Staff Picks: Books
Staff-recommended reading from the
A warm spring breeze, a little much-needed sunshine, and some outstanding roots music all combined to make for an unforgettable Saturday afternoon at the Oshtemo Branch Library. Earth Day was Friday, April 22, but somehow KPL managed to stretch the celebration into a two day affair with a truly unique set of performances by a close-knit group of musicians from the Earthwork Music Collective.
While the younger members of the audience danced in the sunshine and adorned the parking lot with artistic sidewalk chalk creations, a crowd of more than 300 filled the tent and library garden area to enjoy an afternoon’s worth of music from some of the finest singers, songwriters and musicians Michigan has to offer. Yes, these folks are really that good.
Seth Bernard acted as MC for the afternoon and welcomed to the stage an amazing lineup of friends and family for a variety of captivating original tunes and timely “Earth-friendly” covers. Seth joined his longtime performing companion May Erlewine, the extended “Davis Family” (Rachael Davis with Joshua Davis and Dominic John Davis of Steppin’ In It and honorary Davis-for-a-day, Michael Shimmin “Davis”), Sam Corbin & Jen Sygit, Brandon and Bethany Foote (known collectively as Gifts or Creatures), Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp (known collectively as Red Tail Ring), and Josh Keller of Who Hit John? fame for some truly inspirational music in honor of the big blue ball. And there were several surprises along the way—from a glimpse of an upcoming Josh Davis solo project to an inspired sing-along of a timeless Woody Guthrie classic. KPL’s Kevin King kept the youngsters occupied with a reading of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss during intermission. You’ll find audio, video, photos and more from this event and others in KPL’s Concert Archives.
This was 46th show in KPL’s ongoing series of free live concerts, and (thankfully) there’s no end in sight. Upcoming shows include a May 18th appearance by An Dro, A special June 3rd Art Hop with Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street, high octane blues from the BMF Band on June 15, and to celebrate our 50th show, a special July return performance by Steppin’ In It, the very group that started the live music series back in June 2008! And that’s just a start. Watch for more details coming soon!
The Western Dance Project, the touring ensemble from Western Michigan University's Department of Dance, came to the Central Library to perform in the Rotunda over Spring Break. The program began with a dance choreographed to a movement from composer John Adams's trancelike Shaker Loops. The program also included a piece called "Little Blue Worm", a crowd favorite, about kids playing on the playground. After many other entertaining and beautiful dances, the program closed with an amazing hip hop peice by WMU Department of Dance alum Chopper Platt featuring eight different tracks of music in sequence.
Western Dance Project director and dance professor David Curwen told us about how dance works and even taught us some moves in between the dances. We're glad Western Dance Project made a stop at the library and we look forward to having the Western Dance Project back again!
Western Dance Project
“You mean, baseball type bats?”
“No, no. The very real, very alive, flying around type of bats!”
“You mean like bats in some belfry?”
“Well, yes, sometimes they’re found in literature belfries. But in this case, it’s bats at the library - the Eastwood Branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library to be exact!”
Bats are the only mammals that can fly. They gorge themselves on thousands of night-time insects during six-hour feeding flight frenzies since lucky for them, (but not so much for the insects being consumed) both are nocturnal. To accomplish this feat they use echolocation; an ability to emit and detect high-pitched sound waves, to target their prey.
Dale Smart of the Organization for Bat Conservation at Cranbrook Institute of Science (otherwise known as the Michigan Batman) visited the Eastwood Branch Library on April 4th. He is a bat specialist and the main “go-to” guy who promotes the bat cause through the educational programs he delivers to groups around the state. And he did a fantastic job at Eastwood explaining bats, their lives and behavior, the need for their conservation, as well as dispelling some of the misleading, negative myths surrounding the species.
To illustrate his points, he brought along four of his best, very webby friends; a shy, dog-faced bat named Kisser from the Philippine Islands, Gandolph the fruit bat from Egypt who can discern colors, (and who by the way also looks exactly like Stellaluna, from that book by Janell Cannon), Luciana, a Michigan brown bat, and of course, little Bob, a diminutive Jamaican native who weighs a mere 1½ lbs.
Both young and old in the audience of 150 were captivated by Dale’s presentation of these spectacular animals, and all pledged to be Bat Buddies for life!
Thank you, Dale! And of course, thanks to your untethered-to-feathers, fine flying friends!
Dale Smart of the Organization for Bat Conservation at Cranbrook Institute of Science
What has hearing so acute that it can hear a mouse moving under the snow from a football field length away?
Turns out it’s a barred owl. The owl is just one of the feathered “super heroes from the sky” that recently visited Washington Square Branch Library, as part of a program presented by the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Children and adults alike were fascinated to see raptors up close, and to learn about the birds from knowledgeable Nature Center staff.
Check out library programs for all ages online at our KPL website, or pick up a printed schedule at any of our library locations. We have something for everyone!