A Week in the Life of Grey Havens Group (and a tasty way to help)

This week, Grey Havens Group, Inc. has been very busy preparing for a fantastic fall that will include multiple book discussion groups for ages 8+, Star Wars programming, and more Harry Potter-style magic! We also taught facilitators to use a holistic, Socratic method to promote creative and critical thinking through the discussion of literature and popular culture. Tomorrow, we begin the new program year for Grey Havens YA by welcoming new members and including family members in a demonstration of the fun and enriching experience of our Fandoms Unite program. These are only some examples of the kinds of things we do every single week.

Please stop by Menchie’s Main Street Marketplace in Longmont tomorrow, August 27, between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., buy some frozen yogurt, and present this flyer so that Grey Havens will receive 20% of the price of your purchase. Something as simple as treating your family to froyo can help us to keep doing all that we do. Thank you!

Send Us an Owl:  While you’re at Menchie’s, create a froyo sculpture, take a photo, then tweet us or leave a comment in the Facebook announcement, and we’ll let the likes judge the winners! Thanks again, everyone and enjoy! 

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The Last Stand: Jim Kraven’s Diary #4

Círdan’s Note: Did you know that Grey Havens YA created its own roleplaying game called The Last Stand? In the game, our young adults (and leaders) get to play as any character they chose, some are original creations and others are personal takes on existing fictional characters. Our very own Jim Kraven (aka 145barbarian) is the group’s chronicler. He travels with his son Timmy as he journals about each gaming session to keeps us all up to speed. We’d like to share with you now the latest entry from Jim’s journal. Note that “limbo” refers to the times when we’ve stopped playing the game…our poor characters get stuck there a lot! 

When you support Grey Havens YA through our Saturday fundraiser at Menchies, you are helping us to continue to provide these young adults with the environment they need to be imaginative in community.  Be sure to read Jim’s latest diary before diving into this one, and check out the end of our post for the Menchies flyer and a FROYO Challenge. Enjoy!

Day 5

I wonder if anyone else here knows about Limbo. We’re all here, stuck frozen in place. Timmy is standing next to me. He looks like he’s about to cry. He can be such a baby some times. I should ask him why Limbo makes him cry. We all just gained these powers. Must be the GM’s (Game Masters) at work again.

Mango MemeWe’re all back now. Timmy’s crying. Calvin is here. He’s on a search for some quality content. Alas, he didn’t find anything. Everyone is doing their thing. We’re all still recovering from the Nightmare attack. Nova still isn’t back. He’s been gone a while. A small party is going out to go find supplies. And by a small party, the GM’s mean all of us. I threw Timmy up into a mango tree. He got some mangos! But he didn’t come back down. He can’t climb down, and I can’t climb up.

We can now read the book to summon the heavenly beings. We need to draw some symbols on the ground……I’m just gonna leave that to the rest of the group. Right now I have to get Timmy down. The two heavenly beings are here. But some rain and thunder followed. Shelter. We need shelter. There’s a cave. Somewhere. The rain is acid rain! We have to get to that cave! Good thing it isn’t far.

We all get there and Feather finds out the cave is incredibly deep. She also found a book tied to Bucky. Some sort of red book that alters Bucky’s mind. Bucky has the bunny though, so we aren’t going to read them yet. Bucky doesn’t want us to have the book. But we don’t want to destroy it. Feather is gonna hold onto it. It appears to be in Russian. Bucky sets down the bunny and goes after Feather’s backpack. Bucky’s aiming a sniper rifle at the backpack. Feather’s lute calms down Bucky. Duke Brilliance found bones rattling around deeper in the cave. The sounds are getting louder. They’re coming our way. They’re murderous. I grab Timmy and position him behind me. I tried to use my newly gained powers, but I still don’t have a handle on it. A couple of us are going to sneak around them. If we can get behind them, then we can have the advantage. I messed up. They noticed me and Feather. I left Timmy behind in the mango tree. He doesn’t need to be here during the fighting. Hopefully the tree protects him from the rain. I dodged it’s attack, then proceeded to hit it. There’s still all five skeletons. One of them lost an arm and a leg. One of the skeletons is dead. One of the skeletons hit Feather and dragged her back to the fight. She looks pretty bad.

