Archive for history

time to ban some books (again)

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , , , , on September 27, 2017 by phanteana

are you still recovering from Banned Books Week 2016? well, get ready for yet another crop of frequently challenged books. and if there’s any literary pieces you think should be included in the list, please post them in the comments!

 

Banned Books Week: Our right to read, September 24-30, 2017

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an unexpected (ok, not entirely) anniversary

Posted in Library Science stuff, Popular Culture with tags , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2017 by phanteana

long before i became a librarian, i visited plenty of libraries. i borrowed tons of books, even if i never finished all of them. but one which i took out frequently and always completed is one that has withstood the test of time. it has been translated into countless languages, beloved by literary critics, librarians and voracious readers everywhere, has has been beautifully displayed in art and film countless times, and today turns 80 years old…and to think, all this from a book whose central character was created while grading exams. happy anniversary, Bilbo Baggins!

 

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the greatest goths in literary history

Posted in Library Science stuff, Popular Culture with tags , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by phanteana

even with Labor Day and the end of summer vacation approaching, the season doesn’t officially end until late September. so while the layers don’t have to be pulled out of storage just yet (especially if you’re in L.A. where September is chock full of heatwaves), the summer reading lists are wrapping up just in time for the school year (or the beginning of the fiscal year for some working folks). reading trends have changed over time, but one genre that has maintained consistency on teachers’ syllabuses is that of Gothic Literature (or, Goth Lit for short). you don’t necessarily have to be Goth to enjoy classics such as Frankenstein or Wuthering Heights, as these publications are universally acclaimed by a variety of readers.

where Goth Lit is concerned, most people often think of Mary Shelley or Edgar Allan Poe. yet there are plenty of other Great Goths in literary history, many of whom you wouldn’t expect to be even remotely linked to the term (save for Nick Cave, who is the only actual Goth on the list)…until you delve a little deeper into their works. you don’t have to wait until Halloween to read these authors, as their works can be accessed year-round. but if you feel the need to get into the spirit (even though it’s still shorts weather), grab a book and put on a classic Goth album of your choosing to enhance the experience.

 

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magical manuscripts & spellbinding sources

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , , , , , on July 14, 2017 by phanteana

transcribing manuscripts is only one facet of an archival role. depending on the subject matter of what needs to be translated, the work involved can either make you look forward to setting your alarm early, or cause you to count down the minutes until lunch. in other words, work isn’t always meant to be fun (it is called work, after all)…but it can be, if you invoke the right frame of mind. the Newberry Library in Chicago has opened up a portion of its roughly 80,000 documents pertaining to religion for the public to transcribe, including a number of manuscripts dealing with the occult, bizarre healing remedies, witchcraft, and spell casting. the Newberry would love any assistance with this otherworldly project, so while you might want to brush up on how to call the corners, you don’t need a Ph.D to translate the materials. just be careful not to summon any demons; they’re known for not returning books on time.

 

 

the enduring suspense of Suspiria

Posted in Film, Library Science stuff, Popular Culture with tags , , , , , on June 22, 2017 by phanteana

one of the joys of being an archivist is discovering copies of materials that were thought to either be lost or damaged. for those in the film archives industry, it means bringing new life to a movie that has previously been screened by audiences, but perhaps missing essential footage or dialogue. such a breakthrough occurred recently at an abandoned movie theater in Italy, whose storage room harbored an uncut 35mm print of Dario Argento‘s Suspiria that hasn’t seen the light of day since its initial release nearly 40(!) years ago. the print was discovered by the Chicago Cinema Society, and after careful inspection appears to be in excellent condition (always a plus when handling rare materials). in fact, this version of the film is in such great condition that it will be embarking on a mini-tour of the US in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Seattle (the CCS website lists dates and locations). so if you’re in or near any of the above metro areas, are a fan of horror/foreign cinema, or simply looking for something different to do, this is your opportunity to see Suspiria on the big screen! hooray for film archivists and their valiant efforts to save movies!

 

…and since Hollywood loves to reboot classics, that long-brewing remake is finally unveiling its “secret” “irises” on the Internet. two elements that have (hopefully) eased the anxiety of long-time fans are that the new version is not set in modern times, and original star Jessica Harper is among the cast. Ms. Harper (who i’ve met, and is a lovely lady with a wonderful sense of humor) is also known for appearing in the film that inspired a considerable portion of my WordPress, so she can clearly do no wrong. 🙂

 

{author’s note: i admit i haven’t seen too many of Argento’s films. but of the ones i have viewed, my favorite is Phenomena}.

stay on the path!

Posted in Popular Culture with tags , , on June 15, 2017 by phanteana

the Paris Catacombs are one of the most highly visited sites in Europe, as they stretch far and wide underneath the bright lights and grand romance of the city. while in Paris many years ago, it was among several tourist spots on my itinerary and seeing it in person is truly memorable. but for two teenagers, a recent visit to this subterranean lair warranted a very different experience straight out of a horror movie. fortunately, their ordeal had a positive outcome. but let this be a lesson to anyone embarking on a tour group: stay on the path! (and bring extra batteries for flashlights)

hey, Beastmaster’s (still) on

Posted in Film, Library Science stuff with tags , , , , , on June 8, 2017 by phanteana

 

as technology and media continue to advance forward in new formats, the VHS tape still lingers as a reminder of the past (especially since HBO isn’t showing Beastmaster ad nauseum anymore) thanks to organizations like the VHSPS. but the folks at VHSPS aren’t the only ones working hard to preserve the life span of videotapes; meet the XFR Collective, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving at-risk A/V media through digitization services and education.

according to a recent interview with NPR, the life span of a videotape is decreasing, thus resulting in a “magnetic media crisis“. most VHS tapes typically don’t last more than 15 years (i managed to hold onto a copy of this gem for 13 years before it set sail for the Grey Havens). this is where the fine folks of the XFR Collective come in to reverse the aging process. it can be painstaking work, but it’s also a labor of love as many of these archivists, technicians, and librarians grew up with VHS tapes and are fighting the good fight to see them continue to bring joy to nostalgia-obsessed audiences everywhere…and while it might not have the same effect as it did 30 years ago, we can still say “hey, Beastmaster‘s on.”

 

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“hey, we’ll still be on!”