Turning 50

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Yesterday, the main branch of the library celebrated the 50th anniversary of its present location on the corner of 7th Avenue and Macleod Trail.  There were a number of free events which took place at the library throughout the day.

Libraries have always held a special place in my heart as a repository of knowledge, wisdom and critical thought; while also providing the tools, access and resources needed to achieve the same.  It has always been this way ever since my mother or grandmother probably introduced me to libraries as a young child.  This was followed in grade two or three when I first helped out as a library assistant in my elementary school after classes were done for the day.

Our relationship has only grown since that time as we pursue knowledge and the love of the written word together.

There is nothing quite like browsing stacks of musty, well-loved books or touching the hand-written manuscript and being able to connect with the physicality and history that comes from that uninterrupted one-on-one dialogue.  It is a special moment when one can pick up a book to read; then opening the page to see a book plate of a well-respected expert in the field that has passed on and/or seeing a personal inscription from the author on the frontispiece.  It makes that personal connection that much more real than anything the internet will ever be able to provide.

Like many things in the internet age, libraries and archives have had to change and the tools that I remember as a child no longer have currency or have become obsolete and archaic.

Soon the main branch of the library will close and move to a new location in East Village behind City Hall.  Along with that move there will be changes as the library changes with the times and the reality of how information is collected, disseminated and used.  It may also potentially change the look of this street corner as the building has an uncertain future once the library moves out.

I will be looking forward seeing the plans in the months and years to come.

Happy 50th Anniversary to a long-time friend, the Calgary Public Library – main branch.

Get ready for Beakernight

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Beakernight is tonight.

I was out this afternoon as the robots were getting set up for the music concert in East Village.  The kids will love it and so will the adults.  It all starts at 8pm and will cover the area around Olympic Plaza, East Village, the RiverWalk and Victoria Park.

What you will see tonight:

Come for the fun.  Stay for the dancing and party!!!

It will be a plethora of sensory overload!!!  How awesome is that!!

Remember also that tomorrow is the final day of Maker Faire YYC at Alberta College of Art and Design from 10:00am – 5:00pm (see http://www.makerfaireyyc.ca/)

Oh, oh, OH, Oh!!!

And the Catharsis Catapult is happening to see how far you can toss your crap (or your ex’s crap) using a catapult on the grounds of Fort Calgary between 1:00-3:00pm.

How much more awesome is when you put it all together!!!!  It might almost be as awesome as Nuit Blanche was last year!

Who IS the real Macoco?

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I unabashedly wear my heart on my sleeve with pride when it comes to opera.  I love it.

There is something about all the entanglements, drama, tragedies, betrayals, music, sets, the languages and how it all comes together that I enjoy.  I must admit there are some performances that I enjoy more than others – but that is to be expected.  I have been looking forward to this first Opera in the Village since last summer when I first heard about it when I was out for a walk with a neighbour.  We happened upon a live operatic performance on the RiverWalk where it was mentioned this new opera festival was planned this summer.  I have been interested since then.

Thursday, a friend from out of town was here on business.  After her meetings, we met up and had drinks on the patio in the sun at Diner Deluxe.  We then went for a walk along the river to attend the evening performance of Arias in the Afternoon in East Village.  While there we heard a well-put together hour-long, narrated collection of works from three separate operas.  It was interesting to see the performance, as many of them I had seen them on Stephen Avenue Mall during a lunch hour earlier this month promoting the Cowtown Opera Company.

Last night (Friday) I was excited to see the movie The Pirate, 1948 starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly which was projected onto the side of the Simmon’s Building after the scheduled Gilbert and Sullivan performance of the Pirates of Penzance had ended. I had never seen the movie before, so was looking forward to it –especially since the music was written by the great American composer of musicals – Cole Porter (who wrote Kiss Me, Kate which was written the same year this movie was produced).

The night before, my friend and I talked to one of the volunteers and they suggested that we should bring a collapsible chair and I am glad that I did.

Like a good opera – this movie had its twists and turns in the plot.

Briefly the plot centred around a trio of people – the village girl, Manuela (played by Judy Garland); the town Mayor, Don Pedro (played by Walter Slezak) whom she is betrothed to marry; and a travelling circus actor, Serafin (played by Gene Kelly).  Manuela had a deep crush on the villainous and infamous pirate “Mack the Black” Macoco.  Both Don Pedro and Serafin at various times throughout the movie, make claims that each of them was the real Macoco.  To find out who is the real Macoco, like a good opera, one must wait to the end to find out.

Tonight the movie will be The Princess Bride, 1987 which has been described as a “classic fairy tale, with swordplay, giants, an evil prince, a beautiful princess, and yes, some kissing (as read by a kindly grandfather)” – based on William Goldman’s novel of the same name.  It stars Peter Falk as the narrator/grandfather; Robin Wright as Buttercup; Cary Elwes as Westley; and Chris Sarandon as Prince Humperdinck.  Like the movie last night there are parallels between the twists and turns of opera; and the central role of literature and the written word.  It should be a beautiful night to sit under the stars and watch a movie.

The performance starts at around 10:45pm, and I would suggest bringing a folding chair if possible, although there is some seating available.

My thanks to Calgary Opera for including this type of programming in the festival.  For a full list of programmes that are available during the remainder of the weekend visit http://www.calgaryopera.com/arghh