Illuminating the Parallels Between Us and Animals

We love animals—they can be furry, fun, expressive…and moody, just like us!

If you’ve ever wondered what your pet was thinking, you’ve probably compared your pet’s feelings to human emotions. The authors of the upcoming ALOUD program “Not Uniquely Human: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health” show us just how  much we can in fact learn from such comparisons.


On July 10th, ALOUD convenes author Laurel Braitman (Animal Madness), Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers (Zoobiquity) for a conversation on the vast commonalities between human and animal mental and physical health. From an anxiety ridden dog who jumped out of a window to performance anxiety among thoroughbred horses, the authors will share poignant and entertaining examples from their personal experiences and outside research that illuminates the parallels between us and the animal world.

Laurel Braitman, author and science historian, delves into the uncanny similarities between the species in her new book Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves. Braitman’s anthropological background prompted her to closely observe the compulsive behavior of her new Bernese Mountain Dog, and to then realize that something was indeed very wrong. This discovery took Braitman down a path of realization that nonhuman animals can suffer from the same mental illnesses that humans do:

“Every animal with a mind has the capacity to lose hold of it from time to time. Sometimes the trigger is abuse or mistreatment, but not always. I’ve come across depressed and anxious gorillas, compulsive horses, rats, donkeys, and seals, obsessive parrots, self-harming dolphins, and dogs with dementia, many of whom share their exhibits, homes, or habitats with other creatures who don’t suffer from the same problems. …There is plenty of abnormal behavior in the animal world, captive, domestic, and wild, and plenty of evidence of recovery; you simply need to know where and how to find it.”

Using evidence from veterinary sciences, medical and mental health professionals, Darwin’s historical accounts, zoo keepers, animal handlers, pet owners and more, Animal Madness proves that animals of all species may suffer from similar mental disorders, and that if we use our understanding of mental and emotional issues in humans, we might be able to better help animals suffering from similar conditions.

Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers, authors of Zoobiquity, also champion the similarities between humans and animals by focusing on some surprising physical health problems that can arise across species. Cardiologist Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz began looking within the animal kingdom for examples of health issues she saw in her human patients, and was shocked to find many parallels that could be used as beneficial comparisons in diagnosing humans: bears struggling with obesity, monkeys developing heart failure, and chimpanzees fainting when stressed or dehydrated. Each case the authors encountered reinforced their belief that human and animal doctors should be working together in order to find, share and improve upon solutions to pan-species health problems.

These books argue that instead of treating humans and animals separately, we can better help ourselves and our animal friends by fostering a greater understanding of the animal kingdom and incorporating this knowledge into our daily lives and health care system.

Join in the discussion on July 10th to hear the unique and quirky stories of the characters that make up these two fascinating reads.

“Every creature in the world is like a book and a picture, to us, and a mirror.” –Alain de Lille, c. 1200 (from Animal Madness)

All photos above from the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.

Lost & Found at the Movies: All That Glitters

“I love watching movies. It’s my drug of choice,” award-winning filmmaker Miguel Arteta once confessed in an interview. This Monday, June 30, Arteta—a self-professed Turner Classics addict—will join Lost & Found at the Movies in the first of three summer programs at the downtown Central Library. Curated by John Nein, the upcoming edition of the Library Foundation’s new series on film culture will feature a conversation with Arteta on some of his favorite classics from Hollywood’s Golden Era. From groundbreaking women’s roles to undiscovered works, Arteta (Cedar Rapids, The Good Girl, Chuck & Buck, Star Maps) will share his passion for the great films of the classical era as Nein digs up some rare home videos from the UCLA Film & Television Archive to take us behind-the-scenes of moviemaking during that time. Before we revisit some glittering moments of cinematic history, here’s a look at a few Hollywood gems to get you ready for Monday’s program.

Clash by Night with Marilyn Monroe

Possessed with Joan Crawford

A Letter to Three Wives with Ann Southern and Jeanne Crain

Beyond the Forest with Bette Davis

Samuel Fuller’s Shock Corridor

Learn more about Lost & Found at the Movies and make your free reservation!

