TV Spotlight: The Good Wife

A great court drama now in its sixth season is The Good Wife. The legal drama focuses on a politician's wife, Alicia Florrick, who pursues her own career as a defense attorney after her husband is sent to jail on charges of political corruption. Florrick not only deals with her career but also with keeping her family together as she provides a stable home for her two teenage children.

Each episode features new court cases with new court dramas, as well as overarching storylines that focus on a variety of regular characters, including lawyers, politicians and investigators. It’s such good drama with some really likeable, interesting, fun, and even enjoyably annoying characters! It's fast paced and addictive. Even if you’re not really into legal dramas The Good Wife is worth a try.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #526

Lady Montfort's (Clementine Elizabeth Talbot) annual summer ball is the highlight of the season, not just for the household but for the county, and all their London friends. With the millions of details to be seen to, her ladyship relies heavily on her capable and resourceful housekeeper Edith Jackson, a handsome woman in her early thirties. The 1912 ball went off without a hitch. Even the weather was perfect to show off the Montfort's new sunken garden. Tragedy strikes in the early hours of the next morning when the gamekeeper finds a body, hanging in a gibbet that turns out to be that of Teddy Mallory, Lord Montford's dishonorable nephew, just expelled from Christ Church, Oxford.

When it was discovered that a new housemaid and one of their London guests also disappeared during the night, Scotland Yard gets involved. After unwittingly witnessed a violent confrontation between her son Harry, Lord Haversham and Teddy in the early evening, Lady Montfort fears that the official police inquiry is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect. Taking matters into her own hands, the countess enlists the help of Mrs. Jackson, to investigate the case.

In Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman "an enchanting debut, author Tessa Arlen (incorporates) exquisite period detail into her well-mannered mystery, offers readers an engaging peek into the lives of upper and lower classes of early 1900s England combined with a little history interspersed." For those who enjoyed English country house mysteries like Gosford Park and Kate Morton's The House at Riverton.

If the elegant estate on the jacket cover brings to mind another establishment depicted in a long-running Masterpiece Theatre TV series, it's intentional. In fact, Tessa Arlen will participate in a panel discussion entitled Downton Malice: British Historical Period Mysteries at the Malice Domestic convention in Bethesda, Maryland, Sunday, May 3, 2015.

Historical mystery fans interested specifically in the Edwardian era may wish to check out the author's Redoubtable Edwardians blog, choke-full of fabulous information and readalikes.

 

Nerd Nite #23 – The Elements of Style: How to be a Great DJ in 5 Simple Steps

Media Player

March 19, 2015 at Live! 102 S. First St.

Downloads:

File NameSizeType
aadl_nerd_nite_20150319-dj-240.mp447.29 MB240p Video
aadl_nerd_nite_20150319-dj-480.mp4101.48 MB480p Video
aadl_nerd_nite_20150319-dj-720.mp4194.74 MB720p Video
aadl_nerd_nite_20150319-dj-audio.mp39.77 MBAudio

In this talk, DEFTMIX uses concepts from Strunk and White’s classic college textbook, The Elements of Style to distill the essence of being a great DJ.

About Rolando Calip, Jr. AKA DEFTMIX:
Rolando Calip, Jr. has been a DJ for 20 years and currently resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has spent the last 2 years as the Nightlife Director/Saturday DJ Resident for Live Nightclub. Before moving to Ann Arbor in 2011, he lived in New York City for 10 years; DJing, curating music for hospitality groups, and managing DJs. Music has taken him all over the world; most recently to Manila in the Philippines where he performed at Black Market Nightclub on NYE 2015. Follow him on Instagram @deftmix.

Length: 00:13:34
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library


Behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live is one of the longest-running television programs in the country, and is certainly one of the most beloved. Featuring live comedy sketches and variety performances as well as popular bands and musical guests every week since it first aired in 1975, SNL celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier this year. Fans of SNL will absolutely love Saturday Night Live: The Book, published this year in honor of the show’s 40th year. The large, brightly colored book is filled with facts and never before seen, behind-the-scenes photographs from every season of the show. Also included are interviews with Lorne Michaels, cast members, and other contributors to the show, and fun, goofy details about some of the more famous skits.

As a huge SNL fan myself, I even liked the portion of this book that shows photos of every host the show has had, and lists the air date, host and musical guest for all 784 episodes of the show. It was amazing to see the hundreds of various people that have hosted over the years!

