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  • March 2019
    M T W T F S S
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Shut up and play: Come try Silent Library!

You don’t need to be made of solid muscle to play our version of the MTV show, Silent Library, and we promise not to try to make you vomit. We will try to make you laugh, though!

Silent Library

Tuesday, October 8, 3:30-5:30

When your friends are being humiliated with zany challenges, do you have the strength to just stand and watch? For example…have you ever seen someone make a sandwich using only their feet? Just like the popular MTV show, if you can stay silent while your friends are going berserk, we will give you prizes!

By now, we hope you know that we don’t usually give you the (shh) finger…but come on by for Silent Library, and we’ll make exceptions to that rule.

Want to play, but would rather see someone else humiliated than do it yourself?  Check out one of these books!

Schadenfreude, Baby! : a delicious look at the misfortunes of others (and the pleasures it brings us), by Laura Lee.

Why does it feel so good to see others feel so bad? Take a moment away from your own troubles to dig into the troubles of others. Right or wrong, you just might feel better.

I love you, Beth Cooper, by Larry Doyle.

Dennis was captain of the Debate Team. Beth Cooper was the head cheerleader. And until Dennis gave a totally unique graduation speech that went something like, “I love you, Beth Cooper!” neither she, nor her beefy Army boyfriend knew or cared who Dennis was.

Cringe: teenage diaries, journals, notes, poems, and abandoned rock operas, by Sarah Brown.

If you’ve ever read one of your own diaries from years gone by only to be filled with the sudden urge to light a match, buy a paper shredder, or move far far away, consider reading someone else’s loot, instead. If you’re extra nosy, there’s more like it here and here.

How to Survive Anything, by Rachel Bucholz.

From embarrassing parents to shark attacks – if knowledge is power, advice on these moments could be key to you staying alive.

“What’s that smell?” (oh, it’s me.) : 50 mortifying situations and how to deal, by Tucker Shaw.

Prom! Overflowing toilets! Zits! All of the horrible, very real what-ifs of adolescence and some thoughtful tips to go with them.


See you there!
Whitney, CLP – Main

Imani Winds are mindblowing

Happy Leap Day! In honor of this day, my post will be a little scattered: I’m going to start in one place and leap to whatever subjects it brings to my mind.

Last night I went to see a concert put on by the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society. How fitting that during Black History Month they had the formidable Imani Winds come to perform!  Even better, this Grammy-nominated wind quintet boasts a Pittsburgher as their bassoonist: Monica Ellis, who told us that she went to Schenley High School.

Seeing this performance was inspiring not just for its range of repertoire and the talent it represented – it brought to mind so many things to recommend that you can find right here in the library and for free online.

Watching the quintet perform piece after piece with distinctive personality and terrifying precision, I could only hope that this was the kind of fun career one of my favorite fictional clarinetists had in store: Jal from Skins (Seasons 1 & 2) (click to request from the catalog!).  Here’s a clip of her auditioning for a spot at University — fair warning, she’s just learned something that has her unsettled about her life and, being cranky, flings a swear word at one of the admissions officers.  This is not generally the type of behavior recommended for such occasions (something to note if you’re trying out for CAPA).

Imani Winds   performed a wide range of pieces, from the flautist Valerie Coleman’s own composition inspired by the Romani culture (“Tzigane”) to two traditional Klezmer tunes, to a Wind Quintet by a Czech composer who ultimately died in a concentration camp, to an amazing adaptation of “The Rite of Spring” by Stravinsky – a piece that originally caused a riot when it was first performed – and not just because it is a piece of music about a ritual sacrifice.

There’s a crazily-fascinating exploration of this story on this episode of Radiolab – Musical Language.  It discusses how too much dopamine may have caused the extreme reaction to Stravinsky’s music, and how a year later when the piece was performed again, changes in the brain’s perception of music made it the hit of the town! It’s available free to download.

