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Stuff for the Teen Age

Get Psyched for Anti-Prom! A Prom-Related Reading & Viewing List


It was way back in 2004, at the Donnell Library's Teen Central room, when a bunch of librarians, myself included, came up with the idea for Anti-Prom. At the time, a bunch of teen books about prom and prom-related activities were being published and we were all sharing our own (somewhat anti-climatic) prom experiences. Then someone said, "We should throw a prom here." There was laughter as we imagined decorating the library with streamers, crepe paper and a disco ball and then someone said, "Forget prom we should throw an anti-prom," and thus an award-winning library tradition was born.

"Anti-Prom is for kids who can't spend $1000 on a dance, or can't safely bring a same-sex date, or who simply have subversive personalities, kids who don't fit in elsewhere." Jack Martin, Assistant Director Children/Family/Teen Programming, The VF Daily, Vanity Fair online, June 2008

At the first Anti-Prom, we turned off some lights in the teen room, played some CDs and librarians made sandwiches to serve to the attendees. Now, it's a bit fancier. For the last few years it's been held at the historic Stephen A. Schwarzman building on 42nd Street in Astor Hall (where it will be held again this year) and the Celeste Bartos Forum. There is a professional DJ, gift bags of MAC cosmetics and there is usually a special guest. In past years we have hosted fashion insiders and designers: Tim Gunn, Simon Doonan, Todd Oldham and Austin Scarlett. We have also added a fashion show of outfits and dresses done by area high school students. Just like a normal prom, we crown a King and Queen and there is always a theme but our themes tend to be on the freaky side. One year its was "Cos-prom," another "Vam-Prom," last year was "Glam Prom" and this year it is "Super Prom." Which will be the perfect time to break out your secret identity and show off some superpowered dance moves!

The 2011 Anti-Prom will be held on Friday June 3rd from 6:30 to 9pm at the Stephen A. Schwarzman building on 42nd Street and 5th Avenue. All NYC teens ages 12 to 18 are welcome but you need to RSVP! Hope to see you there!

"Everyone here is dressed as themselves—the one thing they can't be anywhere else." Gus, 19, Anti-Prom, June 2008, from The VF Daily, Vanity Fair online "The Anti-Prom Rocks the Library"

To get you in the mood and prepared for Prom and Anti-Prom, here some books and movies for you to check out:

True Tales of Proms Past:



Impress a Date with Good Manners:

Looking and Feeling Beautiful (inside and out!) for Prom:

Prom DVDs:

Considering the accumulative time and energy that goes into prom every year, collectively as a nation, you would think that there would be more movies on the subject, but no. Except for the most recent Disney film Prom and a few MTV movies, unless prom involves murder, mayhem, humiliation and pigs' blood, Hollywood shows very little cinematic interest. Although if you include the prom episodes of such teen shows such as: One Tree Hill, Dawson's Creek, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the number rises a bit.


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great suggestions!

Thank you so much for this all inclusive resource on all things Prom. NPR's 'This American Life' just did a really great prom story, including kids who had their dance while a tornado destroyed their small town just a few blocks away. I feel like the world has gone 'Prom' crazy lately - it's just story after story about it in the media. It's really become a Rite of Passage for the modern American teen.

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