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about a year ago

Look What I Found: Webster’s

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At a nearby table in Webster’s Bookstore Cafe, two older men are casually playing Chess while their wives chat. A Jazz record is playing over the stereo system, and every scratch and scuff on the vinyl is audible — only adding to the charm of the basement cafe.

I spent an hour browsing the book and vinyl collection at Webster’s in an effort to find some items that I thought were cool or interesting. This is what I found:

London Calling – The Clash ($25 mint condition)0202131454a

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write about the only band that matters. Even though The Clash are often classified as a punk band, their musical styles range from reggae to soul on this landmark recording. And why would you invest in records when music is sold primarily in digital form? For the art. Paul Simonon smashing his guitar is one of the most iconic images in rock history.

 

pinkThe Orgy Hymnal - Caeser Pink ($19)

The only reason I picked this one off of the poetry rack is because of the title. Surveying the back of the book, I found out that the Dewey Cox-looking gentlemen was actually a Penn State film student in 1993. He formed The Imperial Orgy, a group of other students who put on performances that didn’t sit well with the public because of their controversial themes. Besides the title, the second poem of the book, “All Things Are on Fire,” really caught my eye. Especially the last two lines, which end the poem about the corruption and decline of what Pink sees in society, “With my eyes finally open/I see all things are on fire.”

 

beatsLet It Be – The Beatles ($8 original condition)

Not much to say about this gem. It’s the final album the Fabulous Four released, and it’s got some of their best work on it. The cover reveals four long-haired visionaries that had come a long way from their mop-top youth musically, spiritually, and physically. Eight dollars for a piece of rock history is a bargain.

deanRebel: The Life and Legend of James Dean – Donald Spoto ($12.50)

I know very little about the “eternal teenage rebel” as the inside book sleeve describes him. The biography takes the reader through Dean’s early days on TV to his short-lived movie career to his untimely demise. “There’s only one true form of greatness for a man,” Dean is quoted on the inside cover. ”If he can bridge the gap between life and death… if he can live on after he’s died… then maybe he was a great man. Whatever’s the truth, you’ve got to live fast.”

 

 

Minty Mocha – Specialty Drink ($3)

As I looked through the books I found, I sipped on this delicious drink. I’m not one for coffee or mochas or whatever, but this went down like mint hot chocolate. Very good.

Those are the items I came across on a snowy, Saturday afternoon. I ended up buying the James Dean book (sorry), but there’s plenty of other interesting novels and collections at Webster’s — you just have to take the time to browse.

Look What I Found is a new series looking at popular and not-so-popular downtown spots to find hidden treasures and good buys. Check back next week for our next installment.

Downtown - Located in Centre County, Pennsylvania, State College is a college town heavily influenced by the campus life of Penn State University and have gained the nickname "Happy Valley" for its resilience during the Great Depression. They say there's something magical about the Nittany Valley, where time just seems to stand still. Read more