Online Seed Library!

Yes, you can again get seeds from the North Castle Public Library. It’s not too late! If you plant annual flowers now, you can have blooms in August and September. Some of our native perennials should actually be planted in the fall for blooms next summer. Or you might want to grow herbs, or an autumn crop of peas. Why not give some free seeds a try?

Questions you may have:

Q: Are the seeds sterile?

A: Absolutely! You don’t have to worry about getting germs from these paper seed packets. They were prepared in February, and the library has been thoroughly cleaned since then.  The virus does not last for more than three days on paper.

Q: But will they still be sterile when I get them?

A: Yes, of course! The only people who will touch your seed packets are a librarian wearing gloves and you!

Q: Will the seeds still grow?

A: Yes, most of them were packaged for this year and they should grow. If you’re looking for an easy seed-growing experience with your children, we recommend nasturtiums, zinnias, and peas. There are tips for growing seeds in our borrowing catalog.

Q: Okay! I’d like some seeds. How do I get them, and how many can I take?

A:  In previous years we’ve allowed five seed packets per person. This year, you can take up to ten. Just list them on our online form. Here’s how:

1.       Look through our online listing of plants, and then click on this link to download the borrowing form.

2.       Fill out the form, including your name and your library card number.

3.       Either mail it to the library, ATTN Mary Johnson, or fill it out online and  email it to me at mjohnson@wlsmail.org.  Our mailing address for the seed catalog is;

The North Castle Public Library

ATTN: Mary Johnson

19 Whippoorwill Road East

Armonk, NY 10504

4.       When I get your form, I will pull your seeds and put them in an envelope for you. Depending on your preference, I will either mail your seeds to you or else put them on the hold shelf for you to pick up in person.

Remember, you can always contact me at 914-273-3887 x 3 or mjohnson@wlsmail.org

David Fincher’s Zodiac Challenges the Conventional Serial Killer Thriller

David Fincher’s Zodiac is an important film in the director’s canon. It shows the growth of Fincher himself as a filmmaker, and also handles one of the sensationalized Hollywood stories, the serial killer on the loose, in novel ways. The serial killer horror thriller has been a staple of Hollywood’s blockbuster slate for decades, starting with the runaway success of films like Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1974 and John Carpenter’s Halloween, made in 1979. Both films are classics of the horror genre, but also purposely sensationalize the lurid tales of serial killers, playing to a morbid curiosity in American culture following the Manson family killings. David Fincher himself was a notable director in the genre, having directed one of the most iconic and popular horror films of the 1990’s, 1995’s Se7en. It was only appropriate that over a decade later, a film about one of the most enigmatic and puzzling real life crime stories in the enigmatic Zodiac killer would be directed by Fincher. Yet Fincher’s Zodiac is hardly a conventional film within the genre, even compared to Se7en. Instead of a bloody, thrilling roller coaster, Zodiac is a comparatively slow, bleak film, where the audience is immersed in the increasingly futile hunt for the killer’s identity.

Zodiac is far from a bloodless film. In fact at times it can be shockingly unsettling and brutal, yet the blood is not the point. Sequences such as the Zodiac’s murder of two college students near Lake Berryessa are startling not just for their graphic content and tension, but also for their rarity in the film’s 157 minute runtime. The sequence is classic Fincher, juxtaposing gorgeous framing and rich color against sudden, detached cinematic violence. Yet it’s a moment that exists almost in a vacuum. Instead the bulk of the film’s attention is squarely on its two leads, Jake Gyllenhaal as Robert Graysmith, a cartoonist who decrypts the killer’s enigmatic messages, and Robert Downey Jr. as crime reporter Paul Avery. Employees at the same paper, they have direct access to the killing’s lead investigator, Dave Toschi, played by Mark Ruffalo. Graysmith and Avery are emblematic of the broader public’s interest in the killers. The various rabbit holes they’re led down throughout the film, none of which are conclusive, reflect how complicated and seemingly impossible the case is to crack. The media is depicted as a means of inspiring the killer by drawing further attention, while also making meaningful progress to identifying him or her impossible, as one copy cat after another dilutes the investigation.

This sense of frustration, for both the characters within the film and the audience, is where Zodiac makes a bold break from convention. Zodiac is a film about a serial killer in which the killer is barely present, eluding the grasp of the audience. Intrigued by the stark violence of the film’s first act, their desperation for a clear answer mirrors that of Graysmith himself. As the film progresses, it’s clear that the main antagonist is the general public themselves, their interest only serving to undermine the case and increase the notoriety of the killer. While the killer’s presence can be felt through various threatening phone calls made to Graysmith, it’s an entirely different kind of terror from that delivered by Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees or even Fincher’s own John Doe. It’s an anonymous terror, whose mysteriousness only enhances how frightening the titular murderer is. 

By the film’s final act both Graysmith and Avery have surrendered to their own demons, Graysmith having alienated his family due to his obsession with the case and Avery having collapsed into alcoholism. It’s in these moments that the film’s cast shines, especially the leads. Robert Downey Jr. was a year away from his mainstream revival in Marvel’s Iron Man but over a year removed from his return to form as an actor in the excellent Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Here he plays an affable charmer in the film’s opening act and, through the stress of the case, devolves into a drunken burn-out. Both sides of his portrayal are equally mesmerizing. Gyllenhaal’s performance doesn’t have as wide a range but he balances Avery’s quiet intensity and vulnerability with grace. It is through him that the audience experiences the film’s theme of obsession and the fear of the unknown, resolving in one of the most potent and thematically appropriate anti-climaxes in cinema. The Zodiac Killer’s identity has slipped between the cracks of history, and all that remains is Graysmith’s and, by extension, the general public’s lingering questions. These questions contribute to the Zodiac Killer’s terrifying legacy far more than his graphic murders and cryptic messages. David Fincher understood this, and created a film that tackles how the broader public mythologizes a very bleak reality.

Tonight’s Featured Film: The Bookshop

Hello All:

It’s Friday night at the movies this evening! We are looking at the 2017 English film, THE BOOKSHOP, with the free intro open to all at 7 pm, and the post film wrap up, again open to all, around 9:30 pm.

Let’s say you are a widow looking to do something wonderful in a small seaside town. In your decision to open a bookshop, you come up against all sorts of mean spirited opposition, including the town arts bully and numerous jealous shopkeepers fighting for business. How do you persevere in the midst of all this difficulty & still maintain your spirits & integrity? Join us tonight to find out. 

Note: intro lecture on the film starts at 7 pm then we break for everyone to watch the film on their own devices at home. It will not be streamed on zoom. Please make sure you have signed up for a Kanopy account through your North Castle Public Library account and have tested it out before class starts at 7 pm.  After viewing the film, we all come back into zoom for further lecture, discussion & the Q & A. 

Tonight’s film appreciation class starts at 7 pm, with an open room at 6:45 in case you want to catch up with each other. 

For those of you who aren’t able to log in using your computer or other digital device, I am adding a call-in number so you can listen to the lecture as it occurs. Class starts  at 7 pm, but you may jump in at 6:45 for a brief  mocktail “hour” reception, allowing you time to catch up with everybody before we start. Food, drink, attire- it’s all up to you how you decide to enjoy this evening’s class. You may also opt out of being seen, by muting your camera, or covering it with a sticky note. 

FILM LECTURE LINK

(Posted each week)

As always, feel free to reach out to me via email if you need assistance getting onto zoom, or if you just want to touch base. It has been a pleasure hearing from you all!

Be well & stay safe.