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Someone asked me recently why it can be hard for libraries to change. She wondered why when her library wanted to try something it required a committee of people and a long process that in many cases meant by the time the something was ready to implement it was too late. I think about this construct a lot and have realized that a part of what is going on is a desire or need to make sure that a program or service is perfect before it launches to the public. When we strive for perfection in libraries we end up creating an environment that isn’t nimble or flexible or responsive to the community. And, as a result, we don’t move forward as quickly as we need.
The conversation where someone asked me about libraries and change led to this Tweet:
That idea, (Fail=First Attempt in Learning) is the message we need to get across to teens, teachers, parents, and librarians. Learning, producing, creating, implementing is a process. In order to actually learn or produce or implement something imperfection, and even failure, is required. Think about some of the things you have learned – how to drive, how to use a particular software program, how to use a particular device, how to cook something… I could go on and on. But, the key is that I bet the first time you got behind the steering wheel or the first time you baked a cake or the first time you turned on a new device, you weren’t perfect at it. I certainly could tell stories about failing at each of those things when I first was learning how to do/use them.
In libraries, and with teens, we have to be willing to fail, learn from our experiences, and then either try again, or move on to something else (if what we learn says this wasn’t a good idea at all). Think about how freeing that is when planning a new program or service. Say you want to start working with some new community partners to help support teen workforce development skills. If you wait until you have built the perfect relationship with the potential partners or have a proved track-record with the partners it could be the year 2044 before you get something off the ground.
Instead of working towards perfection in the partnership give yourself a quick turn-around timeline for building and piloting the program. Work backwards on your calendar to plan out what you need to accomplish by that completion date. Give up the idea that every piece of the project has to be thought out perfectly before you launch. Start contacting partners and asking them how you can work together to create something awesome for teens. Go with the flow and see what happens.
And then, and this is a big thing, at the end of the process look at what worked and didn’t work and then decide next steps. What were you looking for in the partnership and did you achieve that – why/why not? Were you able to support teen acquisition of workforce development skills – why/why not? If you were to do this project again, what would you do the same and what would you do differently – why? Those answers are really going to help you to understand how you failed, what you learned, and what you need to do next.
And, then, be honest with everyone! Yes everyone! About your failures and what you learned. One of the reasons I think we in libraries don’t like to fail and strive for perfection is because, while we exchange lots of information about what we do with teens, we aren’t always talking about what didn’t work and what we would do differently next time. It seems to the world that we are perfect, and we are not.
Take the leap this fall and learn how to fail and how to celebrate that failure. Instead of working towards perfection be nimble and flexible in planning, try out ideas, evaluate, learn, and try again.
If you want to keep learning about taking risks and learning how to fail try out these Twitter hashtags and feeds:
#act4teens – is a YALSA generated hashtag all about developing great library services to support teens.
@educationweek – the official Twitter feed for the Education Week newspaper and website.
@edutopia – the official Twitter feed for the George Lucas Foundation dedicated to innovation in education
I first learned of the Mawangdui tombs in November 1999, at a special exhibit at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan. Seeing objects of the Li family’s daily life and then staring at a model of Lady Dai “sleeping” created for me an irresistible connection to her. I was gripped by the vivid awareness that Lady Dai had been an actual person who had combed her hair, suffered illnesses, and enjoyed good food and music.
My Desire to learn more about the Li family and their world led me to track down materials of all kinds on Mawangdui and on life in the early Han dynasty. I prowled university libraries for articles, haunted bookstores in American and Asian cities, scoured websites, and was spellbound by videos. Every source’s bibliography launched a search to track down its sources.
In 2002 I traveled to the city of Changsha to see the tomb site, as well as Lady Dai and the artifacts in the Hunan Provincial Museum. Seeing the full range of artifacts impressed upon me so many new details—the astounding preservation of the two-thousand-year-old food, the glamour of the silk clothes, the massiveness of the burial chamber timbers. Seeing Lady Dai’s actual body was mesmerizing.
The next year I published an article, “Silk Treasures of Mawangdui,” in Dig magazine. But writing one article wasn’t enough to satisfy my curiosity; I wanted to keep exploring by writing a book about the tombs.
