unusual story involving an unexpected inheritance, a contortionist, the circus and Salem's mission to battle out evil using his amoeba like familiar and a crystal ball to restore the balance of good in the world. The black and white graphic detail is stunning. More like Art Nouveau gone comic book.

For Bizarre/Strange Steampunk is the New Black with Tim Burton's new Alice in Wonderland movie being exemplary of this style. We have a new cool graphic novel inspired by the movie, the dvd, blu-ray, 2 movie book (s), and the CD. Avril Lavigne who composed the title track Alice on this album: Almost Alice is playing in Calgary at the Saddledome tonight! (October 11th). Rounding this out are 3 YA Graphic Novels that are definetly NOT childish: Alice in Wonderland (based on the new film), Wonderland (a fun re-imagining) and Hatter M, vol.1: The Looking Glass Wars (a little bit like Mad Hatter Karate!).

Alice is considered to be the first book that was written not as a moral tale for children but with the specific enjoyment of it's audience in mind. Technically classified as Non-sense Literature and having never lost it's grip on our imaginations, these books do much more than entertain. When our lives are turned upside down,

when we fall through the rabbit hole, when we enter the matrix: they are tales of survival in strange and bizarre circumstances. They stretch our minds and imaginations, enabling us to conjure solutions to the strange sudden bizarre and REAL events of our lives - like your grandfather dying, suddenly growing pubic hair (how weird was that!), moving to a new house, having sex for the first time, finding out you have an unknown sibling, accidentally being pregnant, being kicked out of your house, etc. etc., etc. At the library we have 11 illustrated versions of Wonderland, two of my favourite being Ralph Steadman's which isalso very Art nouveau/Aubrey Beardsley-ish and Robert Ingpen's 2009 edition illustrated with finely detailed pencil/watercolour illustrations from unusual perspectives. This is my favourite Alice to date.

Paul Stewart's Edge Chronicle's illustrated by Christopher Riddell are also fantastically strang. Riddell's The Emporer of Absurdia definitely falls into Dr. Suess territory both in terms of graphic illustration and imagination. There are even echos of Dali. Fine line work and stunning hat collections!

Shaun Tan has written some great books for down days. These include The Red Tree, The Arrival (a YA graphic novel) and The Lost Thing expanded as Lost & Found and recently made into a short animated film. Watch the Trailer here! The Lost Thing reflects on the doldrums of conformity and things that just don't quite fit in - highlighting the importance and value of the weird and the wonderful. Happy Fall!

..... to be contiued (we have such a beautiful, bleak & bizarre collection you can look forward to more!)

On the Bus? Bored? School Trip?= Audio Book

by Adrienne Adams - 0 Comment(s)

Going on a school trip? Bored? Get sick reading on the bus? Many of your favourite books are now being produced as Audio Books & Book CD's. Play them in the car while going to Vegas with friends or family. Down load one of our E-Books sound recordings from Overdrive on our e-library and listen on your i-pod while biking around the river or play a book cd on a cd-walkman while on the bus to school. In fact sitting outside sun-tanning while sipping virgin margaritas listening to an Audio Book might just have become one of my favourite weekend pastimes. Especially if they could get Leonard Cohen to do the voice... One of my favourites recently has been Wildwood Dancing by Juliette Marillier narrated by Kim Mai Guest. Kim's soft voice is intruiguing and one of the great things about listening to her describe all the beautiful Romanian worlds like "Piscu Dracuili", from Transalvania, is that I didn't have to guess at the correct pronounciation everytime. On CPL's Overdrive you can listen to an audio sample - giving you a chance to decide whether not the book interests you. You can also search for other audio books narrated by the same narrator (from other authors). Sometimes the author narrates their own book - most times not. Cybele's Secret - a companion novel to Wildwood Dancing is also available on Audio Book - I read this one just to compare - and I admit you can probably read faster than most people can speak... however can you read while baking, knitting, cycling, driving or drawing?

