Wednesday, August 20, 2014

LA Opera Talk with Live Performances!

Verdi’s La Traviata
Sunday, September 21, 2:00 p.m.

The LA Opera season starts with Giuseppe Verdi's classic romance, La Traviata, one of the most popular operas today. And the LA Opera Talk series at Crowell Library starts off in a very special way, with performances by soprano MARIANA RAMIREZ, singing selections from the opera in the role of Violeta, along with baritone ERIC CASTRO singing the role of Alfredo, with pianist ABRAHAM FABELLA accompanying. The dazzlingly Art Deco-inspired LA Opera production at the Music Center features Placido Domingo in a Roaring Twenties setting.

Acclaimed by Review Plays as a "genuine opera star in progress, with a voice that has a rich quality and clarity," Mariana Ramirez is becoming widely recognized for her performances. In the role of Antonia in Tales of Hoffman, she was claimed by Harbor Independent News as “the evening’s standout with her warm, luxurious voice that encompasses romantic and poignant moments with a sympathetic presence.” This season, she performed Lia in Debussy’s L’Enfant Prodigue and in Mozart’s Requiem as a soloist under the direction of James Vail. She received her Master of Music degree with Distinction at California State University Northridge 2011 and Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance cum laude.

As a baritone soloist, Eric Castro has appeared multiple times at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Shrine Auditorium, Long Beach Carpenter Centre, Las Vegas Smith Center, and Redlands Bowl. He was recently featured with the String Orchestra Project in Bach’s Cantata Ich Habe Genug, and with San Diego Festival Orchestra in Dvorak’s Te Deum. Eric earned his B.A. from Yale University, where he studied art, music and drama; and his Juris Doctor from USC’s Gould School of Law. Eric is a Corporate Partner in the law firm of LEWIS BRISBOIS BISGAARD & SMITH LLP.

Accompanist Abraham Fabella is a composer, pianist, and conductor who received graduate degrees in composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and at the University of California, Riverside and additional graduate training at UCLA. Mr. Fabella is a much sought-after vocal coach and collaborative pianist.
Ray Busmann has worked as an artist and educator both in his native Germany and in Southern California for over 30 years. He enjoys sharing his passion for opera with audiences of all ages. This is Ray's third season as a volunteer Community Educator for LA Opera and he will undoubtedly reveal some fascinating facts in his presentation in the Library’s Barth Community Room. Arrive a bit early as this program will undoubtedly fill up. The program is free and open to all opera aficionados and first timers. Light refreshments will be served.

Crowell: First Library in the World to Offer Dakim Brain Fitness

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Girls in the Band

Thursday September 18th 6:30 p.m.

They wiggled, they jiggled, they wore low-cut gowns and short shorts. They kow-towed to the club owners and smiled at the customers… and they did it all, just to play the music they loved. THE GIRLS IN THE BAND tells the poignant, untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, groundbreaking journeys from the late 20s to the present day. These incredibly talented women endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continue today to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them.

Attending this special screening will be DR. THOM DAVID MASON, who taught the very popular Jazz & Swing from A to Z at Crowell Library earlier this year, and JUDY CHAIKIN, who produced and directed the film. Dr. Mason is the founder of the Jazz Studies Department at the Thornton School of Music, USC, and was so impressed with The Girls in the Band, he’s seen it multiple times. He also knows some of the musicians featured in the film so he will have many insights to share with the audience.

Director/Producer Judy Chaikin is best known for writing, producing and directing the Emmy nominated PBS documentary, Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist. She is a graduate of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women. Regarding her film, The Girls in the Band, Judy says, “We hope that the great joy we all had in learning about these amazing women, will be shared by the viewers and that the film will bring these artists the admiration and respect they so rightly deserve. This film is my tribute to their courage and musical artistry, which has never been properly celebrated… Our greatest satisfaction will come if this film can inspire a new crop of young female jazz musicians to stand on the shoulders of those early pioneers and to reach for the stars.”

Crowell Library is very fortunate to have these two guests at this special screening that is free for one and all. Don’t miss it!

John Wood: Life in the Peace Corps

Sunday September 14th 2:00 p.m.