The AADL also has lots of great SNL episodes on video, including the Best of Steve Martin, the Best of Will Ferrell and the Best of Amy Poehler collections, and many complete seasons. If you’re interested in reading more about the show, try Live From New York: the complete, uncensored history of Saturday Night Live as told by its stars, writers and guests.

Live from New York it’s Saturday niiiiiiiight!

Diego & Frida

From now through mid-July the Detroit Institute of Arts is hosting the exhibition Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit. The exhibit focuses on their lives and work before Detroit, during Detroit, and after Detroit. Diego and Frida spent 1932-1933 in Detroit, where Diego worked on the Detroit Industry murals that are painted on the walls of the DIA. The work is amazing, as is the exhibit. Here’s a sneak peek of the magic if you haven’t been yet.

There’s been a lot of buzz about this exhibit and the artists are popping up all over the place, particularly Frida. Feeling inspired for more? Take a peek at the Caldecott Honor picture book Viva Frida!. There are also many other books and DVDs on Diego and Frida in the AADL collection, including the exhibit catalog that’s on order, and the visual book Diego Rivera: The Detroit Industry Murals.

The Criterion Collection is dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions of the highest technical quality, with supplemental features that enhance the appreciation of the art of film.

If you enjoy the bonus features which accompany your movie, where you can see interviews with the director and actors and fun details about how your movie was made, you can thank the Criterion Collection. They invented the concept. They also pioneered the use of letterbox format for widescreen films and have been at the forefront of restoring old and classic films. They are all about promoting and preserving the pleasure of film as entertainment and as art, with social and cultural significance. Their website is a huge source of unique lists of films not to miss and salient information about all kinds of film experiences. You can fall down several wormholes of intrigue exploring this site.

We own hundreds of films in the Criterion Collection here at AADL. Using the “Sort By” feature in the catalog, you can find new and newly re-released films in the collection here, while if you sort your search for the oldest films first you find this listing.

How to describe the collection? Quirky, highbrow, trendy, classic, artistic, unique, nostalgic, contemporary, darkly dramatic. All, and more, are true. Let’s face it, the most popular movies are not always the greatest. Let the Criterion Collection be your guide to finding the essential canon of film.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #520

Plague Land * * by S.D. Sykes. Dispatched to a monastery at the age of seven, now at seventeen Oswald de Lacy assumes the title Lord of Somershill Manor when his father and two older brothers too, succumb to the Plague that has decimated the countryside. Left at home are his overbearing mother and his dangerous and unmarried sister Clemence.

In quick succession, local villagers Alison Starvecrow and her sister are found murdered, which the ambitious village priest blames on a band of demonic dog-headed man. It is now Oswald's responsibility to solve the crimes. But every step Oswald takes seems to lead him deeper into a dark maze of political intrigue, family secrets and violent strife.

"Sykes adds an intricate and intriguing debut (the first of a planned series) to the ever-widening pool of medieval-era mysteries. Thrilling plot twists and layered characters abound in this rich tale of murder and mystery in 14th-century Kent."

Readers might enjoy watching the Brother Cadfael series, based on mysteries by Ellis Peters; and Hugh De Singleton series by Melvin R. Starr.

Sadly, this brings to mind The Siege Winter, a stand-alone by the late Ariana Franklin (and completed upon her death by her daughter Samantha Norman), whose award-winning series based on the character of Adelia Aguilar, a medieval woman forensic pathologist will be fondly remembered by historical mystery fans.

* * = 2 starred reviews

New TV Shows @ AADL, Pt. 2

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:

Grantchester, Season 1
It's 1953 and Sidney Chambers is vicar of Grantchester, a village just outside Cambridge, England. Sidney's is a quiet life. He tends to his flock, keeps up with his jazz collection, and does his best to contain his passion for beautiful heiress Amanda Kendall. But when one of his parishioners dies in suspicious circumstances, Sidney quickly finds that people confide things in a parish priest that they would never tell police. Based on the Grantchester Mystery novels by James Runcie.

WPC 56, Series 1 and 2
Set in England's West Midlands in 1956, the show follows determined Gina Dawson, the first woman police constable to serve in her hometown, as she struggles to gain acceptance in the male-dominated world of policing. Sometimes dismayed by the patronizing sexism, bullying, corruption and racial prejudice that she encounters every day, Gina remains undaunted and sets out to prove her worth, make a difference and earn some respect.

Murder in the First, Season 1
San Francisco homicide detectives investigate what originally appear to be two unrelated murders. Ultimately, they learn both victims have ties to a Silicon Valley prodigy.

