If you are a fan of the Beatles, then you will definitely want to pick up the graphic novel, Baby’s In Black. Through black and white drawings, Arne Bellstorf tells the story of the “Lost Beatle” Stuart Sutcliffe. Sutcliffe was the original bass player for The Beatles when they were starting out, playing seedy clubs in Germany in 1960. Sutcliffe is a fascinating part of The Beatles history, as he was also an accomplished artist and writer who chose to leave The Bealtes right before they made it big. While playing with The Beatles in a dive bar in Germany, Sutcliffe met Astrid Kirchhherr, a local photographer. Astrid also plays an important role in The Beatles history: she shot some of the most famous early portraits of The Beatles when they were in Germany, and are also some of the only photos that include Sutcliffe in the mix. Shortly after meeting, Stuart and Astrid fell in love. It was then that Sutcliffe decided that The Beatles were not for him. He wanted to stay in Germany with Astrid and focus on his painting. Tragically, though, Sutcliffe’s life was cut short when he died from a brain hemorrhage in 1962. He never had the chance to marry Astrid or to see how successful The Beatles would become.
This graphical novel really does justice to the story of Sutcliffe’s time with The Beatles and his romance with Astrid. The author, Arne Bellstorf, worked closely with Astrid to get details right and put the emotional punch in this story that only Astrid could provide. It is also a really great snapshot of the short time that The Beatles spent in Germany, playing wherever they could, right before they became uber-famous. Finally, the art in this book is pretty simple, but also really expressive. I think the style of drawing was my most favorite things about this graphic novel, and I am a huge fan of The Beatles so I loved getting a new insight to a story I know well. Here are a couple of examples of the art in Baby’s In Black:
This first example is of Astrid and her boss looking artwork and talking about light and expression in classic art. It’s really cool how the art is depicted here, and how they are talking about the expression and lighting which is exactly what comes through in the art of Baby’s in Black.
In this second photograph, Bellstorf recreates Astrid’s famous photos of The Beatles.
It September 2010, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage and his partner Terry made a YouTube video for LGBT teens and youth as a reaction to the number of young people who took their lives the past year because of being bullied.
Recently, the band Rise Against has collaborated with the It Gets Better Project to use clips from the video submissions in their newest music video for their song Make It Stop (September’s Children), and the video was released this week. The song draws its inspiration from the rash of suicides of bullied teens. Make It Stop (September’s Children) is on their latest album Endgame, which you can find in the Library’s collection. Also, an interesting note, the band filmed the music video at lead singer Tim McIlrath’s former high school, Rolling Meadows High School.
Audrey is a loud music lover, big word user, fashion forward, your average high school student… and followed by paparazzi, called by gossip columnists, wanted for a reality TV show, stalked by reporters, asked for autographs, analyzed on messages boards, and a trend setter. Okay maybe not your average high student anymore.
In Audrey Wait!, Audrey tells her side of the story, a story that began when she broke up with her boyfriend Evan because it just wasn’t working. Evan just so happened to be part of a band and Audrey breaking up with inspired him to write a song “Audrey Wait!” He debuted the song at a local concert, that was attended by a big record label exec, zoom a couple of months forward and cue to Audrey working at Scooper Dooper the local ice cream shop. Then on the radio she hears “Audrey Wait!” and suddenly nothing is private. There are always cameras, people observing, people misquoting, other musicians looking for inspiration, or people just making stuff about her. Luckily, she has her always supportive and spunky best friend Victoria, like the queen, to help her navigate. But as the fame seeps more and more into her life, the affect it’s having on her life, her friendship with Victoria, and a budding romance become more and more apparent and Audrey doesn’t want to wait, she just wants it all to STOP.
If you missed the premiere, Lemonade Mouth is about five random freshmen who meet in detention and end up forming a band. In the book, the band’s story is told through alternating chapters by each band member. As they start to make music together and get attention that goes beyond their high school, the band mates also have to deal with some typical and not so typical life drama.