Pieces of information about Mawangdui lay scattered about my mind like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. How could I fit them together into a book? Finally I recognized that the Mawangdui tombs are like a time capsule: every artifact reveals something about life in the early Han dynasty. Each artifact tells a story—what it meant to the mourners who buried it, how it expresses the artisans’ knowledge and skills, and what it was like to live in that time and place. Within this framework I could not only describe the Mawangdui artifacts but also explore the history and culture of the early Han dynasty.
This expedition has lasted fourteen years so far, yet my fascination with Mawangdui and Lady Dai is as intense as ever. Next? I would love to go back to Changsha to see the artifacts and tomb site again, and to silently thank Lady Dai and her family for inspiring my marvelous journey through time.
So. There is a newish roof on the main part of the house, but this balcony had some issues, we knew.
First the railing came down...and yesterday the roof came up!
It's a good thing we decided to go ahead and take care of it before winter, the roofer said. It was pretty wet underneath the tin.
A big pile of rusty tin roof!
They cleaned and dried everything, then put down a new layer of fiberboard.
Then new roofing material rolled out over that, and the seams were heated and melted together.
Since the balcony was in deep shade when they finished, I thought I'd wait to get a nice sunny picture of the new roof in the morning. But it's raining! Guess we got the new roof on just in time.
The new white metal railing will be installed next week; then the roofers will come back and lay flashing around each post to make sure all is water-tight.
The roof is an extra-thick rubber membrane with gritty sand-like stones as a top layer. It's fine to walk on and put patio furniture on, and hopefully light enough in color that it won't be too hot. We'll probably get an indoor/outdoor area rug or two, next spring, plus we'll need some more chairs. Always something!
A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.
Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between August 29 and September 4 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
We have been writing Steampunk since 2009; and even after five years, we still face the question of the ages: What is steampunk? Perhaps a lazy, shallow way to look at the genre is to simply call it “Victorian Science Fiction” and that be the end of it. Truth be told, this is merely your first step.
While history looks at the 19th Century as the Industrial Age and the late-20th century as the Computer Age, the concept of computing devices were realized by mathematician, inventor, and engineer Charles Babbage as early as 1812. His mechanical computation devices at the time were considered more of a curiosity rather than innovation, but Babbage’s theories served as inspiration for The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. Best known for their offerings in cyberpunk, Gibson and Sterling created an alternative Industrial Revolution where Babbage’s inventions were the norm, creating a struggle between the working class Luddites (who fear technology) and an “enhanced” elite that wanted as much integration with these technological wonders as possible.
Column by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris, who have been writing professionally for over a decade, but The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series is their first collaboration as writers. Their first title in the series, Phoenix Rising, won the 2011 Airship Award for Best in Steampunk Literature, while both Phoenix Rising and The Janus Affair were finalists in Goodreads Best in Science Fiction of 2011 and 2012. In 2013, they released Ministry Protocol, an original anthology of short stories set in the Ministry universe. The collection won the Best Fiction category in Steampunk Chronicle’s 2014 Readers Choice Award. Following a Parsec win for their companion podcast, Tales from the Archives, Tee and Pip celebrate the arrival of their third novel, Dawn’s Early Light, released by Ace Books and Tantor Audio.
Here’s where Steampunk becomes far more than just “Victorian Science Fiction.” Steampunk envisions an Industrial Age that brought to fruition theoretical designs like Babbage’s analytical engines, flying machines, and advanced electrical engineering. How would society react? What would be the impact on a global scale? What would happen not only on a sociological level, but on a political one as well?
Early realizations of Steampunk, pre-dating author K. W. Jeter’s coining of the term, can be found on film. Walt Disney’s lush, lavish, and epic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea serves as a warning of technological achievements potentially turning on society. Jules Verne was not a stranger in using science fiction as a vehicle for cautionary tales, but Disney’s 20,000 Leagues adaptation fulfills Verne’s intentions while remaining true to the luxuries and indulgences of the 19th Century. Another memorable motion picture encapsulating the definition of Steampunk is Nicholas Meyer’s Time After Time. In this film, H.G. Wells invents a time machine, intending to witness the futuristic Utopia he has speculated will occur. Instead, his best friend, Dr. John Leslie Stevenson (revealed as Jack the Ripper) uses Wells’ creation to escape capture by Scotland Yard. Here, the underlying theme of this adventure across centuries is responsibility and atonement, something Victorians rarely took in account in the pursuit of science or innovation. The question Wells faces is not “Can I build a machine that can travel through time?” but “Should I have invented a machine that can travel through time? Are we responsible enough to wield such technology?” Quickly, he discovers that some inventions, regardless of the intentions behind them, can affect not only societies of the present, but societies that have yet to happen.
