Shirley Temple Black, America's Favorite Child Star, Dies at 85

Shirley Temple, Curly Girl

Shirley Temple sang and danced her precocious heart off for America in the 1930s and 40’s and is the single most popular child-star in film history. Shirley made 23 films during the Great Depression and made Americans smile through some very dark times.

She rose to international fame in 1934’s Bright Eyes and charmed the pants off audiences in a series of films where she was often an orphan with a plucky, “can-do” attitude about life. Shirley’s characters were always precocious with more common sense than any of the adults. Her most successful collaboration was with legendary African-American actor Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. They starred in four films together: The Little Colonel, The Littlest Rebel, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Just Around the Corner. Their staircase dance number in “The Little Colonel” stands out as a classic musical moment in film history.

Frances Ha on DVD & Blu-Ray

Directed by Noah Baumbach, and written and Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha follows the story of a twenty something New York woman, portrayed by Gerwig, who is a bit lost in life. Her best friend and roommate Sophie is moving on with her fella, leaving Frances to find an alternative. While working at a local dance company, she finds a new apartment with some friends, has money trouble, visits her parents, and heads back to New York. She continues to have fun while not quite accept the reality that is around her. In this Criterion Collection indie film Frances is a lively character and you can’t help but root for her as she fumbles through life decisions.

Above all, pursue happinesss, and not more stuff

Tiny houses are, for many Americans, the new “dream house,” and are sprouting everywhere: in the city, the suburbs, backyard, woods and meadows, and on the beach, lakeside and water.

The book, Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter: Scaling Back in the 21st Century, is not so much the ‘how’ of building a tiny house as a sourcebook of inspiration and delight. Chock full of color pictures of tiny dwellings with such charm, whimsy and practicality as to make you begin to dream about one yourself. (My personal favorite: the hobbit house in Wales, pictured here.) Most have been constructed with a minimum of cost, using found and repurposed materials, and many are energy neutral.

A tiny house is not for everyone. Perhaps you would prefer a tiny apartment, a small house or, at least, a not-so-big house. Imagine having no mortgage, minimal utility bills, little furniture and clutter, and no 'stuff' in the basement and attic. Ah.

To further explore the history and style of ecological houses, made from natural materials and melding into the landscapes in which they are situated, try this dvd, First Earth. Very inspiring.

New TV Series @ AADL

Keep your eyes on the list of new TV shows to hit AADL’s catalog, including new seasons of your favorite shows, as well as newly acquired series. Here are a couple new-to-AADL shows for you:

Elementary, Season 1
A contemporary take on the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes who investigates crimes in modern-day New York City as a consultant to the NYPD and is assisted by Joan Watson, a former surgeon, who is hired by Holmes' wealthy father to help keep the eccentric detective sober. (aired 2012-present)

Raising Hope, Season 1 & Season 2
A one night stand becomes a life-long commitment when twenty-three-year-old Jimmy Chance inadvertently impregnates a wanted felon and decides to raise Hope on his own in this critically acclaimed first season. (aired 2010-present)

The Middle: Season 1
The show focuses on the daily mishaps of a harried woman and her semi-dysfunctional family and their attempt to survive life in general in the city of Orson, Indiana. (aired 2009-present)

Newhart: Season 1
Dick Loudon and his wife, Joanna, run a small country inn in Vermont where they're surrounded by an eclectic group of friends and neighbors who have more than a few screws loose. (aired 1982-1990)

Bob Newhart show: Season 1 & 2
The professional and personal misadventures of a psychologist and his family, patients, friends and colleagues. (aired 1972–1978)

Youth & Teen Book Awards Announced!

For at least a year librarians all over the country read, and read, and read and then in the dead of winter in some predetermined location (this time it was Philadelphia) they meet at their annual conference and discuss, and argue and determine the best books, audio and video for children and teens! On Monday, January 27 the ALA (American Library Association) hosted the Youth Media Awards and came up with their best picks. Without further ado find out what books you should start reading NOW! The big three awards are the Newbery, Caldecott and the Printz, but there are many other awards so be sure to look through the whole list!

The Newbery Medal honors the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children

2014 Winner: Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventure, by Kate DiCamillo

Honor Books:
Doll Bones, by Holly Black
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
One Came Home, by Amy Timberlake
Paperboy, by Vince Vawter

The Caldecott Medal honors the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

2014 Winner: Locomotive, illustrated and written by Brian Floca

Honor Books:
Journey, written and illustrated by Aaron Becker
Flora and the Flamingo, written and illustrated by Molly Idle
Mr. Wuffles! written and illustrated by David Wiesner

The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.

2014 Winner:
Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

Honor Books:
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Peter Seeger, iconic folksinger and political activist, has died

Pete Seeger, as beloved for his enduring folk songs as for his principled political activism for six decades, has died.

