Friday, December 21, 2012

Hello, Winter by featured poet Richard Peake

Hello, Winter 

Again I greet you, winter morning sun
announcing rituals of another day
as you climb over the shrimp boats offshore. 

I want to tell you that the summer was great
despite the heat and violent thunderstorms
that blasted my burgeoning garden’s plants. 

Even now I am still eating the fruits
and savoring last juices of the vines
whose biting sweetness delights my tongue. 

I do not look forward to heavy snows
though once snow men and throwing snowballs
engendered my shouts of glee. I wait quietly.
Sharp winds tremble my leaf-dropping trees.
So cast your shadows on my silent porch.
It’s too late to avoid cold loneliness.

Richard Peake
Avocet, Winter, 2012
FPL Poetry Series presents a reading with featured poets Richard Peake and John Gorman on Wednesday, January 30 at 7pm.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Bells and Songs last night at FPL

Hope Lutheran Handbell Choir, under the direction of Stephanie Poyner, performed 12 Christmas songs last night at Friendswood Public Library. Soprano vocalists Amanda Gonzales and Carol Chew also sang several of these songs with Poyner’s piano accompaniment.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Interview with local film producer and screenwriter Michelle Mower

Local producer and screenwriter Michelle Mower will present Writing Independent Screenplays for Film at the Friendswood Public Library on Wednesday, January 9 from 6:30 to 8:30pm. This free program will provide basic instruction on writing a screenplay. Mower is heavily involved and credited within the Texas film community, and her debut film, "The Preacher's Daughter", premiered on Lifetime Movie Network on August 31st, 2012.

Michelle Mower agreed to answer some questions related to film and filmmaking in this recent online interview featured below:


MR: What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

MM: I’m a storyteller. As a child I wanted to write novels and plays. As I got older, my interests shifted to screenwriting and filmmaking - which tend to go hand-in-hand in the indie film world.


MR: Tell us a little about The Preacher’s Daughter and how it came to be made.

MM: The story has been with me my whole life. I am a preacher’s daughter, so I thought I had a unique voice in telling a story from that character’s perspective. The plot is fictional, but many of the characters are derived from people I knew growing up.

MR: Could you describe the pros and cons of being a filmmaker?

MM: There are many pros and cons, especially working in Houston. The cons are typically related to lack of funding, but indie filmmakers are very adept at overcoming funding obstacles to get their stories told. Fortunately, we live in an age where technology for filmmaking is more accessible and affordable than ever. Almost anyone can buy (or borrow) a camera and tell a story. That’s a definite “pro.” Actually, being forced to make a film on such a tight budget can be a pro as well. First of all, it forces you to be efficient and to maximize your resources. Secondly, it impresses the heck out of people working in the industry in L.A. They can’t make commercial quality films as inexpensively as I can in Houston. So, when I tell people in L.A. what my budget was on “The Preacher’s Daughter,” I typically see jaws drop. Another big “pro” would be getting to meet and work with talented people that you admire. I love collaborating, and it’s always a joy to work with people who are equally as passionate about the process.

MR: Who is your favorite film director and why?

MM: Of all time, I’d have to say Stanley Kubrick. He was a true genius and visionary. I’m also a big fan of Michael Winterbottom’s work as well. I love how gritty and emotionally charged his films are. He’s never allowed his success to commercialize his work. He is a true indie at heart. I love that. 

MR: Could you name some of your favorite films and why?

MM: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, To Kill A Mockingbird, Muriel’s Wedding, Crash – I love character-driven films in general.

MR: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in filmmaking?

MM: I would first recommend that they watch films. Not just the big budget movies playing at the Megaplex, but indie films as well. It’s the best education you can get as a filmmaker. Get involved in local film groups like Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) or Women In Film and Television (WiFT). Take their film workshops. Network. Meet other people who are also interested in making films. Then, get your hands on a camera and start shooting something. You’re not going to be Kubrick starting out. But you know what? Neither was he. The more you make films, the better you’ll get. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Skill to do comes from doing.” That is especially true in filmmaking.

MR: And finally, could you tell me something about Southwest Alternative Media Project (SWAMP)?

MM: Sure! SWAMP is a 35-year old non-profit media arts organization that offers a variety of programs and services to the local independent film community – including professional development workshops, after school programs for youth, summer film camps, fiscal sponsorship, networking opportunities, access to insurance for independent artists, etc. It’s the oldest media arts organization in Texas, and one of the oldest in the country. So, they’ve been around a long time and have seen many a filmmaker come and go. Some have gone on to great success. For instance, they were the first organization to give a filmmaking grant to Richard Linklater for “Slackers.” Their tv series “The Territory” is the longest running showcase of indie short films on broadcast tv in the country, and they produce it right here in Houston at Channel 8. I was very fortunate to work for SWAMP for 8 years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. So, yeah, SWAMP rocks!

