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The 5th Annual Prom Dress Extravaganza!

by Emily - 0 Comment(s)

Prom season is upon us again and the library wants to help you find the perfect dress for a memorable evening with your friends! Drop by our participating locations to browse the dresses we have and why not tell your friends so you can make a girls' day of it? There will be a number of talented, volunteer designers on hand to help you find the perfect fit, or feel free to bring a dress you already own and our volunteers will be happy to lend their expertise to resize or update it for you.

This event will be held at the following libraries:

Forest Lawn Library: Saturday, March 1, 1-3:30 p.m.

Southwood Library: Saturday, March 8, 2-5 p.m.

Village Square Library: Saturday, March 15, 1-3:30 p.m.

 

Even if your own prom is past, your party dress can still do some good — we are happy to accept donations of gently used formal wear at any library location!

Steampunk H.G. Wells, Wollstonecraft and Poe? Yes please!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Not had enough of things that creep in the dark post-Halloween? Ready to start designing next year's costume? Zdenko Basic's New Steampunk Series puts the ghostliness into the steam. It includes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, and Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, amongst others.

Each book features a SHORT insightful introduction which gives some interesting tidbits about each author's life as well as some historical context. Lushly illustrated with which creep their mood from mechanical to ghostly to gory, there's plenty here to fuel the steam engine of your imagination. Especially if you are a Steampunk fan. And if you've never heard of Steampunk before but like horror and gore this might just turn your crank enough to start dreaming of making Next year's Halloween costume involve gears, lace and, rivets.

I'm sure you can imagine and design your own steampunk characters or dress up your favourite YA Hero/Heroine. What would a Steampunk Katniss or Harry wear???

Soooooo... design a costume and photograph yourself or draw your favourite YA character Steampunk style and submit these to our TeensCreate page! These books may help: Steampunk Fashion & How To Draw Steampunk. For further inspiration check out CPL's great and growing Steampunk Collection. Then continue the adventure by reading Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicle's trilogy starting with The Girl in The Steel Corset, (which includes many descriptions of awesome Steampunk outfits...) and finish with Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey. May your engines be well oiled!

Finding My Way Eyre

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

I admit that when I first saw Jane it was the cover that initially caught my attention, and that this was the first "Jane Eyre" book I ever read. Not that my friends had not been recommending the book ever since, oh — Grade 9! They did, I just... never got around to it. So when this beautiful moody cover caught my eye, I decided to make a go of it. This retelling by April Lindner, is set in NY with an art school dropout who becomes a nanny and falls for... a famous rock star. I was not disappointed. The book is great! Emma the BookAngel has even made a soundtrack for the book! Hot on its heels, I was putting holds on Catherine, Lindner's remake of Wuthering Heights. Also set in modern NY, this time with the daughter of the owner of a very famous night club as ‘Catherine’!

Then, it just so happened that the graphic novel remake of Jane Eyre landed in my lap. So I read that next, super curious to compare Jane to its original without delay. From my experiences with Manga Shakespeare I knew that reading the graphic novel is a great way to introduce oneself to a classic right away. No fuss, no problem, no big time commitment and no trouble understanding what's going on. I highly recommend it for all your Shakespeare assignments — plus any other classics you are asked to read for English class. Not because the originals aren't great, but rather because they ARE. It's great to have something on hand that can clarify what is going on, allowing you to focus on appreciating the book rather than struggling through it.

So finally yes, I actually read Jane Eyre after all these years. First off, for all the fashionistas out there I want to mention that the version that I read was a Couture edition by Penguin Classics — with cover and images designed by fashion designer Ruben Toledo = perfectly moody graphics!

Classics are classics for a reason and are generally good ground for expounding upon; they become a post-modernist's delightful playground (think Mash-Ups). I admit however that some classics are so stuffy that it's almost impossible to penetrate through their dense or obscure language and receive their enlightening rays of nectar and fruits of insight. Jane Eyre is, refreshingly, not, especially if read with a poetic eye and a philosopher's heart. There were words I was unfamiliar with but I found this antipathetically refreshing — welcome nectar to a vocabulary that has been thirsting for expansion. One learns to write by reading. One gleans semi-archaic vocabulary by reading semi-archaic tomes. (ha,ha).

