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Celebrate Fathers at the Library

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The occasion of Father's Day is fast approaching. My father has been deceased for many years, so I needn't exert laborious efforts to purchase a gift for him, but I can recall all too vividly attempting to select presents for him over the years that he would find interesting or at least enjoyable. I inherited my incorrigible sweet tooth from my father, so a box of chocolates with coconut filling was always a good failsafe gift, but after a few years of receiving same, my father didn't need to call upon his uncanny knack of prescience to know what was contained in the square box covered with brightly-colored wrapping paper.

Although I have a myriad of reasons to wish my father was still on the earth, the NYPL unexpectedly provided one via its free exhibitions, specifically, "Launchpad of the American Theater: The O'Neill since 1964." My father would have immensely appreciated and relished the opportunity hosted by the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center to immerse himself in this aspect of American musical (and other genres) theater. My father was gifted with tremendous thespian talent and a superlative singing voice (I most definitely did not inherit the latter!) and, if his life had been different, my father would have no doubt been one of the brightest lights on Broadway. Accordingly, he possessed an expert appreciation of the theater. "Lauchpad of the American Theater: The O'Neill since 1964" is scheduled to be accessible to the public through September 16, 2014. While the exhibit is not open to the public on the actual day of Father's Day (the new York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center is closed to the public on Sundays), your father/grandfather/uncle/godfather is sure to regard a visit to this exhibition as an enjoyable, educational and memorable experience regardless of the day of your visit.

Another music-themed exhibit hosted by the New York Public Library (this one at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture) is the highly informative, engrossing "Motown: the Truth is a Hit." This exhibit employs an inclusive historical approach to presenting the origins and development of African-American music as well as later cultural blends of music, culminating with the soul-evoking tunes emanating from Motown. The Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture is also closed to the public on Sunday, but the exhibit is accessible to the public Monday through Saturday. "Motown: the Truth is a Hit" will be available through July 26, 2014.

For children, the New York Public Library's Battery Park City Branch is presenting a father's day craft program, storytime and refreshments on Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 11 a.m. Young adults (those encompassed in the twelve through eighteen age bracket) may partake of a Father's Day Scrapbook Program scheduled to convene on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 4 p.m at the Francis Martin Branch, registration required. The exhibitions and programs cited in my instant blog represent a sampling of the events available for the benefit of your father/uncle/grandfather/godfather. Explore our complete listing of NYPL programs and exhibitions. And, as always, "all New York Public Library Programs are free of charge."

History is replete with famous (and not quite so famous) entities who expressed gratitude and appreciation for their individual fathers (in Ilene Cooper's biography, Up Close: Oprah Winfrey, Oprah is quoted as saying, "…my father saved my life" in regard to his role in educating and parenting Oprah. And, to cite another example, President Harry S. Truman, in response to a writer's query, reportedly stated of his father, "How could he be a failure if his son became President of the United States?") And, of course, there are a plethora of songs that tender homage to fathers, such as Jean Baylor's "Fathers Song," Barbra Streisand's "Papa, Can You Hear Me?" and Paul Overstreet's "Seeing my Father in Me."

For those of us who are not celebrities in the field of entertainment nor terribly likely to be elected President of the United States, it is still entirely within the realm of possibility to honor your father/uncle/grandfather/godfather with an enriching experience courtesy of the NYPL, as outlined above. So, whether your Dad is a Duke or a ditch digger, treat him as if he were a King via the library!

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