Whether it is The Wild, Wild West or the “Castle” episode “Punked”, the works of K.W. Jeter (Morlock Night) or Gail Carriger (The Parasol Protectorate), or the podcasts, role playing game, and novels from our Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, Steampunk offers you a variety of historical watersheds to choose from, now integrated with technology that can either be new, familiar, or exploited by your work’s protagonists and antagonists.
But where exactly does the “punk” comes into play in Steampunk?
Beyond romantic Victoriana, goggles, airships, and brass fixtures, the “punk” in Steampunk comes from going against convention, not necessarily in undermining establishment but through creativity and declaration of one’s individuality. That individuality can come across through style, gadgets, or attitude. In our own work, the “punk” is embodied in Eliza D. Braun, an agent from the farthest reaches of the Empire where women have the right to vote, where “natives” co-exist with “colonials,” and where everyone speaks their mind frankly and honestly. Eliza goes against the standard norms at the home office in London, England. She is everything her partner, Wellington Thornhill Books, Esquire—a man to the manor born now serving at the Queen’s pleasure—is not; and it is their chemistry and unorthodox approach to peculiar occurrences that make them unique within a society striving for conformity.
We’ve been a gateway for many people into Steampunk, but that doesn’t mean we have stopped learning, or even changed a few opinions, about the genre. Steampunk is a voyage into science, ambition, imagination, and adventure; and all we can hope for is that in the years to come, people will still want to undertake this journey with us into the Past That Never Was. It’s been a fantastic ride since 2009, and now with seven awards, two of them Reader’s Choice Awards from The Steampunk Chronicle, we believe we must be doing something right.
Why not see how far we can go together in this journey? Make yourself at home in the Archives. I’ll put the kettle on.
Marvel, Timely, Atlas, Charlton, ACG, MLJ/Archie Dennis the Menace (US) -one man published them all. Alan Class. Who? Class is legendary for bringing black and white reprints of US comics to a country starved of the medium thanks to a certain war!
From 1959-1989 Suspence, Sinister, Astounding and Uncanny gave us a comic fix for a few pennies. Learn more about the man and how Class Comics came about in the long awaited print version of Terry Hooper's exclusive interview!
I guess the month’s just about over. That pretty much means it’s time for looking back at the month and declaring what you read the best. Or something. Before that, with September upcoming, and then soon October, I’ll be looking forward to doing a bunch of things that I was not able to do last ... Read more
Many library’s are in a great position to help teens develop skills and experience they can add to their resume. Whether it be volunteering on a regular basis or honing graphic design or other useful technology proficiency, teens can gain that needed edge through the library for when they seek out other opportunities.
Last school year, I stumbled across a program at my local public school system that gives students school credit for being part of a library program such as volunteering! What a win-win situation for all! Read on for more details on how the program works.
The Academic Internship program is for high schoolers (though targeting 16-18 year olds) to receive work-based learning opportunities and earn school credit. Library programs that are ongoing such as tutoring, volunteering, creating a podcast program, reading to toddlers during storytime, etc. are some examples that would qualify teens for this opportunity. The credit appears on their transcript which in turn reflects their overall academic success.
Feel free to share if a similar program exists in your area. If it doesn’t already, a few suggestions to get started might be to seek out what kind of workforce development opportunities are in existence and bringing the library into the dialogue by sharing a portfolio of information about the programs you feel might qualify. Gathering anecdotes and outcomes from a program can show that it’s really making a difference in the lives of teens and helps connect them to their greater career goals and interests.
I just discovered that every single one of my newsletter subscribers except for one, is signed up for my WEEKLY "e's news and coloring page Tuesdays" newsletter (plus book giveaways). As of today, that means 3,768 folks (the number is always fluctuating) get my newsletter in their in-box every week. WOW! I am so flattered! If weekly is too much, did you know I have a "Special Editions" option too, where you can just get my news every now and then? It only comes out every few months or so when I have big news to share. I try very hard not to inundate that group. Although, I thought there were more people subscribed to that option. Upon investigation this morning, I found that almost all the names in that group were redundant. Only one person had signed up that way!! ONE! Bigger WOW! That's a lot of loyalty I wasn't expecting to stumble across today. I'm so grateful! But I hope y'all know, signing up for my "Special Editions" is perfectly okay too! (You won't get the giveaway notifications, but we'll still be in touch from time to time.) Anyhow - for either one, you can sign up at http://dulemba.com/index_newsletter.html CLICK HERE to see an example of my latest newsletter!
Kevin Griffith, an English professor in Ohio has teamed up with his 11 year old son to create a Lego adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest.
“Brick Jest” recreates 100 scenes from the tome. The two have documented the project with photography with text captions.
The pair were inspired to create Brick Jest after reading Brendan Powell Smith‘s The Brick Bible, a series of books that teach Bible stories to kids with Lego. Check it out: ”Wallace’s novel is probably the only contemporary text to offer a similar challenge to artists working in the medium of Lego. The artist in this case was Griffith’s eleven-year-old son, Sebastian, who created all the scenes based on his father’s descriptions of the relevant pages.”
John Schultz, author of The Chicago Conspiracy Trialand No One Was Killed: The Democratic National Convention, August 1968, recently spoke with WMNF about the history of police militarization, in light of both recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the forty-sixth anniversary (this week) of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Providing historical and social context to the ongoing “debate over whether the nation’s police have become so militarized that they are no longer there to preserve and protect but have adopted an attitude of ‘us’ and ‘them,’” Schultz related his eyewitness accounts to that collision of 22,000 police and members of the National Guard with demonstrators in Chicago to the armed forces that swarmed around mostly peaceful protesters in Ferguson these past few weeks.
The selection below, drawn in part from a larger excerpt from No One Was Killed, relays some of that primary account from what happened in Grant Park nearly half a century ago. The full excerpt can be accessed here.
The cop bullhorn bellowed that anyone in the Park, including newsmen, were in violation of the law. Nobody moved. The newsmen did not believe that they were marked men; they thought it was just a way for the Cops to emphasize their point. The media lights were turned on for the confrontation. Near the Stockton Drive embankment, the line of police came up to the Yippies and the two lines stood there, a few steps apart, in a moment of meeting that was almost formal, as if everybody recognized the stupendous seriousness of the game that was about to begin. The kids were yelling: “Parks belong to the people! Pig! Pig! Oink, oink!” In The Walker Report, the police say that they were pelted with rocks the moment the media lights “blinded” them. I was at the point where the final, triggering violence began, and friends of mine were nearby up and down the line, and at this point none of us saw anything thrown. Cops in white shirts, meaning lieutenants or captains, were present. It was the formality of the moment between the two groups, the theatrical and game nature showing itself on a definitive level, that was awesome and terrifying in its implications.
It is legend by now that the final insult that caused the first wedge of cops to break loose upon the Yippies, was “Your mother sucks dirty cock!” Now that’s desperate provocation. The authors of The Walker Report purport to believe that the massive use of obscenities during Convention Week was a major form of provocation, as if it helped to explain “irrational” acts. In the very first sentence of the summary at the beginning of the Report, they say “… the Chicago Police were the targets of mounting provocation by both word and act. Obscene epithets …” etcetera. One wonders where the writers of The Walker Report went to school, were they ever in the Army, what streets do they live on, where do they work? They would also benefit by a trip to a police station at night, even up to the bull-pen, where the naked toilet bowl sits in the center of the room, and they could listen and find out whether the cops heard anything during Convention Week that was unfamiliar to their ears or tongue. It matters more who cusses you, and does he know you well enough to hit home to galvanize you into destructive action. It also matters whether you regard a club on the head as an equivalent response to being called a “mother fucking Fascist pig.”
The kids wouldn’t go away and then the cops began shoving them hard up the Stockton Drive embankment and then hitting with their clubs. “Pigs! Pigs! Pigs! Fascist pig bastards!” A cop behind me—I was immediately behind the cop line facing the Yippies—said to me and a few others, in a sick voice, “Move along, sir,” as if he foresaw everything that would happen in the week to come. I have thought again and again about him and the tone of his voice. “Oink, oink,” came the taunts from the kids. The cops charged. A boy trapped against the trunk of a car by a cop on Stockton Drive had the temerity to hit back with his bare fists and the cop tried to break every bone in his body. “If you’re newsmen,” one kid screamed, “get that man’s number!” I tried but all I saw was his blue shirt—no badge or name tag—and he, hearing the cries, stepped backward up onto the curb as a half-dozen cops crammed around him and carried him off into the melée, and I was carried in another direction. A cop swung and smashed the lens of a media camera. “He got my lens!” The cameraman was amazed and offended. The rest of the week the cops would cram around a fellow cop who was in danger of being identified and carry him away, and they would smash any camera that they saw get an incriminating picture. The cops slowed, crossing the grass toward Clark Street, and the more daring kids sensed the loss of contact, loss of energy, and went back to meet the skirmish line of cops. The cops charged again up to the sidewalk on the edge of the Park.
It was thought that the cops would stop along Clark Street on the edge of the Park. For several minutes, there was a huge, loud jam of traffic and people in Clark Street, horns and voices. “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Daley right over!” Then the cops crossed the street and lined up on the curb on the west side, outside curfew territory. Now they started to make utterly new law as they went along—at the behest of those orders they kept talking about. The crowd on the sidewalk, excited but generally peaceable, included a great many bystanders and Lincoln Park citizens. Now came mass cop violence of unmitigated fury, descriptions of which become redundant. No status or manner of appearance or attitude made one less likely to be clubbed. The Cops did us a great favor by putting us all in the same boat. A few upper middleclass white men said they now had some idea of what it meant to be on the other end of the law in the ghetto.
At the corner of Menomenee and Clark, several straight, young people were sitting on their doorsteps to jeer at the Yippies. The cops beat them, too, and took them by the backs of the necks and jerked them onto the sidewalk. A photographer got a picture of a terrible beating here and a cop smashed his camera and beat the photographer unconscious. I saw a stocky cop spring out of the pavement swinging his club, smashing a media man’s movie camera into two pieces, and the media man walked around in the street holding up the pieces for everybody to see, including other cameras, some of which were also smashed. Cops methodically beat one man, summoned an ambulance that was whirling its light out in the traffic jam, shoved the man into it, and rapped their clubs on the bumper to send it on its way. There were people caught in this charge, who had been in civil rights demonstrations in the South in the early Sixties, who said this was the time that they had feared for their lives.
The first missiles thrown Sunday night at cops were beer-cans, then a few rocks, more rocks, a bottle or two, more bottles. Yippies and New Left kids rolled cars into the side streets to block access for the cop attack patrols. The traffic-jam reached wildly north and south, and everywhere Yippies, working out in the traffic, were getting shocked drivers to honk in sympathy. One kid lofted a beer-can at a patrol car that was moving slowly; he led the car perfectly and the beer-can hit on the trunk and stayed there. The cops stopped the car and looked through their rear window at the beer-can on their trunk. They started to back up toward the corner at Wisconsin from which the can was thrown, but they were only two and the Yippies were many, so they thought better of it and drove away. There were kids picking up rocks and other kids telling them to put the rocks down.
At Clark and Wisconsin, a few of the “leaders”—those who trained parade marshalls and also some of the conventionally known and sought leaders—who had expected a confrontation of sorts in Chicago, were standing on a doorstep with their hands clipped together in front of their crotches as they stared balefully out at the streets, trying to look as uninvolved as possible. “Beautiful, beautiful,” one was saying, but they didn’t know how the thing had been delivered or what was happening. They had even directly advised against violent action, and had been denounced for it. Their leadership was that, in all the play and put-on of publicity before the Convention, they had contributed to the development of a consciousness of a politics of confrontation and social disruption. An anarchist saw his dream come true though he was only a spectator of the dream; the middle-class man saw his nightmare. A radioman, moving up and down the street, apparently a friend of Tom Hayden, stuck his mike up the stairs and asked Hayden to make some comments. Hayden, not at all interested in making a statement, leaned down urgently, chopping with his hand, and said, “Hey, man, turn the mike off, turn the mike off.” Hayden, along with Rubin, was a man the Chicago cops deemed a crucial leader and they would have sent them both to the bottom of the Chicago River, if they had thought they could get away with it. The radioman turned the mike off. Hayden said, “Is it off?” The radioman said yes. Hayden said, “Man, what’s going on down there?” The radioman could only say that what was going on was going on everywhere.
Read more about No One Was Killed: The Democratic National Convention, August 1968 here.
Are you a fan of the show The Voice? If you are, you’re probably familiar with Mackenzie Bourg. Mackenzie has a very impressive story–before competing on the show, he spent two months in the hospital due to a heart condition. He went on to make it all the way to the last round of the show! Right now, the 21-year-old singer/songwriter from Louisiana is making waves with his catchy pop music. Have you heard his song ”Impossible Things
?” Click on the title to take a listen!
We were able to ask the rising star some questions about what he does, and more. Check it out!
Q: What did you like best about your experience on The Voice?
Mackenzie: What I liked best about being on The Voice was getting to perform on the unique stages and set-ups. From the crowd pits to the huge platforms, it was awesome seeing the different stages each round. What surprised me the most was how much CeeLo [Green, a judge on the show] showed love for me. Going into the show, I would have never thought that over a year later, I’d still be keeping in touch with my coach!
Q: What is the best part of being a performer?
Mackenzie: The best part about being a performer is getting to put your entire heart and soul into something for people that genuinely love. The feeling I get when the audience is into what I’m doing up there is really special.
Q: Who was your first celebrity crush?
Mackenzie: My first celebrity crush was on two people, actually: Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. As a kid, we had all of their VHS tapes, and something about solving any crime by dinner time really tugged at my heart strings even at such a young age.
Q: Funniest or most embarrassing that’s happened to you recently?
Mackenzie: Last week I was headed to the studio and had to stop at a music shop quickly to get a new set of guitar strings. As I got out of the car, I pressed “lock” on my door and closed it, not realizing I had left the keys on the seat. Needless to say I was a little late!
5. What’s the strangest fan encounter you’ve ever had?
Mackenzie: I haven’t had any really strange fan encounters, but I did tweet something randomly about Skittles and someone had about 100 bags sent to me! It was the first time anything like that had happened to me, so I guess it was strange and really cool all at the same time!
Q: What are you most excited for in the future?
Mackenzie: The thing I’m looking forward to most about the future is the future. Seeing where this journey takes me, if the hard work pays off, and if my music makes a connection with people as I hope it does. Everything truly happens for a reason, and when it does finally happen, I’ll be ready to take it in stride.
Awesome! Can’t wait to see what Mackenzie does next. He has an EP coming out soon, and I’m really excited to hear it when it’s released! What about you? Do you want to hear his new music, too? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!
The premiere podcast was unleashed on August 25th and it contains two episodes. Followers can expect a new one to be released every other Wednesday. Every now and then, the writers will share readings from their work-in-progress manuscripts.
Here’s more from The L.A. Times: “The show comes from Infinite Guest, a new podcast network from American Public Media…Basketball and other sports will be discussed on the show — slightly unusual for a literary podcast. They’ll be interviewing literary figures and also people with lives that aren’t connected to books.”
There is a grain field through my back window. I love to watch a gentle wind blow through it. Today I planted a seed by sending a request for representation to a literary agent. It will take some time but I am glad that I have finally planted. I hope there is a harvest.
I can't resist answering April's question about paper and pen vs. computer using her "Scribble-Dee-Dee." I'm so used to (and comfortable with) paper and pen that I almost never begin anything new on the computer. For me, most ideas form not in my head but in spiral notebooks with purple pens. In my usual approach, more polished, closer-to-final drafts belong on the computer.
In a few months, Troy and I hope to welcome you all to the 2014 Oral History Association (OHA) Annual Meeting, “Oral History in Motion: Movements, Transformations, and the Power of Story.” This year’s meeting will take place in our lovely, often frozen hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, from 8-12 October 2014. I am sure most of you have already registered and booked your hotel room. For those of you still dragging your feet, hopefully these letters from OHA Vice President/President Elect Paul Ortiz and Program Committee co-chairs Natalie Fousekis and Kathy Newfont will kick you into gear.
* * * * *
Madison, Wisconsin. The capitol city of the Badger State evokes images of social movements of all kinds. This includes the famed “Wisconsin Idea,” a belief put forth during an earlier, tumultuous period of American history that this place was to become a “laboratory for democracy,” where new ideas would be developed to benefit the entire society. In subsequent years, Madison became equally famous for the Madison Farmers Market, hundreds of locally-owned businesses, live music, and a top-ranked university. Not to mention world-famous cafes, microbreweries, and brewpubs! [Editor’s note: And fried cheese curds!] Our theme, “Oral History in Motion: Movements, Transformations and the Power of Story,” is designed to speak directly to the rich legacies of Wisconsin and the upper Midwest, as well as to the interests and initiatives of our members. Early on, we decided to define “movements” broadly — and inclusively — to encompass popular people’s struggles, as well as the newer, exciting technological changes oral history practitioners are implementing in our field.
Creating this year’s conference has been a collaborative effort. Working closely with the OHA executive director’s office, our program and local arrangements committees have woven together an annual meeting with a multiplicity of themes, as well as an international focus tied together by our belief in the transformative power of storytelling, dialog, and active listening. Our panels also reflect the diversity of our membership’s interests. You can attend sessions ranging from the historical memories of the Haitian Revolution and the future of the labor movement in Wisconsin to the struggles of ethnic minority refugees from Burma. We’ll explore the legacies left by story-telling legends like Pete Seeger and John Handcox, even as we learn new narratives from Latina immigrants, digital historians and survivors of sexual abuse.
Based on the critical input we’ve received from OHA members, this year’s annual meeting in will build on the strengths and weaknesses of previous conferences. New participants will have the opportunity to be matched with veteran members through the OHA Mentoring Program. We will also invite all new members to the complimentary Newcomers’ Breakfast on Friday morning. Building on its success at last year’s annual meeting, we are also holding Interest Group Meetings on Thursday, in order to help members continue to knit together national—and international—networks. The conference program features four hands-on oral history workshops on Wednesday, and a “Principles and Best Practices for Oral History Education (grades 4-12)” workshop on Saturday morning. This year’s plenary and special sessions are also superb.
With such an exciting program, it is little wonder that early pre-registration was so high! I hope that you will join us in Madison, Wisconsin for what will be one of the most memorable annual meetings in OHA history!
OHA Vice President/President Elect
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The 2014 OHA Annual Meeting in Madison, Wisconsin is shaping up to be an especially strong conference. The theme, “Oral History in Motion: Movements, Transformations and the Power of Story,” drew a record number of submissions. As a result, the slate of concurrent sessions includes a wide variety of high quality work. We anticipate that most conference-goers will, even more so than most years, find it impossible to attend all sessions that pique their interest!
The local arrangements team in Madison has done a wonderful job lining up venues for the meeting and its special sessions, including sites on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Madison Public Library. The meeting will showcase some of Madison’s richest cultural offerings. For instance, we will open Wednesday evening in Sterling Hall with an innovative, oral-history inspired performance on the 1970 bomb explosion, which proved a key flashpoint in the Vietnam-era anti-war movement. After Thursday evening’s Presidential Reception, we will hear a concert by Jazz Master bassist Richard Davis — who will also do a live interview Saturday evening.
In keeping with our theme, many of our feature presentations will address past and present fights for social and political change. Thursday afternoon’s mixed-media plenary session will focus on the music and oral poetry of sharecropper “poet laureate” John Handcox, whose songs continue to inspire a broad range of justice movements in the U.S. and beyond. Friday morning’s “Academics as Activists” plenary session will offer a report from the front lines of contemporary activism. It will showcase an interdisciplinary panel of scholars who have emerged as leading voices in recent pushes for social change in Wisconsin, North Carolina and nationwide. The Friday luncheon keynote will feature John Biewen of Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, who has earned recognition for—among other things—his excellent work on disadvantaged groups. Finally, on Friday evening we will screen Private Violence, a film featured at this year’s Sundance festival. Private Violence examines domestic violence, long a key concern in women’s and children’s rights movements. The event will be hosted by Associate Producer Malinda Maynor Lowery, who is also Director of the University of North Carolina’s Southern Oral History Program.
