Archive for history

the house that Helen built

Posted in Film, Popular Culture with tags , , on February 1, 2018 by phanteana

everyone loves a good “the following is based on actual events” film (ok, not everyone…but lots of folks do). we’ve seen countless historical dramas & war films, or feel-good inspirational stories of underdogs rising above adversity (ahem, Rudy…which is still a classic). each one has a unique story to share with its audience, whether they are familiar with the events depicted or not. horror is no stranger to taking its cues from real-life, even if some of the moments are embellished for Hollywood’s sake. thanks to these movies, we are now better acquainted with people like the Warrens and places like a certain town in Long Island, NY. the latest in this trope combines both historical drama and spookiness, and hails from San Jose, CA’s most notorious mansion. oh, and did i mention everyone’s favorite dame, Helen Mirren, is portraying the infamous owner of said mansion? let’s see…Helen Mirren + haunted house = ALL IN.


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original sin(ger)

Posted in Music with tags , , , on November 22, 2017 by phanteana

Michael was the epitome of the charismatic front man: his voice, physical presence, and personality made him the Mick Jagger of the 80’s. he was special, whether he realized it or not. i never got to see INXS, and it remains one of the biggest regrets i could have. the proposed 20th anniversary tour, which Michael was rehearsing for at the time of his death, would have been my opportunity to see him in his true form. i never got that chance.

when we mourn artists we’ve never met, we don’t cry because we knew them. we cry because they helped us know ourselves.


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music to die for: the story of Goth in 33 songs

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , , , on October 29, 2017 by phanteana

music lists compiled as a “history of [insert genre here]” are always interesting to read. some songs fit perfectly, while others appear to be a square peg in a round hole. the story of Goth has long been up for debate: who really started it, where did it begin, etc. these theories can go on for days in online discussion forums and on social media, and sometimes a resolution is nowhere in sight.

to join in the ongoing debate, Pitchfork put together “The Story Of Goth In 33 Songs” in an attempt to shed some light on the dark side of modern music. in addition, they conducted a phone interview with Peter Murphy, who is often viewed as one of Godfathers of Goth despite never fully aligning himself with the title. Murphy’s solo albums are less brooding than his work with Bauhaus and his two greatest influences were David Bowie and Iggy Pop (who were credited with inventing Glam Rock and Punk, respectively), but he never lost his eerie creative flair (thank goodness).

while i can’t say i’m familiar with the latter entries on the list (other than Fever Ray’s “If I Had A Heart“), the classics i know and love certainly reflect the story of Goth well. my only issue with this list is the lack of inclusion of “Paint In Black“, which is probably one of the best representations of Goth in its infancy (and paved the way for numerous covers by both Goth and non-Goth artists)…a job well done, Mick.

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

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!



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.