Learn about the adventures experienced by author JOHN WOOD, from the two years he spent teaching high school English in the Philippines when the Friends of Crowell Public Library begin their 2014 Meet the Authors series, Sunday, September 14. A former senior editor at AARP Magazine, John Wood will show slides and relay some amazing tales of his two years in the village of Sibulan working at, "the toughest job you'll ever love."* John grew up in Pasadena, has a degree in journalism from UCLA and has published a plethora of articles for the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Miami Herald. Among his book publications, How to Write Attention-Grabbing Query and Cover Letters and a soon-to-be-published title on his experiences during the Vietnam War where he earned a bronze star.

Although times have changed since the Peace Corps' founding in 1961, the agency's mission—to promote world peace and friendship—has not. Today, the Peace Corps is more vital than ever, working in collaboration with partner organizations and using cutting-edge technologies and well-tested best practices to enhance impact. Over 215,000 current and returned volunteers know that the Peace Corps changes lives—both their own and the lives of people in communities around the world. When they return home, like John Wood, they share their stories and experiences and give back to their own communities, helping to strengthen international ties and increase our global competitiveness.

Experience firsthand insight into this special service at 2:00 p.m. in the Barth Community Room, Sunday, September 14th at Crowell Public Library. Other local authors in the Meet the Authors series will include Lynn Snowden and Kyle Sydney Powell (Maezie’s Pumpkin Patch) in October and Susan Rosvall (Silence is Broken) in November. With Friends like these, the authors keep coming at Crowell Public Library.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Senior Scam Stopper!

September 8th 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Seniors are a vulnerable audience, often preyed upon by unlicensed or unscrupulous contractors. Learn about the types of scams that are targeting seniors and how to avoid falling prey to them. This free seminar will be the first in a series held at Crowell Public Library’s Barth Community Room, and will feature experts from government agencies on topics such as home improvement projects, identity theft, auto repair, healthcare fraud and investments. Senior Scam Stopper seminars have been offered by the California State Contractors License Board throughout the state since 1999 in cooperation with legislators, state and local agencies, law enforcement, district attorneys, and community-based organizations.

According to the National Council on Aging,* financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that they’re now considered “the crime of the 21st century.” They often go unreported or can be difficult to prosecute, so they’re considered a “low-risk” crime. However, they're devastating to many older adults and can leave them in a very vulnerable position with little time to recoup their losses. In addition, the Council tells us over 90% of all reported elder abuse is committed by an older person’s own family members, most often their adult children, followed by grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Other types of scams targeting seniors include counterfeit prescription drugs, funeral and cemetery scams, telemarketing, internet fraud, homeowners/reverse mortgage scams and fraudulent sweepstakes or lotteries.
In addition to providing information about construction-related scams and how seniors can protect themselves when hiring a contractor, this seminar will feature expert speakers from local, state and federal agencies, who present broader topics, including identity theft, auto repair, and investments.
Don’t miss this important seminar on Monday September 8th at 10:00 a.m. at Crowell Library.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Food Allergies: for the Patient and the Family

with Dr. Karl von Tiehl
Monday, June 23, 7:00 p.m.

We are facing a new health epidemic in this country: that of food allergies. Over the past few decades, food allergy rates have skyrocketed to the point where now approximately 1 in every 13 children and 1 in every 20 adults are affected.1 In our grandparents’ time, nobody in their whole town had a food allergy, in our parents’ time, maybe one child in their school had a food allergy; now there’s two or three in every classroom with rates increasing even more from 1997 to 2007 (up 18%, to be exact).2 The reasons for it are unclear, and the general public’s (and even primary care physicians’) misunderstanding of the issue may put patients’ lives at unnecessary risk.3
San Marino’s and South Pasadena’s only allergist, DR. KARL VON TIEHL, will be coming to the Crowell Public Library on Monday, June 23rd at 7:00 pm to give an hour lecture on food allergies and to lead a round table Q&A discussion on this important topic. We encourage all patients with food allergies and all adult and older teenage family members of patients with food allergies to attend. The lecture will cover what is (and what is not) food allergy, which medical conditions are related to food allergy, which foods are responsible for most allergic reactions, which infant formulas are safe to use, when and how to first introduce different food allergens to a child, which vaccinations might cause reactions in patients with food allergies, what kinds of allergy testing are available, how to best avoid exposure to food allergens (including a discussion on the controversial “food allergy table” at school), how to treat allergic reactions when they happen and how to live life to its fullest with food allergies (including social issues).

