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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Expand Your Horizons

There's a song by popular British rock/pop group Genesis with the refrain, "I know what I like and I like what I know." There is nothing wrong with having your favorites, knowing what "works" for you - unless that gets your wheel spinning in a deep, deep rut, the victim of a too-narrow view of the world. The Library offers big and small ways to expand your horizons beyond what you know and feel certain that you like.

I'll offer two suggestions, coming up this month: live performances at the Library by the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and Wici: Polish Folkloric Song and Dance. Your first response might be: "But I'm not Jewish, I'm not Polish." My response would be, "So what?" You don't have to be Mexican to enjoy enchiladas nor Italian to love cappuccino. Plus, one benefit of trying new cultural experiences at the Library is that they are free - unlike your local fancy coffee shop.

Beautiful, lively, inspiring music and dance are just that, universal languages that can be understood and appreciated by all. So these two programs can be enjoyed at face value - just listen, watch and smile. You can also learn something at both performances, if that suits you. If you don't know, klezmer music is "a form of Jewish folk music characterized by improvisation and the incorporation of elements of the music of several different (esp. Eastern and Central European) cultures." (Definition courtesy of the Oxford English Dictionary) The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band is truly a Chicagoland institution and their artistry will move you and impress you even if the songs are far removed from your own cultural heritage.

The Wici Song and Dance Company was organized in 1972 right here in Chicago, and in 1983 the troupe become the representative group of the Polish National Alliance, the largest Polish fraternal organization in the United States. October also happens to be Polish American Heritage Month. Both of these groups are bringing world-class entertainment to the Library, at a time when it's expensive to travel or even take a trip into Chicago for a show.

I opened with a quote from a Genesis song, "I Know What I Like." I'll close with encouragement from another pop group, the title from the latest U2 album: "No Line on the Horizon." Broaden your horizons and try something new and unusual this month, right here at the Library. Of course, if klezmer music and Polish traditional song and dance are familiar favorites of yours, we would love to see you at these programs, too! :)

Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, Sunday, October 18, 2009, 2-3 PM.
Register online for this free program.

Wici: Polish Folkloric Song & Dance, Sunday, October 25, 2009, 2-3 PM
No registration necessary - get here early for good seats.

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