If you like Hip Hop...

...then you might already know what's crackin this weekend. Common will perform at theMichigan Theater this Friday March 3rd at 7:30pm . From classic albums like Resurrection to the more recent success of his Grammy-nominated album Be, Common’s socially conscious lyrics have long been a staple for Hip Hop “heads” across the globe.

If you like Common you might also enjoy these artists and albums:
Mos DefThe New Danger
Little Brother - The Minstrel Show
Talib Kweli - Right About Now
Digable Planets - Beyond the Spectrum
Jean Grae - This Week
The Roots - The Tipping Point

History Bits - Flint, MI.

LUTHER T. FARRELL has got to get out of Flint, Michigan. He would rather be known as a Philosopher, rather than "The Sarge's Son". Michigan author Christopher Paul Curtis (website) tells another great story in Bucking The Sarge.

History Bits - Willow Run

Learning History through fiction is a great way to learn about Michigan roots, whether reading on your own, or as a family read-aloud activity. Patricia Reilly Giff's http://www.patriciareillygiff.com/ new book, Willow Run, follows a young girl's family to the B-24 Bomber Factory as they look for work during World War II at the Willow Run plant.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists!

There once was a guitarist named Ted
Who turned to a Pharmacist and said
“I shall come to the Pig
And dance such a jig
That they’ll cheer ‘til we all go to bed.”

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Live at the Blind Pig on Wednesday, March 8. All ages show, $10 cover, with special guests The Duke Spirit and Les Aus. Jigs not guaranteed... but if we can get him to play “Me and Mia” or “The High Party” he usually does. (Incidentally, that’s the same night as the Pioneer High School career fair. Professionals such as yours truly will be there to talk about what we do. Hope to see you there! )

Enter Laughing

March is International Mirth Month a time to find humor in all things human – and otherwise. And since many of you listen to books on cd in your car, let’s start with Click & Clack, those NPR knuckleheads who host Car Talk. Their newest compilation is Maternal Combustion: Calls About Moms and Cars. Other Car Talk favorites are Born Not to Run and The Hatchback of Notre Dame.

If you haven’t heard the Sweet Potato Queen’s musing on marriage, diets, and panty hose, pull the car over and get The Sweet Potato Queens' Field Guide to Men or Sweet Potato Queens’ Wedding Planner/Divorce Guide.

Samba no pé!

If you've ever been to Brazil you know it's that time again. Yup, that's right. It's time for the world's biggest party! Brazilian Carnival starts tomorrow. Can’t make it to Rio de Janeiro? Perhaps these sounds can take you there:

Compilations by Putumayo World Music: Acoustic Brazil and Brazilian Groove
Bossa Nova: Bebel Gilberto by Bebel Gilberto
Funk/rock: Cru by Seu Jorge, who starred in City of God
Classic collections: The Best of Caetano Veloso and The Best of Antonio Carlos Jobim

Have an interesting Carnival story? Post it here!

The Year of Secret Assignments

The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty was a thoroughly entertaining book to listen to and I enjoyed it to no end.
Ashbury and Brookfield are two rival high schools in New South Wales, Australia. In an effort to bridge the gap between the schools, the Year 10 students are required to write letters back and forth to a pen pal at the other school. Friendship, romance, humiliation, revenge plots, and a prank war between the schools ensue.
The story is told through letters, emails, diary and journal entries, notes, and notices. The use of different actors helps give each character a more definite personality.

This children's music engages the brain

Some music created for children puts my brain right to sleep. But What kind of cat are you?! by Billy Jonas, is one of the many good ones. The title song asks questions and answers them with challenging words. Later on, the disc offers songs such as "Alien in my lungs" and "Bear to the left." If you're running low on stimulating music for your car or home CD player, this one is lively and fun.

Woof! Woof! It’s Westminster Time

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Who will be crowned the 2006 Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show? Sgt. Pepper, the Border Terrier? Jezebell the Shih Tzu? On the Sauce, a St. Bernard, is an early crowd favorite.

All those doggies on parade will get you in the mood for some good old-fashioned man’s best friend stories and no one tells a better animal story than James Herriot. Two favorites are All Things Bright and Beautiful and All Things Wise and Wonderful.

Local Composer Wins Grammy

Last week Ann Arbor-based composer William Bolcom won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Recording for his Songs of Innocence and Experience. He also won a Grammy for Best Choral Performance. The eclectic nature of the work, which is based on the poems of 18th-century poet William Blake, means everyone will find a section to match their musical taste. This performance was recorded at Hill Auditorium as part of the re-opening festivities in 2004.

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