Today's recommending listening includes an animal-themed playlist, the original motion picture soundtrack for West Side Story, Mozart's piano sonatas performed by Maria João Pires, and dance/electronica musician Steve Aoki.
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Learn About Music
BBC Radio 3's Music Planet is a great place to learn about music from around the world.
19th Century California Sheet Music is a virtual library of some 2,700 pieces of sheet music published in California between 1852 and 1900.
KQED, an NPR member radio station in San Francisco, has a very cool and frequently updated list of virtual concerts.
Summer Reading Challenge
Pre-register now, the Summer Reading Challenge starts June 1, 2020! Everyone can participate on Beanstack. Log book titles, earn reading and activity badges, and receive personalized reading recommendation lists! Here’s a handy how-to guide if you need it. Get started today!
Learn About Art
Get inspired as Jim Henson shares how to make puppets out of simple items like tennis balls, Styrofoam cups, wooden spoons, potatoes and pears, socks, dishmops, paper envelopes, and pieces of cardboard. Stick your creation together using things like rubber bands and double-sided tape.
Puppet master Barnaby Dixon and his cheeky friend Dabchick are taking over your regularly scheduled programming to show you how to make your very own finger puppet. All you need are Post-it notes, tape, scissors, a pencil, and a marker. And fingers, of course.
Stream Bob's Electrical Theatre (1906), a stop motion puppet film, by the pioneering Spanish film director and cinematographer Segundo Chomón, at the UCLA Film & Television Archive. The lifelike use of puppet dolls here predates the work of pioneering stop-motion puppeteer Ladislas Starevitch and Willis O’Brien (The Lost World and King Kong). The archive also includes the collection of animation at UCLA Film & Television Archive from the years 1930-1950.
Art Inspiration - Try It at Home
Try making your own puppet, you can create a story using your origami castle (last week's posts) as the stage.
Printable finger puppet patterns are available from PBSKids and Mr Printables. Mr Printables has a a number of patterns including snakes, farm animals and lovely birds along with a number of beautiful paper projects and pom-pom fun.
Get some more inspiration from Making Make-Believe: Hands-on Projects for Play and Pretend by MaryAnn Kohl and Puppet Play: 20 Puppet Projects Made with Recycled Mittens, Towels, Socks, and More by Diana Schoenbrun on Freading. Creativebug has a class on hand-sewing puppets or try Making Puppets on Hoopla.
A book full of rainbows, hot pink, energetic floral prints, plastic “Kit” dresses, The Velvet Underground, and a little Lycra? Yes, please! Betsey Johnson’s newly released Betsey: A Memoir, is waiting for you in CloudLibrary with all that and more. Johnson has been one of the fashion industry’s most quirky designers for almost fifty years since launching her first collection in 1960s Manhattan. With her optimistic and can-do disposition (and a lot of great networking) one fortuitous event follows another: a job at Mademoiselle, becoming an in-house designer at Paraphernalia and Alley Cat, starting her own label and opening stores across the country, until finally settling in a trailer in Malibu. She skims across the more trying aspects of her personal life (breast cancer, bankruptcy), but Betsey is a name-dropping, enjoyable memoir where Johnson’s own life tends to follow the arc of her collections. It’s filled with photographs showing the evolution of her fashion (and hair style!) and is punctuated throughout with Johnson’s hand lettering, illustrations, and doodles. When you finish reading her memoir, you may even try to break out a cartwheel and do the splits, too. -SB
Youth is not a time of life; it’s a state of mind.
Images of the working class in 1960s London are the opener for My Generation, available on Hoopla. Actor Michael Caine leads the documentary, explaining that his mother was a charwoman and his father a fishmonger; at the time, there was no place on film for a young man with a Cockney accent. But soon the class system starts to break down in a swirl of regional dialects, neon prints, mini skirts, winged eyeliner, and the long hair and asymmetric bobs of the new generation. Tea packets, soup cans, and graffiti made their way to canvas as art schools became the center of this revolution. Roger Daltrey made his own guitar. Twiggy (with her slim frame and Cockney accent) became a fashion icon. Contraception helped women take control of their lives and bodies. My Generation largely ignores politics (the Cold War and Vietnam War are vaguely mentioned), racial tensions (shown in passing picket signs), and drugs (not much more than newspaper headlines of musicians busted for possession). Still, it’s a lot of fun watching politicians and parents respond and to see swinging 60s fashions light up dance floors. Although there’s a touch of sadness in Michael Caine as the film closes and he looks out at modern London, he reminds us that no one is left out: youth is indeed a state of mind. -SB
The Essential Charlie Christian. I’m always surprised when someone hasn’t heard of Charlie Christian so when I am asked to recommend early jazz he is an obvious recommendation. Most of these recordings are with the Benny Goodman Sextet. Charlie was famous for popularizing the new electric guitar as a solo instrument, especially when he played with Goodman from 1939-1941. Charlie passed away in 1942 at the age of 25. However he was incredibly influential to jazz even with so few recordings. Most of his solos are single line and reminiscent of brass and wind players. It’s just thrilling to hear his virtuosic call and response phrases with Goodman. I imagine if he had lived just a little bit longer he would have been playing bebop and he certainly had a huge influence on bebop musicians. He was even inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 as an Early Influence. If you want to hear what so much jazz and rock guitar playing was influenced by just start listening. -BW
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