Ntsf:sd:suv, Season 1
Never forget? Terrorism hasn't, and neither will the NTSF:SD:SUV. In a world where threatening danger looms large and Homeland Security won't secure itself, San Diego's citizens can't afford not to trust in the NTSF. Short for National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle, the show is a parody of action and police dramas.

Halt and Catch Fire, Season 1
The series is set in the Silicon Prairie of Texas in 1983 and depicts a fictionalized insider's view of the personal computer revolution.

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

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #519 - “When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.” ~ Patrick Rothfuss

Man at the Helm * by Nina Stibbe (Love, Nina : a nanny writes home), an impressive first novel, has been compared to P. G. Wodehouse in its pacing; and Gerald Durrell's memoir My Family and Other Animals (1956), about an eccentric family's relocation to the Greek isle of Corfu, and a BBC Masterpiece Theater adaptation.

The narrator, 9-year old Lizzie Vogel has lived a charmed life. But when his homosexual affair is discovered, Lizzie's father packs them off to the tiny village of Flatstone, where life for the Vogels takes a drastic turn. The new neighbors are hostile and disapproving (of divorcees and fatherless children), and Lizzie's theatrical mother slips ever more into drinks, pills, and obsessive playwriting. Lizzie and her all-knowing older sister fear that the infamous Crescent Homes for Children is in their future, unless they could find a new husband for their mother, and a new "man at the helm" for the household. As one unsuitable suitor follows another, chaos ensues. Lizzie confronts the downright craziness of grown-up love and learns that sometimes a family needs to veer catastrophically off-course in order to find true happiness.

"An extraordinarily well-written, deeply satisfying read about an unusual, highly entertaining group of people." "Charming and bittersweet, with a very English flavor, this social comedy is distinguished by Stibbe's light touch and bright eye." Check out the New York Times Review.

Everlasting Lane * by Andrew Lovett is "(a) captivating, absorbing, and suspenseful evocation of the spells of childhood in a timeless coming-of-age tale."

After the death of his father, 9-year old Peter Lambert moves with his mother to the village of Amberley, and a cottage on Everlasting Lane. As the new kid, he is befriended only by the other two outcasts in his class - chubby Tommie and the neighborhood bossy Anna-Marie. Escaping the bullies, they find pleasure and solace in the countryside and soon meet up with local eccentrics who prefer solitude.

At home, Peter is disturbed by the growing awareness that his own aggrieved mother might be falling apart - first by changing her name, and then expressly forbidding him from entering a locked room in the attic.

Written in beautiful prose, "as charming and haunting as the movie Stand By Me... (w)ith nods to such children's classics as Alice in Wonderland, Lovett's first novel, inspired by events from his own childhood, contemplates the often very fine line between imagination and reality."

* = starred review

New TV Shows @ AADL, Pt. 1

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows and new seasons of them, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. For many new ones you can now get the entire season in one check-out, as all the discs are in one case with an extended check-out period. A slew of shows just hit the catalog.

Here are some new-to-AADL series:

TURN: Washington's spies, Season 1
A historical thriller set during the Revolutionary War. Abe Woodhull is a farmer living in British-occupied Long Island who bands together with his friends to from the Culper Ring, an unlikely team of secret agents who not only went on to help George Washington turn the tide of the war, but also gave birth to modern spycraft.

The Accused, Series 1 & 2
One by one, defendants are led into court to face their fate. Willy and Frankie, Helen and Liam, family man Kenny and seventeen-year-old Stephen are ordinary people, or so it seems. Are they innocent or guilty? Will the jury make the right decision?

The Last Ship, Season 1
After a global viral pandemic "wipes out" over 80% of the world's population, the crew (consisting of 218 men and women) of a lone unaffected U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer, the fictional USS Nathan James (DDG-151), must try to find a cure, to stop the virus and save humanity.

Manhattan, Season 1
Set against the backdrop of the greatest race against time in the history of science; the mission to build the world's first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The series follows the project's brilliant but flawed scientists and their families as they attempt to coexist in a world where secrets and lies infiltrate every aspect of their lives.

The Power, Season 1
The series follows James St. Patrick, "Ghost", owner of a popular New York City nightclub and major player in one of the city's biggest illegal drug networks. He struggles to balance these two lives, and the balance topples when he realizes he wants to leave the drug ring in order to support his legitimate business, and commit to his mistress.

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

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