Dear ONE: Love & Longing in Mid-Century Queer America

From 1953 to 1967, ONE Magazine, America’s first openly gay and lesbian periodical, reached thousands of readers each month—many who were isolated and in search of community.  Those readers wrote back to ONE seeking counsel and advice, or friendship and understanding. Subjects ranged from family life to coming out stories to tales of harassment. In 2000, historian Craig Loftin was working on his dissertation at USC when he came across a collection of these letters, stored at ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives – the oldest LGBTQ organization in the Unites States, and the publisher of ONE Magazine. Many of the collections were unprocessed and uncatalogued. I became a volunteer and helped sift through boxes of mysterious documents,” Loftin explains. “Finding the letters was completely unexpected; I wasn’t looking for them. In fact, no one at the Archive knew they were there.”

The data he compiled on issues facing gay people in the 1950s and 1960s became the basis for his dissertation and his book Masked Voices, published by SUNY Press. The press suggested he also compile the ONE letters in a separate volume, which became Letters to ONE: Gay and Lesbian Voices from the 1950s and 1960s, published in 2012. ONE Archives then reached out to director Zsa Zsa Gershick about adapting the material for a dramatization to celebrate ONEs 60th anniversary that same year. Gershick, who had created other oral histories like, “Gay Old Girls” and “Secret Service,” about lesbians in the military, was familiar with transforming long letters into tight, poignant soliloquies. For the adaptation, Gershick faced similar challenges, “The task was to find each letter’s central theme, its heart, and seamlessly pare from that heart or essence everything that obscured it. I consider this a sacred endeavor, requiring a great deal of respect, focus and prayer to get it right,” she says.

On Saturday, June 28th Gershick will direct a dramatic reading of these letters for the ALOUD stage, in a production she titled “Dear ONE: Love and Longing in Mid-Century Queer America.” As Gershick worked her way through Loftin’s collection, she fell in love with each letter. “Each one gives us a window into an era of terrible prejudice. Many people today don’t know that American queerfolk of that era, if discovered, could be jailed, disemployed, imprisoned in mental hospitals, or lobotomized. The letters reflect this reality. Some letter writers boldly signed their names; others remained anonymous. But each correspondent, in the simple act of writing, asserts his/her right to be,” she says.

Despite all of the hardships facing gay people at the time, Loftin says he was surprised by the resilience and optimism of the letter writers, “So many letters had an upbeat tone even when they described tragic events. Some of them were hysterically funny. Instead of thinking about gay people in the 1950s as victims, I began seeing them as dynamic and creative historical agents carving out a niche for themselves in a hostile society. In these letters, one finds early stirrings of a gay rights consciousness at a mass level.”

From gay marriage to employment discrimination, the letters shed light on many issues still being confronted today. “No two letters are quite the same. Reading the letters, we try to imagine who these people were, what they looked like, where they lived, the details of their lives. We try to imagine how their voice might have sounded. We bring our own experiences to these letters and make sense of them in our own ways,” says Loftin. Gershick hopes her adaptation will capture these deeply moving voices, “Upon hearing these letters performed aloud, I hope that the audience laughs, cries, learns a little history and embraces our humanity.”

Learn more about the upcoming ALOUD program here.

Main image: ONE Magazine covers from the 1950′s and 1960′s, courtesy of ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries.

Help Feed Kids’ Bodies and Minds

To ensure that students who receive free school lunches don’t go hungry during summer break, the Library Foundation has teamed up with the Los Angeles Public Library and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to expand the Summer Lunch Program to 10 libraries. Volunteers are needed for all aspects of the lunch program—from serving food, setting up lunch and clean up to helping with kids’ activities and enrolling kids in the reading clubs.

Volunteer Dates: June 9 to August 1

Volunteer Hours: Monday through Friday, noon to 2:00 PM

Commitment:  At least 2 days (4 hours) a week for all 8 weeks of the program.

Requirements: Volunteers must attend an orientation and have a valid Los Angeles Public Library card.

Ages 14 and up may volunteer.

Participating Libraries: Central Library, Cypress Park Branch, Exposition Park Branch, Hyde Park Branch, Mark Twain Branch, Pacoima Branch, Pico Union Branch, San Pedro Branch, Van Nuys Branch, Vernon Branch

To learn more about volunteering, please contact the branch directly or Volunteer Services at 213.228.7540.

10 Ways to Savor the Summer with the Los Angeles Public Library

It’s the season of fun in the sun, far-off travel, BBQs, and of course catching up on some rest and relaxation. Here are some FREE ideas on how to use the Los Angeles Public Library to make the most of your summer.

#1 – Travel Light

Don’t overload your suitcase with travel guides. From Lonely Planet to Fodor’s, your favorite travel books are now available as downloads for your iPad or tablet.

