Curiouser and curiouser ...

Ever feel as though it's all been done before? As though you may as well give up trying to create anything new, because your efforts will never equal those of the masters?

The Alexandrians, named "for the fire, not the library," feel the same way.

To help pave the way for new art, they have orchestrated the planned removal from society of works of art, literature, music, film ...

A talking dog, a nine-year pregnancy, Hank Williams ... with this strange brew, Terry Bisson, author of the short story "Bears Discover Fire," delivers the increasingly odd story of one of those charged with doing the removing: The Pickup Artist.

In the Wake of Memorial Day

Memorial Day was a good chance to finish reading Flights of Passage: Recollections of a World War II Aviator by Samuel Hynes, a fabulously personal account of one man's experience learning to fly and fighting in the Pacific at the tail end of World War II. Many veterans of Hynes' generation are participating in the Veterans History Project organized by the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress.

Finally available on DVD... Jonathan Weiner's talk about Beak of the Finch
...the film where Fred Astaire cuts the rug with a drum set
...Sally Field's, um, multi-faceted, Emmy-winning 1975 performance as Sybil
...the acclaimed PBS American Experience Presidents collection, including LBJ, TR and Truman.
...and Hallelujah!, the first all-black sound movie from 1929.

No dancing

Elvis Costello is returning to Ann Arbor! The Summer Festival, which technically starts on June 16th, is bringing him to Hill Auditorium on June 13th. Costello will be acompanied by his band The Imposters and the New Orleans stylings of Allen Toussaint. "No dancing," by the way, is a track from his first album, My Aim is True.

The Today Show features AWOL

The Today Show highlights a new book on "The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service-and How It Hurts Our Country".

How many famous people can you name that are currently serving in the armed forces? Why aren't the rich and famous in uniform? Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaffer discuss how "we were raised in a culture, a privileged culture, that misunderstands and underestimates the meaning of military service".

The Dragon King of Hogwarts

It's true--a recently discovered dinosaur fossil in South Dakota has been named Dracorex hogwartsia after the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In case you've been hiding in a cave for the past ten years, Hogwarts' most famous student is young Harry Potter. Dracorex hogwartsia earned its name because the dinosaur's flattened head looks a lot like a dragon, and dragons play an important role at Hogwarts. (Their Latin motto, in fact, translates to "a sleeping dragon must never be tickled.") Read more about the dragonlike pachycephalosaur or go see it the next time you are in Indianapolis.

The Play Ground

The Play Ground

The award winning classic, COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA, is being staged from June 1-4 at the Riverside Arts Center in Ypsilanti. COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA was William Inge’s first play and won the Tony and Academy Award for Shirley Booth, for her portrayal of Lola, the housewife, who reflects on her faded dreams as she searches for her beloved lost dog Sheba. Redbud’s version of this American classic will feature an accomplished cast including well-loved area actress Sandy Ryder as the touching Lola and Tim Grimes as her disillusioned husband. The play is directed by Loretta Grimes. Take a break from gardening to root(!) for little Sheba to come home.

X-Men Extravaganza

Loved the new movie and want more? Didn't care for it and want something different? Somewhere in the middle? Wherever you fall, the AADL is here to help.

Ultimate X-Men, a guide to the universe, covers the original Dark Phoenix saga. Astonishing X-Men Volume 1: Gifted contains the story of the "cure" for mutancy, as written by Joss Whedon of Buffy and Firefly fame.

One thing is certain: for better or for worse, none of the books feature Kelsey Grammer in a Cookie Monster suit.

"The Purpose of All War is Peace"-- Saint Augustine

Memorial Day

Its Memorial Day Weekend, a time to contemplate the sacrifices of men and women in the armed services. So remember that when you're out at the barbeque and enjoy the sunny weather!

Memorial Day Reads and Vids
Fog of War
Ken Burns' Civil War series

Imperial Grunts : the American military on the ground by Robert Kaplan
No true glory : a frontline account of the battle for Fallujah by Bing West
Team of rivals : the political genius of Abraham Lincoln By Doris Kearns Goodwin

Mission Impossible, By Order of the Queen

Some books are just better with Robert Ian Mackenzie turning pages for you. This marvelous narrator coaxes, spellbinds, and occasionally sings his way through this unbelievably merry, wildly imaginative and totally entertaining 22-discs Freddy and Fredericka by Mark Helprin.

A series of screwball adventures followed a conspiratorial media debacle aimed at Freddy, the bookish, stiff-upper-lip Prince of Wales and his glamorous and ditsy wife. In order to safeguard the British monarchy, they were sent on a quest to re-conquer a barbarous land – The United States.

Clueless and dressed only in furry bikinis, they hopped freight trains, cleaned toilets, and became enmeshed in the madness of a presidential campaign, all the while gained the dignity and humility required for the future heads of state.

Perfect for long car trips. Do remember to pull over while laughing. We want you safe.

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