Seeger began his singing career as part of the Weavers in 1948, performing tunes of peace. Just seven years later, McCarthyism caught up with Seeger. The singer refused to testify. After years of legal wrangling, Seeger was convicted of contempt in 1961. A year later that conviction was overturned on a technicality.

For years, Seeger was blacklisted and banned from performing in schools and concert venues. He refused to be silent, writing and demonstrating whenever he could.

He was the inspiration for many folksinging giants, including Joan Baez who said of Seeger: "We all owe our careers to Pete Seeger." and Peter, Paul, and Mary who made famous Seeger's If I Had a Hammer. Other long-enduring Seeger classics are Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Turn! Turn! Turn!.

In 1994, the National Endowment of the Arts bestowed on Seeger the National Medal of Arts. In 1996, he won his first Grammy and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Twelve years later, he won his second Grammy. And just one year later, in a stunning moment of political validation, he performed at a celebratory concert in Washington, D.C. two days before President Barack Obama's first inauguration.

Seeger stayed politically active until the end of his life. In 2011, he marched in New York City with the Occupy Movement. He performed in last year's FarmAid concert and, as a lifelong environmentalist, this past November he asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to release the Arctic 30 who were granted their freedom the following month.

In 2012, Seeger published Pete Seeger: In His Own Words.

Seeger, who was 94, died of natural causes.

Pete Seeger is no stranger to area music lovers. He made several trips to perform here. His benefit concert for the Ark is fondly remembered. Check out these Old News articles on this beloved muscian.

Austenland

Austenland is a new movie based on the novel written by Shannon Hale. The novel’s protagonist is Jane Austen obsessed Jane Hayes. Jane is in her 30's when her great aunt dies leaving her a large amount of money. The catch is that the money must be spent on a vacation involving an English resort that panders to the Austen lovers of the world. During her vacation Jane searches for a Regency era gentleman to fall in love with and hopes to rid herself of her dreams of Mr. Darcy by the end of the vacation. The goal is to return to her life without comparing all men to Mr. Darcy. Will she succeed or will the insanity of this absurd vacation only further her obsession?

The twelve year old girl living inside of me giggled manically when she saw the preview for this movie. It has received mixed reviews and the negative ones are generally written by significant others who were dragged to a screening against their will. It will most likely be overly cheesy, but what can you expect from a movie centered on Jane Austen obsession. At that point isn’t the cheesiness part of the fun?

New Kids TV @ AADL: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a PBS show geared towards preschoolers and is based on the old Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood show. The adventures of characters in the "Neighborhood of Make-Believe" appeared in a segment in almost every episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

The series debuted on PBS in September 2012 and centers on four year old Daniel Tiger, who is the son of Daniel Striped Tiger from the original "Neighborhood of Make-Believe", and his friends as they solve problems and learn together with imagination, music and fun. Check out: Life’s Little Lessons and Daniel’s Big Feelings on DVD.

Blackfish on DVD & Blu-ray

Blackfish is a controversial documentary on a dark and controversial subject matter. The disturbing, engaging and mainly one-sided film focuses on the danger of keeping wild animals, namely killer whales, in captivity and the danger is poses to trainers who work with the animals. Much of the film is about Tilikum, an orca held by SeaWorld, and the incidents that happened involving the animal, including three deaths. It exposes SeaWorld, a lack of communication within the organization, and harmful accidents and fatalities involving various staff working with orcas in captivity. The film tells the story using archival footage and interviews with former trainers. While critically acclaimed and a hit at Sundance, the film was not nominated last week for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Oscar nods to films based on books


This year's Academy Award nominations include 5 out of 9 best pictures that are based on books, all of them non-fiction.

Have a read while you await the award show on March 2 (and don't miss AADL's Academy Awards Preview on Wednesday, February 26 at 7 pm at the Downtown Library).

12 years a slave based on the book by Solomon Northrup
American Hustle based on the book, the Sting Man: inside Abscam
Captain Phillips based on the book, A Captain's Duty by Richard Phillips
Wolf of Wall Street based on the book of the same name by Jordan Belfort
Philomena based on the book Philomena : a mother, her son, and a fifty-year search by Martin Sixsmith

Other award nominated movies based on books include:
Inside Llewelyn Davis based on the book Mayor of Macdougal Street : a memoir (nominated for cinematography & sound mixing)
Lone Survivor based on the book Lone survivor : the eyewitness account of Operation Redwing and the lost heroes of SEAL Team 10 (nominated for sound mixing)
Dirty Wars based on the book Dirty wars : the world is a battlefield (nominated for best documentary feature)

Lastly one play to film was nominated:
August: Osage County by Tracy Letts (Meryl Streep is nominated for best actress & Julia Roberts for best supporting actress)

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