We need to kill these skeletons. The skeletons are fighting back now. We can’t seem to kill them. Calvin’s sick roasts made the skeleton more powerful. Skeleton tears. Odd. They seem to heal them. I wonder if we can use that to heal ourselves. The skeletons hit Calvin back and he went down in one hit. He’s laying comatose in a lambo with a skeleton. I’m just watching right now. The skeletons are attacking everyone else. The demon fire flew over and hit us. There are only two skeletons left. The goddess of light is helping, but the dead skeletons are coming back to life. Bucky smashed the stone.

All the skeletons are dead now. Let’s see if our healer can be useful. The healer healed everyone. Calvin is out of his coma, but he isn’t looking good. A couple of us are pretty beat up. We’re gonna go deeper into the cave. At least, that’s what I thought. Everyone is freezing. Limbo is back. Timmy isn’t here still. I’ll write more tomorrow.

Send us an owl: What’s your favorite roleplaying game? 

And now for the promised FroYo Challenge! Visit Menchies in Longont this Saturday August 27th any time between 11am — 11pm and make a frozen yogurt sculpture! Tweet us or leave a comment in the Facebook announcement, and we’ll let the likes judge the winners! Make sure to present this printed flyer during your purchase so that Grey Havens can receive 20% of the proceeds. Thanks, everyone and enjoy! menchie's full pagejp

Keeping up with Grey Havens!

Hello, awesome Grey Havens followers, supporters, fans, and families!

Have you been a bit nervous about all these crickets chirping on GreyHavensYA.com? Never fear! We are currently in the process of revamping both of our websites, and that means a little silence here and there. The best place to find GreyHavensYA updates, photos, and fun stuff is at Facebook.com/GreyHavesnYA and @GreyHavensYA on Twitter.

Grey Havens YA is just one branch of The Grey Havens Group, Inc, a local nonprofit. Our organization’s website has migrated to GreyHavensGroup.org. Please check it out, but be aware that we are still tinkering. You can find all Grey Havens Group, Inc news at Facebook.com/GreyHavensGroup and @GreyHavensGroup on Twitter. There will be a lot of news coming about trainings, events, new discussion series, and more! Make sure you find us on social media and email us at greyhavensgroup@gmail.com or greyhavensya@gmail.com if you have any further questions.

Coming up this month:

  1. Geek Philosophy Star Trek Edition TODAY (Friday, August 11th) at Carbon Valley Regional LIbrary. Doors open at 5:30pm and the movie starts at 6pm. We’ll be watching Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and having a fabulous discussion afterward. Free and open to all!
  2. Grey Havens YA will be presenting two panels at MALCon this Saturday, August 12th! Coping with Character Deaths at 12pm and Youth in Fandom Culture at 3pm. See you there!
  3. Grey Havens will be hosting a Menchie’s Fundraiser on August 27th! We will be sharing the flyers as soon as we receive them. Make sure to take a flyer to Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in Longmont on Saturday August 27th. It’s going to be great!

And now, we’d like to share a few photos from what we’ve been up to all summer…

Our main sumer project has been Hogwarts Preparatory Academy, a summer camp for 50 young witches and wizards ages 8-11. We hope you enjoy just a few of these photos, and visit our Facebook pages for more.

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Mischief managed!

Send us an owl: What favorite nerdy thing did you do this summer?

Fandoms and Fitness

Here at Grey Havens YA, we’ve perfected our signature Fandoms Unite presentations. What started out as a simple trivia night to recruit book discussion members has turned into a wide range of community-building, confidence-boosting programs. These include a plethora of general trivia, captions, and videos along with more specialized programming like cosplay and theater, always with an emphasis on the fandoms we and our young adults love.

One such program that came out of our desire to provide new and exciting fandom activities is something we named Fitness for Nerds, though Fandom Fitness is also an accurate title. At Fitness for Nerds, we put our Fandom love into high energy movements and get to have a blast playing around with a “work-out” theme. It’s great to get moving, and it’s always hilarious!