 

 

#2 – Talk Like a Local

Preparing a trip to a foreign country? From Italian to Korean to Arabic to Russian, the Library offers online language courses through Mango Languages and Powerspeak Languages.

#3 – Photography 101

Before you take that scenic hike or light fireworks for Independence Day, learn how to better capture your summer moments. Through Gale Courses, you can take six-week interactive online courses on mastering digital photography and Photoshop, as well as other topics like computer programming, creative writing, and financial planning.

 

#4 – Cook with Class

The farmer’s market is in full swing in the summertime, so take your culinary skills to the next level. Enroll in an online cooking class with Universal Class, a continuing education program with over 500 online courses led by expert instructors.

 

#5 – Plan a Staycation

How do you take a docent-led tour of Central Library? What’s a good L.A. noir read? Where might you find maps of canyon trails? Use the Ask a Librarian tool to call, e-mail, text, or IM for answers to your library-related questions.

 

 


#6 – Easy Listening

Hoping to read the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Goldfinch, but don’t want to drag that behemoth book to the beach? Check out the audio version along with thousands of other books as CDs or downloadable forms.


#7- Get Crafty

Browse the Library’s calendar of arts and crafts activities to keep inspired this summer from the Crochet and Knitting Club at Valley Plaza to the LACMA Teen Art Workshops at Pio Pico-Koreatown.

 

#8 – Now Playing

If you want to curl up on your couch for movie night, or watch a film on a big screen, the Los Angeles Public Library has you covered. Stream movies at home through hoopla or OverDrive. Or visit a branch for regular and special film screenings like “Tuesday Night @ the Movies” at Memorial or “Saturday Matinees” at Los Feliz.

#9 – Stay Current

With free downloads of your favorite magazines through Zinio, you won’t need to hang out in waiting rooms to stay in the know. There’s Newsweek and The Economist for your news fix, or Us Weekly and Rolling Stone for your pleasure, among many more popular titles to choose from.


#10 – Real Research

For the more serious-minded, use the new Book a Librarian service to schedule a half-hour session with a reference librarian or subject specialist at Central Library. From starting your own business to digging into your family genealogy, it’s never been easier to learn how to use the resources of the Library.

 

 


Visit lapl.org for more info on all these resources.

Art work by Florian Brozek.

A Summer of Learning at the Library

The Library Foundation has been a longtime supporter of the Summer Reading Club — Los Angeles Public Library’s longest running program — and this year it will be easier for more participants to engage with than ever before. Mayor Garcetti has announced that this summer will be a “Summer of Learning” in Los Angeles, based on Chicago’s model in 2013. The reading clubs, which foster literacy and learning when students are out of school, will be a core component of “Summer of Learning,” offering students the chance to earn digital badges through a City website for completing game boards, for volunteering 20 hours, and for participating in science workshops.

Pause to Read Artwork

Running from June 9 to August 2, this year’s reading theme is “Paws to Read,” and will feature a range of fun animal activities like origami, puppet shows, crafts, robot building, science workshops, and more. The game boards that help guide students through a fun reading journey will be more readily available this summer—in the branches, at schools, and online.

Paws to Read LogoPlus, the Library has teamed up with the Los Angeles Zoo, along with The Getty Center, The Skirball Cultural Center, LACMA, the California Science Center, and the Natural History Museum to make the game boards more interactive through animal photos and artwork, and to encourage kids to visit all of these important educational institutions.

For a full schedule of all upcoming programs for children and teens, visit lapl.org/summerreading.

The Library Store Summer Sale!

The Library Store will be holding its annual sale starting this Friday, May 30! Stop on by The Library Store for a huge selection of items marked down 50% to 75% off. Sale’s on while supplies last, so shop early for the best selection. New items will be added daily. The selection will include jewelry, cards, books, children’s toys, t-shirts, and much much more! See you there!

Questions? Call The Library Store at 213.228.7550.

All Aboard! Don’t Miss the Trains at Central Library

Earlier this month a new exhibit marking the 75th anniversary of Union Station opened at the Central Library. No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station is the first exhibition to examine the significance of the architectural design and cultural politics of the historic station. The exhibit is free and open to the public during regular library hours at the downtown Central Library through August 10.

As part of the exhibit, the Library Foundation has made it possible for various train clubs–including the Southern California Traction Club pictured above and below–to have model trains running in the Getty Gallery on selected dates. Check out the schedule below and bring the family for this rare chance to see these incredible trains let loose in the Library.

