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X-Men Extravaganza

Loved the new movie and want more? Didn't care for it and want something different? Somewhere in the middle? Wherever you fall, the AADL is here to help.

Ultimate X-Men, a guide to the universe, covers the original Dark Phoenix saga. Astonishing X-Men Volume 1: Gifted contains the story of the "cure" for mutancy, as written by Joss Whedon of Buffy and Firefly fame.

One thing is certain: for better or for worse, none of the books feature Kelsey Grammer in a Cookie Monster suit.

Jane Kenyon- 1947-1995

Today, May 23, is the birthday of Jane Kenyon. She was born in Ann Arbor in 1947 and attended the University of Michigan. Her first book, Let Evening Come was published in 1990. Kenyon's poetry is known for its quiet yet profound reflections and in her years with her husband, Donald Hall, on her life with him at their farmhouse in Wilmot, New Hampshire.

Her final poems describe her struggle with depression and the leukemia which finally took her life in 1995. Shortly before her death, she and Hall were interviewed by Bill Moyers for a television documentary, A Life Together. Following is a poem that pays tribute to her dog, Biscuit:

In the Cannes

Pedro Almodóvar's Volver, starring Penélope Cruz, and Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are currently the critics' favorites to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival this Sunday. But Marie-Antoinette has yet to show (it's scheduled for Thursday) and some are holding out for this highly-anticipated new film by Sofia Coppola, starring Kirsten Dunst. To get a feel for each director's style, try Almodóvar's Bad Education or All About My Mother; Iñárritu's Amores Perros or 21 Grams (he also has a compelling segment in 11'09"01 - September 11); and Coppola's Lost in Translation or The Virgin Suicides.

Deconstructing the 'Mommy Myth'

If you are interested in feminism, motherhood and the ways that the popular media are portraying and shaping the image of mothers be sure to watch Susan J. Douglas speak on her book The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women on Ann Arbor's Community Television Cable Channel 17. Douglas, Professor of Communications at the University of Michigan, examines how the mass media have promoted a conception of motherhood which result in unrealistic demands on women. Based on extensive scholarly research, the book is an accessible (and occasionally humorous) look at popular magazines, radio and television and their portrayals of the 'ideal' mother. The program, part of the Library's Sunday Edition author lecture series can be viewed on Tuesday, May 23 at 3:30 p.m.; Thursday, May 25 at 1:30 p.m.; and Friday, May 26 at 5:00 p.m. Video recordings of the program are also available to be borrowed from the library in both VHS and DVD format.

Anniversary of a famous crime

On May 23, 1934, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, bank robbers accused of twelve murders, were gunned down by a law enforcement posse in Gibsland, LA.. Romanticized by the film, Bonnie and Clyde with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the real life criminals grew up in poverty striken families in rural Texas. When the Depression came, they hit the road, devoted to each other and knowing their ultimate demise was death. Cult heroes like Robin Hood or Jesse James, they embodied a fantasy of freedom for the downtrodden.

Leonard Cohen--I'm Your Man

This summer, movie audiences can look forward to major Hollywood films such as Miami Vice, directed by Michael Mann, Superman Returns, directed by Bryan Singer, and Lady in the Water, directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

For those looking for an alternative to the summer blockbusters, Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man might be just right. Long-time fans of singer and writer Leonard Cohen will especially enjoy seeing Cohen himself reflect on his life's work.

For those new to Cohen, the library has many of Cohen's albums and writings, including
The Essential Leonard Cohen, Cohen Live, The Best of, and I'm Your Man.

Ten New Songs, released after Cohen spent several years in seclusion as a Buddhist monk, is also available in the library's collection.

They call me COMMANDER Tibbs!

Sidney Poitier was recently named a Commander in France's Order of Arts and Letters during a ceremony at this year's Cannes Film Festival. In presenting Poitier with the title, French culture minister Renaud Donnedieu De Vabres proclaimed, "You are the champion of equality between men."

The library has the following films starring Poitier:
Blackboard Jungle, The Bedford Incident, The Defiant Ones, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Lilies of the Field, A Raisin in the Sun, To Sir, With Love, and my personal favorite, In the Heat of the Night.

Living in a Virtual Panopticon?

With the recent revelation that three major telecommunications companies are working under contract with the NSA to collect the phone records of millions of average Americans, the discussion of how to balance civil liberties and national security seems more important now than ever before. Is it safe to say that we are now all living in a virtual panopticon? A surveillance society?

The library has a number of books on this topic for those interested in learning more. Here are some recent titles:
No Place to Hide
Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping
Civil Liberties: Opposing Viewpoints
The End of Privacy: How Total Surveillance is Becoming a Reality
The Naked Employee: How Technology is Compromising Workplace Privacy
The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America from Slavery to the War on Terror
Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID

So Dark the Con of Man

It's still a week away from hitting theaters, but Ron Howard's film version of the controversial blockbuster is making as many waves as Tom Hanks' new hairdo. Churches are trying to debunk the novel; a senior official (and devout Catholic) in the Philippine government hopes his state's censors will ban the film. Others are simply tired of all the hype. But if you can't wait for the film, or you're one of the two remaining people alive who doesn't yet know the 'secret' of 'the code', here are a few videos to tide you over: Unlocking Da Vinci's Code, Jesus, Mary and Da Vinci or Da Vinci Code DeCoded.

Han Shoots First!

Star Wars: Han Solo

It appears that LucasArts has finally given in to fan demands and promised to release the original Star Wars trilogy in all its unaltered glory. I am glad the greed finally won out over Lucas's strange need to tinker..

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