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We start off with some stretches, including stretching up and down as we shout out fandom moments that make us happy (a new Harry Potter movie is coming out!) or sad (Doctor Who is on hiatus until 2017!). After stretching, we jump into all sorts of movements as we copy our favorite characters in still, gif, or video form.

One of our favorites is “Dance Like Baby Groot” from the end of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. We just follow along with the video as Groot dances to “I Want You Back,” and everyone has a fantastic time. I love when I can look completely ridiculous but not feel embarrassed at all about it because everyone else is having fun looking just as ridiculous as I am– that is the power of Fitness for Nerds!

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This summer, we turned our small presentation into a two-hour long program complete with “Moisturize Me” breaks and dance music. And let me tell you, it’s quite a work out! Who Knew you could geek out and exercise all at the same time? This year’s Summer Reading theme is Fitness, and libraries across the nation are working hard on providing programming that fits the theme. We’re excited to get to help out a few local libraries here because Fitness for Nerds is fantastic, and we know all the librarians love it. Keep reading to find out where you can join us next!

In addition to fun dance moves, we’ve also developed a great Fandom Yoga sequence to slow things down a bit. Moves include, but are not limited to, the AT-AT Walker, the Hungarian Horntail, Kylo Ren Face Yoga, and the Superman. Some are based in actual yoga moves and others are just plain silly.  wp-1468200413463.jpg

I don’t want to tell you everything, because part of the fun is the surprise of waiting to see what crazy move we’re going to do next! The next chance to catch Fitness for Nerds is THIS Saturday from 2pm – 4pm at Carbon Valley Regional Library in Firestone, CO. It’s FREE, and open to grades 3-12, though we welcome family members to stick around if they are so inclined (and courageous!). Please be sure to register here so the library knows how many people to expect. Dress comfortably, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself and have a great time!

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If you’re interested in bringing Fitness for Nerds to your library or community, please Phone the TARDIS to contact us. It’s always hectic here at Grey Havens, Inc, but we love bringing nerds together and it’d be great to connect with you! (If you’re interested in helping us make things a little less hectic for our volunteer staff, please check out our support page.)

Send us an owl: Have you been to Fitness for Nerds? What’s your favorite move? 

This Summer, #BoldlyThink

We hope you all enjoyed last week’s post about deciding what to do with the time given to us. Apart from that, you’ll notice that this blog has been quite silently lately. That’s because in addition to recovering from celebrating six of our graduates, we’ve been gearing up for a very geeky summer.

Hopefully you know that as of this year, Grey Havens YA incorporated with The Grey Havens Group, Inc to become an official, tax-exempt nonprofit organization. We are working on taking all the steps necessary to reflect that change, and that means website links won’t always redirect properly and blog ideas will sit in the queue while we gather summer camp supplies and prepare training materials and paperwork. We thank you so much for your support and patience during all this.

Here at Grey Havens YA and The Grey Havens Group, Inc, we are super enthusiastic about a technique we like to call “Geek Philosophy.” If you search that term on our website, you will find countless posts about it. It’s something we’ve been doing with our young adults for almost three years, and we also implement this technique with our adult groups and in our intergenerational programming. Creating an environment where people of all ages can discuss philosophy and literature openly and equally is so central to who we are as an organization.

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Questions generated at our last Geek Philosophy Film Screening

In that respect, we hope that you will join us for our next Geek Philosophy event This Friday, July 8th from 6pm to 9pm at Carbon Valley Regional Library. We’ll be watching Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and using it as a jumping off point for a very geeky philosophy discussion. No registration necessary, just show up with all your friends and enjoy the popcorn! This event is open to all ages. On social media, we like to use the hashtag #BoldlyThink.Geek_Philosophy_Voyage_SM

Bonus! We’ll be doing it again with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country on August 12th! Same time, same place. We hope your summer will be full of brave philosophical exploration and adventure!

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Now send us an owl: What’s your favorite Star Trek movie and how does it help you to #boldlythink?

All we have to decide…

It’s been a busy summer already for Grey Havens YA and The Grey Havens Group, Inc. We’ve been a little silent on our blogs because we’ve been rebuilding from recent changes and planning for an exciting future. We always like to post fun things on our Facebook Page, though, so make sure you like us! And stay tuned below for a feelsy post about our amazing young adults.