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Bouquet of Poems with Dodie Messer Meeks

As alluded to in an earlier post, past FPL Poetry Series poet and artist Dodie Meeks has recently had her illustrations and poems published in A Bouquet of Poems: for children of all ages. A Bouquet of Poems was published by The Lyric, the oldest poetry magazine in the U.S.A. devoted to traditional verse.  We hope to have Dodie back to talk about her book sometime in the New Year.

About the illustrations:

“Dodie Meeks’ brilliant watercolors bring these poems to life… By turns dreamlike and hauntingly realistic, these vivid and riveting paintings will stay with the viewer long after the book is returned to the shelf.  Meeks is the rare painter whose work appeals with equal power both to the child and the aficionado of distinguished art.”

 -- Larry D. Thomas, 2008 Texas Poet Laureate

Dodie Meek’s bold yet subtle art will fire up any child’s imagination.  Just looking at these paintings will send a child’s heart on amazing wanderings.” 

-- Chuck Taylor, author of One True Cat


A sample of her work, poems and illustrations, from A Bouquet of Poems:
Every Day, Every Day 

Marissa, Marissa, you bad sleepyhead,
I’m yanking your blankie right off your bed
And icing your middle.  I have a whole cup.
Marissa, Marissa, you’d better wake up.

I’ll make your walls shiver.  I’ll pound on your door.
I’ll dump all your marbles all over the floor
For your father is fuming. Your mother’s in tears.
It’s time to quit faking. I’m on to you, Dear.

I’ll pry up your eyelids, I know you’re inside.
You can’t hide from grandma.  I’ll say “Open Wide,”
And toothpaste your tonsils and make you spit foam
And I’ll croak like a Grackle and never go home.

Dodie Messer Meeks


Riding with G’Ma Dodie

Gramma Dodie’s Cadillac
smells like a banana,
from peelings left in there from when
we gave a ride to Hannah.

Gramma Dodie’s Cadillac
has papers on the floor,
and envelopes and photographs
and poetry galore

and maybe a French fried onion
and maybe a small baboon
and maybe a parrot in a tree
planning to fly off soon.

Gramma Dodie’s Cadillac
is comfy soft and mellow.
It has a lap, just like her lap
and she’s going to paint it yellow!

Dodie Messer Meeks
Scarcely Any

Scarcely any snails can do

Scarcely any flying.

With those houses on their backs

What’s the point of trying?

Dodie Messer Meeks


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ruth Lay honored for 27 years service on FPL Board

Ruth Lay was honored last night for 27 years of service on the Friendswood Public Library Board. Mayor Kevin Holland read a proclamation declaring November 27, 2012 Ruth Lay Day in Friendswood. Congratulations Ruth from the entire library staff!
Ruth Lay with former Board Chair Ken Gilbreath

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Bells: music to celebrate the Season at FPL

Hope Lutheran Handbell Choir with Music Director Stephanie Poyner and special guest vocalists Amanda Gonzales and Carol Chew present Christmas Bells - music to celebrate the Season.

Monday, December 10th at 7pm

Monday, November 19, 2012

3 poems by FPL Poetry Series poet Richard Peake

FPL Poetry Series presents a reading with featured poets Richard Peake and John Gorman on Wednesday, January 30 at 7pm. A native Virginian, Richard Peake became a Texas resident after retiring from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He published early poems in Impetus alongside John Ciardi and in The Georgia Review. Collections of his poetry include Wings Across… and Poems for Terence published by Vision Press, which also included poems of his in A Gathering at the Forks. He published Birds and Other Beasts in 2007. A member of The Poetry Society of Texas he is published in numerous books and journals including the Pushcart Prize nominated Shine Journal. A life-long naturalist, a father and grandfather, he teaches birds, Shakespeare, and writing in OLLi.                         


Finding Hidden Beauty           

Shangri-La Shack, May 2012 

Like a shadow moving through brush
a small creature eludes scrutiny
of a boy using old binoculars.
Following growth on the ditch bank
this chase continues for what seems hours
until the skulker lights on a branch
revealing a pastel sparrow
crest raised, an inquiring gazer
who can’t resist a closer look
at the binocular bug eyes
of the creature chasing it.
The boy eyes the buffy breast band
on the delicately lined breast,
its stickpin, the soft grayish face.
Knowing this creature new to him
causes trembling excitement
as he thumbs pages of his guide
for the picture he remembers.
Finally, there it is, the bird
flies from the page—Lincoln’s sparrow,
not thought to be here, the book says,
not wintering in Virginia,
but there it is, still sitting where
light reveals its muted colors,
a quiet charm always thrilling him
whenever Guy meets it again
to imbibe its pale soft beauty
as he shares with others the knowledge
this secretive, furtive sparrow
spends its winters in concealment
where they have never thought to look.

~Richard Peake


Rock Dusk                           

Enigmatist, Vol. 7, July, 2012 

Looking into myself
I try to identify the layers
accumulated under the skin,
deposits from my late Cretaceous
or my Cenozoic. I chip at the rock
although my personal geology
is told in disconnected stories
seemingly lost in a murky void—

not eons, but years seem ages
I seek to remember
to draw bones of being
from the rock face of dead times
encased in old strata
many radiant with happy moments
others dark and heavy with guilt—
herbivore and carnivore fossils.

