Shakespeare To Go

The 2006 Stratford Festival of Canada season is fast approaching. This year’s Festival selections from the Bard include Coriolanus, King Henry IV Part One, Much Ado About Nothing, and Twelfth Night.

Need a little brush-up on the Bard? Shakespeare—the Word and the Action, a lecture series from the Teaching Company, will let you expound with the best of them during intermissions in the garden. Dazzle them at the pre-play lectures after listening to The Age of Shakespeare and Will in the World.

The Play Ground

Several years ago The Play Ground was privileged to see Ewa Podles when she stepped in for Cecilia Bartoli who was ill. She was marvelous and since then, her reputation has soared. The University Musical Society is lucky to have her back, this time performing in Rossini's Tancredi with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, March 25 at Hill Auditorium. This opera, based on a play by Voltaire, tells the story of a banished 11th C knight who secretly returns to his homeland only to discover that his king is now allied with his archenemy.

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.

Coincidence?

March is National Caffeine Awareness Month and National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month. So put away the coffee pot, put on the headphones and learn to create and channel healthy energy. Judy Orloff offers a program to transform stress into strength in Positive Energy. Daniel Amen’s Making a Good Brain Great teaches you how to “exercise” your brain for better mental health.

Want to meditate on your options first? Try Reginald Ray’s Meditating With the Body or Spontaneous Awakening by Adyashanti. Listen to them all and you’ll be ready to celebrate National Fly a Kite month in April.

In the wake of St. Patrick's Day

If you didn't get your fill of Irish last week, treat yourself to Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans by Thomas Lynch. This book tells the story of the author's fascinating life as an American with Irish roots. He went to Ireland as a young man, where he found members of his family, and eventually inherited a house. As you read, keep an eye out for the lovely poem by Linda Gregerson, written from Lynch's ancestral home which now functions as a writers' retreat. Lynch is the Milford, MI, undertaker who has been nominated for a National Book Award. Like his previous books, this latest title is smart and lyrical, and should appeal to anyone for whom Irishness extends beyond March 17. It is set for paperback release this summer.

American children's author wins huge international honor

Katherine Paterson

Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia, Flip-Flop Girl, and The Master Puppeteer, has won Sweden's most prestigious award, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Literature.

Ms. Paterson, who was informed of this honor on March 15th, did not even know she was nominated.

The prize is named after Astrid Lindgren, the Swedish author who created one of children's literature's most beloved characters, Pippi Longstocking.

Ms. Paterson, 73, will receive the $640,000 purse, established by the Swedish government, in Stockholm on May 31st from Crown Princess Victoria.

Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams

Brothers in Hope is the story of the orphaned boys of Sudan who fled after their villages were destroyed. The story is told from the viewpoint of Garang who was a young boy when his village was attacked and how he and thousands of other boys made it to safety in Ethiopia and Kenya. Since 2000 the U.S. has taken in about 3,000 Lost Boys of Sudan. This is a timely book that speaks to the horrors of the ethnic cleansing in Sudan.

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."

John Reynolds Gardiner, author of Stone Fox, dies at 61

As a child, he hated to read, pretending to sleep when his mother tried to read to him at night. As a college student, he was surpassed in his English class by non-native speakers of English. As an adult, he was an engineer specializing in thermodynamics for aerospace corporations.

And as an author, he only wrote three books, the first of which, Stone Fox, sold more than 3 million copies and rightfully earned him the designation of one of the touchstones of children's publishing, according to HarperCollins Children's book editor, Kate Jackson.

John Reynolds Gardiner originally wrote Stone Fox as a screenplay. It eventually was produced as a TV movie, starring Buddy Ebsen.

Gardiner, who was 61, died March 4th of complications from pancreatis.

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