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This May, six of our Grey Havens YA discussion group members graduated high school and set their sights on the world beyond. It has been such a privilege to get to interact with them these past two and a half years, and last month, we chose to honor our graduates through a party. In the party presentation, we posted fandom advice and life lessons learned through our favorite stories like Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Harry Potter.

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Once such inspirational quote we shared came from Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings, and I want to talk a little more about it here. It is so central to what we do here at Grey Havens YA and the Grey Havens Group Inc. It’s also a great way to bring our graduates full circle, seeing as we started this group by meeting regularly to discuss The Hobbit.

The quotation comes from Chapter Two of The Fellowship of the Ring: The Shadow of the Past, and it was made even more famous by the 2001 film adaptation. I am going to quote both film and book because both are important to our young adults– they exist in a world where the two intermingle and both have merit.

In the book, Frodo speaks to Gandalf about the darkness growing in Middle Earth and he says, “I wish it need not have happened in my time.” In the movie, he says, “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”

In both instances, Gandalf responds the same: “So do I … and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given [to] us.

Kelly used this quote when she made a certificate for me to recognize the Make Time for Kids Award (that truly belongs to both of us), and the words really stuck with me.

You’ve probably heard our stories before on this website or during presentations, but Kelly and I have both faced our own shadows of the past. Elements such as fantasy, imagination, and community brought us through to the other side, and that is why we do what we do. We want to help young adults (and old) find “light and high beauty” forever beyond the shadow’s reach.

That is what we have chosen to do with the time given to us. We have chosen to invest in these young adults, these teens who may have felt alone or strange or hurt or afraid. Though we ourselves have felt alone, strange, hurt, and afraid, we have chosen to create a community in which everyone is welcome to the table and hope and imagination flourish in a world full of darkness.

And we have not been disappointed. I will say it again: It is an honor to get to watch these young adults grow up. Not only do we get to see our seniors graduate and embark on new adventures, but we also get to see our middle schoolers enter high school for the first time. We get to watch new members join the group and feel like they’ve been there the whole time. In three years, we’ve watched how far these teens have come through a community of literacy, imagination, and inclusion.

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I firmly believe that one of the best things we can encourage in our young adults is confidence and security in who they are, and we get to see that blossom as they grow. We’ve gotten to watch the quietest ones speak up in large groups. My favorite times to just sit back and watch are at our Multi-Generational Discussions. As a teenager, I never would have spoken up in a discussion group that included senior adults and people my parents’ age. That’s because I would’ve never thought that my thoughts and opinions were valid or that they mattered enough in the grand scheme of things. But these Grey Havens Young Adults know that they matter, and they trust in the process of philosophic discourse so much that they are eager to add their voices to the mix.

I could go on and on about how proud I am of these teens, but if a little spark of confidence is all that I can say my time has brought to them, then I can say I have used that time well, and I am so happy that I get to keep doing it. Grey Havens YA, I hope that in times of strife, you can find comfort and encouragement in Gandalf’s words and carry on, my wayward son. I know with both my hearts that you will make the best use of the time that is given to you. My wish for you is that you stay nerdy and that your confidence and creativity only grows. I hope that you continue to think critically and imagine greatly, and know that you are, and will always be, magnificent.

In the words of a madman in a box: We’re all stories in the end, just make it a good one.

Send us an owl: What’s your favorite piece of fandom life advice?

Nerd Rock: Rush

Círdan’s note: Welcome back music lovers. On Monday, we kicked off our Nerd Rock series with the psychedelic Pink Floyd. On Wednesday, we tuned in to the revolutionary Led Zeppelin. Today, we take a listen to the band Rolling Stone called, “Geek Gods” — Rush! This blog series was developed by one of our high schoolers, Ethan, a.k.a. spock0528. Hopefully he will continue it in the future, but for now we hope you walk away with at least a few new favorite songs. Let us know in the comments! Also, make sure you read the introduction and his explanation of what makes rock music nerdy in Monday’s Post before continuing to this one. Enjoy!

