Thursday, February 11, 2016

Seeking More of the Sky: Growing up in the 1930s


Monday, March 14th, 7:00 p.m.

It was a period when milkmen delivered milk in bottles to residential porches, icemen brought blocks of ice for the ice box, and the sound of steam locomotives echoed through the town. Come to Crowell Library on Monday, March 14th for a wonderful stroll down memory lane with author Charles “Norm” Stevens whose previous visits to Crowell delved into his life during World War II when he was a bombardier. His latest book, Seeking More of the Sky: Growing up in the 1930s, presents a plethora of stories covering his early years in Southern California during the Great Depression, when unemployment was affecting many, banks were closing, and the clouds of war were gathering in Europe. Older attendees may find a little of themselves in Stevens’ stories while the young may be amazed to learn how boys lived seventy-five years ago, creating toys out of old tires, bottle caps, and anything else they could find around the house.

Charles Stevens grew up in Inglewood, California. At 18 he joined the Army Air Corps, serving during World War II from 1943 until 1946. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. He flew a B-l7 in the 8th Air Force at Polebrook, England during the summer and fall of l944. His tour of duty consisted of 34 bombing missions over Germany, occupied France, Belgium and Holland. Following the war he graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He was a teacher in secondary schools for 32 years. He earned a master’s degree in English at California State University, Los Angeles, in English and American Literature. As an author he has published An Innocent at Polebrook: A Memoir of an 8th Air Force Bombardier, The Innocent Cadet: Becoming a WWII Bombardier, Back From Combat, as well as Seeking More of the Sky. Copies of Mr. Steven’s books will be available for purchase.

Come to Crowell Library and hear firsthand what the 1930s were like in Southern California.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Meet the Author: Brett Battles


Thursday March 10th 7:00 p.m.

The Friends of Crowell Public Library’s Meet the Authors series continues with Brett Battles, a Barry Award-winning author of over twenty novels, including the Rewinder series, the Jonathan Quinn series, the Logan Harper series, and the Project Eden series. He’s also the coauthor, with Robert Gregory Browne, of the Alexandra Poe series. In sci-fi thriller Rewinder, we meet Denny Younger who was born into one of the lowest rungs of society, but his fortunes change the day the mysterious Upjohn Institute recruit him as a “rewinder,” a verifier of personal histories. After accepting the offer, Denny discovers he’ll have to do his research in person by traveling through time. But as he journeys across the centuries, he begins to suspect that his missions to observe and report have a much darker purpose. Armed only with his wits and his time-travel device, Denny’s adventures take readers on a pulse-pounding journey of page-turning twists.

Brett Battles was born and raised in southern California. His debut novel, The Cleaner was nominated for the 2008 Barry Award for Best Thriller, and the 2008 Shamus Award for Best First Novel. His second novel, The Deceived, won the 2009 Barry Award for Best Thriller. He received an additional Barry Award nomination for the fourth in his Quinn series, The Silenced. Though he still makes California his home, he has traveled extensively to such destinations as Ho Chi Minh City, Berlin, Bangkok, Angkor Wat, Singapore, Jakarta, London, Paris, and Rome, all of which play parts in his current and upcoming novels.

Thanks to the Friends of the Library, the authors keep coming to Crowell Public Library!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Crowell Library Gets California's Gold


Thanks to a generous donation from the San Marino Historical Society, Crowell Public Library now has 74 California’s Gold and other Huell Howser series available on DVD for checkout. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Howser came to Los Angeles in 1981, working at KCBS, Channel 2. He moved over to KCET in 1987 and began to produce what would become a body of 443 shows, highlighting a very wide variety of people and places in California. With an outsider’s eye, he became a California insider as he explored the state, letting people tell their own experiences. Viewers were captivated not only by the stories and interesting places right here in our backyard, but also Huell’s enthusiastic style. His work was cut short by his untimely death in 2013, but the shows still entertain and educate viewers about the fascinating people, places and things, many of which were little known until Huell’s shows brought them to our attention.

When the San Marino Historical Society donated $4000 to the Library to buy local history materials, the Library staff felt that spending part of this gift on offering these DVDs would bring the stories alive once again and make them accessible for all. Programs covering many aspects of local Southern California history and culture were selected, ranging from Anaheim to Whittier, going as far off as Joshua Tree and Death Valley and as local as Old Pasadena and Clocker’s Corner at Santa Anita Racetrack. They range from the beaches of Malibu to the observatory atop Mount Wilson and down to the Salton Sea. One series covers each of California’s Spanish missions, from San Diego to San Francisco Solano. Howard Rosenberg, former television critic for the Los Angeles Times, once described Huell as "intimate, magnificently unslick, utterly charming, absolutely irresistible..."

People only need to apply for a library card at San Marino’s Crowell Public Library to bring these stories home to enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How to Tell Your Story


with Harris Gaffin
Sunday, February 28, 2-4 pm

Most people who have had a job interview, given a speech, or simply sat around a campfire, have probably told a story at some point in their lives. Whether that story was engaging, or delivered the message they intended, might be another issue. At this fun two-hour workshop participants will learn that telling a story can be a way to organize their thoughts and deliver their message successfully.

The fundamentals of storytelling can be applied to any media format with any theme. For example, How to Tell Your Small Business Story or How to Tell Your Family History, Moses and the 10 Commandments, My Dream of Coming to America, How I Won an Olympic Gold Medal... the sky’s the limit. Participants will get hands-on practice writing the story as well as putting it into action. At the end of the session, they will create and deliver their own one minute story. Storytellers can find a wide range of uses for these skills including: delivering a speech, improving English language skills, writing a magazine article, preparing for a job interview, creating a movie treatment, or telling that bedtime or campfire story.

