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Will Eisner Week posterThis is your chance to learn about one of the greats of the comics world: Will Eisner. The library is celebrating “Will Eisner Week”—March 1- 7, 2014—with a series of events and an exhibit that will not only educate you, but entertain you, and hopefully enlighten you about one of America’s greatest writers and cartoonists.

On February 28, an exhibit featuring examples of Eisner’s work will open in the Reference Services area on the 1st floor of the Library Addition. Included in the exhibit are comics from the Word Balloons series created by SDSU illustration students. The exhibit will run through March 10.

On March 4, filmmaker Neil Kendricks will discuss “A Comic-Book Odyssey: Through the Paper Menagerie of Graphic Narrative to ‘Comics Are Everywhere!’ then Back Again.” Kendricks serves as film curator for San Diego’s Museum of Contemporary Art and is currently teaching a screenwriting class at SDSU. His documentary, Comics Are Everywhere, is currently in production. The lecture will be held at 2 p.m. in Room LL430.

The documentary Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist will be screened on March 5 at 1 p.m. in Room LL430. The documentary details Eisner’s story and documents the influence his career had on the world of comics.

Eisner created one of the genre’s most lasting characters, The Spirit, whose adventures were first presented in the Sunday newspaper comic book inserts that Eisner produced for select American newspapers every week from 1940 to 1952. After then spending several years running American Visuals Company, which produced instructional manuals in comic book form for business and government, Eisner revived The Spirit in a series of reprints starting in the 1970s. It was also during that decade that Eisner began producing the works that would cement his reputation; a series of “graphic novels,” a term that he helped popularize and that helped bring a new level of seriousness to the comic arts. As an indication of his lasting legacy, the awards given out at Comic-Con International’s annual ceremony to honor the best works in the industry bear his name: the Eisner Awards.


Our Valentine’s Day “Art Under the Dome” really covered the arts: music, theatre, and dance. SDSU theatre students presented readings from Romeo and Juliet, using the dome’s balcony for the famous balcony scene in Shakespeare’s play. A student chamber music and jazz ensembles and a mariachi band filled the dome with amazing music and great entertainment. Improv and Modern Techniques dance students began their performance outside the dome and worked their way in, molding their choreography to the interior of the library. If you didn’t see any of these performances today, you are poorer for it!

theatre students
jazz ensemble
singer dancing
mariachi musicians
trumpet player

In celebration of Black History Month, the library is presenting several events organized by Gloria Rhodes, the library’s outreach librarian.

An Evening Honoring Nelson Mandela
“An Evening Honoring Nelson Mandela” will be held on Tuesday, February 18, at 7 p.m. in Room LL430/31. The event will begin with a screening of the documentary Amandla: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony. The film pays tribute to the role played by protest songs in the nonviolent revolution that brought an end to apartheid. Nomsa Burkhardt will facilitate a discussion following the film. Burkhardt is a dancer, folk singer, and percussionist of Zulu heritage. She was born in Soweto, South Africa, and now lives in San Diego. She is the cofounder of IZINDE, an Afro-fusion band comprised of artists from around the world.
Documentary: Cracking the Codes
A screening and discussion of the documentary Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity will be held in Room LL430/31 on Wednesday, February 19, at 4 p.m. The film, by director Shakti Butler, asks America to talk about the causes and consequences of systemic racial inequity. At the showing, film segments will be braided with shared dialogue facilitated by Antwanisha Alameen-Shavers, assistant professor of Africana Studies at SDSU, as well as colleagues from across the campus.
African American Art Exhibition
A tribute to African American art by SDSU African American students will be held in Room LL430/31 on Wednesday, February 26, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The exhibition will spotlight SDSU African American students and the art that influences their work.

Free parking is available for the event in Parking Structure 1 on College Avenue. We hope you can join us for one or more of these exciting events!

