Travel the entire perimeter of the British Isles

In Coast, hosted by the charming Scot, Neil Oliver, who is an archaeologist, author and adventurer and an expert on the history of Celtic Britain, the BBC presents an in-depth excursion around the coast of England. Not just England either - the adventure includes exploring the adjacent coastlines of Britain’s neighbors: France, Ireland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and Denmark. It is an ingenious way of learning about these countries. The coastline of the British Isles is long and beautiful with a unique natural, geological and social history. There is, however, a common flavor to the histories and lifestyles of coastal peoples, from all of these countries and islands, which makes for a unified, though diverse, story.

Each of the fifteen episodes includes 4-5 chapters of exploration, conducted by regular ‘guest stars’ who happen to be scientists, naturalists and historians. Aerial filming provides sweeping vistas of every segment of the coasts, from the white cliffs of Dover to John-o-Groats, and back again. On the ground we visit beaches, marshes, caves and cliffs and many of the creatures that make their homes there, as well as famous ports, castles, lighthouses, resorts, and other human habitations which have sprung up over millennia where the ocean meets the land. Full of curiosities, strange and marvelous stories, beauty and intrigue this series leaves no stone unturned in seeking the heritage and natural wonder of Britain's coast.

For other resources about the habitats and histories of coastal areas look here.

Dexter's Laboratory

Created in the 90's for Cartoon Network, Dexter's Laboratory is a children's cartoon series about the eponymous Dexter, a boy genius with a secret laboratory from which he conducts elaborate experiments, schemes to defeat his nemesis Mandark, and puts up with annoyingly perky sister Dee Dee. The series is funny and clever, with plenty gross-out jokes for children to enjoy and high-brow references that'll have parents laughing, too.

The first season is now available on DVD from the library. Check it out!

Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap

Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap is a 2012 documentary film that was directed by American actor and rapper Ice-T and was well received at the Sundance Film Festival. Ice-T spends the film talking to many of hip-hop’s great MCs and asks them many deep questions regarding their music and writing, including the following: What does hip-hop mean to you? What inspires you? What was the first rhyme you wrote? Which are questions that normally don’t get asked when interviewing rappers.

He visits parts of New York, Detroit, and California and chats with Afrika Bambaataa, Rakim, Melle Mel, Treach, Q-Tip, Chuck D, KRS-One, Kanye West, DMC, Ice Cube, Xzibit, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Grandmaster Cas, Dr. Dre, and many many more. The film plays more like a conversation among artists and peers rather than talking heads interviewing each other. It’s filled with music, free style rhymes, and plenty of reminiscing about great MCs, great rhymes, and the history of all aspects of hip-hop. It was fun to watch and to hear MCs discussing their love of writing, and it really made me want to listen to some old school classics like Grandmaster Flash and Run-DMC. If you’re a fan of hip-hop or music history, check it out. Also keep in mind that AADL has a large collection of rap CDs, both new and old.

AADL's Logo Remix Contest Workshop!


It's the debut of AADL's Logo Remix Contest! Make your own video-animated "remix" of the AADL logo and enter it to win prizes! We'll host open workshops in early March with our computers and software available for you to get started building your entry! A few selected animations will be projected above AADL's activity area during the Ann Arbor FoolMoon event. Get the contest guidelines starting Friday, February 22nd at aadl.org or have staff print them out for you.

Workshops will be held on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 7:00pm - 8:30pm and Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 10:00am - 12:00pm in the Downtown Library, Training Center on the 3rd Floor. The contest entry deadline is Monday, March 25.

Click on the links to get a copy of the AADL logo image file in both PNG and JPEG formats!

Have questions? Call the Downtown Youth Desk, visit our contests page, or send an email to remix@aadl.org! Want to know more about FoolMoon? Go to festifools.org.

Daring Documentary

Miss Representation offers a disturbing but necessary conversation between some of the media's most powerful women about the ongoing gender inequalities that are propelled by the inaccurate representation of women in the media. This documentary takes the argument a step further and claims that this inaccurate portrayal of women is not confined to the media, but spills over into what leadership roles are available to women.

Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, Katie Couric, Nancy Pelosi, Geena Davis, Condoleezza Rice, Rachel Maddow, and Rosario Dawson are just a few of the women who participate in this discussion each drawing on their own personal struggles to bring unique insights to the larger conversation.

If this topic is interesting to you, you might also enjoy Generation M: Misogyny in media and culture. Or if you are interested in learning more about the way the media works in the U.S., check out the DVD America in Primetime.

Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee is a very touching look into the complexities of a community of chimpanzees living in the jungles of West Africa. Surely we have been fascinated with chimps partly because of their similarities to humans and this documentary highlights those similarities more than most. The choice of Tim Allen for narration was a pleasant surprise and he did a wonderful job of bringing his own personality to the production, while not detracting from the overarching story. There are even a couple hints to his previous acting work as Tim “the Toolman Taylor” in the popular 90’s TV sitcom Home Improvement.

The cinematography was one of my favorite aspects of the film. There is one scene in particular of it raining that struck me as extraordinarily beautiful. This film however, does come with a warning, there are moments where you may tear up because you have so completely entered their world that the losses and difficulties their community faces feel like your own. Overall, this is a very touching story and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys beautiful scenery and learning more about the society of chimpanzees.

To see what else the library has to offer regarding the magestic chimpanzee, click here.

5 Broken Cameras on DVD

The critically-acclaimed documentary 5 Broken Cameras is one man’s view of his village’s fight against encroaching development. Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat buys his first camera to document the birth of his fourth son. Over time he also begins filming the non-violent protests that take place in Bil’in, a West Bank village in Palestine, that begin after Israeli developers erect a separation fence and begin taking over part of the land in and near Bil’in.

The film documents the village’s five-year struggle to get the barrier taken down and development stopped. During this time,as Burnat is shot at and his cameras are destroyed during the protests, we see events unfold through one camera after another. Viewers not only witness the growth of Burnat’s youngest son, who is one day a baby and by the film end is attending the protests, but also the daily struggle of the community and Burnat’s family as they band together against military action. They are brutalized, arrested and defeated daily, but are led by such passionate leaders that they don’t give up, despite their sadness and anger. Burnat’s film is a touching, disturbing, personal account of the Bil’in residents and their part in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

5 Broken Cameras, by filmmakers Emad Burnat, a lifelong inhabitant of the Palestinian village of Bil'in, and Guy Davidi, an Israeli documentary filmmaker and teacher who was born in Jaffa, is a nominee for this year's Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Searching For Sugar Man on DVD

What a delightful film! The highly acclaimed and Academy Award nominated for Best Documentary Feature, Searching For Sugar Man tells the story of Rodriguez, the biggest 70s music icon that never was.

Discovered at a bar in Detroit, Sixto Rodriguez released two folk albums that did not sell well in the States and he was eventually dropped from his label. Meanwhile, bootleg copies ended up in South Africa where he became a much loved phenomenon, unbeknownst to him! Fans had no information about him, only his popular records. In the late 90s two South African fans set out to unravel the mystery and find out what really happened to Rodriguez. They discovered that he was in fact still alive, and their discovery changed both of their lives with magical results.

The film is beautifully shot and laced with a great soundtrack. Rodriguez seems like a humble and soulful human being and the search for the Sugar Man created a truly moving and inspirational film. Five stars!

Sleepwalk With Me on DVD

Mike Birbiglia directs and stars in the indie comedy Sleepwalk With Me. Loosely based on Birbiglia’s life, his best-selling book, and his off-Broadway show, the film tells the story of the aspiring comedian as he struggles with his comedy act, drags his feet in his relationship, and battles a severe sleep disorder that spins out of control as he continues to ignore it. While trying to avoid committing further to his girlfriend of eight years, Mike hits the road for several comedy gigs. Along the way he finds adventure, freedom, jokes that are actually funny (revolving around his girlfriend), and a bit of joy that was missing from his life. Reality hits when Mike has a sleepwalking episode one night while sleeping and jumps through a second story window -- an event which actually happened to him.

From the producers of the public radio show This American Life, the critically-acclaimed Sleepwalk With Me is both funny and heartwarming, with a comedy style that is similar to Woody Allen films -- a humor that is personal, self deprecating, and deadpan. It’s the kind of film that has you laughing at moments of this man’s life, but at the same time feeling sympathetic toward this character, is truly suffering. I don’t know about Birbiglia’s future as a stand-up comedian, but he definitely has a strong film presence and a wonderful mind for storytelling.

Wonderful World Languages # 3

Happy Chinese (Lunar) New Year!

This Sunday, February 10 marks another Chinese New Year, a major holiday for millions of people worldwide. Following the lunar calendar, the Chinese New Year is based on solar and lunar movements. Literally translating to the “Spring Festival,” this significant holiday emphasizes good luck and fortune in the coming year. To celebrate, people often travel long distances to see their families and participate in traditional Chinese practices such as enjoying Chinese cooking, watching fireworks, handing out red envelopes with money inside, and decorating with flowers and lanterns. This year is the year of the water snake.

Since this popular holiday lasts for 15 days, you can take part by checking out our Chinese language collection or related materials, such as traditional folk music, interpretive music, Ni Hao, Kai-lan on dvd, and cookbooks in English or Chinese. AADL also has a wealth of materials on this topic in English for children!

For more information, check out this article by BBC or Wikipedia.

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