For those of you who haven't yet trashed your VCRs

The Morocco Experience

An exciting deviation from the average travel documentary, this Lonely Planet production attempts to recreate the overall tone of their popular guidebooks and website. Hosted by an adventurous back-packer, we get to see first-hand what it's like to hitch-hike on a mountain farm truck, barter services and goods at the local markets, accept invitations from locals to join them for home-cooked meals, and even ride a camel. Throughout his journey, our host speaks with many fellow travelers representing a wide range of cultures, male and female, young and old. This is a terrific source for when planning a Moroccan escape, and an even better source when you just need a 47 minute escape in the comfort of your own home. The Morocco Experience is vicarious living at its finest.

Jonathan Rowe speaks on his 'thriller'

In case you missed local novelist and attorney Jonathan Rowe's talk at the library's 'Sunday Edition' program in January you can view his talk this week on local Community Access Cable Channel 17. Rowe discusses his Ann Arbor-based thriller A Question Of Identity, which recounts the tale of an overeducated, underachieving tabloid reporter on the trail of a fugitive 1960's radical. The program is also availabe from the library on DVD. The Cable TV broadcasts can be viewed on Tuesday, May 2 at 3:40 p.m.; Thursday, May 4 at 1:30 p.m.; Friday May 5 at 5:00 p.m.

Fingersmith - A Victorian Thriller

BBC feature film Fingersmith, based on the novel (short listed for the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize in 2002) by Sarah Waters, is a Victorian thriller not to be missed.

The paths of Maud, a wealthy heiress and that of Susan, an orphan raised in a den of petty thieves (or fingersmiths) collide with devastating consequences and yet, a deep connection is forged that spell their redemption.
Beautiful period costumes, moody cinematography, and knock-your-socks-off plot twists made for 180 minutes of sensual viewing pleasure.

Check out Waters’ other titles Tipping the Velvet (in DVD); and her latest - The Night Watch.

In 2003, Granta magazine named Sarah one of 20 Best Young British Novelists.

Invisible Children

Lost Boys

Last Saturday night, some 600 area students were inspired by a film-in-the-making to stage a sleep-in outside Ann Arbor's city hall. The film is about the plight of children abducted, brainwashed and trained to fight in Uganda's 18-year-old civil war. University students organized the screenings and local sleep-ins as part of a "Global Night Commute". Until the film (currently in rough cut) makes its way into the AADL collection, you may want to check out the similarly themed Lost Boys of Sudan, last year's award-winning documentary about two orphaned Sudanese refugees from yet another devastating African civil war. This title, along with several other powerful films, is available at AADL through the Human Rights Video Project. Teachers, students and other local groups may arrange to borrow any of the titles on this list for a public screening. Check out a complete listing of titles and summaries.

Celebrating Families Built Through Adoption

Recent news of celebrities building their families through adoption is raising the public's awareness of the joys and heartaches that come with the adoption process. The library has many materials for those interested in learning more about adoption.

The Waiting Child, by Cindy Champnella, tells the true story of a little girl, whom the Champnella family adopted from China, and her persistence in finding a mama for a little boy she left behind. On Saturday, May 6th, 2006, Cindy Champnella will be in Ann Arbor to speak about her family's inspirational story.

Other recent books about adoption include:
Two Little Girls: A Memoir of Adoption
Weaving a Family: Untangling Race and Adoption
A Love Like No Other: Stories from Adoptive Parents
Complete Adoption and Fertility Legal Guide

Two recommended films about adoption include:
Secrets and Lies and My Flesh and Blood

Where the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all the children are above average

"It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota." So surely will begin 2006 Honorary Oscar winner Robert Altman's film version of A Prairie Home Companion, opening on June 9th.

All of your favorite residents of Lake Wobegon will be there: Guy Noir private eye (played by Kevin Kline), the singing cowboys Dusty & Lefty (John C. Reilly and Woody Harrelson respectively), and of course, hometown boy and host Garrison Keillor (played by none other than himself). Also on hand will be a few new old-fashioned singers from Lake Wobegon: Rhonda (Lily Tomlin), Yolanda (Meryl Streep), and Lola (Lindsay Lohan).

Make sure that you brush up on your Lake Wobegon gossip and A Prairie Home Companion antics to keep abreast of all the town happenings!

Anniversary of a mutiny

mutiny

On April 28, 1789, Fletcher Christian led a mutiny of the ship HMS Bounty, which was loaded with breadfruit tree plants from Tahiti and bound for Jamaica. Rebelling against their cruel captain, Lieutenant William Bligh, Christian took some of his crew and some Tahitians to Pitcairn Island where they burned the Bounty and remained undiscovered for eighteen years. Bligh and some of his followers miraculously survived a forty-seven day journey in an open boat and landed on the island of Timor.

To get the full details, read Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff or see either of two films, one made in 1935 with Charles Laughton and Clark Gable, the other in 1962 with Marlon Brando.

Birdwatching

April 26 is ornithologist, artist and wildlife conservationist John James Audubon's birthday---reason enough to pick up the addicting habit of watching birds. Here are a few ways to get started:

Lounge in your backyard with National Audubon Society North American Birder's Handbook. Pop The Audubon Videoguide to 505 Birds of North America into your DVD player, or Backyard Bird Songs into your CD player. Join the Washtenaw Audubon Society's "Tuesday Evening Birders" every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. through May 23 for evening walks at local birding sites (call 994-3569 for more info), or attend the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission's "May Morning Bird Walk" on Saturday, May 6, from 8-10 p.m. in the Brauer Preserve (call 971-6337 for more info). Visit the Haehnle Audubon Sanctuary and watch for Sandhill Cranes; read The Boy Who Drew Birds: John James Audubon, or marvel over Audubon's original plates.

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.

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