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Teen Review - Hamilton

November 27, 2016 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Review by Vyshnavi, member of the Cedarbrae Youth Advisory Group

Hamilton 1On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, I had the privilege to see hit Broadway Musical “Hamilton”. The musical, which originally started playing in New York in the Richard Rodgers Theater, is now playing in the Private Bank Theater in Chicago. Originally based on the biography “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow, the musical has played in New York since August 2015, and has gained nationwide success immediately. During the past few weeks, I had been overwhelmed with the amount of school work I had been getting. I thought grade 9 was hard, but turns out grade 10 is tenfold the difficulty. I have always been a fan of the musical, to a point where it was the only thing I listened to on repeat. I also got a few of my classmates in Spanish class to listen to it, and we are currently working on translating the whole musical to Spanish. I somehow convinced my mom to take me to Chicago to see the exceptional show during my school’s November break.

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Ask Vivek: Recap

November 21, 2016 | E Writer in Residence 2016 — Vivek Shraya | Comments (0)

Ask Vivek - Recap

This, sadly, is my last post as E-Writer in Residence. It’s been such a gift to connect with you in person at various libraries and events, and online through your writing. I feel fortunate to have been given this opportunity to read (and listen) to your words. I am immensely grateful for your trust in me. That said, my last day isn’t until Friday, November 25, so please keep sending me your writing!

When I began this position, my inspiration for the “Ask Vivek” posts was centered around you—I wanted to ensure that my posts spoke to questions you had about writing and art. I also think there can be so much mystery and solitude around writing. My hope was these posts would provide information to help making writing feel more accessible to you. I also hoped these posts would provide you a sense of support. 

For this final post, I have compiled a list of tips and highlights from my previous posts.

  1. On art making: Art is a powerful means to connect with others who have had similar, and different, experiences—others who want to share their stories.
  2. On writing prompts: Having a central question as a prompt can be challenging but can also give your writing or project a direction, as your goal then becomes answering this question.
  3. On songwriting: Spend the time in developing your own sound by writing constantly. The more songs you write, the better your songs will get.
  4. On novel writing: There might be days when you write only one sentence. This is okay. More than okay! This is part of the process. The most important thing is that you are committed to the writing and will show up again tomorrow.
  5. On comic making: “Make something that excites you—something that you would want to read! It can be good to start small. Make a one- or two-page story, where you can play around with your style and storytelling, and see if it's an idea you like enough to spend more time on.”
  6. On writing poetry: Reading works by other poets was useful as it allowed me to see how other writers were using the form and breaking “the rules.”
  7. On dealing with rejection: I remind myself that rejection isn’t personal. There are many factors as to why certain things get chosen over others and many of these factors I have no control over.
  8. On writing about the personal: When possible, I try to write ethically. I change the names of individuals and settings. I change the description of individuals’ appearances.

This past week has been a hard week. But I feel especially inspired by writers like Lawrence Hill who are speaking out about the various injustices that are taking place in the world. Please let me know what is inspiring you this week in the comments!

Ask Vivek: What is your advice for a beginning songwriter?

October 10, 2016 | E Writer in Residence 2016 — Vivek Shraya | Comments (1)

Ask Vivek - What Is Your Advice For A Beginner Songwriter

I recently received a question regarding songwriting (thank you!) and decided to put together a short list of tips that have worked for me over the years as a songwriter.