Harris Gaffin has been a professional photojournalist his entire adult life. Based mostly in Paris, his stories have been internationally syndicated and published in the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe and the International Herald-Tribune. He’s written and produced documentaries for cable television. He’s given workshops on photography and lectures on American history. A trained public speaker, Mr. Gaffin has been a member of Toastmasters International since 1999, was president of different Toastmaster clubs and, was honored as a Toastmaster of the Year. He is currently coaching Olympic athletes on how to tell their story during a press interview.

Whether you want to deliver a message, or just speak with confidence before a group, this story workshop will be two hours of fun as well as educational. And it’s free at Crowell Public Library.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

LA Opera Talk with Live Singers!



The February 21st Opera Talk will be on Mozart’s The Magic Flute and will feature live singers performing selections from this classic opera that has long been a favorite for children and adults. Thanks to the Friends of Crowell Public Library, Soprano Anne Gholson and baritone Cody Lowry will be joined by tenor Roberto Esqivelzeta and perform excerpts from the opera, including such delights as the Queen of the Night aria.

Cody Lowry grew up in Pasadena,CA and studied classical voice at Pasadena City College. He's worked with Aram Barsamian, Gail Gordon, and thanks to the Pamela L. Gerard Scholarship, the internationally acclaimed artist Carol Vaness. He has performed such roles as Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro at PCC), Masetto (Don Giovanni), Don Alfonso (Cosi fan Tutte at The Broad Stage), and Papageno (The Magic Flute at PCC). Anne Gholson obtained her B.A. of Music, with a focus in Vocal Performance at Cal State University, Long Beach. Once her love of opera had blossomed, she performed the role of Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro. Anne has had musical theater roles as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, and Vera Charles in Mame.
Tenor Roberto Esquivelzeta hails from México City and first studied with Maestra Diana Jimenez, and Maestro Julio Julián. Since then he has accumulated a multitude of performance credits, including his 2014 Los Angeles debut in concert with the Repertory Opera Company. In 2015 he sang the main role in the opera I Pagliacci with the renowned Maestro Frank Paul Fetta and the Marina Del Rey Symphony Orchestra. He has sung the role of Prince Ishizukuri in the U.S. premiere of the Japanese opera Kaguya-HIme at the Aratani Theatre in Los Angeles.

The popular LA Opera Talk series brings community educators to Crowell Public Library where they present fascinating facts and excerpts from the operas that are playing downtown at the Music Center. The always knowledgeable and entertaining speakers talk about the story of the opera, and give information about the composer and the music. Come explore the world of opera through LA Opera’s education programs. Opera is literature, social studies, cultural diversity, multiple languages and most of all, it is exciting! It has something for everyone. Don’t miss this special LA Opera Talk brought to all by the Friends of the Crowell Public Library.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Linda O. Johnston: Bite the Biscuit


Thursday February 11th 7:00 p.m.

The Friends of Crowell Public Library’s Meet the Authors series continues with Linda O. Johnston, author of the Barkery and Biscuits Mystery series about veterinary technician Carrie Kennersly, known for her healthy dog treats at the clinic where she works. When the owner of the local bakery moves away, Carrie jumps at the chance to buy the business and convert half of it into a “barkery,” a shop where she can make and sell her canine delights. But Myra Ethman, co-owner of another pet product store, hates the competition, insisting she'll find a way to shut the place down. When Myra is found dead with a Barkery biscuit beside her, Carrie must prove she didn't do it before she's collared for murder.

Local writer Linda O. Johnston's first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year. Since then, Linda, a former transactional lawyer, has published more short stories, novellas, romance and mystery novels, including the Pet Rescue Mystery Series and Pet-Sitter mysteries. She currently writes the Superstition Mysteries and the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, and also writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense. Her short story Love on Sunset Boulevard is part of the anthology Murder on Sunset Boulevard. She is a member of the Orange County chapter of the Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles Chapter, the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. Linda lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Lexie and Mystie.

If mysteries and romance intrigue, come to Crowell Library and learn more about Linda O. Johnston on Thursday, February 11 at 7:00 p.m. in the library’s Barth Community. Thanks to the Friends of the Library, the authors keep coming to Crowell Public Library!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Classical Guitar Concert with Thao Nguyen & Howard Le


Monday, February 8, 7:00 pm


For everyone who loves music and guitar, Crowell Public Library presents a free concert on Monday February 8th at 7:00 p.m. featuring a program of lilting classical and contemporary music, as well as some new works. Howard Le and Thao Nguyen will demonstrate how one can express different feelings and effects from just a simple wooden box. Various guitar techniques will be presented and explained. They will also play some culturally-themed pieces for the Lunar New Year celebration. This concert is also Thao Nguyen’s debut concert in the United States, although she is very well known in her native Viet Nam. She has her M.F.A and has been among the top guitarists and guitar teachers at the Saigon Music Conservatory for more than twenty years.

Howard Le is a classical guitarist and composer who has been devoted to music for more than 30 years. He believes life creates music, and music enhances life. He has been a member of the New York City Classical Guitar Society, the Amateur Classical Music Association, and the September Concert Foundation of New York City. He has performed annually at the Vermont International Festival since 2012. He has performed at Carnegie Hall New York with ACMA in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and at various events with the September Concert Foundation. He wrote the memorable score for the short movie NomWah in 2012.

Thao Nguyen has won various national competitions in her native Viet Nam as well as the 2nd round of the Printemps de la Guitare in Brussels, Belgium. Her performances have aired on the Viet Nam TV Network numerous times as a soloist and as part of an ensemble and duo, including her twin sister Thu Nguyen.

Don’t miss this free event of moving music at Crowell Public Library.