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Rush

Rush is the nerdiest band of all time. Other bands may feature themes that nerds can connect to but the members of Rush are nerds in the same we are nerds. Because of this, the Canadian progressive power trio has a large and loyal fanbase big enough to rival wp-1462844629413.jpgthat of the Grateful Dead. The band is made up of three of the greatest musicians of all time. Geddy Lee not only plays the bass like a boss but also sings and plays the keyboard at the same time causing him to be rated the #1 bass player of all time by WatchMojo. Alex Lifeson’s guitar skills are legendary (rated second best underrated guitarist by WatchMojo) and (depending on who you talk to) Neil Peart is the greatest drummer of all time using a straight-up orchestra of drums that John Bonham or Keith Moon never used. Peart also served as the main lyricist, writing epic sci-fi and fantasy stories while addressing other elements of nerd culture. The music of Rush is everything a nerd could want:  intelligent, perfectly calculated and downright epic.

Rush formed in 1968 in Toronto. The original lineup consisted of high school friends Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson along with drummer John Rutsey. They were mostly a heavy blues rock band taking cues from AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. wp-1462844647848.pngThey released their first album in 1974 where it achieved moderate success with the song Working Man. However because of health problems, Rutsey had to quit the band leaving Rush without a drummer. They recruited Neil Peart who easily surpassed Rutsey as a drummer. Peart also became the band’s primary lyricist. Peart was a major nerd and wrote songs based off works of fantasy and sci-fi. On the band’s next album Fly by Night the group experimented with longer and more complex songs, such as on the song By-Tor And The Snow Dog, which told the epic tale of two fantasy creatures fighting. The album also featured Tolkien references on the song Rivendell.

By Rush’s third album, Caress of Steel, they had gone full prog (progressive rock), now telling epic fantasy stories on over-10-minute-long songs, such as The Necromancer and The Fountain of Lamneth. This obviously put them at odds with their producers who wp-1462844600867.jpgwanted shorter and more accessible songs. Rush refused to comply and released 2112, an over 20 minute long seven part science fiction epic set in the future where rebels battled the evil “Priests of Syrinx” with the power of music, on the album of the same name. The album proved successful, and Rush was beginning to make a large fan base with young nerds who connected with their music. Throughout the rest of the 70’s Rush released more albums filled with songs about greek gods, robots, space travel, immortality, talking trees, and black holes, and though critics either ignored or bashed them, Rush had reached “cult status” with fans.

Listen to the second movement of 2112:

Listen to the nerdy The Trees: 

By the 1980s, Rush began to incorporate synthesizers into their music — meaning Geddy Lee had to add a third job to his role in the band. They began to get radio airplay as well with songs like The Spirit Of  Radio when they started writing shorter songs. In wp-1462844590355.jpg1981, the album Moving Pictures came out which features (at least what critics will tell you) their best set of songs. Rush gradually used more and more synths on their next four albums. However, the use of synths didn’t mean the music got any less awesome. Songs like Natural Science and Countdown show Peart’s geeky love of science and the excitement of space travel, while the song Subdivisions discussed the struggle of not fitting in, basically being a nerd.

Watch the music video for Subdivisions: 

By 1989, Rush had returned to a harder guitar-driven sound with the album Presto and continued this throughout the 90s with albums like Roll the Bones and Counterparts. Though it looked like the band was over after Peart suffered a major personal tragedy, the band returned wp-1462844548883.jpgin 2002 with Vapor Trails leading to Snakes and Arrows in 2007. Rush latest album, Clockwork Angels, released in 2012, was an epic concept album later adapted into a steampunk, dystopian fiction novel. In 2010 the documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage was made telling the story of the band and their struggle of being constantly overlooked. They were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years later and recently celebrated their 40th anniversary with the R40 tour, rumored to be their last major tour.

Watch the trailer for the R40 tour: 

Watch the trailer for Beyond the Lighted Stage:

That’s it for now. I hope you all will check out these awesome artists!!! Nerd (and Rock) On!

Coming Soon: The Beatles, The Who, Queen, Jethro Tull, Iron Maiden, and David Bowie.      

For one final video, take a listen to the epic The Spirit of Radio:

Send us an owl: What is your favorite Rush song and why? What other bands do you consider to be nerdy? Leave us some song suggestions in the comments. 

