Young Parrotheads' fancies turn to . . . country music?

With the upcoming film release of Carl Hiaasen's Newbery honor book Hoot, there's potential to create a whole new generation of Parrotheads. Everyone's favorite resident of Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffett, not only produced and stars in the film, but he also penned much of its original soundtrack.

Of course, Mr. Buffett isn't the only artist who stands to benefit from an influx of new fans. Many country musicians carry on this tradition of carefree beach relaxation, not the least of whom is one of Buffett's most prominent successors: Kenny Chesney. Despite having such distinctly un-parrotlike hits as "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy," Chesney has staked his claim in the Parrothead pantheon with such songs as "When the Sun Goes Down" and "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem." Indeed, his 2004 album Be As You Are is a veritable smorgasbord of tropical freewheeling goodness.

Young and old Parrotheads alike may also enjoy the works of some other country greats such as Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, or the legendary Willie Nelson.

Celebrate the opening of the first movie theater

On April 23, 1896, the first movie that was shown in a theater was seen at the Koster and Bials Music Hall in New York City. Until this time, people only saw films individually by using a kinetoscope.

Movies have dramatically changed over the years. As evidence, explore our diverse video and dvd collection including the dvd set, Treasures from American Film Archives, a four dvd set of fifty films that represent the breadth of American film making in its first one hundred years. Winner of the 2000 Film Heritage Award from the National Society of Film Critics and hailed by one critic as "...a bottomless bottle of blue tequila..," the series includes silent films, avant-garde works, documentaries and some of the earliest American films.

Celebrate Bill's 442nd Birthday on April 23

Well of course you'll want to read Shakespeare if you've never had the privilege, but there are also plenty of excellent translations of his work on video. In addition to the classics--Laurence Olivier's Hamlet, Orson Welles' Othello, and Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet--the Library owns at least five different interpretations of King Lear. Recent acquisitions include the 2005 theatrical release of The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino; the 1996 version of Twelfth Night; this 2005 performance of Benjamin Britten's opera of A Midsummer Night's Dream; and the 1976 Thames Television production of Romeo and Juliet.

Muhammad Ali Sells Rights to Name and Likeness

Muhammad Ali recently agreed to give up majority control of the rights to his name and image to an entertainment and licensing firm in exchange for $50 million. CKX, Inc. also owns the rights to Elvis Presley's marketing.

The library has many materials for those interested in learning more about Ali. Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times and the more recent The Lost Legacy of Muhammad Ali, both by Thomas Hauser, are highly recommended. Other books include The Muhammad Ali Reader and King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero.

DVDs include When We Were Kings, an excellent documentary about the 1974 "Rumble in the Jungle" versus a younger and meaner George Foreman. Also on order is Michael Mann's director's cut of the 2001 film Ali. For those who don't want to wait, the original DVD release is also available.

Fore!

With Phil Mickelson winning his second Masters title this past weekend and mother nature starting to accomodate us a bit more, I'm guessing those of us who love the game of golf are getting pretty excited. As you start cleaning your clubs and visiting the driving range to shake the winter rust off your swing, make sure you take a look at the library's materials about golf.

Check out the DVD set of instructional tips from Golf's Magazine's top 100 teachers or a 3-disc set containing everything you ever wanted to know about Tiger Woods. If you're in the mood for some comedy, it's never a bad time to re-watch Happy Gilmore or Caddyshack.

Golf-related books recently added to the collection include The Golf Handbook, The Lost Masters, and The Secret of Golf.

Let me end with a friendly reminder: If you're out on the course and you hear someone yell "Fore!"...Don't look up to see where the ball is!

Videos for Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 with some of these titles:

The award-winning Microcosmos takes you beneath the grass with time-lapse, slow motion and close-up photography of an insect's world. The Rain Forest provides an overview of where tropical rain forests are found and what kind of life they support. Strange Days on Planet Earth and the PBS documentary Global Warming bring the reality of climate change to life and offer viewers a variety of ways to make a difference in their own communities. Building with Awareness: The Construction of a Hybrid Home is bursting with practical information on sustainable straw bale house design, adobe, cob, and the use of a variety of alternative and green building materials. The family film, Sacred Planet: Discover the Magic of the Planet that Everyone Calls Home, will transport you to exotic and remote sites on Earth to discover the diversity of landscapes, peoples, and animals. And Baraka is poetric tour of earth that depicts the harmony and rhythm between man and nature.

Why did Gandhi make salt?

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On April 6, 1930, Mahatma Gandhi made a silent but symbolic protest to British indifference to Indians' civil rights. He and his followers marched 241 miles, leaving March 12th and arriving in the city of Dandi on April 5th. The next day, he made salt by evaporating sea water. This was illegal because only royalty had the privilege of making salt and a heavy tax was placed on everyone else. This protest, in which thousands besides Gandhi were arrested, gained worldwide attention as an example of the effectiveness of non-violent resistance.

The Simpsons on the Big Screen

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Could this be a cruel April Fools joke on fans of the Simpsons?

According to news reports, the most beloved American family made their debut on the big screen this past weekend in a trailer announcing a new Simpsons movie in the works. The short teaser trailer featuring Homer Simpson in his tighty whities was shown in theaters across the country before the new animated film, Ice Age: The Meltdown. The release date is July 27, 2007 so mark your calendars!

The library has many books and videos on the Simpsons, including DVD sets of the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth seasons of the popular television show. For those of you who want to read about the Simpsons, there are books discussing the social relevance and philosophy of the Simpsons.

Brando without a cause

One of my favorite DVD "extras" is the rare screen test with actors who didn't get the part. The clips either make it pretty clear why or leave you endlessly speculating what could have been. Last year I caught Judy Garland's uneven screen test for Annie Get Your Gun, a part that ended up going to Betty Hutton after Garland was fired for erratic behavior associated with her ongoing drug and alcohol problems.

In May, a new edition of "A Streetcar Named Desire" will be out and all the buzz is about one of its many "extras": a heretofore presumed-lost 1947 screen test with 23-year-old Marlo Brando trying on the lead in Rebel without a Cause. (Brando apparently turned down the role and eight years later it was made with James Dean.) Brando biographer Darwin Porter says, "From the moment Brando enters the room...he is lightning on legs...he is at the peak of his physical beauty and virile power."

Poetry: The best medicine

To get your daily dose and to celebrate April as National Poetry Month, check out "Poem-A-Day." When you sign up, you will receive a poem every day in your e-mail beginning April 1 and continuing throughout the month.

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The Academy of American Poets established National Poetry Month in 1996 as a month long celebration of poetry to bring to the general public greater attention to and appreciation of poets, past and present, their books and the importance of poetry in our culture. Events and resorces that have grown out of National Poetry Month include reading series, curriculum ideas for teachers and tip sheets for booksellers and librarians. Their colorful posters are free Even local businesses have become involved as in one restaurant where poems were printed on placemats.

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