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.

Two Great American Women Died Last Week

Last Monday, Coretta Scott King died. The widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was also a noted civil and human rights advocate in her own right. In 1994, King published a memoir titled My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. On Saturday, feminist author and activist Betty Friedan died. Friedan, founder and first president of the National Organization for Women, helped spark the Women's Movement in the 1960s with the publication of her book The Feminine Mystique in 1963.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Bestseller List (1/29/06)

It was another slow week for newly released books. The Da Vinci Code celebrated its 147th week on the List by moving back into the top spot and only one new title made the cut.

At #3 is The Cat Who Dropped the Bombshell by Lilian Jackson Braun: the cat is back, helping Jim Qwilleran solve yet another mystery.

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...

Edgar nominess for 2006, Part 1

2006 Edgar nominees

The Mystery Writers of America has released the nominees for the 2006 Edgar Awards.
Below are the nominees in the three top categories:

Best Novel Nominees

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
Red Leaves by Thomas H. Cook
Vanish by Tess Gerritsen
Drama City by George Pelecanos
Citizen Vance by Jess Walter

Edgar nominess for 2006, part 2

2006 Edgar nominees

Best Paperback Original

Homicide My Own by Anne Argula
The James Deans by Reed F. Coleman
Girl in the Glass by Jeffrey Ford
Kiss Her Goodbye by Allan Guthrie
Six Bad Things by Charlie Huston

The winners in the 16 categories will be announced on April 27, 2006.

Wendy Wassertein, 1950-2006

Wendy Wassertein, 1950-2006

Wendy Wasserstein, the pioneering voice of independent single women who embraced feminism and romance, died January 30, 2006 after fierce battle with cancer.

Ms. Wasserstein, who used humor to put the sadness and loneliness that sometimes pervade the single life into perspective, soared to public awareness with her captivating 1977 play Uncommon Women and Other.

Her signature work, The Heidi Chronicles, often considered the blueprint for HBO's Sex and the City, captivated theater-goers with her piercing insights into the psyche of American career women. The Chronicles garnered Wasserstein with the trifecta of playwright honors -- a Tony, the New York Crama Critics Circle award, and the Pulitzer.

Patrick O'Keeffe, UM professor, wins prestigious Story Prize

Irish-born Patrick O'Keeffe, professor of English at the University of Michigan, was awarded the 2005 Story Prize for The Hill Road, four novellas about life in a fictional Irish village.

O'Keefe beat out 81 other writers, including the other two authors on the shortlist, Jim Harrison for The Summer He Didn't Die and Maureen F. McHugh for Mothers and Other Monsters, which will be ordered later this month.

O'Keefe, 42, arrived in the U.S. as in illegal immigrant in 1986. He won his green card in a lottery and later graduated from the University of Kentucky. He then earned an MFA from the University of Michigan, where he now teaches.

Six More Weeks of Winter

Famous groundhog weather expert, Punxsutawney Phil, has predicted six more weeks of winter in response to seeing his shadow this morning at Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania. Groundhogs, or whistle pigs as they are sometimes called, are traditionally associated with Candlemas, a Christian holiday that has long been paired with prognosticating.

Though Groundhog’s day has nearly passed, why not repeat the day’s festivities tomorrow and rent Groundhog Day (1997) starring Bill Murray? Or stock up on woodchuck fact and fiction to pass the long winter nights to come.

New from Belle and Sebastian next week

Next week, on February 7, Belle and Sebastian will be releasing their sixth album - The Life Pursuit. “Written almost entirely by frontman Stuart Murdoch, [it] is a magnificently assured and diverse pop record. With nods to such influences as Cornelius, Manfred Mann, and David Bowie, "The Life Pursuit" mingles the folky, be-sweatered pathos of the group's earliest work with joyfully satirical late 60's sunshine pop, and the sophisticated 80's-influenced work reminiscent of their prior album, 2003's "Dear Catastrophe Waitress". –Amazon.com

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