Nerd Rock: Led Zeppelin

Círdan’s note: Welcome back music lovers. On Monday, we kicked off our Nerd Rock series with Pink Floyd. This blog series was developed by one of our high schoolers, Ethan, a.k.a. spock0528. Make sure you read the introduction and his explanation of what makes rock music nerdy in Monday’s Post before tuning in to this one.  Enjoy!wp-1462761910460.jpg

Led Zeppelin

wp-1462762574688.jpgYou don’t get more epic than Led Zeppelin. British hard rock band Led Zeppelin is one of music’s greatest artists. As far as bands go, they are only second to the Beatles in terms of innovation and influence. They revolutionized live shows and made Rock and Roll about albums, not singles. Though they were only around for a little over a decade, they created about as flawless as a career as possible through their nine albums. Rated the 3rd greatest artist of all time by VH1, 14th by Rolling Stone Magazine, and second greatest band of all time by WatchMojo their music is timeless and oh-so nerdy, often borrowing elements from fantasy and history for their music and appearance.  

wp-1462762565582.jpgLed Zeppelin formed in 1968 as a heavy blues rock band made up of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, drummer John Bonham, and bassist John Paul Jones. They released their first album in 1969. It was made up of  blues covers, acoustic tracks, and psychedelic songs. It began one of the most successful debut albums of all times becoming the fifth best selling album of the 60s. They released their second album Led Zeppelin II later in the year which outsold its predecessor and is now seen as one of the most important albums in hard rock and heavy metal history. The album featured more original songs written by Page and Plant such as Whole Lotta Love and Ramble On.

Listen to the Tolkien influenced “Ramble On“, especially the second verse:

Led Zeppelin were renowned for their incredible musical ability. Jimmy Page is considered to be one of rock’s all great guitar players (usually ranking just under Jimi Hendrix). John Bonham is usually rated the greatest drummer of all time, while Jones was known not only for his skill with a bass but with the keyboards as well. Plant became known for
his powerful, bluesy voice that cemented him as one of the greatest frontmen of all time. Led Zeppelin’s live shows wp-1462762491966.jpgbecame legendary partly due to the fact that they lasted for many hours, much longer than had ever been done before. They were also known for never releasing singles, meaning you couldn’t go to the record store and buy a single Led Zep song, you had to buy the whole album.

Watch Jimmy Page play an incredible guitar solo with a bow:

By Led Zeppelin’s fourth album in 1971 they were the biggest band in the world, taking over from the now broken-up Beatles. The album featured many of Zeppelin’s best songs such as Black Dog and When the Levee Breaks and of course, Stairway to Heaven.  Led Zeppelins lyrics began to get more complex as they now used the works of Tolkien as inspiration for songs. Stairway to Heaven, Ramble On, Misty Mountain Hop, and The Battle of Evermore all reference LOTR in some way. The group also referenced Norse mythology and Vikings with songs like the Immigrant Song and No Quarter.

Try to find all the Tolkien references in the geeky “The Battle of Evermore”- 

wp-1462762553227.jpgOn their next few albums Led Zeppelin began to experiment with more types of music such as funk, reggae, ballads, progressive rock, folk, along with using spanish and eastern influences, such as on the song Kashmir (featuring the nerdy line: “I am a traveler of both time and space”) . Houses of the Holy and Physical Graffiti were some of the bestselling albums of the decade and their new musical styles helped bring in new fans.

However in the late 70’s personal tragedies, such as Plant being injured in a car crash and his young son dying of illness, along with drug use caused Led Zeppelin to begin to disintegrate. Soon after the release on their 8th album In Through The Out Door, John Bonham died of alcohol poisoning leading to the band’s breakup in 1980. In 1982, the album Coda was released. It was made of previously recorded but unreleased tracks. Page and Plant both pursued solo careers during the 80’s and 90’s. In 2007 the band reunited with Bonham’s son, Jason, on drums for the Ahmet Ertegun tribute concert leading to a DVD release of the concert in 2012.  