Jane Eyre is moody and romantic. It arouses a passion of spirit, a storminess of temperament which, like the novel itself, is quite satisfying in its quietude. Jane herself is like that calm before the storm... Mr. Rochester the storm... Jane again, like the rain that pours down quenching your thirst with the ether of sweet negative electricity that bathes the air after lightning.

Jane Eyre contains phrases such as, "Her soul sat on her lips and language flowed", and thoughts such as "Then, my sole relief was to walk along the corridor of the third storey, backwards, and forwards, safe in the silence and solitude of the spot, and allow my mind's eye to dwell on whatever bright visions rose before it... to open my inward ear to a tale that never ended — a tale my imagination created, and narrated continuously; quickened with all of  incident, life, fire, feeling, that I desired and had not in my actual existence."

Jane is a formidable character. At the end of the book I found myself wishing I had read it when I was in Grade 9! Through tumultuous and harrowing experiences she has such a sense of her own self worth, and is so grounded; it would have been welcome food back then. I'll warn you though, that the book is a bit preachy in the last few pages. That said, the rest of the books is so fabulous that's it's worth that little bit at the end. I encourage you to read and enjoy!

Other Eyre remakes to check out include Jane Airhead, A Breath of Eyre, and Wish you Were Eyre. For more advanced adult books, check out Mrs. Rochester, Death of a Schoolgirl, Jane Slayre, and Adele : Jane Eyre's hidden story — a highly interesting remake of Jane Eyre told from Mr. Rochester's ward's perspective.

If you want to find out more about the life of the author (Charlotte Bronte), I recommend the following books as well: Becoming Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre: Portrait of a Life, & Governess: The lives and Times of The Real Jane Eyres. There are also a bunch of renditions of Jane Eyre on DVD to check out. (I've heard the 1986 version is great.) Comments and feedback on your favourite are welcome!

Prom Dress Extravaganza!

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

girl in dress

Grad will be here before you know it - will you be ready? It's your chance to make a splash and really show off your unique style. But - what can you do if you just can't find the right dress? Or maybe you found it, but the price tag had a few too many zeroes...

The answer, of course, is Prom Dress Extravaganza! It's a free program where you can find the pre-loved dress of your dreams and get great tips from our volunteer designers so you can make it your very own. If you already own a great dress that just needs a resize or an update, we can help with that too! Imagine strutting your stuff on the dance floor in a one-of-a-kind designer creation.

You do have to register but all you need is a library card to take part in one of these sweet events:

Saturday, March 2nd at Bowness Library
OR
Saturday, March 9th at Forest Lawn Library

1:00 - 3:30 p.m. Ages 15 to 18.


If your closet is already stuffed, we would be happy to take donations of gently used dresses at any library location!


photo by Katlin Lewis http://www.flickr.com/photos/chingchong/313118785/

Red Riding Hood Revisited

by Adrienne - 2 Comment(s)

So I admit to being just slightly obsessed with Little Red Riding Hood (okay, okay maybe actually completely obsessed...). What piqued my interest? A lot of that has to do with the research I did into the history of the folktales and a fascination with how a story can shift and change over time to reflect changes in the cultures it resides within.

As a result I was really excited to discover that there was a film version of Red Riding Hood, produced last year by Catherine Hardwicke (director of Twilight). When I finally watched it, I admit I was disappointed, mostly with the casting; not of the main characters who are for the most part good, but it's amazing how bad supporting actors can make a film seem fake & ruin a mood!

The film, however, is a visual feast with splendid, gorgeous, stunning images of long red cloaks against white, white snow, beautiful tree lit night scenes and chic neo-medieval costumes that are meticulously researched with details to satisfy the hippy-geeks in all of us. This in turn spurned some research into medieval costuming. Stay tuned for a follow-up blog with some cool books about medieval dress...

