Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Big Read: Fahrenheit 451

My well-loved personal copy, most likely
lifted from Amity Junior High School in 1987.
As part of the National Endowment for the Arts' The Big Read program, San Diego's Write Out Loud is sponsoring a pretty awesome Ray Bradbury-inspired creative art project contest that you might want to check out. (Especially if you or someone you know is a 12-24-year old Bradbury fan.) Here's the deal: read Bradbury's classic, Fahrenheit 451 and create an art project that re-imagines the book in some original way. Entrants aged 12 to 24 are eligible for prizes, everyone else, just the glory. The contest is "designed to encourage kids to read Bradbury’s prophetic novel by providing opportunities for them to re-imagine the images and themes from the story into a medium that is important to them – theatre, dance, visual arts, music, media arts, etc.
Here's the rundown of the submission categories from WOL:

-Visual Art: illustrations, book covers/jackets, graphic novels, fashion/costume designs, set designs, sculpture, mixed media, photography, tattoos, surf/skate board designs, cartoons, etc.
-Literary Art: stories, poetry, monologues, dialogues, biography, etc.
-Performance Art: music composition, dance, oral interpretation, opera, film, animation.

The submission deadline is February 15, 2013 - more info can be found on the flyer from WOL below.

Even more exciting, Write Out Loud is planning out a series of (hopefully) three South Park Community Reads of Fahrenheit 451 - public, open readings of the book, right here in my 'hood. The first section, The Hearth and the Salamander, is scheduled for April 4th at Progress at 2225 30th Street, San Diego. As more info comes to light about times and other events, I'll post it here. If all goes well, parts two and three will be at The Grove and Rebecca's Coffee House, South Park. 

More information on the creative project can be found in several places:, by contacting them directly at (619) 297-8953, emailing, or by clicking on the flyer from WOL below. Info on all of the community reads and everything else Write Out Loud is up to (a staggering amount of 451-related events), can be found at the NEA website.

Amish Gargoyles

Just an observation, here: the guy on the left is the fiction character Professor Garfield Goyle from Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #1: Professor Gargoyle by Charles Gilman. The other guy is P.L. Gaus, author of the "Amish-Country mystery" series of novels. 

"Retired college professor P. L. Gaus lives with his wife, Madonna, in Wooster, Ohio."
Mmmm-hmmm. Let's see those horns, Gaus. I'm on to you.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I Read Moby Dick All By Myself!

Let's kick off 2013 with something completely different - a subject NEVER before broached on the Catapult (at least as far as I can remember): a children's book. Gasp!

Jack and Holman Wang are two Canadian brothers who got together and created this amazing series of books for little tykes called Cozy Classics (published by Simply Read Books.) Why should little kids be deprived of classic literature just because they can't cognitively process complex sentence structures? The brothers broke down some novels (so far, Pride & Prejudice, Moby Dick, War & Peace, and Les Miserables) into 12 essential "child-friendly words" accompanied by images of needle-felted dioramas to illustrate the scene. The result? Pure, hilarious freakin' genius. I think Holman is the needle-felter and DANG, check this Moby Dick action out:

Here I was, stupidly trying to wade through the actual 600-page Melville text. Ha! Fool! And I think we all know that the only way I would ever read Pride and Prejudice is if it was broken down into twelve words and illustrated by felt figurines.  

As a bonus twist of the fates, Jack Wang is a graduate of the University of Arizona's creative writing program - where he studied alongside the Book Catapult's own Scott Ehrig-Burgess. Now Jack teaches creative writing at my alma mater, Ithaca College. If that bio doesn't get you onto the Catapult, man, I don't know what does.

And now for some speed-needle felting: