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Youth in Revolt

by Tomas Jonsson - 0 Comment(s)

Arcade Fire with Mick Jagger

During their recent set on Saturday Night Live, performing with Mick Jagger, The Canadian band Arcade Fire pointedly and politically wore red squares in solidarity with the student protests in Quebec.

Now over 100 days, the protests in Quebec are an example of a global overflowing spirit of rebellion and dissatisfaction with authority, particularly by youth, an emotional wellspring that Arcade Fire has tapped into throughout their various projects.

As much as I love Karen O and the Children's contributions to the Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack, to me the defining song of this movie – or rather it's trailer – is still "Wake Up". The song, from Arcade Fire’s breakthrough album Funeral is a pitch perfect complement to Director Spike Jonze’s psychoanalytic take on Maurice Sendak’s classic story. While they weren't included in the soundtrack to his movie, Jones later worked with lead singer Win Butler and his brother Will in creating a 28 minute short film, Scenes from the Suburbs, another dystopian vision of growing up in a future full of alienation and lurking violence, inspired by Arcade Fire's album the Suburbs.

Scenes from the Suburbs - Spike Jonze

Named after John Kennedy Toole’s first novel (written when he was 16), Neon Bible is a darkly melancholic concept album, with many allusions to the recent flooding of New Orleans, the city where Toole grew up, and where he set his follow up novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, whose protagonist wages a Quixotic revolt against the entire 20th Century. Recently, Arcade Fire contributed two songs to the Hunger Games film soundtrack. "Horn of Plenty", which plays several times in the movie as an anthem for the fascist District of Panem. Conversely, their second song, "Abraham's daughter" is a subversive reinterpretation of the biblical story, weaving in a very Katniss-like character that up-ends the overly patriarchal tone of the original story:

Abraham took Isaac's hand
And led him to the lonesome hill
While his daughter hid and watched
She dare not breathe; she was so still

Just as an angel cried for the slaughter
Abraham’s daughter raised her voice

Then the angel asked her what her name was
She said, "I have none."
Then he asked, "How can this be?"
"My father never gave me one."

And when he saw her raised for the slaughter
Abraham’s daughter raised her bow
"How darest you, child, defy your father?"
"You better let young Isaac go."

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

Youth Video Contest!

by Jilliane - 0 Comment(s)

We all know homophobic bullying in schools is wrong. And we all know it happens.

Shine BookcoverThere have been some amazing books written on the topic. One of my faves is Lauren Myracles Shine which tells the story of 16-year-old Cat and her best friend, Patrick, who happens to be gay. When Patrick is beaten and left for dead, Cat decides to unravel the mystery behind this terrible hate crime. They live in a small Southern Caroline town and Cat has to navigate her way through the tightly knit community to find the perpetrator. Although the Sheriff assumes the criminals are from out-of-town (because no one from our town would do this!), Cat visits all her friends, including the "redneck possee" Patrick used to hang around with, to discover the truth. She uncovers some dangerous secrets (people dealing and using meth) and a great deal of shame that many people feel because of how they treated Patrick. Cat reflects on all of this, and of course, discovers a lot about herself in the process--which is all very insightful. A sombre and compelling story with a hopeful ending--I defintely think you will love Shine.

We have a whole list of interesting books on the topic homosexuality. You'll find it here (but you have to scroll down just a bit!).

At the moment, an AMAZING contest is being held to raise awareness for homophobic bullying in schools and to help stamp it out. The prizes are sweet, the challenge is fun and it's open to all Canadian youth.

Here's what you gotta do:

Create a short video and submit it by June 11th that challenges homophobia and bullying. For more info, visit Out In Schools.

But really, this video says it all:

Bored? Try Some Youth Week

by Jilliane - 0 Comment(s)

If you don't already know about Youth Week Calgary, you should. It's a super awesome celebration of youth and community here in Calgary!

Every spring, oranizations throughout Calgary pull together for a week and hold special events - everything from poetry slams to hip hop classes, teen nights, basketball tournaments, open mic nights, online video contests, movie screenings, yoga classes, markets, peace cafes...the list goes on - for youth. It's pretty sweet. Basically, if you are a youth in Calgary, there is noooo excuse for boredom during Youth Week. These events are all free (or almost free!), they are all over the city, and they are for you.

Of course, it's not all about the one week. Youth Week advocates for youth empowerment, achievement and involvement throughout the year. By bringing the community together to celebrate youth each spring, Youth Week builds the profile and awareness of the youth in our city.

