Director Robert Altman dies at 81

Robert AltmanRobert Altman

Five-time Oscar nominee, Robert Altman, known for such classic films as M*A*S*H, Nashville, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Short Cuts, The Player, Gosford Park and this year's A Prairie Home Companion, has died at the age of 81. Altman was known for his trademark directing style that involved ensemble casts, long tracking shots and overlapping dialogue. Read the obituary on CNN.

Fore!!!

Shepard (a14)Shepard (a14)

In 1971, Apollo 14 Commander, Alan Shepard fitted a makeshift eight iron head to the handle of a lunar sample collection device and became the first golfer on the moon. On Wednesday, November 22, 2006, Russian flight engineer, Mikhail Tyurin, will once again bring the sport to space. A Canadian golf club maker, E21, is paying the Russian Federal Space Agency an undisclosed sum for Tyurin’s time. He will be hitting a golf ball from a spring-mounted tee on the ladder next to the hatch of the Russian docking compartment of the International Space Station. The ball will be hit over the back of the station to ensure that it does not damage it.

For live coverage of the ISS Expedition 14 spacewalk visit NASA’s website. The broadcast begins at 5 pm with the spacewalk scheduled for 6 pm. You can also find more information (and the promise of a video clip) at E21’s website.

In preparation for your next trip into space, check out the library’s collection of golf books and DVDs to improve your swing.

Blonde, James Bond

So far critics and fans alike are giving Casino Royale a big thumbs up. EW's Owen Gleiberman gives it a straight 'A' and its current ranking on the Internet Movie Database is 8.2. Contrary to expectations (and despite the hair color), Daniel Craig apparently puts a grittier spin on 007 that's not unwelcome to fans of the decades-old franchise. Still holding a torch for Sean Connery? AADL has just purchased new box sets of all the previous James Bond films.

Remember THE SHEIK?

Many of you are too young to remember him, but for young women in the 1920's, Rudolph Valentino was the first major movie sex symbol. On November 20, 1921, one of his most famous films, The Sheik was released. Valentino's steamy, melodramatic portrayal of a desert prince hopelessly in love with an Englishwoman left women fainting in the aisles. A sequel, The Son of the Shiek, was released in 1926, a few weeks after Valentino's tragic death.

The Library has an extensive collection of silent films featuring such greats as Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and the "It Girl, Clara Bow. Check them out!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Although America Recycles Day was November 15, it's never too late to start being more environmentally aware. Check out all the services of Recycle Ann Arbor. You'll be amazed by opportunities both to recycle and to grab some great finds, especially at the Re-Use Station.

The Library has a wealth of information on recycling and environmental issues. A new dvd series produced by PBS titled Design e2: The Economies of Being Environmentally Conscious looks at inspiring examples of environmental projects throughout the country including Mayor Richard Daley's green initiatives for the city of Chicago. Other programs examine a proposed greywater recycling system in Bejing that would be the largest in the world and how Boston's Big Dig project has provided opportunities for using its scrap for innovative house design.

Ready Made: How to Make (Almost) Everything: A Do-It Yourself Primer by Shoshana Berger is a playful look at how we can transform discarded materials into such creations as chopstick clocks and cd racks made from Fed Ex boxes.

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2006's 4-star picks from Video Librarian

Sure, you know the blockbusters. But what about all the hundreds of other video titles (children's, documentaries, anime, how-to) that come out each year? How do you know what's worth watching? In their Nov/Dec issue, Video Librarian rounds up all titles receiving the highest rating (4 stars) from their crew of 20+ reviewers over the course of the year; and since they're generally pretty stingy with the 4-star designation, you can bet they're all worth checking out. Below are those titles owned by or currently on order for AADL:

Lost in the Woods: The Movie; Time Warp Trio: Passport to Adventure; Old Believers; Reckless Indifference; City of Bees; Exploring Space: The Quest for Life; Life in the Undergrowth; Duncan Wong: Yogic Arts-Awakening Level; Trout Grass; Ballets Russes; Horses of Gettysburg; Tony Palmer's Film About the Salzburg Festival; Windosr Castle: A Royal Year; Unknown Chaplin; Henri Langlois: Phantom of the Cinematheque; John & Abigail Adams; Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo, Chapter 1; Kakurenbo: Hide and Seek; Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film; Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities.

“Well, I’ll be an eight-ball’s uncle!”

Secret Wars #8Secret Wars #8

In Secret Wars #8, released in the mid eighties, an alien machine gave Spider-Man the now infamous black costume. It turned out to be an alien symbiote and soon became one of his greatest foes, Venom.
Since then we have not seen Spider-Man in the black costume. But, in the aftermath of Civil War, Marvel’s summer event, we once again see Spidey don the black threads. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Back in Black! series runs through next February.

Could this be a possible tie-in with the upcoming Spider-Man 3, where we see Toby Maguire also wearing the black costume?
Get reacquainted with your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man with books and movies from aadl’s collection.

Trust and Betrayal

Samurai XSamurai X

The Meiji Restoration (1866-1869) marked the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan. The two part OVA Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal is a story set during that tumultuous era. In the shadows of Kyoto, Himura Kenshin works for the Choshu revolutionaries as their best assassin. But a chance meeting with a mysterious young woman named Tomoe leads him to reconsider his choices.

Samurai X is gorgeously animated and features some of Japan’s best voice actors, including Mayo Suzukaze and Tomokazu Seki. It’s based on events from volumes 19, 20, and 21 of the manga Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki, but unlike the manga, it’s aimed at adults rather than teens.

If you’re interested in reading more about this historical era, the library also has some great nonfiction books about it, such as Inventing Japan, 1853-1964, The Making of Modern Japan, and The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori.

25th Anniversary of Columbia's STS-2 Flight

STS-2 LaunchSTS-2 Launch

Twenty-five years ago today, the Shuttle Columbia launched for the second time. Columbia was the first Space Shuttle to fly into Earth orbit in 1981. This mission launch proved that the space shuttle was the first reusable manned space vehicle.

Columbia's 28th and last mission was STS-107, which launched January 16, 2003. The crew and vehicle were lost on re-entry on February 1, 2003.

Book lover fights crime!

Read or DieRead or Die

The protagonist of Read or Die isn’t exactly your classic secret agent. Yomiko Readman is a mild-mannered substitute teacher who has a habit of spending every last cent she earns on books. But, as a monster quickly discovers when it tries to steal one of her books (which she hasn’t even finished reading—the horror!), she can put up a pretty good fight with her special skill for using sheets of paper as weapons.

Yomiko’s talent brings her to the attention of the British Library Special Engineering Force, which is investigating a rash of thefts involving rare books. Can Yomiko and her colleagues uncover the mastermind behind the thefts before their sinister plan comes to fruition?

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