  1. An important part of being a good writer is reading. Similarly, an important part of being a good songwriter is listening to music. This sounds a bit obvious, I know. But what I mean by listening isn’t just having music playing in the background. Make a list of your top ten favourite songs. Write down what makes each song so special to you. Is it the lyrics? Is it the chorus? If so, what about the chorus do you like? Try to be as specific as you can be in your observations while you are listening. It is equally important to pay attention to the songs you don’t like. What don’t you like about these songs? Learning what you don’t like in a song can be useful in helping you define what you do like and to create this.
  2. Similar to the above point, listen to a wide range of music. Admittedly, I listen to a lot of Beyoncé. But it’s been very useful for me to listen to music outside of my preferences, outside of what is being played on the radio, and outside of what my friends are listening to. The more different kinds of songwriting you are exposed to, the better and more creative your songwriting will be.
  3. The acoustic guitar / campfire test is a useful one: If you can play a song on just an acoustic guitar (or even just sing it acapella) and it’s strong, then it’s a good song. A good song is not one that should rely on the production or accompaniment. Instead, a good song is one that you could produce in a number of different ways and would still shine. A great example of this is “Show Me Love” by Robyn. The album version is stellar, but the acoustic version is also captivating.
  4. That said, playing around with production and recording can be fun and enhance your songwriting. Garageband is an pretty easy software that I recommend exploring. Even though I didn’t study music formally, there was a lot I could do in Garageband because of how intuitive it is. It is available on all Mac computers (and if you don’t have access to a Mac, check out the Digital Innovation Hubs at the Toronto Public Library). Recording my songs in Garageband is a useful way for me to go back and listen to a song. I can hear what is working or not working such as which lyrics I want to change. Recording your song will make it easier to add additional parts, like harmonies. Garageband comes with all kinds of cool, built-in sounds, so you can also add drum loops or sound effects to give your song a fuller sound. Don’t be afraid to try things out and have fun. Maybe your song needs a horn sound and the only way you will know is if you try it out.
  5. Look for opportunities to play your songs live, even for your friends at a house party. Or look for open mic nights in your area, like Queercab at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. This is a great way for you to hear your song in a different context. A song will sound different in a live atmosphere and hearing it in this context will give you a new perspective on the song itself and songwriting. This will also allow you to get feedback from your friends or audience members, build your performance skills and fans! You might also meet other musicians who want to collaborate with you, which will enhance your songwriting.
  6. While there is so much you can learn from listening to music by other artists, avoid falling into the trap of wanting to write someone else. The world doesn’t need another Rihanna, as spectacular as she is. The world needs YOUR unique perspective and voice! Spend the time in developing your own sound by writing constantly. The more songs you write, the better your songs will get. I wrote my first songs when I was thirteen and while I cherish those songs, my songwriting has only gotten richer the more I have done it.

Thank you again for your question. Please keep sending me questions and I will keep answering them here!

Lastly, some of my favourite songwriting this year is on the Case/Lang/Veirs album. What songwriters inspire you? Let me know in the comments!

Weekly Program Roundup August 29 - September 3

August 28, 2016 | stephen | Comments (0)

Time to spice up our last week of summer programming with some music and dancing! Check out what's on this week at the library:

 

Zumba for Teens

Tuesday August 30, 2016 | 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: Malvern

Funky Latin rhythms mixed with easy to follow moves create a dynamic dance program that will blow you away. Teens will learn the basics of zumba in this introductory class. Drop-in. Ages 13-19.

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Album Review: Cry Baby

August 17, 2016 | Cameron | Comments (1)

CrybabyReviewed by Rifa from the Cedarbrae branch

Cry Baby is the debut album by Melanie Martinez, a 21 year old singer and songwriter known for her appearance on the popular TV show The Voice. This album is a concept album, it tells the story of the character Cry Baby. Cry Baby is Melanie’s alter ego, majority of the songs on this album were inspired by experiences Melanie has had in the past. Throughout this album, many of the songs have adult themes portrayed in child like scenarios. The genre of this album is electropop and the album was released on August 14th, 2015. A special edition Melanie added to the album was a storybook, following each of the songs and telling the story of Cry Baby.

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A Northern Summer Playlist

August 3, 2016 | YAG Facilitator | Comments (0)

Rockaway_Beach_BoulevardFavourite summer songs picked by the Northern District YAG

"The Sound" by The 1975 - it is upbeat and cheerful, which I associate with summer. (Julia)

“Rockaway Beach” by The Ramones - it's kinda a rock song and the lyrics are related to summer. (Justin)

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What's On @ the Library : August 1 - 7

August 1, 2016 | Christine | Comments (0)

Happy Simcoe Day, everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your August long weekend, and doing lots of fun stuff with your friends. Speaking of fun, here is a list of some more great programs happening at the Toronto Public Library this week:

  1. Comics Jam!
    Tuesday August 2 and Wednesday August 3, 1:00 pm - 3:00pm

    at the Lillian H. Smith Branch
    Can't stop drawing? Join us for a two day comics jam! Sign up for Tuesday or Wednesday and unleash your fury of creativity on paper. With comic artist Rebecca Roher from the Centre for Cartoon Studies. For ages 13 - 20. Register in branch or by calling 416-393-7746

  2. Teen DJ Workshop with Scratch Lab
    Tuesday August 2, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    at the Malvern Branch
    Join Scratch Lab for a workshop that examines basic DJ Techniques as well as the evolution of mp3 software in the DJing world. The workshop will consist of a 2 hour info session where everyone will learn the basics of how to mix, match and scratch records, just like the pro DJs. Come out and join the fun and "Get Schooled" with Scratch Lab. Ages 13 - 19. Registration required, please call 416-396-8969 or visit Malvern Branch for details.

