Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Only a few more months 'till we get Bernard back...

For those of you who missed his excellent speech at this year's Annual Meeting of the Library Society, here's part-time Charleston resident, full time friend of the Library Society, and all-around awesome guy Bernard Cornwell, delivering the commencement speech for Emerson College. Not many commencement speakers manage to keep their audience awake... Bernard got them on their feet, earning a standing ovation by the end of his address. If you've got ten minutes, spend it watching this:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Off, to the land of cheesesteaks and Tastycakes!

Well, your loyal blogger is about to take his first vacation day of the year.  The US men's national soccer team has their last home match before the World Cup in Philly this weekend, and that's where I shall be.  I couldn't be more excited about my first visit to a city that's been so well depicted in art and culture- Philadelphia, thirtysomething, Boy Meets World, Dawn of the Dead, 12 Monkeys, the opening credits to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, One Life to Live, Always Sunny... okay, most screen depictions of Philadelphia have been kinda terrifying, or at least kinda depressing.  Still, great art museum, great music and sculpture, and I get to watch us whip Turkey's keister... pretty great.

But what I'm missing is going to be pretty great, too: the CSO Spirituals Ensemble is performing here at the Library Society this Saturday (May 29th) at 7:00 PM.  Tickets are $21, and are available through Piccolo Spoleto.  The concert, Circa 1748: Bridging Oral and Literary Traditions, is a joint project of the Ensemble and the Library Society, and will explore traditional historical connections between vocal and written arts.  Mostly, it's going to be the CSO Spirituals Ensemble doing what they do best, which is being awesome.  I might be missing Saturday's performance, but I was able to make it to their rehearsal last night: they're going to rock the roof off.  Also great, Literary Festival next week.  See you there!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ed il vostro uccello può cantare

Monday night's Dixie, Denim, and Drinks was a smashing success, and if you missed it, you really missed out.  We would like to give a big thanks to all of the performers- Laura Ball, Peter Kiral, Courtney Sharp, Edoardo Carpenedo, and Erica Carpenedo- and hope that they'll be back to perform for us again.  While we're big fans of "quiet in the library", this concert certainly showcased the joy of a little occasional noise around here!

So we are now officially "warmed up" for Spoleto; on to Piccolo proper.  First up is another great concert called Circa 1748.  This is a joint project of the CLS and the CSO Spiritual Ensemble, incorporating our historical written materials with the vocal talents of the Spiritual Ensemble.  May 29th, 7PM, here at the CLS.

June 3-5 is the Piccolo Spoleto Literary Festival, kindly sponsored by Wachovia and Duvall Catering.  Starting at 10 AM on the 3rd, John McCardell will discuss The Civil War and Historical Memory; at 3 PM Louis Rubin will talk about his new book, Uptown/Downtown in Old Charleston.  June 4th at 10 AM we'll have James Kibler present Getting Reacquainted with William Gillmore Simms, Poet; at 3 PM Farrell O'Gorman will give Writing Faith and Doubt in the Contemporary South: Walker Percy's Legacy.  At 10 AM on the 5th, former 60 Minutes producer Robert G. Anderson will tell us What NOT to Say to Mike Wallace; and at 3PM Dacre Stoker will discuss Unlocking Some of the Mysteries of Dracula, from the Stoker Family Perspective.

Event tickets for Circa 1748 and the Festival are available wherever Piccolo Spoleto tickets are sold.  The concert is $21, and the literary lectures $16.

Immediately following the will be our annual Literary Soiree, at 7 PM on the 5th.  Join some of our speakers and your fellow festival goers, and have a nosh courtesy of Duvall Catering.  Tickets are $15, and are available directly though the Library Society, 843.723.9912.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

They're so old, we're thinking about naming them "Strom" and "Thurmond"...

The Library Society is now about 260 years old.  That makes us the oldest cultural institution in the South; it impresses the heck out of visitors from out West who seem to think anything predating the Carter administration is ancient; and it secures us a spot near the front of the Carolina Day Parade line.  Being 260 years old is kinda cool.

But our collections include a few manuscripts from as far back as the 15th century, and some Indic statuary from as far back as the 10th.  Absorbing that level of historicity is always amazing- to pick up a document and think, "This book was written the year Lorenzo de' Medici died", or "That little statue was around before the Normans conquered England".  Everyday, you're gobsmacked by the elastic nature of time on a grand scale: how can I call George Washington's letters as "old" when something created eight centuries prior sits a few yards away?

But then, then!, there are the twinned doyen of our collections: the ginkgos that flank our Main Entrance.  While ours were planted Garden Club in 1922 - practically yesterday, right? - the ginkgo is a survivor from the Permian Era - 270 million years ago.  Our Society might predate the United States; but ginkgos were around before flowering plants.  Before birds.  Before mammals.

That is old.  That is awesome.

And now, best of all?  That awesomeness has been formally recognized!  Our ginkgos are not just living fossils, they are the Charleston Horticultural Society's 2010 Outstanding Trees Award in the "Nonprofit" category.  We've even got a nifty trophy to boot.  There are a lot of great trees in the Lowcountry, and we're in really good company with our sister organizations that have won this award before: we really couldn't be prouder that the great organic members of our collections have been recognized in this manner.

Other reasons to stop by soon: "Dixie", Denim, and Drinks is this Monday night, it's going to be terrific, and tickets are going fast.  Call us and buy yours today.  Circa 1748 is just over a fortnight away (May 29).  The Piccolo Spoleto Literary Festival is the weekend after that (June 3-5).  Tickets for 1748 and the Festival are all available through Piccolo Spoleto.  Also, Toddler Tuesday is going on summer break, as of June 1.  It'll be back this fall, having failed to do its summer reading but sporting a wicked tan.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Next year I'll talk about something pleasant... like Bohemia or Dos Equis...

Having written about Cinco de Mayo last year, your loyal blogger thought he might preface this post with some alternative May the fifth trivia.  Originally, this paragraph was to be about the death of Galerius (May 5th, 311 AD), the Roman emperor who was a major architect of the Diocletianic Persecution.  Then I realized the only interesting thing about Galerius was his death:as St. Luke said of Herod Agrippa, he was eaten by worms.  Thanks to Google, I learned that "worms" probably indicates Fournier gangrene.  And thanks to Google Image Search, I've learned exactly what Fournier gangrene is... and I shan't be able to eat for days.  Not cool.

What is cool is the Lifelong Learning Series classes slated for this fall.  Following on the tremendous success of the winter salon, Bret Lott will be back to guide a ten week course on fiction writing.  Across the hall, the Shakespeare scholar, former department chair, and CofC legend Nan Morrison will be teaching a six-week course on the tragedies of Shakespeare.  Also cool (for us) is how fast these classes are filling up: they don't start until September 7th, we've barely advertised them, and they're already three quarters full.  If you want in on either of these great programs, contact the Library Society ASAP.

Also, next Thursday, May the 13th the CLS will host Jennie Stephens of the Center for Heirs' Property Preservation to discuss the Center's work in providing free legal, educational, and other services to people attempting to clear title to Heirs' Property.  The free event runs from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

Don't forget for more info on any CLS event (like "Dixie", Denim and Drinks; Circa 1748; and the whole bleeding Piccolo Spoleto Literary Festival), check our website, give us a call at 723.9912, or send us an email.  'Cause missing our great events would be terrible... terrible like Fournier gangrene!