Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Houston Artist David McClain at Friendswood Public Library

The City of Friendswood teamed up with the Portable on Demand Art project (P.O.D.A.), sponsored by Houston Arts Alliance, by displaying four pieces of artwork at the grassy area adjacent to the Friendswood Public Library’s parking lot. The four pieces chosen for display in Friendswood are entitled Aerosol Warfare, Box 13 Art Space Box of Curiosities, The Joanna and Metalab the Play. These art pods will be on display through Wednesday, October 5th.

Houston artist David McClain, representing Box 13 Art Space, was at the Friendswood Public Library to talk about their art pod entitled Box of Curiosities. David McClain has earned his MFA in Studio Photography from School of Art Institute of Chicago. He has taught photography at Rice University, has appeared in numerous solo and group shows, and has published four art books including Oleo, Hotel Chelsea, Lawyers, and New Paintings. David also has a permanent installation in collaboration with Kristy Peet entitled After Smithson (Limestone Jetty) at Lone Star College-Montgomery in Conroe, Texas.

(left to right) Artist David McClain; library staff members Christina Hicks, Keith Rogers, Karen Hart, and Mary Perroni


Friday, September 23, 2011

Library Lines Redux "The Witching Hour" October 2004

The Witching Hour by M. Riley

Children love a good scare! I remember spending nights with my friend Lee, barricaded behind beanbags and pillows awaiting whatever ghoul might wander through the bedroom door. As our imagination took over, the likelihood that such a ghoul would appear began to increase tenfold with each passing minute.

Crouched behind our makeshift fort and stocked with every projectile one could find in a nine-year-old's room, we would concoct elaborate attack and escape schemes well into the morning hours. Only sleep would save us from our moment of dread, but in the witching hour sleep was certainly our worst enemy. Sleep would mean horrible things even beyond our wildest imaginings. Our nine-year-old minds did the best they could to imagine the worst. The more outlandish the creature breaking through the bedroom window, the more heroic our deeds would seem after we slew this beast and saved the neighborhood from annihilation.

We would spend hours rigging the room to our ghostbuster satisfaction. When Ghoul A opens the front door, this string tied from knob to knob will pull open the top drawer of this dresser knocking over Lee's soccer trophy, which will then fall onto this skateboard causing it to roll under the ghouls foot thus tripping it to the floor, allowing time for the heroes to begin attack and escape mode. Ghoul B, coming through the window, had a similar fate involving hairspray and various kitchen chemicals.

I still swear that on at least two occasions, I saw this horrible beast peering in between the curtains of Lee's bedroom window. It was scaled and slimy green, with yellow fangs all crooked and long. It had reptilian eyes just like Lee's favorite pet gecko, only one hundred times as large. I'm sure Lee saw it as well, but by the time we could get his mom into the room the creature had already moved into the garage or on top of the roof. Soon the adults would be back in bed and we would be left alone to follow the noise of its tail scraping along the walls of this curst danger zone.

In the morning, Lee's mom would make her way under the booby traps and over the baseball bats and cans of hairspray. She would begin to wake up the two groggy-headed heroes with bribes of breakfast and a trip to the park. As the sun rose higher in the afternoon sky, the night of battling monsters would begin to fade as if all a bad, but exciting, dream. Yet even still, I remember those midnight hours as being as real as most everything I have encountered in all the days since. Maybe Lee and I were just plain lucky. Or maybe our hours of diligent planning impressed upon this fiend the need to spook elsewhere. Maybe it is still out there slithering to a bedroom window near you!

The Friendswood Public Library has a slew of haunted books and movies to keep the hairs raised and the heart pounding during this Halloween season. For the children, we have the ever-popular Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series by Alvin Schwartz or the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine, amongst dozens more Halloween books. For the grown-ups, try Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, or Neil Gaiman, or choose from nearly 200 horror dvds. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Q & A with Texas Poet Laureate Nominee Sybil Estess

The Friendswood Public Library was honored to host a poetry reading with 2009 Texas Poet Laureate nominee Sybil P. Estess and other Laura's Poetry Group poets including Sally Ridgway, Vivian Macias, and Kelly Patton.  These excellent poets are not to be missed if you get a chance to hear them read. Sybil also graciously accepted my invitation to contribute to From the Reference Desk in the below brief Q & A session:

1. What is the title of your new book?   My book title is "Maneuvers".

2. How would you describe your book?  It is a small book which includes all but one of my published poems, that have not been in my other three poetry books.  There are several poems included which concern my early childhood in Mississippi in the 1940s and 1950s.

3. Who are your favorite poets and why?  Favorite poets: Elizabeth Bishop (I did my dissertation on--for her descriptive powers and subtle epiphanies); Greg Kuzma (for his plain language); Mary Oliver (for her metaphors from nature).

4. What is your favorite film?  "Il-Postino"--because it deals with poetry and is set in beautiful country by a seaside.

5. Finish these statements:

The first time..."ever I saw your face." --(Song sung by Roberta Flack)--my favorite love song

Theres no good way..."to be drunk."

Those who say..."they have the Truth are dangerous."

My definition "of love is...that you never get bored with the person.  He/she is always interesting to you."

I'll always be...."naive."

One thing I found out lately..."is about addiction."

Sybil Estess--September 11, 2011

Some pictures from the Poetry Reading follow below:

left to right (Vivian Macias, Kelly Patton, Sybil Estess, Sally Ridgway)

Sybil P. Estess