New TV Shows @ AADL

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows and new seasons of them, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. Here are some new-to-AADL series:

Mr. Robot, Season 1
Follows a young computer programmer who suffers from social anxiety disorder and forms connections through hacking. He's recruited by a mysterious anarchist, who calls himself Mr. Robot.

12 Monkeys, Season 1
Follows the journey of Cole, a time traveler from the post-apocalyptic future who appears in present day on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will eventually decimate the human race.

Marco Polo, Season 1
In a world replete with greed, betrayal, sexual intrigue and rivalry, the series is based on the famed explorer's adventures in Kublai Khan's court in thirteenth century China.

Fore more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

Pixels on DVD & Blu-Ray

Pixels hasn’t really gotten good reviews…. But I kind of liked it? Perhaps it was the 1980s arcade video game nostalgia, perhaps it was Adam Sandler, perhaps I was just in the mood for a movie so bad its good?

In Pixels aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a threat and the aliens retaliate by attacking the Earth video-game style with games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Space Invaders as a model for their war plan. The president, played by Kevin James, calls in his childhood best friend, Adam Sandler, who in 1982 was a video game champion, to help defeat the aliens and save the planet. Add in two more 80s childhood pals, one played by Peter Dinklage, a wacky love story, a cute kid, an intergallactic battle, and Q*bert and you’re all set!

TV Spotlight: Wayward Pines

Wayward Pines was recommended to me as a big fan of both Twin Peaks and The X-Files. I can see the connection, but Wayward Pines is a bit more scary.

In this ten episode and only season, Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke, played by Matt Dillon, wakes up in a hospital in a strange town in Idaho after a car accident, and he tries desperately to figure out where he is and how to get back home to is family, while at the same time trying to find two missing agents.

He meets the oddly behaved sheriff, head nurse, doctor and other suspicious local residents while seeking the truth. Finally he realizes he is not being told the truth and he tries to leave the town – only he can’t. There is a wall keeping residents in… Or is the wall keeping something else out? The suspense leads to a terrifying reality that cannot be believed.

The show is based on the novels by Blake Crouch and the first episode was directed by thrill master M. Night Shyamalan.

Paging Mr. Chaplin!

November 12 marks the 99th anniversary of a particularly strange moment in American popular culture. On this date, as the story goes, Charlie Chaplin - the biggest personality (by far) in show business at that time - was suddenly and simultaneously paged in over 800 hotels across the country. Such was the iconic ubiquity of Chaplin’s "Little Tramp" that mass suggestion presumably accounts for this strange psychopathological anomaly, or so the Boston Society for Psychical Research suggested while investigating the phenomenon of “Chaplini-itis” three months later.

This sort of cultural omnipresence may not seem so strange in an age where memes proliferate instantaneously, but in 1916? When the first transcontinental telephone call had occurred only a year earlier?

I read this in Charlie Chaplin: A Brief Life, a fairly quick read by novelist, biographer and critic Peter Ackroyd. It paints a compelling - if not always sympathetic - portrait of Chaplin that will send you to YouTube looking for bits and pieces of his genius. But to truly appreciate what all the fuss was about, pick up one of his best films on Blu-ray and soak up the bonus essays, documentaries, and numerous extras.


Nerd Nite #28: Underground Alliances

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September 17, 2015 at LIVE 102 S First St.

PhD student Alex Taylor explains that nearly all plants form intimate symbiotic partnerships with fungi called Mychorrhizae. These fungi grow in elaborate webs through the soil, and then into the plan roots, growing even inside the plant cells, where the plant and fungus have struck a fabulously successful deal. The terms of this deal are straightforward: a trade of sugar for mineral nutrients that plays to the strengths and weaknesses of each partner. Mycorrhizae helped early plants get a toehold on land, and to this day, the vast majority of plants across the globe thrive thanks to their fungal partners. The world would be a barren place without this ancient and strange symbiosis.

About Alex Taylor: Alex is a PhD student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, studying how plants evolved the ability to recognize and partner with bacteria and fungi in the soil. Most days, this involves sitting at a computer and running algorithms on the genome sequences of different plants. He also loves talking and writing about the spine-tingling majesty of science, and co-founded the blog “Thought and Awe” to do just that. In his spare time, Alex is into camping, gardening, and talking about the big stuff over a beer. Find him on Twitter at @ATayters.

Contains explicit content.
Length: 00:20:16
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library
Related Event:
Nerd Nite Ann Arbor presented by AADL at LIVE 102 S First St.