Watch the trailer for the Celebration Day concert: 

Our Nerd Rock series continues on Friday with Rush! 

wp-1462762540468.jpgP.S. At the meeting, we talked about Page’s playing of the guitar with a violin bow and how different and unique that is, and how that is, really, what a nerd looks like. What do you think?

Send us an owl: What is your favorite Led Zeppelin song and why?

Nerd Rock: Pink Floyd

Círdan’s note: A few weeks ago, we asked our young adults if they had any topics or questions they wanted to address in a student-led discussion. One of our high-schoolers Ethan, a.k.a. spock0528, put together a fabulous presentation on Nerd Rock that we thought was too good not to share. We’ve transformed his powerpoint into blog form so that you can enjoy and rock along with us. Remember our Grey Havens YA slogo: “Being a nerd is not about what you love, it’s about how you love it.” Ethan’s enthusiasm for rock and the connections he draws between music, fandom, and being a nerd are what Grey Havens YA is all about. This post is part one of three (so far), so stay tune for more classic rock and nerdy awesomeness. Party on, dude!

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Best of Both Worlds

You wouldn’t think it but Classic Rock and Fandoms go together extremely well. I can’t think of a nerdier type of music. While pop has to always please a mainstream audience, rock can sound like whatever you want it too as long as it just sounds awesome. While pop music has to fit inside a box, rock music can have large amounts of fans without a single hit. While the artists in this series are all pretty well known (except for maybe one), many people don’t see the nerdy side of their music. That’s what I am going to point out with this series and hopefully introduce to some new music that’s sure to get you as excited as the next Marvel movie.

Here is what I mean when I say “nerdy music,” and these are the factors that I used to make this list:

  • Characters- The members of the band are cool and may even may be nerds themselves.
  • Backstory- The band itself has an epic story (such as their rise to stardom, lineup changes, etc.)
  • Visuals- The band’s logo, album artwork, or images at live shows are nerdy in appearance such as taking from sci-fi or fantasy.
  • Talent- The band members have almost superhuman talent on their instrument.
  • Lyrics- The group’s lyrics feature nerdy themes (such as not fitting in, science, or themes and ideas based off of novels or poems)
  • Fandom References- The band’s lyrics or imagery references fandoms we still enjoy today.
  • Solid Franchise- The band has produced a steady stream of quality material during their time together.
  • Storytelling- Their music tells stories through either individual songs or concept albums

So Here We Go!!!

Pink Floyd.

wp-1462754049217.jpgPsychedelic/Progressive Rock band Pink Floyd is one of the most successful and innovative music artists of all time. Rated the 51st greatest artist of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine, The 18th greatest artist by VH1 and the 4th greatest rock band by WatchMojo, Pink Floyd is a combination of intelligent lyrics, lengthy and complex arrangements, unique themes and imagery, and spellbinding live shows.

Formed in 1965, Pink Floyd started out as a psychedelic band led by frontman Syd Barrett who used fairytales and works of fantasy as inspiration for Pink Floyd’s earliest albums such as The Piper At The Gates of Dawn and the space themed Saucerful of Secrets.        

Listen to the Tolkien influenced “The Gnome” from Pink Floyd’s first album. 


By their second albums Barrett had succumbed to the excess of the 60’s, his mind altered by drugs leaving Pink Floyd without a frontman. Bassist Roger Waters stepped up to the task working to find Pink Floyd a new sound, while guitarist David GIlmour stepped in to replace Barrett. The group tried out experimental soundscaping on
Atom Heart Mother and film soundtracks on albums like Obscured By Clouds and More. They even scored the the music for the moon landing on British television. In 1971 they released Meddle, which showed the band moving in a more progressive direction. Little did they know they were about to become one of the biggest bands of all time.

Listen to Pink Floyd sample the Doctor Who theme on “One of These Days” (at 2:20)

With the release of Dark Side of the Moon in 1973 Pink Floyd became superstars. The album spent 917 non-consecutive weeks on the charts and is now the 3rd best selling album of all time. Pink Floyd had found their mind-bending, epic sound with Waters providing the philosophical lyrics and themes, often using Barrett’s mental illness for ideas, which led to some of their most famous songs such as: Wish You Were Here, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, and Brain Damage, while Gilmour’s guitar skills and the rest of twp-1462754049220.pnghe band’s musical talent (Richard Wright’s keyboards and Nick Mason’s drums) put unique music behind the words. The band released the album Wish You Were Here in 1975 while also receiving recognition for their live shows which featured laser and light shows.