If you are someone who hears “chamber music” and thinks “boring”, I challenge you to check out Imani Winds from the library, or on YouTube.  Go to a chamber music concert – student tickets are only $15!  There’s really nothing like seeing music being made in person.


And here are some other Eastern-tinged musical selections that could be of interest:

Kronos Quartet, Caravan

Arrangements of classical pieces based on Turkish, Yugoslav, and Spanish composers and musical traditions

Shakira – Ojos Así, from ¿Dónde están los ladrones?

My favorite Shakira album – sadly not available in the library, but the song is on her Greatest Hits cd, which is.  And there’s an english version on Laundry Service.

If you hear the words “chamber music” and “composer” think that’s my future! Check out the scholarship options for the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival – you can apply if you’re 16 and older.

Happy leaping!

-Tessa, CLP – East Liberty

Just Try to Remain Silent: Sign Up for The Silent Library Program

Do you think you could remain silent while someone plucked a hair from inside your nose?  Could you prevent yourself from laughing at the sight of a good friend being fed baby food while dressed in a diaper and bib?  Would you be able to refrain from squealing in horror after seeing yourself made up by a person wearing a blindfold?  If you answered yes to all of these questions, then you could win big on Tuesday, February 7th!  Just like the popular MTV game show, we’ll be holding our own version of Silent Library (minus the vomit) in the Main Teen Center.  We dare you to remain silent while you and your teammates humiliate yourselves whilst attempting outrageous and embarrassing stunts for prizes.  Registration for this event is required.  Reserve your spot today!

Want to participate, but you think you’d die of embarrassment?  Check out these books instead:

How to Survive Anything by Rachel Buchholz

Advice on surviving natural disasters, embarrassing moments, and social situations.

Schadenfreude, Baby!: A Delicious Look at the Misfortune of Others (and the Pleasure It Brings Us)

by Laura Lee

Taps into our universal longing to gawk and smirk at the people who stand—or fall—for all of us.

“What’s That Smell?” (Oh, It’s Me.): 50 Mortifying Situations and How to Deal

by Tucker Shaw

Tips for dealing with the embarrassment that is the teenage years.

Mega Traumarama!: Real Girls and Guys Confess More of Their Most Mortifying Moments!

from the Editors of Seventeen Magazine

Delight in the humiliation of your peers!

What to watch this winter

Over the weekend I was reading two of my favorite magazines:  Entertainment Weekly and US Weekly.  Both magazines had stories that previewed the upcoming new and returning TV shows.

One of the most popular shows, American Idol, starts its 9th season this Tuesday @ 8:00 PM.  Paula Abdul quit her position as a judge shortly after last season.  Ellen DeGeneres was hired as the new judge, and she begins her duties on February 9th.

Dave Karger, of Entertainment Weekly, asked her about her qualifications:

“You are the first Idol judge with no experience in the music industry, which some people have complained makes you unqualified.  Do you think it matters?”

Ellen replied:

“It’s not like I’m not a huge fan of music.  That accounts for something.  I’ve also been on stage, alone, trying to entertain an audience.  I started in stand-up for 15 years.  I know how important it is to reach that audience.  So I can put myself in their position.  It’s not necessarily singing, but it’s keeping an audience captivated.” 

A new show of note is the CW’s drama Life Unexpected.  A fifteen year old girl who has spent her whole life in foster care, locates and reunites with her biological parents.  Entertainment Weekly calls it “a sweet but sharp family series, in the vein of the old WB shows like Gilmore Girls and Everwood.”  I liked both of those shows, so I will definitely give Life Unexpected a try.

 American Idol

January 12 @ 8:00 PM on FOX

Life Unexpected

January 18 @ 9:00 PM on CW

Did you know that you can read and check out magazines at the library?

The branch libraries have dozens of interesting magazines.  All but the current issues can be checked out.

The Main Library’s First Floor–New and Featured Department has hundreds of magazines.  Take a look at the magazine collection in the Teen Department too! 


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