  3. Garden Club
    Tuesday August 2, 5:00 pm - 5:30 pm at the S. Walter Stewart Branch
    Get your hands dirty and join the S. Walter Stewart Youth Advisory Group as they plant, grow, and maintain the Library's Flower Garden. Drop-in. Teens 13 - 18. Meet outside the S. Walter Stewart Auditorium to collect tools and plants. For more information contact the branch at 416-396-3975.

  4. Teen Gaming Tournament
    Wednesday August 3, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    at the Evelyn Gregory Branch
    Whether you're an experienced gamer or just looking to learn a few new tricks, our Teen Gaming Tournaments are sure to be a blast. Drop in to the library and challenge your friends to a game of Mortal Kombat or NBA2K. Maybe you'll even end up on our Gaming Wall of Fame. Prizes for the winners.

  5. Kerbal Space Program
    Thursday August 04 - Tuesday Aug 09, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
    at the Fort York Branch
    Start your own space program and reach to the stars! Kerbal Space Program is an award winning game that teaches players real-world physics and engineering skills as they attempt to explore the Kerbal solar system. This multi day program will start out with a tutorial, and then attempt a mission to the moon or even another planet.
    For more information: https://kerbalspaceprogram.com/en/?page_id=7
    For tweens and teens aged 11-16 yrs. Registration begins on July 25th. Register in the branch, or by phone at 416-393-6240.

  6. Improv Workshop
    Thursday August 4, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    at the Barbara Frum Branch
    Building Story Through Improv!
    Learn the basic techniques of improvisation with a Young People's Theatre Artist Educator. The session includes ensemble-based exercises focusing on the creation and development or new characters and original stories. Space is limited. Please register in branch or by calling 416-395-5441.

  7. Fabric Paper
    Thursday August 4, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm at the Don Mills Branch
    Create your own fabric paper in a few simple steps. Demonstration and materials will be provided. For ages 12 - 19. Space is limited. Please register in person or by phone at 416-395-5710.

  8. Silver Maple Art Club
    Thursday August 4, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the York Woods Branch

    Express yourself and learn visual arts techniques in the Silver Maple Arts Club. Explore and experiment with a wide variety of artistic materials while creating art true to you. Drop-In program

  9. Graffiti Art Drop In
    Thursday August 4, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at the Parkdale Branch
    In this workshop series, participants will be introduced to the world of graffiti art. Learn from a UNITY artist about letter structure, style and composition. Participants will be give step-by-step instructions on how to create their own unique graffiti pieces of art. This eight week drop-in program will lead up to the creation of a final mural project. Come to as many sessions as you can -- attend one, or attend them all. Ages 12 - 19

  10. Anime Screening -- Kiznaiver
    Friday August 5, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm at the Jane/Dundas Branch
    Bring your friends and enjoy a selection of anime straight from Japan. Please note: anime will be subtitled in English but spoken in Japanese. Anime shown will be for ages 12 and up.

Hope to see you all there!

Marilyn Manson and Slipknot Concert Review

July 27, 2016 | Youth Advisory Group | Comments (0)

By Alissa, Runnymede Branch Youth Advisory Group member

    On Tuesday, July 19, 2016, I had the pleasure to see Marilyn Manson, Slipknot and their opener, Of Mice & Men, live at the Air Canada Centre. I have never seen any of these bands live before but expected an amazing show. I have always wanted to see my favourite music artists Marilyn Manson and Slipknot live. Before this concert I had never listened to Of Mice & Men but they turned out to be really good live. 

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Contest: Song Writing Contest (July 26 – August 8)

July 25, 2016 | stephen | Comments (18)

And our winner is Stairwells - Heyitsvickay! Congratulations Vicky

Song writing

Are you a songwriter? Let’s hear it! All styles of music are welcome—with lyrics or without lyrics.

Submit your original song for a chance to win B&O Beoplay H6 headphones.

The song needs to be on YouTube or SoundCloud and we can’t accept an MPC, flac, or other sound file formats.

To submit your song please add a link from either YouTube or SoundCloud in the comments section below.

Prize: B&O Beoplay H6 Headphones

http://www.beoplay.com/products/beoplayh6

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Whats On @ the library July 25th - 31st

July 25, 2016 | Cameron | Comments (0)

Events_programsWant to know what is going on at the Toronto Public Library for teens this week: Check out the listing of programs below that cover programs and events from July 25th to July 31st.

 

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5 Seconds of Summer Concert Review

July 23, 2016 | Youth Advisory Group | Comments (0)

By Runnymede Branch Youth Advisory Group member, Alissa

    On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, I saw 5 Seconds of Summer live for the third time. For this tour, Sounds Live Feels Live, they brought along Hey Violet and One Ok Rock. They performed at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. Last year, 5 Seconds of Summer also brought Hey Violet on the Rock Out With Your Socks Out tour, therefore I have seen them before; but I have never seen One Ok Rock or listened to them before the concert.

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Make It Rain Confetti: Panic! at the Disco and Weezer Tour 2016

July 21, 2016 | Youth Advisory Group | Comments (0)

By Runnymede Branch Youth Advisory Group member, Alissa 

On Wednesday, July 6, 2016, I had the pleasure to see Panic! At The Disco, Weezer, and Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness live at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. I had the opportunity to see Panic! At The Disco live last year for the This Is Gospel Tour, which was outstanding and made me want to see them again. Before July 6th, I had never listened to the other bands and was pleasantly surprised by their performances.

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Happening This Week: July 18-24

July 17, 2016 | Alice | Comments (0)

Dance. Draw. Act. Beatbox. Learn. 

We have a lot going on this week! 

SharpiesTwo weeks of hip hop dance with Scarborough dance crew Bucc N Flvr kick off this week at Maria A. Shchuka branch July 19. 

Michael Brown uncaps some sharpies for an art programme at Don Mills on July 19.

Top Ten author Ryan North teaches you a bit about comic creation at Centennial this week on July 19.

Can you make a play in one day? Young People's Theatre is leading a workshop on Collective Creation on July 20 at Lillian H. Smith.

If you've ever wanted to see what's behind the scenes in the reference library's gallery and amazing special collections, this week we have your chance to find out! Join us for a special insider's look on July 20.

MicAlways wanted to beatbox or learn the art of graffiti? You can still join in our summer-long series with Unity!  

Beatboxing happens on Saturdays at Parliament branch until August 27 - you can come for one or all of the sessions.

Thursday nights are alright for graffiti at Parkdale branch all summer until August 25. See you there maybe? 

City Dove: Reviewed

July 15, 2016 | Cameron | Comments (0)

Unbreakable_Smile_(Official_Album_Cover)_by_Tori_KellyReviewed by Zahra, Highland Creek Library

Unbreakable Smile by Tori Kelly

"City Dove" is a song written by singer/songwriter Tori Kelly; this song can be found in her album "Unbreakable Smile." I have always been a huge fan of Tori Kelly, and I have to say that this song is one of my favorites by her. My interpretation of this song is along the lines of freedom, perseverance and discovery. Tori is known to use a lot of symbolism in the portrayal of significant events she has experienced. To me the title "City Dove" represents freedom, since birds, what with their ability to fly, are predominantly represented to be free. One of the verses goes like this:

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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: REVIEWED

July 10, 2016 | stephen | Comments (0)

Joseph_and_the_Amazing_Technicolor_DreamcoatReviewed by Emelie at Richview 

"Go go go Joseph"

You'll wanna go go go see Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.  A funny feel good musical that will make people leave saying "why didn't I dream of this sooner?" 

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Happening This Week: July 11 - 16

July 10, 2016 | stephen | Comments (0)

New programs and Summer Edition Tech Week! 

Logics academySeveral branches are hosting Logics Academy this week for an hour long introduction to robotics. Come in and learn how to code and program your robot to participate in our Robot Dance Battle

Steeles: July 11 2-3pm

Cedarbrae: July 12 2-3pm

Pape/Danforth: July 13 4-5pm

 

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Playlist Review by Catherine

July 9, 2016 | stephen | Comments (0)

Reviewed by Catherine at Pleasant View

Χαλεπά τά τρόμος.

Beauty is terror.

A Greek idea, about how extreme beauty goes hand in hand with quivering in fear of said beauty. Quite the name for a song playlist, nine of them in fact. Tags include "hauntingly beautiful", "orchestral", "epic", and "beautiful" to name a few. This collection of songs is perfect for studying, reading, or background music for watching an Angel walk past, ground fracturing beneath her feet, knowing she can end our mortal lives with just a thought.

 Anyways, I'm sure you'll enjoy this playlist, so click here.

Happening This Week: July 4-10

July 3, 2016 | Alice | Comments (0)

We're kicking off July with some awesome programs this week! 

Hiphop baby - pixabay Brentwood is hosting ScratchLab for a two-hour workshop on DJ skills this Thursday afternoon. Drop by to pick up some basics on mixing, beatmatching, and scratching to get you started. 

And two of our biggest programs are launching for an eight-week run! 

Unity is bringing beatboxing to Parliament branch every Saturday from 2-4, from July 9th to August 27th.

If art is more your thing, we have an eight-week graffiti arts program with Unity starting at our Parkdale branch

For the entire summer worth of what's going on, take a look at our events page.

BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan): REVIEWED

June 25, 2016 | stephen | Comments (1)

Reviewed by Grace at Agincourt

 

BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan) is a Korean boy-band group who debuted in 2013. BTS consists of seven different members (Jin, Rapmon, Suga, J-Hope, V, Jimin, Jungkook), who are not only talented and dedicated to their career, but are also super unique and charismatic.

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Music Video Monday, Pride Edition: Eric Himan

June 13, 2016 | Cameron | Comments (0)

Eric Himan is an openly gay singer/songwriting for America. He has many accolades to his name and if you visit his website you can learn more about him there: http://www.erichiman.com. He has created and produced 8 independent albums on his own record label and has dealt with many different social issues and themes in his music such as transgender, violence against woman, acceptance, etc. The first video of his is about a trans teen contemplating suicide: Little Boy Blue

 

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Music Video Monday, Pride Edition: Gregory Douglass

June 6, 2016 | Cameron | Comments (0)

Gregory Douglass is an American singer/songwriter who hails from Vermont and has been an independent musician since 1998 with his first album. Douglas is openly gay and many of his songs deal with queer themes and issues. We will start off with a cover video of the Adele song: Set Fire to the Rain.

 

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Music Video Monday, Pride Edition - Vivek Shraya

May 30, 2016 | Cameron | Comments (0)

Vivek Shraya is a Toronto based musician who identifies as Queer. She has toured Canada extensively with other Canadian musical groups and has written several books and also recently published a collection of poetry focusing on racism. Our first video for her is: Power

 

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Music Video Monday - Lush

May 23, 2016 | Cameron | Comments (0)

Lush are an alternative rock band that formed in London, England in 1987, disbanded in 1998 and reformed in 2015. Lush was the first band to be described as of the "shoegazing" genre. Their sound changed a great deal over the years the band was active and they disbanded when the drummer committed suicide in 1996, but did not officially announce it until 1998. They are now back together but we don't know for how long. We will start with their most recent video: Out of Control

 

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Music Video Monday - Red Hot Chili Peppers

May 16, 2016 | Cameron | Comments (0)

The RHCP are an American rock band that formed in Los Angeles in 1993. The lineup of the band has varied slightly over the years but has always included Anthony Kiedis, Flea and drummer Chad Smith. In 2012 the group was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame, they are also one of the most successful bands to perform on the alternative music radio charts. We begin with an earlier single: Higher Ground.

 

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Music Video Monday - Ivy

May 9, 2016 | Cameron | Comments (0)

The trio Ivy is based out of New York City, but the lead singer hales from France. Their distinct sound is referred to as "pop music without the bitter after taste" and they really are a refreshing sounding band who don't dwell on specifics but on different relationships and themes.

Our first video by them is for the single: I've got a feeling

 

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