No Further West is organized by the Getty Research Institute with the generous participation of the Automobile Club of Southern California.

 

 

 

 

Three Writers (De)construct Form at ALOUD

On next Tuesday, May 20th, three innovative and genre-crossing writers will take the ALOUD stage for “Sentence After Sentence After Sentence,” to discuss their own unique relationships to form—or lack their of. Moderated by the novelist Jim Krusoe, Anne Germanacos, Dinah Lenney, and Matias Viegener will consider the power of “structure” to challenge, propel, de-rail, shape, cloud, elevate, illuminate, or simply extend the impulses of their writing. To get a sense of the myriad ways this conversation may itself take shape, we caught up with the three writers to share a sample of their writing.

Anne Germanacos:

 “The following page gives a sense of the way the text moves—something like a mind —requiring the reader to relinquish certain expectations of narration and surrender to the flow, which has its own logic and rewards.” –The excerpt below is from Tribute, her new experimentation with narrative.

rejoicing, in my own quiet but occasionally sole-slapping way

*

maintaining tension, modulating it

*

full moon—mooning around

*

Holding onto a secret has its price: you pay until you can’t.

*

Like a good analyst, like a good mother, a story holds.

*

(a sliver of perfection)

*

Some organizing part of me goes dumb.

*

no ledge, no circle of earth, no leg

*

Shaping, you kill.

*

some half-assed Michelangelo, chipping away

*

bliss?

*

one line for me, and another line for me

*

(within her sight)

Dinah Lenney:

“This new collection of interconnected essays marches to a provocative premise: what if one way to understand your life were to examine the objects within it? Which Objects would you choose? What memories do they hold? And lined up in a row, what stories do they have to tell?” –The following excerpt is from “Ferris Wheel,” an essay in The Object Parade from Counterpoint Press.

[...]

When the kids were small, when I would have done about anything to break up a Sunday afternoon, I once took them down to some sort of festival in Echo Park, where there wasn’t a Ferris wheel the day before, and there wouldn’t be one the next; but presto, there it was, and they wanted a ride. I bought three yellow tickets, then seated myself between them holding tight to their hands. Back we swung back with a jolt, and then forward and up: no belts, no latches, no straps of any kind—just a metal bar in front of us—lucky for me, they were (they are) good children, sensible and fundamentally kind; not about to let go, not about to lean too far over the side, even then as concerned for me as I was for them—and even so, I rued the decision. Anyway, I thought. This will be over soon and we will be fine.

Up, up we went, till we saw the tops of the oaks, the palms, the old magnolias—below us, the lotuses blooming velvety against the black of the lake—though, I admit, I only saw all that from the corner of my eye, afraid as I was to be distracted from my task, which was to focus straight ahead as if we weren’t climbing higher and higher (too high), swinging precariously this way and that; as if my stomach hadn’t dropped, as if I weren’t breathing hard, a sour taste on the back of my tongue. My job, howbeit, to will us around and down again, onto our feet, on which we’d walk, like sensible bi-peds, to the boathouse to rent something small with paddles or oars, which I’d navigate all by myself, thanks, between and among the swans.

But then—then in the middle of this act of will something went wrong—the Ferris wheel stopped at the highest point, and we dangled there, for minutes—for many minutes—and I considered this contraption, which would be in pieces and packed into the back of a truck by nightfall; wondered how sturdy it might not be—looked up at the carriage swaying, creaking in its joint as if it might snap, and, I thought, Well, if we must die, we will die together. “Ssshhhhh,” I said to the children, who hadn’t uttered a word, both of them beaming, thrilled to be above the trees.

[...]

Matias Viegener:

“My book 2500 Random Things About Me Too was generated almost by accident, starting with a single list of 25 random things about myself that I felt less than enthusiastic about. The list was a meme going around on Facebook, what I saw as a kind of forced intimacy in a medium that was already about the highly staged presentation of self for the hopeless goal of getting attention.  So in my contrary way, I composed another list, and then another, a hundred in total.  As often happens, repetition is instructive, even meditative. The form opened up, gave me a way to think through lists, randomness, the construct of “things,” the concept of “aboutness” and finally, belatedness.  We’re never the first at any scene, whether it be a love story, a sonnet or an experimental form.  As I tried to capture what was “about me,” the concept of the unified self was ever more elusive, but something else took its place: a cloud of words, stories and details.    

