Saturday, July 21, 2007

My Patron Saint, and the Wizardry of Reading


the line begins
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
Last night at the Central Library downtown I pretty much couldn't wipe the smile off my face as I pulled up. I know I'm late for this party, and I'm not going to be writing anything original on this topic, but god bless JK Rowling for making reading the coolest thing for kids. The Milwaukee Public Library was the place to be for the release of the latest Harry Potter book. It was a totally free affair (except for buying the book, which I was happy to do -- Rowling is now probably the richest woman on the planet and that's fine with me!) and they did it right. Every section of the library had a theme related to Hogwarts somewhere, from the outside's magical lighting scheme to rooms where people could make potions (sponsored by Discovery World) to a place where you could meet a real live owl, (the audobon society chipped in here), to a Mad Science show. We ran into kids from Stella's school, and every parent I saw there was only too happy to let their kid stay up tll midnight to savor the excitement.

Again, I'm not the first parent to write this, but I nearly had a lump in my throat. It's cool to be a reader! It's "in" (yes, Esme Squalor, it is) to be a geek! What a thrill for a nerd mom like me to see their kid voraciously devouring a book, to see that the library, the real library, was the place to be on a Friday night. And it reminded me of what a beautifully grand library we have. The old book stacks, preserved behind glass, housed the antique collection. (Every stack had this wonderful brass endpiece with the MPL logo from the old days blazed across it. The front lobby chandelier could have come smack out of the Pfister. It was just a great environment.

Stella had her fortune told by a psychic who pretty much nailed her personality, and had good words for her future: after the psychic pointed out her strengths, she advised her she would have a great future and would be able to do anything she wanted to, if she were careful to use her strengths and be patient (something Stella has a particular challenge with). I thanked the psychic profusely, because it seemed to have quite an effect on her.

Earlier I absolutely had to check out my Patron Saint's Parish's festival. St Veronica puts on one of the bigger festivals. Still not exactly St Greg or St Rita's, it was a classic church festival. Good food and beer selection -- you could even get a New Glarus Spotted Cow here. Interesting rummage sale too. St V'ron's is probably the hippest South Side parish, and it shows.

Brian had checked it out the day before, and he said there was some cover band that pretty much illustrates why we normally don't like cover bands. They did this version of "Baba O Reilly" where you could tell that their heart wasn't in it. It was more of a "well this is a Classic Hit, and we know the chords, so here goes."

This is opposed to the Do Wop Daddies, a great little cover band we saw that pretty much is loyal to their roots. I'm actually not a huge do-wop fan, but they were good at what they did, and they did it with feeling and sincerity, which goes a long way in my book. So does any band that can be this loyal to their color scheme. St Vron had a handful of rides, and the merry-go-round music actually was funny: it was basically a collection of theme music from 60s TV shows. So while i'm watching Sammy go round and round, I'm hearing "Theme from Perry Mason" and the juxtaposition was just hilarious.

Brian's off tonight to see Zappa play Zappa, and he'll come home for a changing of the guard, while I run and see the Bulletts.

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