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."

What do a slapstick comedian and the father of vocalese jazz have in common?

Jerry Lewis has just been awarded the French Legion of Honor. The 80-year-old wore slippers to the ceremony and, when he spoke, apologized for not speaking French, but said that "'even if the French people cannot hear my language, they have always heard my heart..'"

Lewis joins many other distinguished recipients of the Legion of Honor, including jazz great Jon Hendricks, who once told me that "a woman's first child is her husband."

Everybody's a comedian! ;-)

Get them while they're hot

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire takes the number one spot as Amazon.com's top selling DVD. At number two is Crash, winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Other hot DVDs in the top ten:

Walk the Line
Lady and the Tramp: 50th Anniversary Edition
Pride and Prejudice
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Howl’s Moving Castle
Good night, and Good Luck

What’s your favorite?

The Cubicle

Do you work in a cubicle and wish they had never been created in the first place? Well, apparently the man who invented cubicles, or the "Action Office" as they were called early on, wished the same. According to a recent article in Fortune magazine, before his death in 2000, Bob Probst (the father of the cubicle) "lamented his unwitting contribution to what he called 'monolithic insanity.'" So will the cubicle continue its dominance in the world of office furniture or will we someday see the end of its existence?

While you ponder that question, check out some of these library materials: a movie, a comic strip, a book, a television show, and another television show. Something for everyone!

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