Seattle Rep’s MAC BETH: Beyond the Theatre

Seattle Repertory Theatre presents MAC BETH, adapted from Shakespeare’s play and directed by Erica Schmidt, from May 18 to June 17, 2018. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books, music and films to enhance your experience of the show.

In MAC BETH, playwright/director Erica Schmidt reimagines Shakespeare’s classic tale of intrigue and poisonous ambition with an all-female cast, as seven young women gather after school to retell the story of Macbeth. Here are a few other books that reframe the story with a focus on female characters and perspectives. Continue reading “Seattle Rep’s MAC BETH: Beyond the Theatre”

Bird Week: Put a Bird On It!

The Seattle Public Library is partnering with the Seward Park Audubon Center for Bird Week, April 23-30, in celebration of the center’s 10th anniversary and the National Audubon Society’s 2018 Year of the Bird.

Long before Portlandia made it a meme, artists and craftspeople have been adorning their work with birds. One of the earliest known artworks is a 30,000 year-old sculpture of a water bird carved from a mammoth tusk. By the time John James Audubon began painting his famous Birds of America in the early 19th century, birds had been the subject of paintings, sculptures, weavings, jewelry and many other art forms for millennia.

You too can join this hallowed artistic tradition and celebrate Bird Week by creating your very own bird-centric art pieces Continue reading “Bird Week: Put a Bird On It!”

Book-It’s THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO: Beyond the Theatre

Book-It Repertory Theatre presents THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO by Junot Díaz, adapted and directed by Elise Thoron, from April 19 to May 6, 2018. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this resource list of books, music and films to enhance your experience of the show.

The history and culture of the Dominican Republic loom large in Junot Díaz’s Pulitzer-prize-winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, about a sweet, awkward and ultimately doomed Dominican geek growing up in New Jersey and his family’s trials in Santo Domingo and the United States.

Many Americans know little about this small but densely populated Caribbean nation and the complex, multifaceted heritage of its people. Here are a few titles in the Library’s collection that will help you learn more about Dominican history, culture and identity and get prepared to see THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO at Book-It Repertory Theatre. Continue reading “Book-It’s THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO: Beyond the Theatre”

#BookBingoNW2017: Art and Artists

What is art, anyway? Merriam-Webster defines it as “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.” With such a broad definition, there are many different directions readers can go with this particular Book Bingo square. Here are a few strategies for filling this square:

Fiction

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A few authors, such as Tracy Chevalier, Susan Vreeland and Irving Stone, have made a name for themselves writing historical fiction about art & artists. Titles like Girl With a Pearl Earring, Girl in Hyacinth Blue and The Agony and the Ecstasy are some of the more famous titles in this genre. However there are hundreds of great fiction titles about art and artists – some well-reviewed recent titles include A Piece of the World, The Goldfinch, The Blazing World and The Blue Guitar. Find more fiction about art and artists in the Library’s collection by using the subject headings “Art—Fiction” and “Artists–Fiction

Biography/Memoir

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Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2017: Art and Artists”

Pride Month: Queer Cinema by Queer Directors

“There have never been lesbians or gay men in Hollywood. Only homosexuals.” With this final despairing statement, gay film historian and activist Vito Russo ends The Celluloid Closet, his landmark study of representations of LGBTQ people in film.

When Russo first published The Celluloid Closet in 1981, he could not imagine that over a decade later LGBTQ directors would make movies that depicted the complex and varied experiences of LGBTQ people with respect and pride, and that Hollywood would begin to finance and distribute these films. Nor could he foresee that 35 years later, Barry Jenkins, a black gay director, would win the Best Picture Academy Award for Moonlight, a sensitive, nuanced, and beautifully filmed story of a young gay black man’s coming of age.

Sadly, Russo died of AIDS-related complications in 1990 and did not live long enough to see the blossoming queer cinema that began to emerge shortly thereafter. In 2013, GLAAD created the Vito Russo Test in his honor. Mainstream Hollywood filmmakers still have a way to go in terms of positive portrayals of LGBTQIA characters, but queer filmmakers around the world have been producing excellent films that pass the Vito Russo Test and then some for decades. Here are a few of my favorites: Continue reading “Pride Month: Queer Cinema by Queer Directors”