Books Feed

Orphan Train - Objects, Memories, Improv

Langston Darby held an icepack to his jaw before his program on “Found Objects: Unleash the Voice of the Everyday through Performance“ at the Chestnut Hill Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. But the icepack was to ease the pain of an earlier dentist appointment and not part of his program, one of many events in the Library’s One Book One -Philadelphia celebration. This year’s selection, The Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline is about the relationship of an older woman, Vivian and a young woman, Molly. Molly is a Penobscot Indian who has lived in various foster homes and gotten into trouble. Molly is assigned community service to help Vivian sort through the many keepsakes Vivian has stored in her attic. These objects evoke memories of the older woman’s own traumatic childhood experiences after she was sent on an “orphan train” from New York City to the Midwest during the Great Depression subsequent to the death of her Irish immigrant parents and siblings in a tenement fire.

 

Darby led our small assemblage through improvisation centering on objects- like a certain knife from our own memories and then had us feel for and pick the thing out of a “magic bag”, instructing us to let the object choose us. A sparkly dark orange artificial pumpkin chose one of us, a large black plastic knight/horse from a chess set, another. A small book chose your correspondent. Recommended reading: The Orphan Train.

Watch video here.


Dollhouse size library now open

Renee Polsky of the Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library shows off the "little free library, " a dollhouse-like wooden structure mounted on a post next to the book return bin outside the Chestnut Hill Library. The public is welcome to take one book at a time and donate a booking return. The miniature honor system lending library holds about 20 books. In the three weeks since it was installed many of the books supplied by the Friends haven been taken, Polsky says, but the books donated by borrowers haven't been as good quality. The Friends purchased the pricey house from a catalog and Polsky says these little libraries are springing up in small towns around he country. She is hoping to check out similar ones that she has heard have popped up at private residences elsewhere in Chestnut Hill. Watch video here.


Antonelli Institute teachers and students got talent

Most students at the Antonelli Institute of Graphic Design and Photography in Erdenheim, Pa, just outside of Philadelphia, enroll coming out of high school. They must first study traditional film and wet process darkroom photography before moving on to digital work, says lead photography instructor Drew Simcox, shown above.

Students compete for awards by class and by subject category and their prints for the upcoming May competition are displayed across the tall walls of the well-lit atrium-lunchroom area. Simcox proudly shows off the work of Antonelli graduates like the cover photo by Evan Habeeb on a recent Sports Illustrated magazine as well as published books of instructors such as his own “Heber Valley Railroad” shot in Utah through a partnership with the Adobe Company and illustrator-cartoonist Christian Patchell’s “I put the Can in Cancer,” documenting his personal battle with the affliction.

Renowned photojournalist Colin Finlay has visited twice and has critiqued the work of Antonelli students who had returned from a photo shoot in Haiti in conjunction with the Pennsylvania non-profit, Poverty Resolutions.

Students are given a wide arrange of field assignments and can often be seen  practicing their art in nearby Chestnut Hill at the Morris Arboretum or on the main Germantown Avenue corridor.

 

Left: Antonelli student Jaime Perez was at the Morris Arboretum shooting a Kyudo archer in 2009. Right: Antonelli student Eric Moll shown here taking photographs at the 2013 Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival has a photo published in the 2014 Chestnut Hill Calendar.


Harry Potter fans descend on Chestnut Hill for Potter Festival

chestnut hill harry potter festival 2013 - 01

View all photos here.

Harry Potter fans swarmed the attractions along Germantown Avenue on Saturday for the Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Festival. At Top of the Hill Market, Dan Lemoyne, a Harry Potter/Daniel Radcliffe doppelganger, obligingly struck poses with adoring fans for photos. Meanwhile Professor Dumbledore employed his sorting hat to assign “students” into different Houses of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft. Lemoyne and friends Alyssa Alberto and Lisa Makhoul   offered their responses to the question. “What role does fantasy play in your life?” Watch video here.

Cynthia Day and Therese Tiger gave out brownies to raise funds for “Autism Speaks” a project of their daughters at the Springside School.  Research is aimed at determining what environmental factors may be triggering genetic predispositions to the sensory/social/developmental disorder. Why table at the Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Festival? The crowds. But Tiger’s husband George drew a parallel between his autistic nephew  and Harry Potter, both teens facing the normal teen challenges  and, in addition, possessing special powers. Watch video here.