New TV Shows @ AADL

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows and new seasons of them, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. A few new-to-AADL series are on the way, as well as many newly packaged in one box of your favorite shows, so be sure to check out what’s new! Here are some new-to-AADL series:

Zoo, Season 1
A global thriller about a wave of violent animal attacks against humans sweeping the planet. Jackson Oz, a young, renegade American zoologist who spends his days running safaris in the wilds of Africa, notices the strange behavior of the animals. As the assaults become more cunning, coordinated and ferocious, he is thrust into the race to unlock the mystery of the pandemic before there's no place left for people to hide.

Better Call Saul, Season 1
A spinoff of Breaking Bad, the series takes place six years before the events of Breaking Bad and features small-time lawyer Jimmy McGill. The series follows the exploits of Jimmy and the circumstances that lead to his metamorphosis into criminal-minded lawyer Saul Goodman.

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 1
It's a gritty drama that explores the onset of the undead apocalypse through the lens of a fractured family. Set in a city where people come to escape, shield secrets, and bury their pasts, a mysterious outbreak threatens to disrupt what little stability high school guidance counselor Madison Clark and English teacher Travis Manawa have managed to assemble.

The Code, Season 1
Several interweaving storylines that start with a mysterious accident and the death of an Aboriginal girl in the outback. Her former teacher, Alex, becomes involved with journalist Ned Banks and his brother, Jesse, a genius computer hacker, to try to unravel the mystery. When the brothers uncover video footage of the crime, they are targeted by powerful and dangerous figures that may be connected to the highest levels of national politics.

Fore more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

The Grantchester Mysteries

The Grantchester Mysteries are a series of books by James Runcie, as well as a spin-off, hit television series from Masterpiece Theater. The books follow the attempts of Anglican vicar, Sidney Chambers, to serve his small parish in Grantchester village, outside Cambridge, from the early 1950s to the 1970s, while being unrelentingly pulled into the intrigues afoot in every English village. As you may know from other British mysteries, more people are murdered in small English villages than on the back streets of any major city.

Author James Runcie is the son of the former Archbishop of Canterbury and grew up in Cambridge, so he has a very clear window into the world of his character, Canon Chambers, except for the murder, of course. His expressed aim with the series was to write a “moral fable” and to combine the solving of mysteries with the modern social history of Britain. He succeeds well at this. Sidney Chambers loves jazz, drinks whiskey (not sherry), plays backgammon, is everyone’s friend, listens well and inspires the sharing of many discreet secrets. He has an irascible housekeeper who admonishes him in his detectivorial escapades, and a lovely black Labrador, named Dickens, who never admonishes him. He is a character in transition, chafing against some of the constraints placed on him, disturbed by evil and injustice, reaching to be more than is easy to be. Four of the planned six books have been published so far. Darker than a “cozy”, warmer than a thriller, without Christie's clever twists, the goings-on around Granchester make for compelling storytelling with a veneer of observant social drama. Begin with Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death.

The television series is mostly faithful to the books, but not entirely. On the screen, the stories are a bit grittier. Sidney has a severe drinking problem, provoked by his haunting participation on the battlefields of WWII, which we witness through flashbacks. He has love problems as well, as he can't marry the one he thinks he loves (wrong class), so he seems to be learning to love the one he’s with. The characters of the book are well-cast, and post-war Britain is very convincingly captured in six highly entertaining stories.

French New Wave Films

If you love movies, take note! AADL has an exciting collection of foreign language films, including several seminal titles from the French New Wave - a period in film-making that was categorized by energy, technique, rebellion and reflexivity.

“Tidal wave” would have been a more appropriate name for this explosion of vibrant, innovative, and highly self-conscious films by young French directors in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.” – Criterion

BREATHLESS (1960) was acclaimed director Jean-Luc Godard’s first feature-length film. It stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg as young lovers on the run. It’s a playful romp, an unpolished and spirited film that was inspired by American genre films, but follows none of the cinematic conventions American directors were beholden to. Instead, the editing and styling of the film matches the detached and sexy attitude of its stars. The film is just plain cool.

THE 400 BLOWS (1959) by Francois Truffaut is a personal film that portrays both the struggles and small joys of boyhood. Jean-Pierre Leaud plays Antoine Doinel, a recurring character in Truffaut’s work. Here, the young Antoine is a dogged schoolboy whose life is burdened by discouraging situations and unsympathetic adults. The 400 Blows is a touching film, with moments of poignancy and pure feeling.

CLEO FROM 5-7 (1962) by Agnes Varda follows a singer named Cleo (Corrine Marchand), in simulated real time as she anxiously waits for news regarding her health. Cleo carries an air of superficiality; she is young, beautiful and stylish. The film follows her, minute by minute, as she wanders through Parisian streets and shops looking for distractions. The film offers a glamorous glimpse of Parisian life in the sixties.

For more French New Wave Films, see this list!


