Archive for April, 2009

Extended Study Hours in the Monroe Library

What you should know about the Monroe Library’s extended study schedule
ends this Friday, May 8 at 6pm.

  1. A Loyola ID is required to use the library during the extended study period.
  2. Users must present their valid Loyola ID to enter and remain the library at 9pm Sunday through Thursday, and after 6pm on Friday and Saturday.
  3. Only members of the Loyola community, with a valid Loyola ID, will be permitted to use the library during extended study hours.
  4. The 2nd and 3rd floors are reserved for quiet study.
  5. Group study rooms are available for group-use only on a first come, first serve basis. Two LU IDs are required to check out a room. Groups can also work together in the Learning Common on the first floor.
  6. Help us, and our terrific WFF staff, keep the library clean and free of litter.
  7. Please, do not leave your valuables unattended.
  8. University Police has added additional patrols during this period. Please report any problems to our dedicated student assistants, or to University Police at x3434.
  9. Free coffee and tea will be available after midnight.

The Monroe Library is dedicated to providing our students a safe, productive, and pleasant study environment.

Good luck on your exams!

Four Novels of the 1960s by Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick

Dick, Philip K. Four Novels of the 1960s. New York: Library of America. 2007.
ISBN: 1598530097
Call Number: PS3554 .I3 A6 2007

In many ways, Philip K. Dick is the quintessential science fiction author. His novels are rich with ideas, dizzying in scope, and profoundly concerned with the human condition in a world made sick with progress. On the other hand, his novels are often unwieldy, his writing at times an afterthought. It would surprise no one -  having read a novel like “A Scanner Darkly” or “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch” – to learn that Dick himself was prone to hallucinations, mysticism, and extensive, punishing drug abuse. Even without the frequent (and typically institutional) drug use in his novels, they are clearly the product of a mind straining against itself or, possibly, a world out of joint. Both are frequent themes in his work.

It would be impossible to sum up even one of the four novels in this collection using this space. Needless to say, they represent some of the best of his work. “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch” contains some of Dick’s wildest ideas (which is saying something) while “The Man In the High Castle” is a more conventional – yet totally entertaining – alternate history set in the early 1960s wherein the US has lost World War II. “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” would later be reduced to “Blade Runner” and probably remains his best-known work for that reason. However, “Ubik” is his virtuoso performance: formally, it is his most readable and densely layered work. Illusive, allusive, elusive, it is one of the very few Dick novels that puts it all together without falling apart. His vision of a commoditized future is only one element with the ring of prophecy to it, and like the best works of the genre it poses many more questions than it hopes to answer.

More than describing fantastic worlds or space battles, Dick’s best work seeks the human element in a confusing and shifting world. And what is most surprising, of course, is how familiar it all is.

- Phil Rollins, Learning Technologies Developer (prllns on Goodreads)

Love is the Devil on DVD

Image from amazon.com

Image from amazon.com

Love is the devil: a study for a portrait of Francis Bacon. Written and directed by John Maybury.
Publisher Number: Strand Releasing Home Video: 9834-2
Call number: ND 497 .B16 S92 1988

I have to admit I love watching films about artists.  It’s amusing to seeing how creative sensibilities are translated and represented through movies.  The “at work in the studio” scenes are what I typically wait for.  In studio scenes, most movies tend to go for the over-dramatic, portraying some frazzled moment of feverish resolve.  Having done my time in art school, I’ve never known over-dramatic flailing  to be typical studio behavior.  So when I see a film that portrays studio time for what it is, sitting, staring at the wall, followed by moving things about, then staring at the wall again, you know you’ve found a good one.

Love is the Devil is an artist biopic worth seeing.  John Maybury‘s film is about infamous British painter Francis Bacon.  This film is many things, severe, horrific, unnerving, depressing, crude, and yes, sometimes over-dramatic.  But these are all words that could be used to describe Bacon’s paintings, many of which have even been used to describe Bacon himself.  I think what Maybury does best is create an impression of Francis Bacon without trying to explain him.

Maybury’s film is based on Daniel Farsen’s 1993 biography The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon.  Farsen was a friend of Bacon’s and a Colony Room regular, and that shows.  The viewer definitely has this fly-on-the-wall perspective through out the film.  Even though it all plays out like some relentless Greek tragedy, it simultaneously feels mythic and true to life.  The cast is excellent as well, with Derek Jacobi as Bacon, and Daniel Craig playing George Dyer.  Of course, I could go on and on about the sets, the cinematography, and how Maybury infused Bacon’s own imagery and obsession with confined spaces into key scenes, but such things are better viewed than described.

A warning to the conventional or faint of heart, this film contains moments of amorality, homoeroticism, nudity, sadomasochism, disturbing dream sequences, suicide, and down right crass behavior.  But it’s a film about Francis Bacon, the man who painted a screaming Pope flanked by sides of beef, unicorns and rainbows are not to be expected.  It is of course, all artfully put together.

An excellent companion to this film is The Brutality of Fact by British art critic, David Sylvester.  It’s a collection of transcribed interviews between Bacon and Sylvester spanning from 1962 -1986.  These interviews focus mainly on his work, techniques and ideas about art. It’s a frank discussion, in Bacon’s own words, about his obsession with images and his work habits.  So if you care to know more about Francis Bacon, especially his work, it’s well worth the read.

