The Fall Season of Author Talks at the South End Library Is Ready for You, with September Readings by Sue Miller, Jean Gibran and Johnny Diaz
The fall season of author programming will start on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 AT 6:30 PM, with the nationally known but locally residing author Sue Miller, reading from her widely reviewed latest novel, The Arsonist. The Boston Globe’s called it “a cracking good romance” that “will keep you reading.” The New York Times noted it was “full of Miller’s signature intelligence about people caught between moral responsibility and a hunger for self-realization.” The Washington Post mentioned the “continuing miracle of Miller’s compelling storytelling.” And that’s just the beginning.
Miller is the author of eleven novels, two of which (The Good Mother and Inventing the Abbotts) were made into movies. Her 1999 book, While I was Gone, was an Oprah Book Pick. The author read at the South End library for the first time three years ago from her 2010 novel, The Lake Shore Limited. Since that time, she invited many of her illustrious colleagues to talk about their work at the South End branch as well, enriching the library and the neighborhood.
On SEPTEMBER 23 AT 6:30 PM, longtime South End resident Jean Gibran will read at the library from her memoir, Love Made Visible: Scenes from a Mostly Happy Marriage, in which she describes her fifty-year marriage to the internationally acclaimed sculptor, Kahlil Gibran. This is the second book Jean Gibran has written that centers on her famous husband, whose graceful sculpture of West Canton Street Child can be seen at the center of Hayes Park at West Canton Street. Jean Gibran’s first book is the 1998 Kahlil Gibran: His Life and Work. Her husband was the cousin and namesake of of Kahlil Gibran, who wrote the 1923 book of prose poetry essays, The Prophet. It was translated into more than forty languages and has never been out of print.
The popular Johnny Diaz is returning to the South End library on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, to talk about his latest book of fiction, Looking for Providence, the fifth in his Boston Boys Club series. Three years ago, Diaz reading from his 2011 novel, Take the Lead, brought an enthusiastic crowd to the branch. The Cuban-American former media writer for the Boston Globe’s Business Section is currently working as a journalist for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. In his writing, Diaz weaves issues facing the Latino gay community into the urban settings he is familiar with, such as Boston, or Miami where he worked for the Miami Herald before moving north. When at the Miami Herald, he was on the staff that won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. Diaz’s previous novels include Boston Boys Club (2007), Miami Manhunt (2008) and Beantown Cubans (2009). He taught Journalism at Emerson College when he lived here. In Looking for Providence, reporter Ronnie Reyes loses his job and his boyfriend, but bounces back with a new position and a new relationship in..yes..you guessed it, the fair city of Providence.
All author readings at the South End library are free and start at 6:30 PM. Seating is limited so come early if you don’t want to have to shout questions from the stairwell at the back of the room. Books will be available for borrowing and sale and the authors always graciously sign their books. Refreshments will be served. The branch is fully handicapped accessible.
South End Activist Frieda Garcia Will Talk about the Abolitionist Statues by Fern Cunningham and Meta Warrick Fuller in Harriet Tubman Park on Wednesday September 10 at 6:30 PM
Long-time South End community leader Frieda Garcia will tell you all about the history of the magnificent abolitionist sculptures by Fern Cunningham and Meta Warrick Fuller in the recently renovated Harriet Tubman Park on Columbus Avenue and Pembroke Street. The lecture by Garcia, who herself has a local park named after her, was provisionally scheduled to be at the South End library but, counting on the often glorious September weather in Boston, has been moved to the Harriet Tubman Park itself, a block away from the branch.
Boston artist Cunningham’s 1999 Step on Board relief sculpture pays homage to the Civil-War era abolitionist Harriet Tubman, the ‘conductor’ of the Underground Railroad who helped slaves escape to freedom. The accompanying statue by Warrick Fuller, Emancipation, was sculpted in 1913 as part of a New York exposition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln in 1963, abolishing slavery. Warrick Fuller was a protege of Auguste Rodin, and died in 1968 in Framingham, MA, at the age of 90.
The Wednesday, September 10 discussion begins at 6:30 PM and is free to all.
A Beautiful New Sidewalk Section Plus an Elevator Plus Automatic Door Openers Make the South End Branch “Fully” Handicapped Accessible at Last
The South End Library’s newly repaired sidewalk has completed a long process to achieve full handicapped access to the building. In the past, the library has been more welcoming to its physically challenged users than most BPL branches because the previous BPL president, Bernard Margolis, had an elevator installed to the second floor in 1996 –at a cost of about one million dollars. A few years ago, then-FOSEL president Glyn Polson was able to get a grant from a local community fund to have automatic door openers added as well, hoping to put the finishing touch on handicapped access at the library. But wheelchairs and strollers were still hard to navigate right in front of the library’s entrance where the pavement was in terrible shape. It was an open invitation to the gods of broken ankles, sprained feet, and cracked hips. Patrons complained to the staff. the staff complained to higher-ups. Nothing changed.
But all that is now behind us. A phone call last year by State Rep. (and BPL trustee) Byron Rushing to the BPL powers-that-be put the sidewalk’s repair on the to-be-done list. And now it is done. Regrettably, the pavement inside the library’s park is still a deteriorated mess, as is the sidewalk entrance to park on the Rutland Square side. More phone calls need to be made. Or better yet, the BPL’s management should be encouraged to come up with a rational plan to fix its facilities in a timely manner: after all, Boston taxpayers fund the BPL to the tune of about $40 million a year, plus additional tens of millions of dollars in capital expenditures. We could use more attention.
In the meantime, direct access to the South End library itself is now handicapped accessible, in the true sense of the word. Imagine what it would look like if ALL the pavement were fixed with new tiles in their lovely designated colors of blue-gray, pink and light mauve. (The library building and the park were designed in the late 1960s by the prominent architectural firm of Mitchell/Giurgola, originally from Philadelphia, but since established in New York City.) How about you make a phone call to our city representatives? Our district councillors are Bill Linehan, Frank Baker and Tito Jackson; our at-large councillors are Michelle Wu (a South End resident), Michael Flaherty, Ayanna Pressley and Stephen Murphy. You can find their contact information right here. And if you’d like to call BPL president Amy Ryan to encourage her team to repair the rest of the sidewalk, her contact information is right here.
Final Jazz and Blues Concert of the 2014 Summer Season with Pat Loomis and Friends Will Take Place in Library Park, Tuesday, August 12 at 6:30 PM
It can’t be true but…it is: summer has marched on and the fabulous Pat Loomis and Friends band is about to present you with the last of its four themed jazz-and-blues concerts in Library Park, titled Groovin’–a Smooth Jazz Party. So bring a chair, in case the library’s chairs are already taken, and enjoy reaching back with Pat Loomis into the South End’s iconic jazz and blues music scene on Tuesday, August 12 at 6:30 PM.
The four themed concerts have been sponsored by the Boston Public Library and the Friends of the South End Library. A generous grant from the Ann H. Symington Foundation last year helped pay for the events in 2013, as well as the four this year. Groovin’ — A Smooth Jazz Party, will feature Pat Loomis (alto and soprano sax); Antonio Shiell Loomis (guitar); Frank Wilkins (keyboard); Christoff Glaude (bass); and Joaquin Santos (drums).
The first summer concert in Library Park was held Tuesday, June 24, with the theme of Groovin’ High — The Music of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. It featured Pat Loomis (alto saxophone); Scott Aruda (trumpet); Antonio Shiell Loomis (guitar); Jesse Williams (bass) and Tom Arey (drums).
The second, on July 8, was called Back at the Chicken Shack, a Soul-Jazz Retrospective. Pat Loomis played alto saxophone; Antonio Shiell Loomis, guitar; Ken Clark,organ; and Benny Benson, drums. The most recent show took place July 29, with the title of Impressions: The Music of John Coltrane, also with Pat Loomis (alto and soprano saxophone); Antonio Shiell Loomis (guitar); Jesse Tate (piano); Dan Winshall (bass); Dave Fox (drums).
The event is free. The fully handicapped-accessible South End library will be open during the event for its many varied services including public restrooms.
Shakespeare Afficionada Judith Klau Will Be at the South End Library August 5 to Tell You All She Knows about “Twelfth Night,” this Summer’s Featured Play at the Boston Common’s Bard Festival Running through August 10
This summer’s Shakespeare on the Common performance of Twelfth Night brings Judith Klau back to the South End library to continue her annual tradition of offering her insights on the festival’s starred Bard play. The South End resident and former chair of the English Department at the Groton School will be at the branch on Tuesday night at 6:30 PM. Twelfth Night is being performed through Sunday, August 10 at the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common, Tuesday through Saturday at 8 PM, Sunday at 7 PM, and is free to all.
Written in the early 17th century and set on the Balkan coast of the Adriatic Sea, the comedy’s plot centers on twins, Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. A countess, Olivia, falls in love with Viola, who is disguised as a boy. Sebastian, his shipwrecked survival unbeknownst to sister Viola, becomes enamored of the countess, as well. Shakespeare borrowed the story line of siblings who look alike and are mistaken for each other when they disguise themselves from a similar story by the 16th-century English author Barnabe Rich.
“In my mind, I call Twelfth Night ‘the wacky play,’” said Klau, “but that’s only when I ignore the darker elements that lie beneath the surface of its comic madness. I think it’s the most laugh-out-loud of Shakespeare’s comedies, and the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company takes complete advantage of that with splendid, sensitive casting, especially of Malvolio (the countess’s attendant), Olivia and Viola.” Klau plans to address the significance of the characters’ names, as well as the number of coincidences that occur when a play has a combination of twins, assumed and real dead brothers, and three unlikely suitors of the same woman.
Klau said she fell in love with Shakespeare in high school, but forgot about him until she was lucky enough to spend time at the Folger Shakespeare Library as an NEH grant-recipient. “I was reinforced in my belief that he is incomparable, that his works are endlessly fascinating, and that if I tried hard enough I could make some sense out of his plays.”
The South End library is fully handicapped accessible. Judith Klau’s Shakespeare talk is free. Refreshments will be served.