Through these layers of life
run crevices through which flow
the river of  the past, its streams
carrying their load of sediment
into the light of the present
where I sift among sand and stone
to find remnants of earlier life—
a paleontologist of ego bones.

~Richard Peake

They Couldn’t Wait                         

HCC-NW College Review, Apr., 2012 

The Dodo bird hadn’t heard
men thought it
            to see
                        but not to eat.
The Dodo lacked prescience
he didn’t know
how many hungry jowls
liked chicken dinners
       wouldn’t wait
                  for Col. Sanders. 

~Richard Peake

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Road to Chimayó by Erica Lehrer

From her book Dancing with Ataxia

The Road to Chimayó
by Erica Lehrer 

It’s not that I believe in miracles
but I set out one morning to visit a place
where miracles are believed to happen.
I imagine spooning the sacred dirt into a bag,
leaving my cane among the rows of broken
crutches, walkers and canes left by others
and strolling unaided into the daylight. 

The road to Chimayó drops into a slot
of the Rio Grande, snaking past orchards
and fruit stands waiting for their season.
I take in the views of the hard red earth
and snow-dusted exposures, rolling down
the windows to inhale cold air and meditate
as much as one can while still driving. 

The trip, although scenic, seems long – too long.
Somewhere, somehow, I have become part
of a lengthy funeral procession, the fifth car
behind the hearse.  I dare not pass for fear of bad karma,
so I turn the radio off and my headlights on.
I mouth a prayer for the deceased, thinking
“What a lovely place to die!” 

Finally, Chimayó, New Mexico’s answer to Lourdes!
You’ve been, no? Then you know how its thin air holds you
in a healing embrace, its land fed by the Sangre de Christo
-- a pilgrimage site of promise.  Inside the adobe sanctuary,
I pause before baby shoes, prom and graduation photos
of teens lost to drugs or fast cars, of faces of loved ones
in uniform and, everywhere, fervent, handwritten prayers. 

I stoop to gather my quota of brown dust,
scooping it into a small bag and fall to my knees.
Some people eat the dirt, believing in its curative powers;
Others rub it on afflicted parts. I think: I will do anything
-ANYTHING – to have my ease of movement restored.
I watch others come and go, lost in prayer.  The sacred dirt
seems to replenish itself from below the sanctuary floor. 

Then I do an uncharacteristic thing: I cry.  No one notices –
except a man with weathered skin and kind brown eyes.
When, moments later, I am unable to get to my feet,
he steps forward and offers me his arm, which I take.
As my hand closes over his wrist, I realize
that his arm is plastic.  We walk together
into the blinding sunlight of the sanctuary’s garden.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Art Exhibit a Success

The Friendswood Public Library hosted an art exhibit featuring local artists Ruby Allen, Glena Schlehuber, and Billie Morris.  Visitors were able to view these wonderful works of art and meet with each artist. Harpist Mariah Foreman entertained the audience with her skilled playing. The event was very well-attended and well-received and the library plans to host more artists in the future.
l to r: Billie Morris, Glena Schlehuber, Ruby Allen
Harpist Mariah Forman
Library Director Mary Perroni with artist Glena Schlehuber
Margie Riley (l) with artist Ruby Allen (r) getting ready for exhibit


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Boisverts' refurbish Galveston See-Wall mural

Friendswood library patrons Joe and Linda Boisvert were recently featured in a Galveston Daily News article entitled Community Comes Together to Paint by Galveston Island Beach Patrol chief, Peter Davis.  The article details the Boisvert’s effort to refurbish the See-Wall mural that runs on the seawall from 61st to the Pleasure Pier at 25th Street. This 15 year old mural is two and a half miles long, covers 65,000 square feet and is the largest painting by numbers on the planet.  14,000 people shared in the original painting of the See-Wall mural. Vic Maceo and article author Peter Davis initiated the project and had the original vision 15 years ago. Joe and Linda Boisvert are currently working on a section around 54th street.
Speaking with Linda, she described how the elements had really diminished the original artwork.  She described her husband’s ability to step back and visualize the original work, tracing with magic marker the outer lines where the paint is completely gone. She said that she got to meet people from all over the country who were staying at nearby hotels. Both locals and guests showed great interest in their work and wanted to find out more about what they were doing.  The pictures below are from their first refurbishing effort.

Friday, October 26, 2012

How to Become a Mummy: Classic Movie Night

Our very own Michelle Farthing got mummified to introduce our Classic Movie Night feature, Boris Karloff’s The Mummy. The Friendswood Public Library hosts Classic Movie Night every other Thursday at 6:30pm. Our next feature is Adam’s Rib starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn on Thursday, November 8 at 6:30pm.  Arrive 15 minutes early for an introduction by UHCL Film Curator, Sonia Hernandez. Visit the Adult Programs Schedule found from the Friendswood library’s home page to learn about upcoming Movie Night features.