And there's some of your favourite titles! Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld won an award (Read by Alan Cumming). As did Will Grayson, Will Grayson which you'll like if you like Glee! (by John Green and David Leviathan) narrated by Macleod Andrews and Nick Podehl (both Odyssey Honor Audiobooks Award).

And of course there's the Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Colins- all three books are available on Audio and Book CD.

Others that have won awards include Alchmey and Meggy Swan (Karen Cushman, narrated by Katherine Kellgren), The Knife of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness, Mp3 narrated by Nick Podehl), and Revolution (Jennifer Donnelly, narrated by Emily Janice Card and Emma Bering). (Also Odyssey Honor Audies)

Mirror Mask - by Neil Gaiman Narrated by Stephanie Leonidas was quite enchanting and highlights the complexities of fighting with your mom...

I asked Alex what her Audiobook picks would be. She said, "If you'd rather listen to a book than read one, I highly recommend the mp3 copy of "An Abundance of Katherines" -- John Green's words hardly need someone to read them since they leap right off the page, but the narrator of this one does a great job anyways!

If you've never treated your ear canals to the audioCD of HARRY POTTER, you're in for a real surprise! Jim Dale has won TWO grammies and TEN Audies (Audio Awards) for his readings -- he has a different voice for every character and they're all phenomenal. I fall asleep to one of these books almost every night. I bet I could recite Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Princeby heart!!! There are also loads of audio books that are read by celebrities! Check out titles like "InkHeart", performed by Brendan Fraser and "Series of Unfortunate Events" read by the amazing Tim Curry!"

Personally though I think listening to Harry Potter before bed might explain some of the horrifically fantastic dreams Alex has reported having! Just saying... Those ones might be better for those long rides on the bus ;0)

The Hunger Games Dream Cast

by Alexandra May - 2 Comment(s)

IMDB Hunger GamesSo the casting of “The Hunger Games” was pretty high on my radar for a while there, but I just couldn’t keep up with the constant drama that Hollywood was putting us through – Who’s going to be the perfect Katniss? How do we please Team Gale and Team Peeta at the same time? What ethnicity is Rue supposed to be anyways? At any rate, I checked a couple of days ago, and most of the cast now looks set in stone. Here’s the problem… aside from Josh Hutcherson being cast as Peeta (…WHAT?!?! Adorable little Josh from Bridge to Terabithia is now old enough to play hunky Peeta!??!?!), and Elizabeth Banks being cast as Effie… I realized I have NO IDEA WHO ANY OF THESE PEOPLE ARE! A preliminary search of IMDB told me that the guy playing Gale used to date Miley Cyrus, and the girl playing Katniss was in this movie that surprised everyone at the Oscars last year. But I have seriously never heard of any of them before! So here’s my question: Is a cast of relative Unknowns better than an All-Star cast? Will this help separate Suzanne Collin’s characters from other characters that better-known actors have played before? (I once watched a movie that had Rupert Grint in it, and I was like “Ron Weasley? What are you doing here?) And finally… if you could have your ultimate Dream Cast, who would star in The Hunger Games?

A "Beast" of a Contest!

by Jilliane Yawney - 0 Comment(s)

"Beastly", the new movie starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer was released Friday, ranking 3rd in Box Office Hits for the weekend. If you haven't heard already, it's the modern re-telling of 'Beauty and the Beast', and it's getting some really great reviews. What's more, all our copies (and E-Copies) of the original book keep whizzing off the shelves, so put yours on hold now!

CPL's TeenZone Blog, Movie Maniacs Blog and Interact PR are teaming up to bring you one 'beast' of a contest to celebrate the release of the movie!

To win one of our book prizes, just comment on this blog post with the title of one OTHER novel by 'Beastly' author Alex Flinn, which you can find through the library catalogue. Make sure to leave your full name (the one you use for your Library Card) so we can contact you and get you your prize!

You can also come to Crowfoot Library, Shawnessy Library, or the 2nd Floors at Central and Fish Creek Libraries this weekend (March 11-13), to pick up some cool 'Beastly' swag, including posters, notebooks, and some phenomenal bag charms! Come to the desk and say "BEASTLY" -- prizes will be given out on a first come, first served basis.

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