Fortunately the more I watched the film (obsessed remember), the more I appreciated the subtle metaphors and historical references it embeds. For instance, was Peter, Peter The Wolf? Also, it's obvious in the final stew scene at grandmother's cottage that Catherine Hardwicke put some research into how the tale was originally a metaphor for the passing on of wisdom from one generation to another (grandmother to granddaughter Eucharist style). I appreciated this, along with the soundtrack, which is fantastic. Check out Bloodstream and Keep The Streets Empty for Me by Fever Ray!

In fact does a fairy tale have to seem real? Or does a certain amount of fakeness actually seek to better distill the story and symbolism in your subconscious in a more subtle way than if everything was completely realistic? The fakeness allows it to exist in the realm of metaphor, fantastic space, the dreamworld where things aren't usually completely logical.

After being obsessed with the film I read the book by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright. She wrote this after the movie was created, spending time on the set researching the characters and getting to know them. They book delves deeper into the inner lives of the characters and has additional scenes. This was really fun - I kept expecting the book ending to be different and was somewhat disappointed in the end. You have to go online to read the last chapter. If you don't, the book ending leaves more tantalizing trails left for the imagination to follow...

So what other Red Riding Hood remakes have made the mark? Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is tantalizingly well written featuring an innovative re-imagining of the whole werewolf adventure. Available in book, e-book and book CD formats at CPL! Stiefvater is also a musician and artist and has created her own songs to go along with each book, as well as stop animation teasers (scroll down) using wallpaper cutouts! The book is followed up with Linger and Forever. On a side note, Stiefvater likes to decorate things such as her printer and guitar with intricate designs in sharpie markers. You can see some of this on her website as well as in the preview for Forever (scroll down). Click Here and scroll down for a neat pop up animation for Linger.

I think it is important to point out that most of the heroines in the RRH revisions in this blog (except in the comedy section) have teenage or young women as protagonist. This changes the moral tone of the stories and makes them (slightly) less creepy! For instance, Little Red Riding Hood illustrated by artist Daniel Egneus is definitely not the watered down version served up for most 5 year old. And the woman in the illustrations is definitely not 5 or 8 or even 11. Scoring high on beauty in line quality and penmanship, they also evoke a sense of horror in their disjointedness - hinting at how truly horrific such a story would be, were it actually real.

Adaptations that are truer to legend with juicy twists are: Scarlet Moon by Debbie Viguie (Ruth follows in her grandmother's footsteps learning her wise lore) & Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce is another werewolf adventure involving 2 sisters. Red Hood's Revenge by Jim C. Hines is one of four books that reinvent RRH, Cinderella, Snowhite and the Little Mermaid into one cohesive world where our famous heroines form sisterhoods rescue children from Rumplestiltskin, marry, attempt assassinations on each other, reconcile, etc. Fun, fun, fun! Cloaked by Alex Flinn has references to RRH as well as fairytales such as The Shoemaker and the Elves, The Frog Prince and others. In Birthmarked, a great dystopian novel Caragh M. O'Brien, servant girls wear red cloaks however, the resemblance stops there. Similarly from the cover, what with the red cloak and wolf!!, you'd think The Light Bearer's Daughter by O.R. Melling was a RRH re-vamp, but no! Scores are in order however, for a great cover...

Woods Wolf Girl by Cornelia Hoogland takes the story of Little Red Riding Hood and turns it inside out in this sensuous Canadian retelling. Published by http://wolsakandwynn.ca/about

All this fuss about a girl and a cloak and a wolf? Well yes, rich in myth and symbolism, fairytales are a metaphoric minefields, hands down. "Our lives are stories, and the stories we have to give to each other are the most important. No one has a story too small and all are of equal stature. We each tell them in different ways, through different mediums—and if we care about each other, we'll take the time to listen." - Charles de Lint

"As our storytellers continue to draw upon past knowledge, including looking to the animal world and to tribal storytellers for guidance, we grow in strength. We reshape our ancestors' stories for our children, so that these tales will, like our people, our spirits, endure." - Carolyn Dunn