Join us for all this and much more!
Natalie Fousekis and Kathy Newfont
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See you all in October!
Headline image credit: Resources of Wisconsin. Edwin Blashfield’s mural “Resources of Wisconsin”, Wisconsin State Capitol dome, Madison, Wisconsin. Photo by Jeremy Atherton. CC BY 2.0 via jatherton Flickr.
Hickman's Avengers and New Avengers will be skipping forward eight months but no one is sure if that's "Marvel Universe Time" or "Publisher Time"! Oh, and then those titles will be staying there while the rest of the Marvel Universe catches up in April 2015 for the "Times Out Event."
This is what the fans are talking about. In fact, I find it hard to believe or understand just what the confusion is. Avengers and New Avengers of September 2014 will be set in April 2015. Every other title of September will be set in September (schedule).
"Publisher Time" or "Universe Time"??? Uh, that makes no sense. Not unless Disney has discovered time travel and gone ahead, printed and brought back comics from the future. It's Marvel Disney Comics Universe time. Avengers and New Avengers WILL BE SET IN APRIL 2015 and ALL OTHER TITLES WILL BE SET IN THEIR CURRENT PUBLISHING SCHEDULE.
So, I put all of this to one of the few 'Marvel' Comics fans I could find and his reaction was.....
I rest my case.
And it looks like the Marvel Movie Universe may be following the comics crap. Chris Evans contract for three Captain America movies is almost up and there are VERY strong rumours that a black actor will be taking on the Captain America mantle -apparently there have been try-outs.
From a huge selection of interviews covering the Small Press,Independent Comics from the UK,Europe and US,here are a few of the best from over 25 years. These interviewees include:
JOHN COOPER YISHAN LI DONNA BARR ROBERTA GREGORY EMMA VIECELI SONIA LEONG ALAN CLASS PAUL BIRCH KAREN RUBINS WILLIE HEWES PEKKA A. MANNINEN OLIVIER CADIC JON HAWARD MARV WOLFMAN TANIA DEL RIO JEFF BROOKS MIKE WESTERN MORAG LEWIS DAVE RYAN
As summer winds down and the new school year looms, we look back on the year that was. Here are our senior superlatives for characters in the class of 2013-2014. What superlative would you award your favorite character?
Cutest couple: Emily and Sam (from Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan), Amy and Matthew (from Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern), Devorah and Jaxon (from Like No Other by Una LaMarche), Mouse and Mole (from Mouse and Mole, Secret Valentine by Wong Herbert Yee)
Most complicated love triangle: Alix, Swanee, and Liana (from Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters)
Most likely to elope in Vegas: Holly and Dax (The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt)
BFFs: Rose and Windy (from This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illus. by Jillian Tamaki), Sophie and Bernice (from Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller, illus. by Wilsdorf), Pom and Pim (from Pom and Pim by Lena Landström, illus. by Olof Landström)
Best frenemies: Dog and Cat (from Dog vs. Cat by Chris Gall)
Best artist: Emily (from Emily’s Blue Period by Cathleen Daly, illus. by Lisa Brown), girl with red crayon (from Journey by Aaron Becker), prehistoric child (from The First Drawing by Mordicai Gerstein)
Best knitter: Needles (from When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds)
Most likely to be a vet: Lulu (from Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door by Hilary McKay, illus. by Priscilla Lamont)
Most likely to win an Oscar: Kate Walden (from Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens by Julie Mata)
Most eco-concious: Kate Sessions (from The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins, illus. by Jill McElmurry)
Most traveled: cat (from City Cat by Kate Banks, illus. by Lauren Castillo), dad (from Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, illus. by Skottie Young)
Most likely to get abducted by aliens: Robbie and Marilee (from The Summer Experiment by Cathie Pelletier), Aidan, Dru, and Louis (from Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn by Greg Leitich Smith, illus. by Andrew Arnold)
Cutest siblings: Gaston, Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, and Ooh-La-La/Antoinette, Rocky, Ricky, and Bruno (from Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, illus. by Christian Robinson)
Weirdest siblings: Merciful and Gospel Truth (from Engines of the Broken World by Jason Vanhee)