I never had the impulse to write a memoir, but if I did it would have to be an assemblage in many parts, and would need to capture my confusion about where I let off and the world begins.  It couldn’t have any particular order, and it would have to emerge in a spontaneous, unpremeditated way.  The only way I can talk about me is to occupy myself with a task, make it a game, and let it lead me along until I find a stopping point.  That’s the main thing perhaps, it would have to have neither a beginning nor an end.  It would have to start, find something to say, and then stop.”

Read an excerpt of Matias’ book at the Les Figues website. And here’s an article for The Huffington Post about how he wrote a book on Facebook.

To learn more about these authors and make a free reservation to the upcoming ALOUD program, click here.

 

No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station

Over a century ago, the city fathers of Los Angeles imagined that one day their gritty frontier town would become California’s major metropolitan hub. In order to position its status as a progressive, prosperous community, Los Angeles would first need a Union Station. For decades the fathers fought the railroads to build the station, and when they finally agreed, the railroad planners examined issues of economic growth, urban expansion, and transportation logistics that continue to shape the Los Angeles we know today.


LAPL Photo collection. Union Station, 1940.

On May 2, a new exhibit marking the 75th anniversary of Union Station opens at the Central Library. No Further West is the first exhibition to examine the significance of this architectural and civic landmark. Featuring stunning historic drawings from the Getty Research Institute that have never been shared with the public, the exhibit will showcase original renderings by John and Donald B. Parkinson, the father-son architectural team who designed this gateway to the West. Photographs of trains, depots, the original Chinatown that was razed to make way for Union Station and the grand three-day opening ceremony will be on display along with maps and ephemera—much of which is from The Huntington Library. Rare books from the Los Angeles Public Library’s collection will be on hand to tell the story of Union Station’s past—highlighting the immense Spanish Fantasy influences.


Alameda Street Elevation, Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, July 16, 1936. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute © J. Paul Getty Trust

“Union Station has this interesting tension of looking back and looking forward,” says Marlyn Musicant, the senior exhibitions coordinator at the Getty Research Institute who is curating No Further West. She explains how at the time the aesthetic of the station’s Mission Revival appearance juxtaposed with the modern trains that were very much about the promise of the machine age. Continuing to look ahead to the future, author and critic Greg Goldin will curate a section of the exhibit featuring vision plans that architects have recently proposed for Union Station in 2050.

Main Concourse Section XII, March 6, 1938. Edward Warren Hoak. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute © J. Paul Getty Trust

The Los Angeles Public Library, which was built during the same era and less than two miles away from Union Station, presented the perfect venue for this very L.A. story. “At a time when there is a resurgence of activity in downtown L.A.—especially the historic core—and an increasing interest in expanding our rail system, it’s fitting to celebrate this beautiful landmark within the walls of another of the city’s treasured buildings,” says Musicant.

Ticket Concourse, Union Station, 2013.  Photo by John Kiffe. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute. ©  J. Paul Getty Trust
Ticket Concourse, Union Station, 2013. Photo by John Kiffe. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute. © J. Paul Getty Trust

The exhibit is free and open to the public during regular library hours at the Central Library’s Getty Gallery through August 10. A series of related events will be held in conjunction with the exhibit, including changing displays of model trains by various train clubs on selected dates:

May 17 & 18 Southern California Traction Club  www.trolleyville.com
May 24-June 1 Group 160   www.group160.org
June 7 & 8 San Luis Obispo Model Railroad Assoc.   www.slomra.org
June 14 & 15 Orange County Module Railroaders   www.trainweb.org/ocmra
June 21 & 22 NTrak Express   www.ntrakexpress.com
June 28 & 29 Antelope Valley Nscalers   www.avns.av.org
July 12 & 13 NTrak Express
July 19 & 20 Orange County “N”Gineers   www.ocngineers.com
July 26 & 27 ZoCal    https://vimeo.com/groups/31397
Aug 2 & 3 Pacific Coast Modular Club   www.pctrainclub.org
Aug 9 & 10 Group 160

On May 29, ALOUD will be hosting a special panel on No Further West—members of the Union Station Master Plan team, an architectural historian (and exhibition curator), and the vice-president of the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California—will discuss the history of this architectural icon and share visions for its future. Make your free reservation to the ALOUD program here.

Learn more about the exhibit and other special events at the Library.