I find the psychological effects of fairy-tales intriguing. If you are interested in the psychology of fairy-tales Clarissa Pinkola Estes has written Women Who Run with the Wolves, which examines folk and fairy-tales from a Jungian perspective. Reading it might just put a new spin on Margaret Atwood's Bluebeard's Egg, or a whole lot of your childhood as well! Far from being outdated, fairy tales continue to shape our lives. Currently the re-shaping of these stories is booming. As Terri Windling says, "Why are so many of us en-spelled by myths and folk stories in this modern age? Why do we continue to tell the same old tales, over and over again? I think it's because these stories are not just fantasy. They're about real life. We've all encountered wicked wolves, found fairy godmothers, and faced trial by fire. We've all set off into unknown woods at one point in life or another. We've all had to learn to tell friend from foe and to be kind to crones by the side of the road. . . ."

On a more humorous note: Artist Wiliam Wegman did a Little RRH book in 1993 which involved photographing dogs posing as all the characters, and in true English hound style... plaid for the book end pages! Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde are 8 short story RRH re-makes that may never have you looking at fairy-tales quite the same way again! Gail Carson Levine recently wrote Betsy Red Hoodie illustrated by Scott Nash, and there are hilarious graphic versions of little red riding hood in these two YA Graphic Novels. Definitely not for little ones : some very Grimm fairy-tale comics and Fracture Fables by Jim Valentino. When a RRH girl finally karate chops the wolf in self defense rather than being gobbled up by him, we know we are living in a society that is beginning to place more of a priority on empowering our little girls rather than seeing them pay blind obedience instead. And that, in my mind, is a good thing!

If you are interested in researching the history of folk and fairy tale these are some good websites: Endicott Studios, JOMA (Journal of Mythis Arts) , Cabinets des Fees - a journal of fairy tales, Terri Windling. In our E-Library (once you sign-in) there are articles like "The Trails and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood" by Jack Zipes. Look under Book Authors and E-Books, Literature Resource Center or Literature Criticism Online and enter in a heading like "Little Red Riding Hood". You will get links to a variety of great articles! Do some research using our spiffy new catalogue and do a re-vamp as you see suggested in the challenge issued here!

"Our lives are our mythic journeys, and our happy endings are still to be won." TW

Prom Dress Extravaganza is back. In black. And red. And polka-dots…

by Jocelyn - 1 Comment(s)

Prom dress, don

Are you as scared of shopping as I am? Perhaps it’s something about malls (I feel too small in them), or the over eager sales representative that seems a little too enthusiastic to ask me about my clothing size. If you’re not my friend I am not going to tell you. Seriously. Whatever it is, I love clothes, don’t get me wrong, but am a little timid when it comes to setting foot into a store to look for new costumes with which to adorn myself.

Enter the much anticipated event called the Prom Dress Extravaganza…it’s got to do with dresses and it’s got nothing to do with the mall!

But speaking of which, even if you love the mall, you may not find what you’re looking for if you limit yourself. Nor will you find your own style if you copy a mannequin. So, even if you love shopping, you should come check it out.

Some of my best dresses are what is known as “pre-loved.” Actually, some of my best clothes in general are clothes that I have traded, or swapped, with my friends. This program lets you do just that – swap clothes, or just simply add some style to any new or used dress. A designer is going to be there to help you find your own new chic creative way of reinventing a dress. Not to mention that you will get to take a dress home – there will be many dresses, in many colours, and you could end up with the dress of your dreams.

It’s happening at both the Bowness and Village Square libraries. You do need to register, which you can do easily with your library card – natch! The link and the dates are as follows: Bowness, Saturday March 3rd from 1-2:30pm, and at Village Square on Saturday March 10th from, 1:30-3pm. To register, follow the link: http://calgarypubliclibrary.com/services/programs-events/register-for-programs?ad=s&dt=s&lc=s&pt=s&kw=prom%20dresses&pg=1