The Making of a Museum

With the oFacade of African American Museumpening of the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) on March 8, 2008, Seattle’s cultural map expands to include one more unique and interesting destination. Through interactive exhibits, programs and events the museum promises to “document the unique historical and cultural experiences of African Americans in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.” NAAM is, clearly, the new kid on the block of established and honored museums in the region.

Planning a trip to the museum? Enhance your visit before you enter the Journey Gallery by reading In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West, 1528-1990 by Quintard Taylor or The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle’s Central District, from 1870 through the Civil Rights Era, also by Taylor.

The Northwest Gallery features painter Jacob Lawrence and sculptor James Washington Jr. In addition to their works of art, the tools each artist used to shape and develop their creations are on view. While Jacob Lawrence: Paintings, Drawings and Murals (1935-1999) A Catalogue Raisonné by Peter Nesbitt is Continue reading “The Making of a Museum”

Want to Write?

ifyouwanttowrite.jpgAre you an aspiring writer? Maybe, like me, you used to do a lot of creative writing when you were younger but somehow don’t find the time now. Well, there are a number of aids to help you get into (or back into) the writing habit.

First of all, free creative writing classes are popping up this spring like daffodils at a library near you:

Poetry Writing, Saturday, April 26, 1 to 3 p.m. at University Branch
Start Your Novel Today! Saturday April 26, 2 to 4 p.m. at Greenwood Branch
Short Story Writer’s Toolbox, Saturday, May 10, 1 to 3 p.m. at Wallingford Branch
Writing the Picture Book, Saturday, May 31, 1 to 3 p.m.  at Wallingford Branch
All Ages Open Mic, Thursday, May 22, 6 to 7:30 p.m. at University Branch Continue reading “Want to Write?”

Science On Tap – Brains and Brew in Seattle


 Brains and Brew – a perfect combination in this city of microbrewers and techies.  I am a huge fan of science writing in the vein of Stephen J. Gould, Carl Sagan and E. O. Wilson.  The only drawback I’ve ever found to science books is the lack of immediacy.  It takes years for a scientist to do the work, write up the results, get those results peer reviewed and then, hopefully, write about their research in an exciting and approachable popular format.  And in this impatient world I want to know about the interesting research NOW!

Along comes Science on Tap. Sit down in a local pub with a beer or a cup of coffee and listen to working scientists from all over the scientific map discuss their current work.  It doesn’t get much more immediate or more interesting.  And it’s totally nonthreatening.  Just a bunch of  brainy folks chatting about an interesting topic over a few drinks at their local.

Of course, if you would rather read about the interesting discoveries or grand unified theories of everything I’ve got some suggestions.

Remembering Kurt Vonnegut

image man without a countryIt’s been almost a year since Kurt Vonnegut died, but I’ve been thinking about him a lot. I recently read the final book he published during his lifetime, A Man Without a Country. It’s a concise collection of biographical essays that feel like they were written by your cantankerous, but highly intelligent and funny, old uncle.

I felt such deep affection for the man while reading these essays. Then, when I got to page 102 and read his eloquent thoughts about librarians and libraries, I fell for him hook, line and sinker. Here’s what he wrote:

I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength, their powerful political connections or great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and destroyed records rather than have to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.

So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House, the Supreme Court, the Senate, the House of Representatives, or the media. The America I loved still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”

Tesla in the air!

image of nikola tesla grafittiEvery so often, someone will approach me at the library and ask for information about Nikola Tesla, often in the kind of knowing way that people ask about Bigfoot or aliens, rather than a scientist and inventor. Occasionally they’ll bend close and add in hushed tones that they want the straight dope about his death ray, earthquake machine or some other wildly fantastical top secret gadget. So just who is this mythic modern Prometheus whose wild inventions, preternatural genius and poignant life have proved so fascinating to so many?

 Tesla in Fiction: