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  1. Readable History Book Club invites all Viet Nam Veterans and history lovers to join them for a lively discussion at 7 pm, Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Dr., as they discuss This Time We Win: Revisiting the Tet Offensive by James S. Robbins. Washington Times senior editorial writer James Robbins argues that the Tet Offensive was actually a failure for the North Vietnamese and that the U.S. media and left-wing academics created a false impression of its importance. Robbins also teaches International Relations at the National Defense University in Washington, DC. and is a frequent commentator on national security issues for The Wall Street Journal, National Review and other publications. Mr. Robbins will participate via teleconferecne call from his Washington D.C. headhuarters. Call 214-509-4911.
  2. Meet Raul Colón, one of America’s award-winning children’s book illustrators, at the Allen Public Library, 2 pm, Saturday, September 10, 300 N. Allen Dr. Colón has illustrated over two dozen acclaimed books, including Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt, Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and How to Bake an American Pie. Colón will discuss the creations and designs of some of his illustrations, and after his discussion, answer questions from the audience. Sponsored by Bach to Books and Storyopolis Global Entertainment, this program is free.
  3. By Tom Keener Come hear one of the world’s oldest musical instruments when Allen’s own “Ocarina Diva†Cris Gale performs at 7:30 p.m., Friday, August 12, at the Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Dr. She will be performing classical standards as well as contemporary and classical pieces from Asia. Cris explains, “I suppose the program could be described as East/West Classical Fusion.†Sponsored by Bach to Books, this program is free and no reservations are required. From the United States to Switzerland to Senegal, Italy to Japan, ocarinas bring peoples of the world together. Primitive forms of these instruments have been excavated from sites of various ancient civilizations, including Aztecs, Mayans, Chinese and Pacific Islanders. Cris has been featured in the popular video game The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. Cris began playing the ocarina in 1999, and since then, she has performed at renaissance festivals, weddings, and as a studio musician for a meditation CD. In 2009, she won STL Ocarina’s International Search Competition and subsequently joined STL Ocarina as a consultant and performer. Cris declares, “It is just something that I deeply enjoy doing that happens to bring me peace and happiness. I can't imagine life without it. When I attended the ocarina festival, I met a maker/performer from Norway that lost one of his hands in an accident. He made himself a special ocarina so that he could keep playing. Despite what's happened to him, he continues to make beautiful music. I don't think he had a choice. I think that once music gets a hold on you, it never lets go.†Cris’s version of Handel’s HWV 362 can be found at (http://crisgale.com/album/hwv-362-handel). Call 214-509-4911 for more information.
  4. Remember when neighbors jammed with instruments and other inanimate objects on porches while folks gathered and listened to the free session? Treat yourself to a delightful evening that will boost your spirits and start your weekend with energy, 7:30 pm, Thursday, July 21, 300 N. Allen Dr. Their “porch music†is played on acoustic instruments and pays homage to our varied Texas musical roots. It is influenced by Country Blues, Texas folk music, Jazz and swing standards, and Depression Era country songwriters. Guitar playing styles include finger picking and slide guitar. Other instruments include the acoustic bass, harmonica, cymbal, and a drum-like instrument of their own design made out of a wooden soda pop box. This is a small band with a big sound--up to eight instruments will be heard simultaneously, along with harmonizing vocals. The band is comprised of two members, Rudy Littrell, and Duane Brown. Rudy Littrell, a self-proclaimed "recovering percussionist," has the coordination to play four instruments at one time--acoustic bass, high hat, harmonica, and a wooden soda pop box. Duane Brown has been making music since he was a kid, when he strummed the broom (today it’s a guitar and harmonica) and sang Roger Miller songs for the neighbors. “Rudy noticed that every time he hit an E-flat, the porch would resound to that," said Brown's wife and band publicist, Adah Leah Wolf. Thus, the E-Flat Porch became the name. The E-Flatters present an educational and entertaining introduction to folk music, to enable the audience to understand and appreciate the folk roots of today’s music. Through their original songs, they carry on a tradition of creativity in its musical form. The E-Flat Porch Band has performed at folk and blues festivals throughout the Southwest, Texas Metal Arts Festival in Gruene, Folk Festival in Denton, Richardson’s Wildflower Festival, Texas Arts and Crafts Fair in Kerrville, and Texas Folklife Festival in San Antonio. Sponsored by Bach to Books, this program is free and no reservations are required. Call 214-509-4911 for information.
  5. The Allen Public Library will feature Tuskegee Airman Lt. Calvin Spann, at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, July 14, Allen Public Library Civic Auditorium, 300 N. Allen Dr. He will discuss the rigorous training at the Tuskegee University Moton Airfield, aerial campaigns during World War II that included traversing the treacherous Alps and encountering a newly invented German weapon-jet aircraft. These brave airmen also distinguished themselves by achieving the singular distinction of never losing an escorted bomber to enemy plane fire. This is an exciting opportunity to hear an eyewitness to history’s biggest war. Boy Scout Troop 328 will present the colors to commence the program. After the program, Mr. Spann will be available for questions and photographs. A reception with refreshments will follow. Calvin and his wife Gwenelle, reside in Allen and give talks to schools and libraries on the role of Tuskegee Airmen. For more information, call Tom Keener at 214-509-4911.
  6. Fablehaven author Brandon Mull appears at the Allen Public Library at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 7, 300 N. Allen Dr., Allen Public Library. After the program, patrons can ask questions, purchase books and have them signed by the author. Sponsored by Bach to Books and Storyopolis Global Entertainment, this program is free. Buried in the subconscious of all people is the need for a location where one can seek safety and protection. Robert Frost wrote, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.†Fablehaven is that secret nature preserve that protects mythological beings and legends from the outside world. Mull declares, “Fablehaven is a fantasy adventure about a wildlife park for magical creatures. I figured that if I could learn to write a good scene, I could eventually write a good novel.†His works about imagniary creatures offer a realism that helps the reader launch into fantasy while discovering their inner self. Mull also wrote The Candy Shop War. Because many young readers are interested in his books, Mull crosses the country talking to students, sharing the message that "imagination can take you places.†As a child, Mull lived in his head, creating adventures, daydreaming and sometimes sharing imaginary games with siblings and friends. Daydreaming was part of his life, but as an adult, his stories grew to be more elaborate and he shares them with all who are willing to enjoy his imaginary possibilities. Currently, Mull is writing a new three-book series called "The Beyonders," and the first was released March 15, 2011. A sequel to "The Candy Shop War," titled "The Arcadeland Catastrophe," is scheduled to be released in the second half of 2011. Having worked as a comedian, a filing clerk, a patio installer, a movie promoter, a copywriter, and briefly as a chicken stacker before becoming a published writer, Mull now lives happily with his wife Mary and their four children. Call 214-509-4911 for more information.
  7. Honor children and promote literacy at Allen Public Library’s free Day of the Child/Day of the Book program from 1:30 to 4:30 pm, Sunday, May 1. This event is hosted annually throughout Latin America and across the United States. At 2:30 pm, the Younger Generation Chorus of Plano presents “Can’t Keep From Singingâ€, an afternoon of fun, upbeat, Show Tunes and Pop Music. Younger Generation is a premier children’s choir serving youth from Collin County communities. Under the direction of Tenesa Rasmussen, the chorus has achieved national recognition for excellence, and has traveled from Plano to the White House. A folk harpist and head choir director at Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas. At 3:30 pm, the Repertory Company Theatre of Richardson presents Little Red. Although many variations of this story have been told, this unique version has a 1950s style and is sure to rock ‘n’ roll! Little Red strives to be a rock star and she travels to Granny's with an attitude. As in the more traditional tale, Little Red encounters the Wolf, but this one tells her he is a talent agent and can make her famous and a huge star. Meanwhile, Little Red’s mother is courted by the handsome and shy woodcutter who proves to be most courageous. Other activities for the day include crafts, refreshments and face painting. The library is located at 300 N. Allen Drive, 75013. For more information, call 214-509-4906. b]
  8. Award-winning author and photographer Carolyn Jones shares her path for self awareness, healing and recovery from addiction through her photography and words at the Allen Public Library, 7 pm, Thursday, April 28, 300 N. Allen Dr., 75013, reception and book signing afterwards. Carolyn’s journey is an inspiration for all who are affected by addictions and personal struggles in themselves or their family and friends. Her words and art give hope and courage to those in conflict and encourage and empowers those that are already on their path. Carolyn photographed antique wrought iron gates in Victorian neighborhoods that contain impressive Fleur-de-lis and Curly Q designs. Beams of light that permeate the gates create multicolored mystical images and shadows. Gates can be symbolic of life’s closing chapters but they also signify new horizons. Gates protect our family and pets but they grant access to those we love. Because they move, gates are not intended to be permanent and neither is life. Author of Opening the Gates of the Heart: a Journey of Healing, Carolyn has been awarded two Honorable Mentions: one for spirituality from the 2010 New York Book Festival, and one for photography/art from the 2010 San Francisco Book Festival. Author Mike Farrell states, “This is a lovely celebration of those who have been on the journey, and an invitation to those for whom the journey awaits.†Call 214-509-4911.
  9. Award winning novelist Chris Crutcher appears at the Allen Public Library 7 pm, Thursday, April 21, 300 N. Allen Dr., 75013. Sponsored by Bach to Books, Robin Screen and Ford Middle School PTA, this event is free. Raised in Cascade, Idaho and a graduate from Eastern Washington University, Crutcher began his career as a teacher, which gave him the encouragement and inspiration to begin writing. Published in 1983, Running Loose was his debut novel, which was followed by Stotan, Crazy Horse and Chinese Handcuffs. Crutcher’s fast paced fiction typically contains a talented athletic protagonist who faces daunting personal problems at home. When the characters cease to objectify winning or garnering attention as their major objectives, they start succeeding. Crutcher’s works are influenced by his experience as a child and family therapist and his novels reflect introspection through a balance of comedy and tragedy spoken with an authentic voice. Call 214-509-4911.
  10. Beginning at 3 pm, Stevie Ray Vaughan biographer Craig Hopkins discusses his newly-released book Stevie Ray Vaughan: Day by Day, Night After Night. Following this, Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch unshackle boundless energy to present an unforgettable music experience. In 2010, the band released its debut album, "Upside Your Head." At 7 p.m., Allen resident and jazz artist Jim Shannon and his Quartet deliver a sizzling performance. At 8:30 p.m., Tutu Jones combines blues and soul for a concert full of lightning energy.
  11. Paleontology is a living science where important discoveries are made daily, perhaps faster than in any other science. With his vast knowledge of prehistoric life and his expertise in animal behaviors, “Dinosaur George†Blasing will discuss dinosaurs and showcase an array of fossil specimens at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 31, at the Allen Public Library Civic Auditorium, 300 N. Allen Drive. After his discussion, he will afford the audience an opportunity to examine the fossils and ask questions, which will be followed by a reception. Call 214-509-4905. Co-creator, author and host of The History Channel’s Jurassic Fight Club, Dinosaur George has also been featured on radio stations across the country and is currently involved in the creation of several future television shows. This free event is sponsored by the Adult Services of the Allen Public Library.
  12. Irish, Scottish and Welsh eyes are smiling on the Allen Public Library’s Celtic Night at the Library at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 10. With appearances by The Irish Rogues, Keltic Dead’s Shaun Patrick Young, storyteller Donna Lively, fiddler-dancer Hailey Sandoz, fiddler Joseph Carmichael, and bagpipers Ryan Chalk and Matt Willis. The audience will be treated to popular tunes and ballads from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. No reservations are required but free tickets are distributed at 6:30 p.m. that evening. The Irish Rogues performs a rich collection of rollicking sing-a-longs and ballads with brilliant, danceable instrumentals. Founded by Irish emigrant John Hodgins and Harold Herrington, The Irish Rogues entertains crowds with its infectious style and good humor. Comprised of Earnie Taft, John Hodgins and David Sparks, The Irish Rogues have played music at almost every local Irish pub and Celtic celebration. Since 1982, the band members has been featured at the North Texas Irish Festival in Dallas. Storyteller Donna Lively is noted for her sensational ghost stories and mystical Celtic tales. Donna has performed many times at the Tejas Storytelling Festival in Denton, including its popular Ghost Tales concert, and was designated as one of the 25 best tellers in Texas at the 2010 25th Anniversary Tejas Festival last March. Donna also has a CD of her stories, entitled “Onions in the Stew: Tales of the Scots-Irish.†Call 214-509-4911.
  13. Heal the earth, beautify your environment, and enhance a prominent civic landscape on Arbor Day, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, March 5th, at the Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Dr., 75013. This year’s theme is Trees are Terrific in all Shapes and Sizes. The day includes author and radio personality “The Dirt Doctor†Howard Garrett, City Forester Denise Moore, certified arborists, a host of vendors with free giveaways, a radio disc jockey, and above all, tree plantings. For ten consecutive years, Allen has received the honor of being designated a Tree City by the National Arbor Day Foundation. Trees protect our houses from summer heat and produce oxygen. At this year’s Arbor Day event, a number of trees specifically selected for our area will be available for the reduced price of $35 each, and 26 trees will be planted on the library’s campus. Sponsored by Friends of the Allen Public Library, Keep Allen Beautiful and the Parks and Recreation Department, and The Allen Parks Foundation, this fun family event is free. From 9:00-11 am, Howard Garret will broadcast live on KSKY 660 AM from the library’s courtyard and Certified Arborists will give demonstrations on proper tree planting and care. Garrett is a landscape architect, arborist, newspaper columnist, host of “The Natural Way†organic living talk show on KSKY AM radio, author of 14 books, and a consultant to organic product development. From 11 a.m.-Noon, City of Allen City Forester Denise Moore will emcee a program that dedicates the Arbor Day Tree and celebrates the City of Allen’s Tree City Award. Moore holds a degree in Landscape Architecture (BSLA), certification in desert landscaping and is a Certified Arborist. From Noon-1 p.m., Howard Garrett will discuss his organic program for landscape and garden, and answer questions inside the auditorium. Keep Allen Beautiful staff member Donna Kliewer notes, “Arbor Day is a chance to share my love of the outdoors and entice others to join me outside to enjoy the wonder of nature that takes place in breath-taking, changing splendor during each season.†Urban Forester Denise Moore quotes an unknown Chinese poet, 500 B.C.E. “If you are thinking a year ahead, sow a seed. If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree. If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people.†Moore declares, “I hope to do all of these things during our 2011 Arbor Day.†Groups such as Scouts or churches wishing to reserve a tree to plant may call Keep Allen Beautiful at 214-509-4555, prior to Arbor Day. For information, call 214-509-4911.
  14. The Allen Heritage Guild presents Sam Bass Day, 10-3, Saturday, February 26, Allen Train Depot, 100 E. Main St. From 10-2, enjoy fun family games and activities, including a blacksmith demonstration by Page Smith. At every half hour, the Allen Theatre Department reenacts the infamous Sam Bass train robbery. Sam Bass and Gang held up the Houston and Texas Central train on Feb. 22, 1878. This was the first train robbery in Texas. View the Sam Bass and Gang documentary that will be featured throughout the day. At 1:45, Ebenezer Allen presents the awards for the first place winners of the coloring contest for second and third graders from Allen ISD. Entries must be submitted by February 9. At 2:15, Texas historian Tom Keener will provide an overview of Sam Bass’s life as an outlaw and his impact on history. This program is free and no reservations are required. Call 214-509-4911
  15. The Dallas County Buffalo Soldiers ride into the Allen Public Library at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 24. U.S. Army units composed of African-American soldiers, the Buffalo Soldiers fought with bravery and valor. From 1866 to the Korean War, Buffalo Soldiers won a number of grueling but decisive battles. Sergeant Major Paul Allen will discuss the history of the Buffalo Soldiers and will lead in drill reenactments. The son of the late Henry and Mythetta “Ruth†Sweat Allen, Allen native Sgt Maj. Allen attended the Allen Colored School. During the summers, he worked for farm foreman Herbert Jones hauling hay, chopping and picking cotton, and pulling corn on properties that were farmed by the Curtises, Malones, Lynges, and Bolins. After retiring from the military, he served in the Dallas Police Department. Sgt. Maj. Allen declares, “The Buffalo Soldiers represent black people who fought for their country, then returned to private life to endure unequal justice. They exhibited resilience and character, and demonstrated enthusiasm, patriotism and love for their country.†Sponsored by Bach to Books, this program is free. For more information, call 214-509-4911
  16. Esteemed jazz artist and University of Rochester’s prestigious Eastman School of Music professor Clay Jenkins uncorks dazzling trumpet solos at 7 p.m. Sunday, February 20, at the Allen Public Library Civic Auditorium, 300 N. Allen Dr., Allen, TX. Jenkin’s career as a jazz artist parallels his music’s energy. Jenkin’s experience as a performer began with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. He recorded three live albums with Kenton’s band, Artistry in Symphonic Jazz, A Time for Love, and The Lost Concerts, Vols. I & II. Jenkins later moved to Los Angeles where he toured with the big bands of Harry James, Buddy Rich, and finally, the Count Basie Orchestra. In 2000, Jenkins joined Eastman School of Music but continues to perform and record with Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, of which he is a charter member. Collin College Professor Kris Berg notes, “Clay Jenkins is the real deal and is one of the premiere jazz trumpet players in the country today.†Sponsored by Bach to Books and the Collin College Jazz Program, this program is free but complimentary tickets will be issued at 6:30 p.m. Call 214-509-4911.
  17. Award-winning children’s book illustrator E.B. Lewis appears at the Allen Public Library, 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, 300 N. Allen Drive, 75013. Lewis won a Caldecott Honor for his book Coming On Home Soon and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for Talkin' About Bessie. Sponsored by the Allen Public Library and the Story Book House in Dallas, this program is free. Inspired by his two artist uncles, as a child Lewis displayed artistic promise. He notes, “I crawled out of the crib with a crayon.†Later, he enrolled at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art where he discovered his medium of preference was watercolor. For information, call Tom Keener at 214-509-4911.
  18. Because February is recognized as the month of love and romance, the Allen Public Library is offering a program to stir the passions of the soul. Award-winning romance writer Francis Ray and harpist Geoffrey Ricketts will be at the Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Drive, at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 10. Their presentation is free and open to the public. Ray’s love, kindness and encouragement emanate through her books, with warmth and humor intricately weaved through the stories. Her characters are realistic with no distortion. Her fans have consistently placed her books on bestseller's lists such as Blackboard and Essence Magazine. Incognito, her sixth title, was the first made-for-TV movie for Black Entertainment Television (BET). She has authored forty titles in all and her awards include Borders 2008 Romance Award for Bestselling Multicultural Romance. Playing the harp in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area since 1990, Geoffrey Ricketts has been featured at the Morton Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas Museum of Art, WRR FM 101.1, and Scarborough Faire. A graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in fine art music, Geoffrey notes, “The harp is tranquil but is also full of thunder and passion. 37 tone colors can be created with each string, and there are 47 strings, creating an orchestral instrument.â€
  19. Lady Marli Davis presents Christmas Chocolate & Charles Dickens, 7 p.m. Thursday, December 9, at the Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Dr. Lady Marli will share a history of old-fashioned Yuletide traditions, holly and ivy decorations, Victorian Christmas cards, trees, ornaments and Charles Dickens’ influence on Christmas celebrations. Sponsored by Bach to Books, this program is free and no reservations are required. Lady Marli will provide historical highlights of significant holiday traditions such as as the creation of the first Christmas card, which was printed in December 1843 at the request of Sir Henry Cole,. To prepare for this program, Lady Marli read the Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol, viewed films based upon it, researched background information on the Victorian Era, and studied Yuletide traditions. She notes, “I hope the audience will come to appreciate the long historical and cultural tradition of a beautiful holiday of giving.†A graduate of the University of Colorado, majoring in art history, Lady Marli was an adjunct Professor at National University. She is also an accomplished artist, currently focusing on pastels and charcoal drawings. Lady Marli is a member of the Allen Heritage Guild and the Plano Art Association . Some of her work has been on exhibit at the Allen Senior Recreation Center. Every year she donates one of her paintings to the AIDS Resource Center of Dallas for their annual fund-raising auction. Most of Lady Marli’s presentations have been through Collin College's SAIL (Seniors Active in Learning) Program. Additionally, she participates in the Richland College Emeritus Program and gives performances at retirement facilities. In December, she will be hosting "The 3rd Annual Lord Peter Wimsey Fan Club Convention," to honor one of her favorite British sleuths. For information, call Tom Keener at 214-509-4911.
  20. Award winning author Eric Kimmel appears at the Allen Public Library 1 pm, Saturday, December 4th, Children's Program Room, 300 N. Allen Dr., Allen, 75013. After his program, books will be sold and autographed. Kimmel is an American author of more than 50 children's books. His works include Caldecott Honor Book and Newbury Honor Book Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman), and Sydney Taylor Book Award winners The Chanukkah Guest and Gershon's Monster. His The Lady In The Blue Cloak, a collection of stories from the Texas missions, was given the Naylor Award by the Daughters of the Texas Revolution and is a featured book at the bookstore in the Alamo, which was a thrill for Kimmel because the first book he ever purchased with his own money was John Myers Myers’ The Alamo. In 1973, Kimmel completed his Ph.D. degree in Education at the University of Illinois. From 1973 to 1978, he taught courses in language arts, children’s literature, and storytelling at Indiana University at South Bend in South Bend, Indiana and from 1978-1993, Portland State University, and in Portland, Oregon, retiring from college teaching in 1993 to pursue writing. Kimmel credits a graduate school storytelling class with the practice of perfecting a story. Telling a story to "real kids" proved to him "that the story is crucial - good intentions do not make up for a weak story.†Eric Kimmel’s library appearance is cosponsored by the Story Book House in Dallas. For information, call 214-509-4906
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