Dr. Karl von Tiehl is a double board-certified Allergist/Immunologist, who trained at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego, and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Upon graduating, Dr. von Tiehl spent over three years as a faculty member of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s prestigious Division of Allergy and Immunology. Dr. von Tiehl grew up in Pasadena and enjoys helpings patients that suffer from allergic disorders, just like he did when he was a child.
Join us for a fascinating look at an important health issue Monday, June 23 at 7:00 p.m. in the Barth Community Room at Crowell Library.

1Sampson H. Update on Food Allergy. J Allergy Clin immunol. 2004;113:805-19
2Branum AM and Lukacs SL. Food Allergy Among Children in the United States. Pediatrics. 2009;124[6]:1549-1555
3Gupta RS, et al. Food Allergy Knowledge, Attitudes and Beliefs of Primary Care Physicians. Pediatrics. 2010;125[1]:126-132

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For more information, visit our website
1890 Huntington Drive, San Marino, California 91108

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Crowell First Library in the World to Offer Dakim Brain Fitness

For the past four months, Crowell Public Library in San Marino has been offering Dakim Brain Fitness on a trial basis to see if it was something patrons would utilize -- and utilize they did -- to such an extent the Library has acquired two Dakim Fitness setups, becoming the first library in the world to do so! Patrons are now welcome to come in for multiple sessions as the makers of Dakim recommend its use three to five times a week for 20 minutes. To schedule their sessions, they only need to call the Library at (626) 300-0777 extension 579.

Dakim Brain Fitness is an engaging software program specifically designed for people over 60 who want to exercise their brains. It can help revitalize mental acuity and has been shown in clinical tests to improve memory, attention, focus, and concentration. Recent retirees or seniors may find Dakim to be a great way to spend part of the day while giving their brains a little workout. There are five different levels, so users can find the one that suits them best. People who have already experienced some memory and cognitive loss may find that participating in the Dakim program improves their ability to focus.

Everyone’s heard the old adage, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it,” and that is not only true of our muscles, but our brains as well. Dakim is designed to provide a comprehensive brain workout in just 20 minutes a day. It features vivid graphics, music, humor, movie clips, stories, and trivia to keep the program interesting, engaging, and fun. The touch screen environment makes it easy, even if the user hasn’t used computers in the past. No keyboard, no mouse are used. The user just listens, watches, and touches the screen to select a response.

The Library is still offering orientations that demonstrate Dakim. Call (626) 300-0777 and ask for the Reference Desk to sign up. After the orientation, patrons can schedule more sessions.

Pasadena Showcase House of Design: Stories Behind the 50th Anniversary Book

Wednesday, May 28, 7:00 p.m.

What weighs four pounds two ounces, took over two years and thousands of hours to create, and unveils intriguing facts about 50 of the most magnificent homes in the San Gabriel Valley? The answer: 50 Years of Pasadena Showcase Design Houses: Supporting the Arts Through Design, a commemorative book produced by 19 dedicated Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts (PSHA) members. Three of these members, Noel Jeffrey, Rary Simmons and Weta Mathies will join Book Committee Chair, Fran Biles at Crowell Public Library on May 28 at 7:00 p.m. to regale one and all with fascinating stories that were highlighted as the book was researched. They will lead attendees through architectural eras ranging from the mid- 1960’s to 2014, explain how a Showcase House is chosen, and may even reveal which home is said to have a ghostly resident.

The book also chronicles PSHA’s philanthropic work over the years. A visit to the Showcase Houses benefits the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the PSHA Music Mobile™, a Youth Concert, and the Pasadena Showcase House Instrumental Competition. The PSHA volunteers are united by a belief in the power and beauty of music. Their collective desire is to fund programs that nurture the study and appreciation of music, utilize music as a vehicle towards health and healing, and ensure that music is available to a broad range of audiences.

For more information about PSHA, the Pasadena Showcase House of Design, visit or call 626-578-8500.

Come to Crowell Library May 28th to learn about these architectural gems that have been highlighted through the fabulous work by one of Pasadena’s most treasured charities.