Dangerous Mining

Mining and mining accidents have been very much in the news lately, with four separate accidents claiming lives in the past weeks. As NPR’s Morning Edition discussed this morning, some critics of mining industry regulations are beginning to wonder about the industry regulators’ efficacy. The Federal Mining Safety and Health Administration is charged both with ongoing industry regulation and supervision as well as rescue efforts in mine emergencies. However, as the film Salt of the Earth explores, it takes a lot more than a federal agency to make real changes in miners’ lives.

Older and Wiser?

Do you wonder what's ahead in life? Did you enjoy Tuesdays With Morrie? More moving and unexpected treasures lie in Am I Old Yet? and the documentary film Sunset Story. Think on!

Video Art

Fluxus member and collaborative video, electronics, and performance artist Nam June Paik passed away January 29th, so it seems appropriate that University of Michigan art, dance, ethnomusicology, and electrical engineering professors are collaborating on "vidGod" February 10 & 11. Billed as an "electronic opera," this twenty-first century piece fuses the immediacy of live human performers with the possibilities of electronics and computer-generated sound and images. Two free performances on Friday, February 10th and Saturday the 11th at 8 PM. "vidGod" will be performed at the Duderstadt Center Video Studio, 2281 Bonisteel Boulevard at Murfin, North Campus. For more information please call (734) 615-3726 or see this news article from the Duderstadt Center.

Becoming a U.S. Citizen

What is the introduction to the Constitution called? How many times may a Congressman be re-elected? Who wrote the "Star-Spangled Banner"? Can you name the thirteen original states? Can you name two senators from your state?

If you're applying to become a naturalized U.S. Citizen, you'll need to know the answers to these and other questions about U.S. history and government. The library has a number of books to help you study for the citizenship exam, including Citizenship Made Simple, Becoming a Citizen, United States Citizenship Handbook, Barron's How to Prepare for the U.S. Citizenship Test, and Nolo's Becoming a U.S. Citizen.

We also have a DVD series called Citizenship Interactive to help people prepare for the exam. This series is available in English, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese.

*To learn the answers to the questions above and other sample questions, click here

The Play Ground

The Play Ground

Murray Burns. Chuckles The Chipmunk. Nick, Wilbur Malcolm, Theodore, Raphael Sabatini, Dr. Morris Fishbein, Woodrow, King, Rover, Lefty, Chevrolet, Big Sam Burns.
The Play Ground has never forgotten the first time he saw A Thousand Clowns with
Jason Robards, Barbara Harris, Gene Saks and Martin Balsam. Never mind that
cast of thousands himself, Barry Gordon as a very man-like child. Funny, tragic, sad.
Bring your tissues and your empathy to the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre from March 2-5 or
borrow the Robards version from our library.

Music in the Future

You may have heard about Best Buy's new partnership with independent online music source CDBaby. What else will shape the future of music and the music industry? David Kusek's new book The Future of Music explores the cluster of issues around music and the recording industry as we move into the 21st century, as does the PBS Frontline documentary The Way the Music Died. I certainly don't know where music is heading, but I bet the future will sound something like this...

A Few DVDs for Black History Month

Just released on DVD and soon to be available here at AADL is 1994's A Great Day in Harlem, left, a documentary that explores Art Kane's famous 1958 photograph featuring 57 legendary jazz musicians. Other recent titles include: Brother Minister: The Assassination of El-Hajj Malik Shabazz, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, The Rosa Parks Story, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Super Fly, and this year's Hustle and Flow, starring Academy Award nominee, Terrence Howard. Two other classic films, Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather, are on order.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

February 4, 2006 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Though he was an accomplished theologian and writer, Bonhoeffer is best known for his resistance to the Nazi regime and his involvement with plots to assassinate Hitler. On April 5, 1943, Bonhoeffer was arrested for his subversive activities and he spent the rest of his life in prison. He was hanged at Flossenberg on April 8, 1945.

A number of books about or by Bonhoeffer are available at the library, including Letters and Papers from Prison, Christ the Center, The Cost of Moral Leadership: the Spirituality of Bonhoeffer, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Man of Vision, Man of Courage.

The library also has a documentary about Bonhoeffer called Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace. Also, PBS will be showing a more recent documentary called Bonhoeffer. It will be shown on Detroit Public TV on Sunday, February 12 at 3pm.

The Worst of 2005

The nominees for this year's Oscar awards have been announced, but let's be honest...the awards we really care about are the ones for the worst movies and performances of the year! This year's Razzie nominations have been announced and the masses are waiting with great anticipation to see who will end up at the bottom of the list!

Will The Dukes of Hazzard win the Worst Picture award? Will Tom Cruise cap off an embarrassing 2005 by winning Worst Actor for War of the Worlds? He'll have some serious competition from Will Ferrell, who has the distinction of being nominated for both Bewitched and Kicking and Screaming. The award for Worst Actress will probably come down between Jessica Alba for Fantastic 4 and Jennifer Lopez for Monster-in-Law.

So, what are the worst movies and performances you've seen this year?

Best Documentaries of 2005

Quick, can you name last year's Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature? (Answer under "read more," below). In the wake of all the media hype over popular feature films, documentaries usually get short shrift. Oh sure, you'll recognize March of the Penguins when this year's nominations are announced Tuesday morning, but that's largely because the sub-zero chick-rearing practices of the Emperor penguin featured prominently in America's perennial culture war last year. But many other excellent documentaries from 2005 (including Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man, left, one of the best-reviewed films of the year) won't be among the nominees either, whether due to a lack of interest on the part of an obscure group of Academy voters or equally obscure Academy rules....

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