So. Where will you be from April 21 - 28th? Here's the calendar of events for Youth Week. Check it out! And - like Youth Week on FB.

Too young to VOTE? Cast your ballots HERE! Young Reader's Choice Award

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Too young to VOTE? Cast your ballots HERE! The Pacific Northwest Library Association is looking for young voters. If you are between grades 4-12, live in the Pacific Northwest (in Canada this is BC and Alberta) and have read at least 2 of the book on the YRCA 2012 nominees list you can vote for your favourite book! Voting takes place in between March 15th - April 15th. We have a ballot box here at SCTF on the 2nd Floor at Central where you can drop your ballots off - and we'll mail them in for you! Or print them off here (scroll to the bottom right hand of the page for the Word document containing the ballots) and mail them in yourself. There is also a study guide for teachers (bottom left hand of the page). Impress them; encourage your whole class to vote!

Here are the Senior 2012 Nominees. They make great Spring Break reading material.

If you've read at least 2 of the books in each category you can also vote for the Junior and Intermediate categories.

My personal favourite for Juniors is The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly- A witty and apt portrayal of the combined sophistication, seediness, prejudice and refinement of the Old South; as seen through the eyes of an 11yr old girl who wants to be a scientist... at the turn of the previous century!

Winners will be announced in mid-April - check back to the PNLA website for details.

Happy Voting! Smile

Sustainable Poetry: Write & Perform Poems for Prizes!

by Adrienne - 6 Comment(s)

It's sPRinG!

gEt Outside!

JumP ArOUnd!

Hide in buSHes! (sCare your sister - not TOO mUch ;0)

Ride Down the hill FAST!

Lie dOWn, stare at the sKy, wAtch the birds fly by...

sIt bY a tRee

and WRite a pOEm for this month's Youth SLAM!

In honour of April = International Poetry Month!

Saturday April 14th 2pm in the John Dutton Theatre 2nd Floor + 15 level of the W.R. Central Castell Library. Presented in collaboration with this years Calgary International Spoken Word Festival and the Library's ECOPALOOZA! Poems are to be on the theme of nature (in some broad way). Write a poem on nature/ sustainability - your interpretation - and then perform it in a SLAM competition, competing for $$ prizes! Be inspired by these environmental poets and Kate MacKenzie's WorldViews Project!!

The Winner will also compete in next year's National Slam Competition! Sheri-D Wilson Calgary's original "Mama of Dada" and the CiSWF organizer will be on hand to host the Slam and offer inspirational feedback, advice and tips!

There are 3 prizes:

1st = $70 gift certificate to Shelf Life Books,

2nd = $50 gift certificate to Pages on Kensignton,

3rd = $30 gift certificate to Pages on Kensignton.

Special thank you to Shelf Life, Pages, CiSWF and Ecopalooza!

The SLAM will follow a performance from Voices of Nature Choir (1-2pm).

Families are welcome! It’ll be awesome!

+ We will have a face painter and other activities going on the 2nd floor before and after the slam. Be sure to check out our Verse Novels display and SPEAK Art Show in the teen space! There is also a great Verse Books list on our website

Stumped on where to start? Check out The Spoken Word Cookbook by Sheri-D Wilson, Kris Demeanor's CD's (Calgary's 2012 Poet Laureate) and the following nature / environmental poem books. And at the end of it when you're done, you could also submit it to YouthInkit!, a Calgary magazine published by and for youth. Happy trails!

Beauty Becomes the Beast - What kind of Animal are you?

by Adrienne - 1 Comment(s)

"Deeper meaning resides in the fairytales told to me in my childhood than in any truth that is taught in life." -- Johann von Schiller

Fairytales are of the old world, right? Witches, beasts and warlocks, goblins and leprechauns galore! Princesses in glass slippers, super skinny fairies, evil old ladies... Sometimes I do ask myself what any right-minded 20th century woman would be doing worshipping the ground that these tails (or tales ;0)) walk on... And it's true that some fairy tales DO seem to promote domestic violence, Barbie-esque physiques and a general "Rescue Me!" syndrome. Take Beauty and the Beast, or Rapunzel as prime examples. Others, like Little Red Riding Hood, are all about the "Listen to your mother - don't think for yourself" mentality... Not that listening to your mother is bad... However folk and fairy tales are truly alive - they are ever changing and evolving - just like language: Did you know that slang and swear words are actually the words that keep our language alive? It's true! Just check with any anthropologist of linguistics. Ever try swearing in Latin (the epistemological DEAD language?)?... didn't think so. Fairytales are the same way -- they're constantly being twisted and changed to reflect modern tastes and inclinations. Nowadays there's a whole trend of re-vamped fairytales - AKA Twisted Tales - the library is basically EXPLODING with them! Check out these books if you're interested in these neo-classics:

What if you could be the Beastly Bride? The Beast rather than the Beauty? What kind of animal would you be? The Beastly Bride - tales of the animal people edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling is an anthology of twisted tales involving various were-beasts, she-cats (The Puma's Daughter by Tanith Lee), elephant-brides (Jane Yolen's poem is not for the weak of heart), and enchanted individuals that reverse roles, choose to stay as animals rather than marry because they like their snake-like natures (Rosina by Nan Fry), outwit each other, find true love (The Selkie speak by Delia Sherman) and surprise and inspire us.

Terri Windling says, "I never outgrew these "children's" tales; rather, I seemed to grow into them, discovering their hidden depths as I grew older -- for just as nightly dreams reflect the realities of our waking life, the symbols to be found in folklore and myth (the collective dreams of entire cultures) provide useful metaphors for the journeys, struggles and transformations we experience throughout our lives. So deep was my love of folklore and myth that I went on to study the subject during my university years, which is when I learned that historically these tales were intended for adults, not children."

Take another quote from Terri Windling's website: "Long ago the trees thought they were people. Long ago the mountains thought they were people. Long ago the animals thought they were people. Someday they will say, long ago the humans thought they were people..." from a traditional Native American story recounted by Johnny Moses.

If you think that's thought-provoking, try THESE twists on for size:

What if Red Riding Hood took the situation with the wolf into her own hands? (Red Hood's Revenge)

What if the werewolf was female? ... and a Dingo not a wolf?

What if Beauty ran away from her abusive husband WHILE pregnant; married a woman AND started a safe refuge in an abandoned castle? (Castle Waiting)

What if the twelve dancing Princesses weren't married off to a happenstance prince, and one of them never kissed the frog but took him as a pet and when she got older HE kissed her instead? (Wildwood Dancing)

What if the Beast was actually a gentle prince from Persia more interested in language and roses than hunting?

These are all plots taken from current YA novels and they are how folk and fairytales evolve. Historically, in fact, fairytales have always changed with the times to reflect the values and mores' of the current culture they reside in. Red Riding Hood only became a cautionary tale to warn little girls to obey their mothers in the Victorian Era, and was a much less innocent story before that - in the French Revolution it was a cautionary tale for WOMEN (not girls) to warn them about the kind of men they should be wary of... and BEFORE that, as a french folktale passed on by word of mouth, it was actually a tale about how young women might inherit their grandmother's wisdom. Weird eh? Who woulda thunk? But its true- check it out for yourself.

We also have a great series in the juvenile section, The Sisters Grimm. In graphix we have Rapunzel's Revenge (wouldn't you LOVE to turn your hair into a lasso?) and in movies we have Red Riding Hood, by Catherine Hardwicke, the director of Twilight. Plus Alex also wrote a great blog about all that's currently going on with Snow White.

It's fun, try it! Let's see...What if Cinderella decided she didn't want a prince but a life of her own; no prince, no step sisters... what would she do? Or what it Cynder lived in New York in 2012... and was a gay boy? How would THAT story unfold? Do some research using our spiffy new catalogue (it's fun -- I swear! You can save lists of say "Red Riding hood" as a search term, limit it to YA books, save it as a temporary list and then re-name it and email/fb/twitter it to all your friends... imagine the research possibilities!) Then write/re-write your own fairytale -, twist it around, have fun and THEN... submit it to our TEENSCREATE page and get it published. Presto! Just like that! In fact, bring your writing to our Write Now! program on March 24th and you might even win a prize! (and get feedback on it from published authors!) We may not be fairy Godmother's, but here at the Teenzone we do possess our own special blend of magical powers ;p

As the famous Froud's say, "As artists, Brian and I are merely part of a long mythic tradition—giving old faery tales new life and passing them on to the generations to come."
- Wendy Froud

Kick A$$ Heroines!! Who's Your Favourite?

by Adrienne - 3 Comment(s)

In honor of International Women's Day here some kick a$$ heroines! Who's your favourite? Fictitious? Real? If you like the Hunger Games (cause we all know Katniss kicks some a$$) check out these other titles + join us for lunch!

Write NOW!

- 0 Comment(s)

Write Now poster

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?

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