The library has entered into an exciting partnership with the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts to integrate visual and performance arts in the library. “Art Under the Dome” begins today (Nov. 8) at 12:15 p.m. with two performances by SDSU student chamber music ensembles—a string quintet and harp and violin duo (sponsored by the School of Music and Dance). Each performance will last around 10 minutes and are samples of the pieces the students will perform in concerts later in the semester.

“Art Under the Dome” will include performances of music ensembles, theater, and art exhibits. We hope you can join us for these performances and exhibits over the course of the semester!


For more than 20 years, the “Hanging Discus” sculpture in Love Library had been, well, hanging…silently…motionlessly…collecting dust. However, if you worked or attended school here in the 1970s or 1980s, you might remember that the sculpture actually moved. That’s right, some of the 17 aluminum discs that compose the sculpture rotate. And now they do again.

“Hanging Discus” was created by George Baker of Altadena, California. It was designed for Love Library and was installed in the central staircase in November 1973. The sculpture hangs 50 feet down the stairwell, and some of its discs are 8 feet in diameter. A single motor mounted above spins the main shaft,discus5 while various discs mounted on ball bearings are free to spin independently.

Thanks to some recent repair work, the sculpture moves again! “Hanging Discus” does its thing between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday-Sunday. Watch a short video of it in action on the library’s Facebook page.

Seth Mallios studies the Rock 'n' Roll mural (a.k.a., Backdoor Mural) in its original location in the former Aztec Center.

Seth Mallios studies the Rock ‘n’ Roll mural (a.k.a., Backdoor Mural) in its original location in the former Aztec Center.

It’s been seen by Jimmy Buffet, Patti Smith, REM, and the Talking Heads. Eventually, you’ll be able to see it, too, once the Rock ‘n’ Roll Mural has been restored and relocated to the San Diego State University Library.

Fundraising is underway to restore the 9’ x 14’ mural, which was painted in 1976 by students in the Chicano Art class and features a rock band composed of stylized Aztec warriors. The mural was located in an unfrequented hallway near the rear stage entrance to the Backdoor, a once popular concert venue in the former Aztec Center. While the mural wasn’t visible to concertgoers, musicians passed by it when they walked to the stage.

Seth Mallios, chairman of SDSU’s anthropology department, became concerned about the mural when the plans to demolish Aztec Center didn’t include saving the mural. He raised the necessary $15,000 to have the mural removed from the wall and stored. Now the San Diego State University Library is trying to raising the remaining funds needed to complete the Rock ‘n’ Roll mural’s restoration and have it relocated to the library.

In conjunction with the mural project, the library is sponsoring a music-themed writing contest this year. In 500 words or less, you can share your favorite music memory, whether it was a rock concert, festival or band practice. The deadline for the contest is February 3, and the winners will be announced and prizes awarded at an event at the library on February 14. More information about the event and an online entry form can be found at Entries will also be accepted by mail at Great Music, SDSU Library, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-8050.

To raise awareness of and interest in the mural, the library is presenting a Valentine’s Day event called “Saving the Murals and Lovin’ the Music.” The evening begins at 7:30 in Love Library Room 108 with a free dessert reception, followed by a lecture by Seth Mallios titled “The Legendary Yet Unknown History of Rock ‘n’ Roll at San Diego State.” Winners of the writing contest will be announced during the event. Information and images of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Mural, as well as other murals the library hopes to preserve, will also be available at the event.

More information:

Writing Contest Entry Form
Saving the Murals Valentine’s Day Event
Seth Mallios’ list of the “20 Most Important Rock ‘n’ Roll Concerts at San Diego State”
SDSU Library’s efforts to save the Rock ‘n’ Roll (Backdoor) Mural

Survival in Sarajevo ExhibitTwenty years ago this year, the Bosnian-Serb siege of Sarajevo began. Lasting from 1992 through 1996, it is among the longest in modern history. With electricity, water, and food supplies cut off, Sarajevans had to learn to depend on each other. As the siege raged, a group of Holocaust survivors and their offspring turned a synagogue into one of the most effective humanitarian aid agencies operating inside a war zone. This agency, La Benevolencija, brought together Jews and Muslims, Serbian Orthodox and Catholic Croats—people from different ethnic groups who worked together for the benefit of all.