Outside the Ministry of Magic (Chestnut Hill Visitor’s Center) a man was taking a photo of two young hooded women, one very colorfully attired, betwixt lifesize cardboard cutouts of Professor Dumbledore and Harry Potter. The women simply had happened to wander into the Harry Potter Festival wearing the garb of their homeland, Saudi Arabia. Instructional technology students at Chestnut Hill College, they were pleased to find themselves amid the festivities. “It’s fun,” said one who had read the first two books in the Potter series. Watch video here.


Writers read aloud - 2013 Chestnut Hill Book Festival

Philadelphia Stories

Above: Olin and Shirley Gentry

Philadelphia Stories Presents: Local Literary Voices was one of three events hosted by Philadelphia Stories at the Chestnut Hill Book Festival on Sunday September 22, 2013. Philadelphia Stories is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a community of “writers, artists and readers” in the Delaware Valley through literary magazines, events such as the Book Festival readings and educational programs. At the Chestnut Hill fest, Philadelphia Stories local authors talked about and read from their works. Unfortunately your correspondent’s video phone battery died before the program finished and he failed to capture the beautiful funny reading by Hal Sirowitz and readings from the open mic portion of the program. So Sorry! See Bios of authors below

A video of the readings can be seen here.

  A slideshow of photos of the festival can be seen here

--------------------------------------


Untitled Daniel Torday, appearing at the Chestnut Hill Book Festival reads from his novel to be published by St Martin's Press in 2015. Forming part of the novel about the narrator's uncle , a Hungarian Jew who flew on bombing missions for the Royal Air Force during WW II is his recently published, award-winning novella, "The Sensualist." Watch video here.

----------------------------------

200 Years of Latino History in Philadelphia

Sabrina Vourvoulias, editor of 200 Years of Latino History in Philadelphia by the staff of Al Dia newspaper talks about the book. Watch video here.
------------------------------------------
These are the short bios of the presenting writers appearing on the Philadelphia Stories website. http://www.philadelphiastories.org/chestnut-hill-book-festival-workshops-kids-reading

Continue reading "Writers read aloud - 2013 Chestnut Hill Book Festival" »


Sings the trumpet with her voice

Mo Speller played the trumpet growing and now, as a singer with the Nothing Wrong Band, plays the trumpet without a trumpet – just using a supple voice.  The self-described “polygenre” band of 20-30-50-60 somethings performed a rocking folksy mix last Friday evening to a receptive audience as part of Walk A Crooked Mile Books’ outdoor concert series in Mount Airy.  This Friday August 23rd at 7 pm will feature a new band, Skyline, a group of 15-somethings and on Saturday August 31st, Rev. Chris and the High Rollers play their fast paced New Orleans jazz- blues.

Performing, Speller channels Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald and sometimes, when bored waiting in line, makes a little trumpet noise just to confuse people.

Watch video here.

Singer Mo Speller

For the love of books and cupcakes

brunettes sell cupcakes + books

Claudia Stemler (right) and Laura Belmonte (left) are cramming bookshelves wherever they can into their“ brunettes’ bookshopbakery” – in a low swinging door and into upright support columns. They hope customers will buy  cupcakes and books and talk books while the pair is baking away in their new shop in the Market on the Fareway (formerly the “Chestnut Hill Farmers Market”)  Prices for the “gently used” books are $5 for hardbacks and $4 for trade paperbacks. Since people have been donating books, the brunettes are not yet accepting trade-ins. Additionally, they are cooking up plans for book-of-the-month picks and a book club. watch video here


Think grow rich!

She thinks to grow rich

A young woman waiting for the bus is reading  “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. It’s about managing your mind to think in a certain way to accomplish your financial goals and dreams, she says. She describes the book as “awesome” and although she has just started the book, she’s already re-read some pages she has found so worthwhile. As a financial advisor with Primerica Financial Services who handles the gamut of financial products from investments and insurance to debt elimination, she hopes to work her way up RVP and eventually to owning her own branch office one day. Watch video here.


Fighting the dark arts on and off the quidditch pitch

October 26th through October 28th marked Harry Potter Weekend in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia.

Chestnut Hill College Harry Potter09 Chestnut Hill College Harry Potter05

As part of the festivities 16 college quidditch teams competed in the 3rd Annual Philadelphia Brother Love Cup at Chestnut Hill College. In an initial match, it appeared that "The Hex" of the Ithaca Community team got trounced by "Those Guys" out of...where?

A young woman at one of the many tables on the college green sold muffins to support the Harry Potter Alliance, "an army of fans, activists, nerdfighters, teenagers, wizards and muggles dedicated to fighting for social justice with the greatest weapon we have-- love." The poster at her table bears a quote from J.K. Rowling's commencement address at Harvard University on June 5, 2008: "We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better." Watch video here.