Ah, it's 2009, finally. Not that 2008 was all that bad...I mean...except for the beginning of the end of Western civilization. What do you want, things change! It's hard to believe this blog started back at the end of 2006. It's been a part of my life for so long, and now, as I'm nearing the end of library school, I'm nearing the end of this project as well. I never expected this blog to get popular - and it hasn't - but thanks a lot to everyone who still checks it despite my extremely erratic update schedule. Ok, enough sentiment for tonight. So, I went to a library last Thursday. It was a delightful branch out in the heard of Bed-Stuy, on Lewis Avenue. I am speaking of none other than the Macon Branch.
Location: 361 Lewis Ave. at Macon St.
Transport: F train to Jay St.; A train to Utica Ave.
Items: Northwest Passage: The Annotated Collection by Scott Chantler; The Essential Bessie Smith (CD); The African Queen (DVD)
Date: Thursday, January 8, 2009
The last couple weeks have been very busy for me, though I haven't been working or in school or doing anything "traditionally time-consuming" like that. I went out to Indiana with my brother for the holidays to visit my mom and stepdad, where there was much merrymaking, eating, bowling, and CD purchasing. I watched The Prestige for the first time, and I must say, watch it if you haven't yet; it is probably even better than a Batman vs. Wolverine movie would've been. Also David Bowie=Tesla, can't miss. Then I came back to New York just in time to receive my distinguished British guests Alex and Lenny, the latter of whom accompanied me on this library journey! No, I didn't force her, she wanted to. Wait, that sounded bad.
Anyway, when I think of Bed-Stuy, I usually picture the parts where various friends of mine have lived: somewhat run-down, not much in the way of stores or restaurants except bodegas, and cops in riot gear that will search you if you ride your bike two car lengths on the sidewalk up to your apartment. Well, things are clearly changing, at least in this area, and hopefully not just because of gentrification. There were a number of nice stores on Lewis Avenue, including Brownstone Books and the delightfully named Bread Stuy. There was a nice little park right off the subway, and the library itself was teeming with patrons of all ages. It was apparently renovated from 2006-2008, partially to add the African American Heritage Center, a large wonderful room filled with material on African American history and culture. It was definitely one of the nicest branches I've been to yet, and there aren't many left to visit.
I knew very little about Bessie Smith before I got the CD. Two disc set, actually. I still don't but I have listened to it, and it is some really soulful, amazing blues. I get the sense that two discs isn't really enough to encapsulate her career, but I am really enjoying it. The African Queen is excellent. I'm not the hugest Humphrey Bogart fan, and I don't go out of my way to watch old movies just because they're "classics," but this is a really excellent movie. Lauren Bacall fits the role perfectly, and I really identified with Bogie's character, even if he is in a situation unlike any I'll ever be in. The main reason I got the movie, oddly enough, is that it was on this list the Onion A.V. Club made about great movies that have never had a Region 1 DVD release. I read the article, and then a week later I went to the library only to see an African Queen DVD, with all the writing in both English and Chinese, looking back at me. I checked it out (using the somewhat buggy self checkout system that most of the libraries have now for some reason) and lo and behold, it's a Region 0 (all region) DVD. So, the A.V. Club was technically right, but in spirit, wrong. Also they new redesign is terrible. Anyway, awesome movie! I haven't read Northwest Passage yet, but it looks to be an excellent historical graphic novel intended for young adults. In other words, perfect for me.
I'm pretty exhausted from all this not working since I left my lass job (I miss you Housing Works!) but tomorrow I start my new job cataloging at NYU! Woo-hoo! Soon I'll be tired all over again. But the brainless, working and studying too much kind, as opposed to the weird, anxious, "aren't i supposed to be doing something!?" kind. Yeah. Ok, it's probably picture time now.
Lenny gives this branch two thumbs up!!
There it is.
A cool church nearby.
So that's it 'til next time. Except for one thing. This has nothing to do with libraries (in my case) but I just finished reading an amazing book of critical essays by George Orwell, All Art Is Propaganda. Each one made me see things in a way I never had before, they were depressing (mostly) but also uplifting (at times), and the cover doesn't look at all like amazon has it. Ok, I'm off! My first paying library job ever starts tomorrow. I've come a long way from the unemployed 40 drinking days. On paper, I mean.