Monday, November 05, 2018

beautiful monstrosities month

October was a beast of a month in the Library--particularly this year since our Beautiful Monstrosities Focus Month topic fell in its confines (sometimes we do September, but the subject matter (what other perfect time for women in horror exploits?) and department short staff-edness made my September a little crazier handling both ILL and the usual reserves processing rush.   But then again, October also brings the Little Indie Press smack in the middle of other programming and there is always a lot of prep for that in the early half of the month on top of the focus stuff, so it was a little hairy there for a bit.

This October brought our 1st Floor exhibit , which  is be-yoo-ti-full and will be up through mid-January if you'd like to check it out.  Then other fun like latex maskmaking tutorials,  horror trivia, the film panel, and the Halloween Public Domainia double feature (which actually wound up being a
 single feature that was a terrible delight and then watching ghost/haunting videos on you-tube when the sound sucked on the 2nd film and we gave up. )
November will be a bit of a breather with no major things happening beyond the usual monthlies--zine night, book to art club, our annual snowglobe fun after Thanksgiving. The largest is probably the murder mystery, which this year is more of a scavenger hunt ending with a party.  So now our planning inevitably turns toward spring and our focus topic for then, Strange Fevers :  Mass Delusions, Confusions, and Obsessions, for which we are hoping to plan a little mini-conference on Saturday to add a bit of scholarly element, where we bring scholars and artists together. There are so many topics to explore under this umbrella--urban legends, cryptozoology, alien abductions, strange phenomena, Salem Witch Trials, PT Barnum, victorian spiritualism and more.  It also ties nicely in with our Book to Art Selection , War of the Worlds, given the Welles broadcast and aftermath.

Though our initial Focus Topic a few years back formed sort of haphazardly when some programming got shifted to us we didn't plan on (that year, the topic was a more general, LGBTQ Arts & Media focus) the format of that week, combined with an exhibit,  in many ways formed what would follow.  So far our topics have included Uncanny Specimens:  Taxidermy, Preservation, &  Play, HOAX:  Conspiracies, Illusions, and Creative Hi-Jinks, Tattoo:  Ink, Art & Object, and last spring's Apocalypse, USA.   The format is usually a series of events &; exhibits/displays tapping into many facets, visual arts, literary, film, an an attempt to draw folks from every corner of campus and department. Whenever someone asks how we choose our topics, I always laugh because it's totally random and self-indulgent on the part of me and my co-curator, who usually select topics that fall within our overlapping interests as artists and consumers.(fall is bringing whisperings of something related to true crime.)

We initially would plan it for a week, which had a little more pizazz, but we found it less likely to draw repeat attendees that close together, and more exhausting for us who had to plan everything all at once.  Stretching it out over a month seems to help, allowing a bit of breathing room for preparation.  Thus everything since the tattoo focus has happened more gradually within the given month

It's also one of the centerpieces in our A of  R programming roster and a good example of how you can tie artists to resources and serve as a space where those things meet.  We also bring alot of community artists in for our exhibits and panels, which center the library as a cultural hub, not just on campus, but in Chicago in general.

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