Author Jan Jarboe Russell and Holocaust Survivor Irene Butter Discuss The New Book "The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II"

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October 2, 2015 at the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

Author Jan Jarboe Russell and local Holocaust survivor Irene Butter paid a special visit to AADL to discuss Russell’s new book, which features a chapter about Irene Butter.

The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II is the dramatic and never-before-told story of a secret American internment camp in Texas during World War II, where thousands of families, many of whom were US citizens, were incarcerated, with approval from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Combining big-picture World War II history with a little-known event in American history, The Train to Crystal City reveals the war-time hysteria against the Japanese and Germans in America, the secrets of FDR's tactics to rescue high-profile POWs in Germany and Japan, and how the definition of American citizenship changed under the pressure of war.

Author Jan Jarboe Russell is a former Nieman Fellow, a contributing editor for Texas Monthly, and has written for the New York Times, the San Antonio Express-News, Slate, and other publications. She is the author of Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson and has also compiled and edited They Lived to Tell the Tale. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Dr. Lewis F. Russell, Jr.

Irene Butter, born in Berlin, Germany grew up as a Jewish child in Nazi-occupied Europe. A survivor of 2 concentration camps, she came to the US in 1945. After graduating from Queens College in New York City, she obtained a Ph.D. in economics from Duke University. She and her husband were on the faculty of the University of Michigan for more than 35 years. Since the late 1980s, she has been teaching students about the Holocaust and the lessons she learned during those traumatic years. She is a co-founder of the Raoul Wallenberg lecture series at the University of Michigan and is also one of the founders of ZEITOUNA, an Arab/Jewish Women’s Dialogue group in Ann Arbor.

Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library
Related Event:
Author Jan Jarboe Russell and Holocaust Survivor Irene Butter Discuss The New Book "The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II"

Halloween Fun with Batman, Mickey Mouse & Monster High!

It's that time of year for Halloween tricks or treats in video form! The library has many children's videos with Halloween, spooky and monster themes, beyond your basic Scooby Doo! Be sure to have a peek and see what looks good to you and your little ones! Here are some of the NEW movies and TV shows headed to our collection:

Thomas & Friends: Thomas' Halloween Adventures & Thomas Gets Tricked
Are there really ghosts in the fog and mist on the Island of Sodor? Thomas,Toby and Henry believe there are! But things are not always as they appear. Gordon and Percy encounter other mysteries on the Island. Can Thomas help explain them? Join all of your Island of Sodor friends as they solve Halloween mysteries that are exciting all year round!

WordWorld: Halloween Fun
Sheep and Bear are lost in the jungle and must hunt for letters to create a map. Next, Duck breaks a lamp, a lever and Frog's log. Will their friendship be broken too? Then, Fly and Duck dream of becoming firefighters and go in search of smoke in WordWorld, but can they discover what's really smoke to find the fire? And, when PIG gets a pot stuck on his face, Sheep takes over his cooking show?

Peg + Cat: A Totally Awesome Halloween
It's Halloween and Peg and Cat have a big problem! Someone has left the park full of trash and the costume parade might be canceled. Don't freak out, Peg and Cat save the day by sorting and recycling. Then, they discover they've been trick-or-treating with a real, live tiger!

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Monster Musical
Put on your favorite Halloween costume and get set for a spooktacular full-length adventure! Visit the creaky castle of kindly "Count Mickula" and help your Clubhouse pals solve a puzzling riddle: Who, or what, is making a curious clanging, banging noise? With the right Monster Mouseketools and help from YOU, this mystery will soon be history!

Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem
It's Halloween in Gotham. To celebrate, the city's spookiest villains have all joined forces and gone on a crime spree. Batman swings into action to stop them, joined by Green Arrow, Cyborg, Nightwing and Red Robin. But it seems that the fiends are working for the clown prince of crime himself: The Joker, who has a surprise of his own. A computer virus that makes all technology laugh and obey his every command! Can the heroes stop the virus before it turns all of Gotham into Jokertown?

Monster High: Boo York, Boo York
Its fright lights, big city when the Monster High ghouls head to Boo York. Cleo de Nile is invited to attend a fancy gala celebrating the return of a magical comet and, of course, she brings along her beast friends. But their trip isn't all fun and frightseeing because Nefera, Cleo's sister, uses the comets powers for her own spooktacularly sneaky plans. Can the monsters unwrap the mystery of the comet in time to stop Nefera?

Monster High: Scaris, City of Frights
When Clawdeen Wolf gets the chance to apprentice for the legendary fashion designer Madame Ghostier, she and her best ghoul friends immediately pack their bags and hop on a plane to beautiful Scaris, France. As Clawdeen competes against two worthy opponents, Skelita Calaveras and Jinafire Long, her pals Frankie Stein and Rochelle Goyle uncover clues to a spooktacular secret hidden deep beneath the cobblestone street.

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