As Pink FLoyd’s fame grew Waters’s lyrics began to grow more political. In 1977 Pink Floyd released Animals, an Orwellian concept album that compared social classes to barnyard animals and in 1979 they put out The Wall, a concept album telling the story of a rocker who builds a metaphorical wall from humanity. The album became the best-selling album of the decade (although DSOTM would later outsell it). However Waters (who wrote The Wall pretty much all by himself) began to see the band as his own. In-fighting caused the band to break up after one final album in 1980 (basically a Waters solo album).

Listen to “Pigs on the Wing Pt.2” from Animals

To people’s surprise, Gilmour, Wright, and Mason reunited for a new album in 1987 without Waters ensuring a legal battle over Pink Floyd name. Waters eventually relented and the new Pink Floyd lineup scored a few hits such as Learning to Fly and On the Turning Away. In 1994 the group released the album The Division Bell, an altogether stronger and more focussed effort. In 2005 Pink Floyd managed to put aside their differences for one last show together at the Live 8 Charity Concert before going their separate ways. Richard Wright passed away in 2008 and a mostly instrumental Pink Floyd album, The Endless River, was released in 2014 honoring his achievements.  

Now, I leave you with two final videos. Watch this incredible guitar solo from the Live 8 show (solo starts at 20:54, but you’ll also enjoy the rest of the video):

Finally, see more about the Pink Floyd live show experience in this trailer for Roger Waters’s new concert movie: 

Our Nerd Rock series continues on Wednesday with Led Zeppelin!

P.S. At the meeting we also enjoyed watching the first eight minutes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens as it syncs up perfectly with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. It was pretty spectacular!

Send us an owl: What’s your favorite Pink Floyd song and why?

See you at Panera! P.S. You’re awesome.

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A couple of posts ago, we talked about Bags for Change, a fundraising program at Lucky’s Market Longmont from April through June. We are dedicating the funds raised through this program to help out Grey Havens YA because Lucky’s has asked us to designate a specific Grey Havens Group, Inc project. In our post, we explained why books are so important to us and how having a consistent book fund would really help us out and benefit our members for the rest of their lives.

However, I want you to know that when you support Grey Havens YA through Bags for Change, monthly donations, or our April 25th Panera Fundraiser (keep reading for more info), you are doing so much more than just buying books for us. Books are necessary and important, and they are also quantifiable and tangible. It’s easy for us to talk about them because we can tell you exactly how much money buys exactly how many books that go to exactly how many eager young adults. What is harder to explain is how your support has allowed us literally to keep existing, which benefits not only our core members but the whole community at large.

For the past two years, we have run this organization successfully on borrowed time, in borrowed space, using borrowed equipment. We have no paid staff, no space to call our own, and two seriously aging laptops. And yet — and yet, your support has helped us to finally become an incorporated 501(c)3 NonProfit Organization. Together with The Grey Havens Group, Inc, we have provided quality programming and enriching discussion for children, teens, adults, and older adults all along the Front Range. We really mean it when we say we value literacy, imagination, community, and inclusion. We cannot thank you enough for your support in all of this!

On April 25th, Panera in Longmont is offering a super easy way for you to continue to help us. Simply stop by on Monday between 4:00pm and 8:00pm and present this flyer in print when ordering for dine-in, carry-out, or buying a gift card and 15% of your purchase will benefit The Grey Havens Group, Inc. If you have trouble printing the flyer, please contact us or look for us at Panera and we will be able to give you one. You can also join our Facebook Event Announcement to let us know you’re coming. We can’t wait to see you there for a night of yummy food and inspirational fellowship. As they say in the Grey Havens adult Tolkien branch, a star shines on the hour of our meeting.

Grey Havens Fundriser Flyer

Send us an owl: Why do you choose to support The Grey Havens Group, Inc and it’s young adult and family branch, Grey Havens YA?
P.S. What are you going to order at Panera???