-Michelle Melancon, Bindery Specialist (Baking with Medusa at Blogspot)

The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg

Konigsburg, E.L. The View from Saturday. New York, N.Y. : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1996.
ISBN: 068980993X; 0590129007
Call Number: PZ7 .K8352 VI 1996; PZ7 .K8352 VI 1997

Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian.  Together, they form the Souls – the only sixth grade team to beat the seventh grade (and possibly the eighth) in the history of Epiphany Middle School.  Each sixth grader has journeyed to the heart of Epiphany – from as far as the Sargasso Sea to as near as the local school bus.  Each Soul tells a magical tale that weaves together turtles, bullies, strange weddings, laxatives, underdogs, and more. The View from Saturday brings together “four jewel-like short stories” – one for each team member – and brings back the deliciousness of purposeful conversation, laughter, and above all, 4:00 tea.
Newbery Award Winner.

-Ria Newhouse, Learning Commons Coordinator

Woody Guthrie: Art Works by Woodie Guthrie

Guthrie, Woodie.Woody Guthrie : Art Works. New York : Rizzoli, 2005.
ISBN: 0847827380
Call Number: NC139 .G88 A4 2005

A story: when I was in 4th grade, there was this school fair, and all the classes had to get up on a stage and sing two songs.  I can still remember the fifth graders dancing around with pillow cases with smiley faces over their heads singing “Short People” by Randy Newman.  It haunts my nightmares.  I also have a strange aversion to Lee Greenwood. Fun times. There was one good thing that came out of that day: the other song we had to sing was “This Land is Your Land,” and so I was introduced to the work of Woody Guthrie.

Though most people know Guthrie as a musician, he was also a prolific and gifted artist.  In 2005, Nora Guthrie, director of the Woody Guthrie Archives and Woody’s daughter, and graphic artist Steven Brower released Woody Guthrie: Art Works.  Art Works is an extensive collection of Guthrie’s paintings, pencil sketches, and pen and ink drawings taken from the Woody Guthrie Archives, and punctuated with occasional essay by Brower (and bookended by a preface from Nora Guthrie and a forward from Billy Bragg, and an afterward by Jeff Tweedy from Wilco).

The pieces in Art Works serve as a documentary of both Guthrie’s life  (sometimes literally-a number of the pieces are drawn over journal entries and letters) and times.

-Aimee Cabrera, Learning Commons Day Manager

Bukowski: Born into this on DVD

Image from amazon.com

Bukowski: Born into this Pictures; From Earth presentation ; Directed and produced by John Dullaghan.
Los Angeles: Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2006.
Call Number: DVD-000370

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
he’s
in there.

-Excerpt from “Bluebird”, Charles Bukowski

A contemporary of the Beat Generation, the poet and novelist Charles Bukowski was born in Germany and raised in Los Angeles, California. After a period of travel in his youth, Bukowski returned to Los Angeles where he spent decades writing poetry, short stories, and novels in relative obscurity while living a rough and tumble personal life. A poet of the streets, Bukowski’s straightforward language details a life of booze, bars and women, but also humanity and love.

Despite Bukowski’s association with hard living, he was never a denizen of skid row.  Bukowski supported himself with various jobs throughout his life, including over a decade working for the United States Postal Service (the basis for his novel Post Office.) Success found Bukowski later in life. The first published book of his poetry, It Catches My Heart in its Hands, was produced in 1963 when he was 43 years old (a copy of this handcrafted book is housed in Special Collections and Archives.)  From there his fame, and notoriety, grew. Since his death in 1994 at the age of 73, books of Bukowski’s poetry and correspondence continue to be published, and new audiences continue to discover his writing.

A difficult person from a troubled background, Bukowski emerges from Born Into This as a complicated figure. Rough, crude, and often profane, Bukowski is also witty, intelligent and sensitive. Filmmaker John Dullaghan skillfully weaves interviews with Bukowski’s friends, family and well-known admirers along with footage and interviews with Bukowski from the 1970s and 1980s to produce a compelling portrait of a tenacious artist. Derided as a dirty old man, celebrated as the 20th century’s Walt Whitman, Born Into This shows Bukowski to be something of both, but also much more: a human being.

-Trish Nugent, Special Collections Librarian/Archivist

Most of the time…

…book displays get made because there’s some event, and we want to highlight that event or all of the awesome things that we have in our collection (who knew we had pop-up books before National Procrastination Week? Crazy!), or both. Sometimes, though, book displays get made because someone sees something really cool in the stacks, or in a book cart, or on a table somewhere in the library, and thinks, “We should make a book display with this.” And then that someone (okay, usually it’s me) looks for some way to link an event to a book display, however tenuous that link may be. I mention this just so that you know that I know I’m reaching. Here goes….

Friday, April 10, marked the 34th anniversary of the death of photographer Walker Evans (okay, it’s not as bad in writing as it was in my head). Evans’ is probably best known for his photographic contribution to James Agee’s book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, which documented 3 families in rural Alabama in the 1930′s. The series was photographed by Evans during a leave from his work documenting rural life in the United States for the Farm Security Administration . Later in life, Evans worked for Time Magazine, and taught at the Yale School of Art and Architecture. Encyclopedia Britannica Online writes about this far more eloquently than I do. And yes, to mark the anniversary of Evans’ death, we’ve created a book display on the new book shelf, outside of the Living Room in the Learning Commons. Come by and check it out. You can also check out a list of books on Evans, including some Special Collections titles that aren’t on display, here.

-Aimee