When it comes to offering programming for the community, Wilkinson Public Library is not messing around. From pie contests to story time, from adult crafting to booze and books, from film to fly-tying, the range of opportunities to learn — and play — is mind-boggling. And, as if to prove how deep the seriousness (silliness?) with which library staffers take toward hosting events, the bar has been significantly raised with a Friday night family Bingo showdown at the Transfer Warehouse from 6-8 p.m.
That’s right, Bingo. Early Bingo players in Italy in the 1500s played a similar game called lotto, and the game — le Lotto — was noted in France in the 1700s. The game had all the characteristics of today’s bingo game with cards arranged in a pattern, tokens and rubber stamps. Presumably those ink-drenched stamps ended up on opposing players’ faces. Wikipedia tells us that in the early 1920s, Hugh J. Ward created and standardized the game at carnivals in and around Pittsburgh and the Western Pennsylvania area. He copyrighted it and published a rulebook in 1933. There are rules, Dude.
In the late 1920s Edwin Lowe, a salesman and toy maker, observed Southerners playing a game called Beano with dried beans, a rubber stamp, and cardboard sheets, and adhering to Ward’s rules. He took it to his New York friends, where it was enthusiastically embraced. By the 1940s, Beano became Bingo — its origins are unclear but it is supposed that one of Ward’s friends misspoke in the excitement of completing a row. Its hold on the country was irreversible by the 1940s. Church coffers swelled and the elderly became fierce.
In Telluride, bingo is embraced with a passion little known in the standard hippie ethos. Bingo brings the community together each November when the Telluride Elks Lodge throws open its doors to the throngs. The usual battle lines are blurred, swapped out for the shared hope that a little lettered and numbered ball will fall favorably, and most importantly, first. Turkey prizes, people. Once a player yells “Bingo!” and the card is verified, it’s on to the next game with fresh cards.
Library staff is willing to take on this kind of mania come Friday. There are 100 cards to distribute and WPL adult programs specialist, Laura Colbert, said it’s “first come, first served.” This night is for the whole family. There will be a cash bar. Snacks and retro prizes will be yours if Lady Luck is on your side.
Although Bingo can fix many things, it cannot fix your bike. Saturday, on the library east terrace from 2-5 p.m., as part of the Fix It, Don’t Ditch It series, Easy Rider bike mechanics and volunteers will be on-hand to help you learn how to get your mountain bike, road bike or townie back on the road.
“Learn all the bike basics and become independent,” Colbert said.
Sign up in advance and you’ll be sent a form to fill out so any tools and parts can be provided. Colbert reminds bike-lovers that there is a Bike Fix Kit in the Tool Library that can be checked out for use anytime.
Next up in the week ahead is the library’s popular, monthly program, The Listening Club, which is along the same lines as a book club but instead with record to listen to and discuss. First launched in the throes of the pandemic via Zoom, Listening Club now takes place in-person on the library’s east terrace complete with a turntable, speakers and free pizza.
Monday evening at 6 p.m., 1980s music aficionado John Wontrobski will lead a discussion on The Waitresses’s 1982 release “Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful?” One reviewer on sputnik.com wrote of the record — their best, he said. “The Waitresses were a post-punk band formed in Akron, Ohio in 1979 by guitarist Chris Butler. Their choppy rock sound was notable for their use of occasionally discordant saxophone, and especially for the playful vocals of Patty Donahue. Donahue's style was fairly unique: her vocals were usually half-spoken, half sung, and her persona was a mix of flirtatiousness, brattiness and world-weary feminism of the kind you'd expect to find from a gum-chewing truck stop waitress.”
Wontrobski likes Butler’s songwriting and finds it interesting that the album’s feminist tone is expressed by a male.
“It’s not something that’s on a typical best records list,” he said. “It’s a quality record and I wanted to share it with people.”
“This is a fun new way to talk about music,” Colbert said. She added that one need not be a musician or even know much about music to enjoy attending.
“Feel free to show up and listen,” she said. “We’ve been so glad to see new faces each month.”
Next Wednesday, take a nostalgic trip via the magic of cinema with a free screening of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” from 7-9 p.m. in the library program room. Free popcorn, snow cones and bubbly water will be available. The movie screens at 7:30 p.m.
For more info on library programs and services, and to sign up for events, visit telluridelibrary.org.