Friday, May 29, 2009

Puget Brass Concert on June 7th

Baritone horn Puget Brass, a traditional British style brass band, will give a free public concert at the Redmond Library on Sunday, June 7th at 2:00pm. The brass band movement is an outgrowth of the industrial revolution in Britain. The bands began as social gatherings in small communities, where men and women were often housed and employed by the same company.

In the mining industry, bands were sponsored by companies, and over time contests with rival company bands developed. At the turn of the 20th century, these contests drew audiences of up to seventy thousand in large industrial cities, such as Manchester. Today hundreds of brass bands worldwide, like Puget Brass, keep the spirit and fun of the brass band golden-age alive.

Scottish colliery brass band - 1890

About Puget Brass
Puget Brass is a local British brass band that performs traditional and contemporary music throughout the Pacific Northwest. Brass instruments From school teachers to Boeing engineers, truck drivers to entrepreneurs, the group brings together 30 community brass and percussion musicians to perform this genre of music.

Puget Brass was formed in 1999. The group was inspired by the movie, Brassed Off, which is based on a modern-day English mining town and its brass band. The band members’ camaraderie combined with the movie’s stirring renditions of songs such as Danny Boy and Floral Dance served as a model for Puget Brass.

Redmond Library Board

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The BIG Read: The Call of the Wild

The Big Read logo The King County Library System is one of 208 communities nationwide participating in The Big Read. This initiative, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, is designed to bring people from different generations and backgrounds together to read and discuss literature.

The Big Read provides participants the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their community. By 2009, the NEA will have funded more than 500 Big Read projects in the nation's towns and cities. Each community's Big Read includes a kick-off event, other events using the book as a point of departure, and book discussions in diverse locations aimed at a wide range of audiences.

KCLS Featured BIG Read
The KCLS featured book is The Call of the Wild by American writer Jack London. The plot concerns a domesticated and even somewhat pampered dog named Buck. However, after Buck is abducted and sold as a sled dog,Call of the Wild - first edition cover his primordial instincts return after working in the treacherous, frigid Yukon during the days of the 19th-century Klondike Gold Rush.

Published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is one of London's most-read books, and it is generally considered one of his best. One of the interesting things about this book is that the story is told from the dog’s point of view.

For more KCLS info, see The Big Read.

Redmond Library Board

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Woodland Park Zoo: The New Penguin Exhibit

Humboldt penguin The penguins at the Woodland Park Zoo have a new home. The Humboldt penguin's new 17,000 square-foot exhibit re-creates the penguins' native habitat in Peru, and includes shoreline cliffs, waves, and rocky pools. A 30-foot-long glass barrier allows zoo visitors to watch the penguins swim and play underwater, or waddle around on land. 

The following video from the Woodland Park Zoo introduces you to the penguin's new home:

For more info on the new penguin exhibit, see more colorful than ever.

A Whimsical Online Zoo
If you can’t visit the Woodland Park Zoo, you may want to visit the online Switcheroo Zoo. Design your own animals in Switcheroo Zoo by selecting heads, bodies, and tails from 142 creatures. There are also plenty of fun facts about the creatures in the collection. Here’s my version of a “donkey”:

 Switcheroo Zoo donkey

and my version of a “cat”:

Switcheroo Zoo cat

Redmond Library Board

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Springtime in Washington

After this way too long winter, it was refreshing to see springtime in Washington over the last several weeks. The following photo shows Keechelus Lake, which is just east of the Hyak exit on Interstate 90.

Keechelus Lake

The John Wayne Trail, which follows a former railroad line, traces the southern edge of Keechelus Lake. This trail is great for bicycling. You can park at the Hyak ski area to access the trail.

UW Campus
Springtime at UW is all about the cherry blossoms. The following photo shows Mary Gates Hall on the UW campus.

UW Campus

Olympic Sculpture Park
Richard Serra’s large metal sculpture, entitled Wake, provides a dramatic contrast to the blossoming dogwood trees in the foreground at the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Olympic Sculpture Park

Redmond Library Board

Friday, May 15, 2009

Minnesota Center for Book Arts

Guthrie Theater and Gold Medal Flour Mill I recently returned from a long weekend in Minneapolis/St. Paul, aka the Twin Cities, or just "The Cities" if you are from around there.  Or from South Dakota, like my in-laws that met us there. 

Not only did we get to see the Twins destroy the Mariners on Friday AND Saturday night in the Twins' final season in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, I had a chance to visit the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

Already home to an amazingly designed public library (the Minneapolis Public Library and Information Center that is now the Central branch of the Hennepin County Library due to a 2008 merger), Minneapolis also boasts this "place to feed your curiosity, stretch your creativity and get your hands dirty through the book arts. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing and bookbinding to non-traditional artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes."

Open Book

As a random visitor, there isn't much to see in the Open Book building where the MCBA has their workshops, offices, and classes, but their Events Calendar is packed.  In the entryway of the building there was a small exhibition of broadsides and a large-ish gift shop for unique book related gifts.  In addition, we arrived right before an elementary school tour and enjoyed eavesdropping on the introduction that was held in the lobby!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Have You Read to Your Dog Lately?

Books + Apple My junior year in high school, I tutored elementary school kids in reading. Twice a week, during scheduling breaks I had between my high school and Running Start classes at Clark College, I would trek down the hill and across the football field parking lot from my high school to the elementary school where I met with second graders to help them improve their reading skills.  I bet they wished I could have brought my dog along! 

In 1999, Intermountain Therapy Animals launched the Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.®) program. Inspired by medical studies that showed being close to pet animals has a calming effect on humans (except when they shred your piano music/netflix DVDs/napkins, eat - wrappers and all - an entire bag of Vitamin C drops from your purse, or devour a freshly hand-kneaded and baked loaf of bread they helpfully liberated from the dinner table on Christmas day in front of your guests. . .), this program pairs dog and owner therapy teams with kids to improve literacy.  The theory holds that under-performing children read better and more willingly to non-judgmental canine companions. They also gain social and empathy skills when working with the pooches.

This dog eats books for breakfast. . .and lunch. . .and dinner!
This dog eats books for breakfast. . .
and lunch. . .and dinner!

Based in Woodinville, Reading with Rover is one of the Seattle area affiliates of the now international R.E.A.D.® program.  All dogs and owners are also trained and registered as Delta Society Pet Partners® therapy teams. They will be visiting Redmond on Tuesday, May 19 and Tuesday, June 2 at Borders Bookstore in Redmond Town Center from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

This dog is all tuckered out after a long day of reading.
This dog is all tuckered out after a long day of reading.
Or maybe it was that loaf of bread.