Short Takes: News From All Over

To Build a Library
By Megan Shaw Prelinger, Bad Subjects
Outsider scholar turned outsider librarian Megan Shaw Prelinger wanted an antidote to dwindling public library collections and the inaccessibility of many institutions’ closed-stack libraries. So she and her partner, Rick, created their own ‘knowledge banks’ in San Francisco. The Prelinger Library is filled with a unique array of books and publications, the result of years’ worth of collecting and donations, including discarded volumes of critical historical U.S. government documents. The ‘publicly accessible free culture project’ opened in 2004. — Rose Miller

Super-Powered Jesus Flutters in the Wind
By Will Braun, SoMA Review
United States Christian Flags for sale — get ’em while they’re hot as hell. The new Jesus jack, a banner for Christian soldiers and civilians of America to rally under, features a soaring eagle gripping a blood-stained cross in its talons. — Archie Ingersoll

Kees to the City
By Matt Smith, SF Weekly
Mid-century bohemian Weldon Kees wore a bunch of different berets: poet, painter, jazz pianist, composer, harmonica player, playwright, novelist, filmmaker, the list goes on. But it’s his poetry that has recently experienced a rebirth. Many readers today relate to the specific brand of depression expressed in the work of Kees, a suicide victim who apparently suffered from ‘hypomania,’ a manic state that can lead to incredible productivity. Matt Smith makes the case that the hyper-productive, yet troubled writer embodies the hyper-productive, yet troubled city of San Francisco. — Archie Ingersoll

The Short Life of Flash Mobs
By Francis Heaney, Stay Free!
A New Yorker named Bill had something to say about his city’s scenester culture, so he started the Mob Project. Flash mobs — events where groups of people descend upon a place en masse after getting word of the meeting in email — began as a commentary on urban hipster trends and grew into a global fad. In some places, flash mobbing was slightly political; in others, it took the form of fluxus-like ‘happenings.’ But everywhere, flash mobs were a media phenomenon. — Rose Miller

Why Delocate?
By Staff, Adbusters
Whether you’re standing in a suburban strip-mall parking lot or hustling by on a crowded city sidewalk, if you throw a rock, you’ll likely hit a Starbucks. For those who long for the days of cafes long on character, but short on Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccinos, is there to help. Just plug in your ZIP code, and it will pop out a list of independently owned cafes within five miles. If you’re outside the US, you can download the code and set up a similar site for your own country. — Hannah Lobel

Fruits of Global Warming
Michael McCarthey, The Independent
New evidence of global warming is hanging from the branches of orchards in the UK. A toastier Britain is now reaping harvests of apricots. Entrepreneurial farmers there are gearing up to take advantage of a warming planet by adding a few other hotter-climate crops to the mix like kiwis and almonds. — Hannah Lobel

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