In remembrance and celebration of this anniversary, the Jewish Studies Program and the Department of Religious Studies are presenting “Survival in Sarajevo: Jews, Muslims, Serbs and Croats Working Together During the Bosnian War.” The exhibit, which is based on the book by Edward Serotta, will run in the SDSU Library’s Reference Services Area through November 6, 2012.

Survival in Sarajevo ExhibitThe exhibit features 10 aluminum-framed panels that contain images and text on both sides. The history of Jews in the Balkans is covered first, and their story is told through maps, old postcards, and archival photographs. Photographs of the Bosnian war were taken by Edward Serotta, who covered the conflict for Time Magazine, Die Zeitland, and Süddeutsche Zeitung and eventually published them in a book, Survival in Sarajevo. Other panels illustrate how the city survived during the shelling.

For more information about the exhibit and the Initiative for Moral Courage Symposium, please visit the symposium’s Website. Additional photos of the exhibit can be viewed on the library’s Flickr photostream. The exhibit is open during regular library hours.

Last month the library’s “San Diego Fishing Industry” mural project received the Excellence in Historic Preservation Award from the City of San Diego Historical Resources Board. This is the second time one of the library’s mural projects has been recognized. The first mural restoration—“NRA Packages”—received the Governor’s Historic Preservation Award in 2008.

“San Diego Fishing Industry” is one of several murals painted by SDSU art students during the mid-1930s. Originally painted on the basement walls of Hardy Tower, it was lost for decades before being rediscovered during routine maintenance in August 2004. It was restored and moved to its new location—the Reference Services Area—in 2010.

San Diego Fishing Industry mural

Check out this video of Seth Mallios discussing the “San Diego Industry” mural during the dedication on October 5.

Talking, laughter, cameras, and eating in Reference Services? Really? That can’t be right…can it?

Yes, it can, and yesterday around 3:30 p.m., that’s exactly what was going on as the library held the dedication ceremony for the second restored WPA-era mural, “San Diego Industry.”

Painted by student George Sorenson in 1936, the mural’s original home was in the basement of Hardy Tower, which in the 1930s housed SDSU’s first library as well as art classrooms. Damaged by renovations and lost for years behind ceiling tiles, the mural was found accidently in 2004 and underwent restoration before being relocated to its new permanent home on the wall behind the Reference Desk.

We listened to speeches by Interim Dean Jon Cawthorne, SDSU President Stephen Weber, and Professor Seth Mallios, who spearheaded the effort to restore the mural. The artist’s son, George Sorensen, flew in from Oregon to help us celebrate. The local media filmed the event to share with the rest of San Diego. We talked, laughed, and noshed on canapés and lemon bars. And the mural was dedicated. But what we also celebrated was the dedication of so many individuals—library staff, faculty, and administrators; members of our Friends of the Library; donors from outside organizations; Seth Mallios and President Weber; and many more—who saw the value in preserving a piece of SDSU’s history, who brought to fruition what seemed like an impossible task. Kudos to all of you hard-working dreamers. You pulled it off!

Want to learn more about the murals of SDSU? Here’s a few links:

The Depression-Era Murals of San Diego State University
San Diego Union-Tribune
Uncovering Local Art and Industry: The Discovery of Hidden WPA-Era Murals at San Diego State University

Enjoy some photos from Tuesday’s dedication. If you’d like to see more, visit our Flickr page.

George Sorensen being interviewed

George Sorensen was interviewed regarding his father's mural.

Seth Mallios and the mural

Seth Mallios, chair of SDSU's Anthropology Department, discusses the mural's history.

SDSU President Stephen Weber

SDSU President Stephen Weber shares some thoughts about the mural.

"San Diego Industry" mural

San Diego Industry in its permanent home in the Library Addition.

Flickr Photos

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