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  • March 2011
    M T W T F S S
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GA/GI Festival


Huh, what? No, it’s not a very excited infant.  It’s an acronym.

GA/GI: Geek Art / Green Innovators.

Huh, what?

“GA/GI (pronounced GAH-gee) Invites the best of eco, technology and the arts to showcase their people and unique projects and programs.” (From the GA/GI website.)

In a nutshell: workshops, demonstrations and more highlighting eco-friendly and tech-advanced companies, organizations, and more in Pittsburgh.

Eco-friendly? Tech-advanced?  Yes, OF COURSE the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will be there!  Representatives from CLP – Lawrenceville and CLP – East Liberty will be showing off our website, demonstrating eCLP, and answering people’s questions about the Library.  Here’s where we’ll be, from 5pm-10pm on Friday, April 1st:

The Fam Cluster (Near Family Dollar, Penn Ave and Pacific Ave)

For a complete schedule of events, go here.

Hope we see you tomorrow night!!

Karen, CLP-Lawrenceville

Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest: workshop w/ Siobhan Vivian 4/2/11

The Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest is on! What is it? A chance for Allegheny County High School students to win money for their writing!

This Saturday, you can learn a thing or two from local YA author Siobhan Vivian:

Creative Writing Workshops

Need help getting started? Creative Writing Workshops led by prominent Pittsburgh authors will be held in April. To register, click on the workshop date.

Short Fiction: Siobhan Vivian

Saturday, April 2 / 1-3 pm
CLP – Main, 4400 Forbes Avenue (Oakland), Classroom A (Portal Entry)

  Siobhan Vivian will lead several creative writing exercises aimed at inspiring teens to produce great fiction. The interactive exercises will touch on three foundations of creative writing – plot, character and prose. Siobhan will also discuss her path to becoming a published author.Siobhan Vivian is the acclaimed author of A Little Friendly Advice, hailed as “at once uplifting and heart wrenching” by Kirkus Reviews, and Same Difference, which was named an American Library Association Best Book for Teens. <!– Her newest book is Not That Kind of Girl. –>A Jersey girl by birth and a Brooklyn girl at heart, Siobhan currently teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh.

Win a trip to France: International Heritage Photographic Experience

You want to go to France? Here’s your mission: Capture Southwestern Pennsylvania in one shot!

Entries Accepted Now through April 15!

The International Heritage Photographic Experience (IHPE) is an international photo-taking competition for youth that aims to promote rich heritage through creative photographs. Their photos celebrate historic buildings and gardens, rural and urban landscapes, and popular and refined architecture with recognized monumental value or outstanding beauty. Last year Pittsburgh was the first U.S. city to ever participate in IHPE.

Youth ages 14 – 21 from Southwestern Pennsylvania can celebrate their home region’s monumental heritage by taking and entering a photograph in the IHPE Pittsburgh photo competition.

IHPE Pittsburgh 2010 winners were Ben Page, age 18, and Nicole DeSantis, age 20. As winners, Ben and Nicole won a trip to the Palace of Europe for the annual IHPE Awards Ceremony in Strasbourg, France. Learn more about their European experience here:

Ben Page’s IHPE Flickr set and ‘Nicole DeSantis is in France’ Blog

Their winning photographs were also included in the IHPE Photo Exhibition held in every participating country in September 2010 and were published in the IHPE Catalog.

Entries Accepted Now through April 15!

Give it your best “shot” (bad pun, I know) and win a chance at an amazing journey. 

Corey – CLP, Main

Teen review: Flobots – Fight With Tools

Happy Monday, Teensburgh. Today, we’ve got another review from Isaiah. If you’re a middle or high school student interested in writing reviews, email teens@carnegielibrary.org and let us know!

Hello again everyone, my name is Isaiah and I review Comics, Manga, books, CD’s, and any other strange thing I happen to stumble upon. Today I will be reviewing the CD Fight With Tools by Flobots, let’s jump right into this.

I feel that I may not give this CD justice unless I give you a track by track review.

We open up with a track called There’s a War Going On for Your Mind. As soon as it begins you can tell there’s something different about this group as they almost speak over the violins as the drums slowly roll in. Just listening to these lyrics makes me want to continue listening to the CD, and the way that they almost perfectly flow onto the soft beat makes the poem of sorts a perfect beginning for this disk.

The next song is one called Mayday!!! which is a little more of a jam than the last one. The powerful lyrics are still there, just performed a little differently. In this track the violins almost make the track–those plus the energy that the  rappers are putting out, and the soft singing in the background simply makes a very good track.

The next track is one titled Same Thing. For me this is one of the best tracks on the album. The rappers keep their educated lines while adding a light-hearted feel to it because of the music. We can see this in the first line,

Somewhere between prayer and revolution/between Jesus and Huey P. Newton/that’s where you find Jonny 5 shoot shootin’/water guns at the audience while ya scootin’.

This song not only features the almost flawless rapping of the Flobots but there is some singing thrown in there that definitely adds to the song.

The next song is a track titled Stand Up. When this starts you instantly feel a more serious tone than the last song. As it plays you have no choice but to not only listen to the lyrics but also jam a little as well. The way that they incorporate the drums is perfect, if I may say so myself.

The next track is named after the album, Fight With Tools. I wouldn’t say that this is the best song on the album, but I really dig the chorus of this one.

The next song is the single titled Handlebars. I really dig the beat of this song. For me it was far from the best, but it does make you want to check out the rest of the album.

Next is a song called Never Had It. For me this song adds a very nice balance to the album; it has a lot more singing than the others and it has a very soothing feel to it.

After this, we have, in my opinion, the biggest jam of the entire album – Combat. It opens with them repeatedly saying, “Don’t know a beat that can keep you lonely.” Which I think is an extremely cool line by itself. When the drums come in it makes the song even cooler–this is a very fun song.

Next is The Rhythm Method (Move!). This is an extremely cool song, and its method is simply saying let the music move you in any way that works for you. To me, it’s hard to listen to this song without jamming a little. The next track is one called Anne Braden. This song is more about the lyrics than jamming even though it’s hard not to. I truly enjoy listening to these lyrics because they are so thought-provoking that you think something different every time.

After this, we have  our second to last track We are Winning which has a little different feel than the other songs on this album. In an extremely good way, to me this has a perfect balance of lyrics and jamming ability.

Our final song on this album is called Rise. Rise is a fun way to end the album and is always fun to listen to. To me it’s one of the best songs of the albums.

This album gets a 9/10 from me because of the thought-provoking lyrics, the fun jams, and unique and original songs. This definitely is not one to pass up, if you get a chance check it out at the library and see if you agree with me.

Friday vs. Kung-Fu Bicycles

By now I’m sure many of you have viewed Rebecca Black’s so-bad-it’s-created-a-viral-firestorm video about a day we know as Friday. If, however, you have not, I will embed it for easy watching:

When I saw this video popping up all over my Facebook feed, I ignored it as much as I could because the last thing I need is a poppy earworm infecting my workday.   But then it was explained to me that people liked it because it was bad. And there are few things I like more than unintentionally bad media. Not in a mean way—I’m just fascinated with people’s interactions with and interpretations of the pop culture machine.

Friday wasn’t the worst thing I’d ever seen. It just seemed sort of naïve and sweet , in short, what Rebecca Black’s version of partying is. I read a little more about it (mostly through this know your meme article) and found out that Black was represented by a company called Ark Music Factory (explained in this Gawker article ) –a company that sends songs to its young artists and makes videos for these songs, hoping to create a viral sensation a la Justin Bieber.  And I guess it kind of worked! Just not in the way they’d hoped.

This reminded me of a favorite documentary of mine – Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story.  You can watch an hour of it on Hulu or read about it on the PBS website or even put  a hold on the copy that the library owns.

 Before the Internet, you could pay to have your song lyrics become a real song. It cost about $200 to have someone write the song for you.  IMHO, this produces much more original results than Friday (no offense, Rebecca Black, you seem very sweet, as evidenced in this clip of your appearance on Jay Leno). 

For example, people’s obsessions sometimes shine through when they’re sending their original lyrics in. Compare “Friday” to Caglar Juan Singletary’s “Nonviolent Taekwondo Troopers”  and his song about Annie Oakley.

Would you rather listen to a song about a day that comes after Thursday and the perils of choosing where to sit in a car OR a song about a super bicycle named Angelaria, and  who we should thank for Priscilla Presley?

Well, you don’t really have to choose. I find it’s good to be well-rounded when it comes to exploring the world of packaged artists and song-poems.  Like “Friday”, these songs are genuinely catchy and you may find that they’ve insinuated themselves into your list of favorite things to hear.  They’re a refreshing alternative to the stuff you might hear all the time on the radio.


Free Stuff Friday begins…


Be the first TEEN to post a comment
on any post other than this one and win a $10 gift card! (Make sure you leave your name and e-mail address!)

Update: Elena J. is this week’s big winner. Congrats, Elena! Check back next Friday your chance to win.

Teen review: Daniel X by James Patterson

Isaiah is a great new teen volunteer who will be writing reviews for the blog. Remember, if you’re a middle or high school student interested in writing reviews, email teens@carnegielibrary.org and let us know!

My name is Isaiah. I’m gonna be reviewing all kinds of books, comics, manga , and CDs. I go to CAPA for theatre, and I guess that’s okay. I do a lot of music stuff outside of school. I play bass and do some rapping too. I rap with a group sometimes, others I’ll just use beats, which is always cool too. If you’re interested in any of that you can go here to check out show dates and stuff. That’s about it. Also, I’m always up for any review recommendations, so if there’s anything you want me to review, just let me know and I’ll check it out.

Book: Daniel X: the manga
Author: James Patterson
Review by Isaiah Ross


So starting today I will be reviewing many books, comics, manga, or anything else I happen to stumble upon. So starting off, the first thing I will be reviewing is the manga adaption of the book Daniel X by James Patterson. When reading the back of this book is seems pretty solid, let’s see how it shapes up.

So the book starts off very strongly. We begin with a 3-year-old hiding under a table as his parents are murdered by a strange alien known as The Prayer, who is looking for a “list” of some sort. We then fast forward 12 years into the future to a 15-year-old Daniel, who now is a proficient alien hunter. We are also introduced to Daniel’s powers, which allow him to create almost anything he can imagine. We learn that the list is a list of all the alien criminals on earth; Daniel uses this as a guide to find which aliens to go after next. When he is told to go after an alien named Ergent Seth, things begin to get interesting. I’ll leave the rest for you to find.

First, let’s look at the characters–I think that these characters come from pretty cool ideas and a lot can be done with them. Daniel X is a very strong idea for a protagonist and I believe that he is perfect to lead a story. Secondly, the villains–I can see where James Patterson and the artist (Seunghui Kye) are going with these villains but they need some work. The alien concept is very cool, but it’s up to them what they do with it. Third, the action itself–once again, I can see where Mr. Patterson is going with the action, but as of right now, it’s not truly up to par. I’m not saying anything about the art because it’s extremely fresh and crisp but the way that the action is used doesn’t really flow. Fourth, and finally, the story itself–this story is actually pretty great, it moves quickly, and doesn’t stray far from the topic. This is the main reason why I believe I may see this series through to the end.

In conclusion, I give Daniel X a 7/10 for originality, a great story, good characters, and nice art. It’s not the perfect manga yet but it seems that it may get pretty close to it soon. Daniel X is definitely something to watch out for, if you get a chance pick it up from the library and check it out.

March Madness Continued!

Today begins the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament.  Although local favorite Pitt has been eliminated, there are some great matchups to be played this weekend.  At the start of the tournament, I predicted the Final Four would be Duke, Ohio St., Kansas and Wisconsin.  All four of my Final Four teams are still alive entering this weekend.  Who do you think will make the Final Four?  Who will win the whole tournament?  Let us know what you think and enjoy the games!

Jim C.
West End

Teen review: Beastly by Alex Flinn

We’d like to welcome Jenna to the blog. Jenna and some other great teen volunteers are blogging for CLPTeensburgh from now on. If you’re a middle or high school student interested in writing reviews for the blog, email teens@carnegielibrary.org and let us know!

My name is Jenna. I go to a high school where I’m part of the marching band and the cheerleading squad. I’m pretty busy, but I always find time to read. I’m also very creative and I like doing little crafts out of random things I find.

Book: Beastly
Author: Alex Flinn
Review by Jenna Mihalcin

Kyle Kingsbury was a typical popular boy. He was so self-centered and didn’t really care about anyone else at all. Kyle needed a wake up call, so Kendra decided to take matters in her own hands.

Kendra is a witch that casts a spell on Kyle after he pulls yet another mean prank. She casts the spell that turns Kyle into a beast. He will stay a beast forever unless he can truly love someone and that person could truly love him back. Also, he must receive a kiss. This must also happen in 2 years time. If he doesn’t fulfill all of those requirements in two years, then he will stay a beast forever.

Kyle is devastated at first because his looks were his life. He moved to a new place and lived alone with the maid and his tutor. He found no meaning in life anymore. But then, he slowly started to change. He starts to actually care about something besides himself. For example, growing roses, reading and schoolwork, and also his tutor and maid. He completely transforms his attitude.

Then, for a heartbreaking reason, a girl named Lindy moves in with Kyle. He sees this as his chance to break the spell. Read this book to see if Lindy will ever trust Kyle and to see if Kyle ever breaks the spell!

- This book is a modern twist to Beauty and the Beast and this book will definitely be a wake-up call to any self-centered people. I seriously recommend reading this book. It was also made into a movie.

What’s your talent?

So what are you really good at?
Everyone has something they just RULE at, so what’s your thing?

Eating an entire box of cereal in one sitting?

Obviously some of these things might turn into a future career or hobby, while others might lead to a stomach ache.  It doesn’t matter though because that feeling you get when you know you’re just really good at something is pretty amazing.

The other great thing is that everyone is good at something.  It might get you lots of attention like having an awesome singing voice, or being the fastest on the field.  Or it might not get noticed at all.  Either way, you know you rock!  If you haven’t figured out yet at least one amazing skill you have, don’t worry.  It will come.  And keep working at those things that you just plain like because being awesome usually takes practice.

For me I knew pretty early on that I was kind of good at writing.  It just felt good to do.  Some people talk about a runner’s high, well I got writer’s high instead.  There was something invigorating about it.    When things were just flowing, and I knew what I wanted to say and the words just came.  I never wanted to stop.  I even got teased for my love of words in elementary school.  They called me “Miss Vocabulary.”  I was not cool.  It seems silly now, but at the time I hated it.  They wanted me to be ashamed of what I was good at but even then I knew that being good at words would prove helpful later on.

If you aren’t quite sure yet what you rock at, pick something you love to do and scope out the Non Fiction collection at your library.  It’s full of books on any topic you can think of.  So check something out and start getting awesome.

Want a real runner’s high?  Check out Runner’s World Magazine.

Want to hone your budding cooking skills?  Check out one of hundreds of cookbooks.

Want to finally tackle that comic you’ve been thinking of drawing?  We have books on that too!

Or if like me, writing is your thing check out any of these books to fine tune your submission for contest like the awesome and upcoming Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest.

Plus so many more!



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