Richard Pryor: 1940-2005

Actor and comedian Richard Pryor died over the weekend. He was 65. Last year's two-disc, 65-track compilation of some of his best performances, Evolution 1966-1968; Revolution, 1971-1974, shows why he was one of the most influential comedians of the 20th century. The Library also owns Live and Smokin' on DVD and his 1995 memoir Pryor Convictions: And Other Life Sentences, which Publisher's Weekly calls "Profane, profound and poignant...." Read more about Richard Pryor.

The Play Ground

That sultry, smoky, soulful singer performing in George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck will be at Hill Auditorium for a live University Musical Society performance on Saturday, December 10th at 8pm. This time Dianne Reeves is singing the season as she and her trio offer "Christmas Time." Tis a reason to be jolly!

The Poet's Voice

andrew motion

A spanking new website will now allow you to listen to your favorite English-language poets read their own works.
The Poetry Archive, under the auspices of Andrew Motion, the poet laureate of Britain, is nothing if not impressive.
You can browse by poets, titles, theme and poetic forms. Try out ones by Margaret Atwood; Seamus Heaney and Allen Ginsberg.
There is even an entire archive for children.

It Was 25 Years Ago Today

What album should mark the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death? Plastic Ono Band, a critical favorite from Lennon's uneven solo career? Nah, I vote for A Hard Day's Night, which includes some of Lennon's best Beatles-era songs. As for individual songs, I suppose most fans would pick "Imagine", but my vote goes to his definitive cover of "Twist and Shout" which is one of the best, infectious rock vocal performances of all time. And this time of year there's always "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". (I wonder what Lennon would have said about McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time").

Not Here to Hear and Here's Why

There are authors who will not allow their works to be “dramatized”, “performed by” or read as audiobooks. The most notable is the notably reclusive J.D. Salinger. After a disastrous film adaptation of Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut (My Foolish Heart, 1949), Salinger refused to allow any of his works to be adapted to film and apparently he feels equally adverse to audio. Franny and Zooey, Nine Stories and Catcher in the Rye are classics not to be missed. So put down the earphones, pick up the print and you’ll still hear them for years to come.

#1-Hypnotize by System of a Down

Hypnotize by System of a Down debuts this week at the number one spot on the Billboard 200 chart. Place a hold on Hypnotize and other favorites by
System of a Down- Mezmerize and Toxicity.

This is the second time this year that System of a Down has reached the number one position on the Billboard 200 chart.

Long Drive? Listen Here

Listening to a good recorded book can really make the time fly on a long drive. On a recent drive to Chicago I listened to "The Secret Life of Bees," by Sue Monk Kidd. Before I knew it, Michigan and Indiana had flown by like a swarm of bees, and on the way home I listened to the rest of the story. Now I want to read the book.

’Tis the Season

To let David Sedaris put the Holidays in perspective. If you haven’t had the joy of listening to Holidays on Ice yet, you’re in for a treat – a wry, hilarious, subversive treat. His review of the elementary school Christmas pageant cannot be topped. Add this to your seasonal classics list along with Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation.

Religious CD Honors JFK

After President John Kennedy was assassinated Nov. 22, 1963, his widow Jaqueline Kennedy commissioned Mass: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers in his honor. The composer and conductor was Leonard Bernstein. Based on a Catholic mass, the piece was both controversial and memorable. Some selections may sound familiar, particularly “Almighty Father“ and “A Simple Song.”

Can She or Can’t She?

Ashlee Simpson has just recently released her second album I Am Me. The burning question is – Can she even sing? Critics and fans have been arguing this question ever since she emerged from her sister’s shadow (famed reality star Jessica Simpson). Of course, her lip-synching fiasco on Saturday Night Live didn’t help prove her talents. Either way, her CD has been booming since its release. The first single ‘Boyfriend’ peaked at #19, and is currently positioned at #47, on Billboard’s Charts (a song that she claims is NOT about Lindsay Lohan and Wilmer Valderrama).

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