Why did Gandhi make salt?

m k gandhi

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.

Grey Gardens Redux

It's hard trying to figure out exactly what the Hollywood producers of Grey Gardens--the upcoming dramatization of the Albert and David Maysles' classic 1975 cinéma vérité documentary by the same name--have in mind. This forthcoming 2007 fictional version of the already stranger-than-fiction biography featuring two of Jackie Kennedy's relatives couldn't possibly measure up to the great cult film. For even if Jessica Lange can resist the temptation to over-act as the otherworldly Edith Bouvier Beale, Drew Barrymore is no match for the real "Little Edie." Accept no substitutes--check out the real thing on DVD or VHS.

Better yet, mark your calendar for May 15 when AADL will celebrate Mother's Day with a free screening of the film.

Spike & Denzel

Director Spike Lee and actor Denzel Washington have teamed up again for The Inside Man, which also stars Clive Owen and Jodie Foster. The movie debuted at the #1 spot this weekend by earning $29 million. Surprisingly, this is the biggest box-office debut for both Lee and Washington.

Previous collaborations between the two include He Got Game, Malcolm X, and Mo' Better Blues.

Children of Paradise

The University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities has a free public screening of the 1945 film Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise) on Tuesday, April 4 at 4 pm in Rackham room 0520. Filmed in Vichy-era France with writing by Jacques Prévert, the film follows a group of nineteenth-century pantomime actors centered around the alluring, philosophically light-hearted Garance. Roger Ebert wrote that “few achievements in the world of cinema can rival it." If you can’t make it to the screening, try the beautifully restored DVD of director Marcel Carné’s masterpiece.

Hello, Dragon!

Word is out that martial arts superstar Bruce Lee will be the subject of a new Broadway musical featuring music by David Bowie. Director Matthew Warchus (who is currently about to unveil The Lord of the Rings musical) is also attached to the project. To prepare yourself for this side-splitting East Side Story, check out Enter the Dragon or The Bruce Lee Ultimate Collection recently added to the aadl collection.

Also in the works is a musical version of the hit martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

What did you see at the Ann Arbor Film Festival last night?

Phantom Canyon

And what did you think? The 44th Ann Arbor Film Festival runs from March 21-26. Visit the AAFF blog and screening schedule for more information.

3 Years after the Launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom

March 19, 2006 marks the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the debates surrounding the U.S presence in Iraq are becoming more intense as each day passes. The library has a number of DVDs on this subject.

Gunner Palace provides an intimate look at what life is like for the U.S. soliders in Iraq, while The Soldier's Heart examines problems faced by U.S. soldiers when they return from Iraq.

WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception and Uncovered: the War on Iraq explore questions concerning the case made by the Bush Administration to lead the U.S. into Iraq.

21 Days to Baghdad offers an insightful look at the first three weeks of military action during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Torture Question investigates the topic of prisoner abuse in recent years, focusing on the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The Dreams of Sparrows "follows first-time Iraqi director Hayder Mousa Daffar and his team of contributing directors as they share their vision of life in Baghdad, post-war and pre-reconstruction."

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