Gordon Parks: 1912-2006

Gordon Parks

Writer, photographer, composer and director Gordon Parks died yesterday at 93. As a photographer for Life from 1948 to 1968, Parks captured poverty in the United States and abroad and chronicled the struggles of black America through the civil rights movement. In 1969, Parks became the first major American black filmmaker as writer, director and composer of The Learning Tree, based on his 1963 autobiography and one of the first 25 American films entered into the National Film Registry. Parks also helmed Shaft, Leadbelly, and Solomon Northrup's Odyssey. The Library also owns Gordon Parks' "Visions": The Images, Words, and Music of Gordon Parks. Last year, Parks published Eyes With Winged Thoughts, a book of poetry and images to accompany his fourth prose memoir, A Hungry Heart.

Wayne Greenhaw wins the 2006 Harper Lee Award

Wayne Greenhaw

Wayne Greenhaw, author of this year's The Thunder of Angels: The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the People Who Broke the Back of Jim Crow was named the 2006 Harper Lee Award winner.

The intensely private Harper Lee is one of Alabama's most revered citizens following the publication of her classic To Kill a Mockingbird.

Born in 1940, Greenhaw's extensive bibliography includes contributions
to The New York Times and the Alabama section for Fodor's Guide to the South.

The Harper Lee Award was established in 1998 to "... recognize the lifetime achievement of a writer who was born in Alabama or who spent his or her formative years living and writing in the state."

Bee-Bim Bop Fun!

Would you ever think of going to the picture book section for a recipe? Well, no. But the picture book section is full of surprises.
Bee-Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park with illustrations by Ho Baek Lee is a lively story about a child and parent cooking the the traditional Korean dish of the title.
The recipe for Ms. Park's family version is included in the back of the book. The step-by-step directions are divided into tasks that kids can do, followed by the those that need to be done by an adult. What fun in the kitchen for a parent and child!
Linda Sue Park won the 2002 Newbery Medal for her book A Single Shard. She will be coming to the Library for National Children's Book Week in November.

Struggling for Words at Ground Zero

Jenny Holzer, conceptual artist, best known for her truisms, in often glowing and disembodied text; stunningly conveyed in unexpected venues – from anonymous posters hung in the streets of Manhattan, electronic signs in sports stadiums, to one spiraling up the Guggenheim Museum, is now busily tweaking her newest installation at Ground Zero.

This project is not without struggle between the architect, the developer and the artist. The almost-final selection is ” a continuing stream of poetry and prose written by dozens of different authors, from Elizabeth Bishop and Allen Ginsberg to Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman”, that evokes the history of New York, and will scroll across a glowing, 65-foot wide, 14-foot high wall in the lobby of 7, World Trade Center, scheduled to open mid-May.

Are you ready for the "Big Ten?"

With the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament coming up, get inspired by the following 2 books and expanded dvd.

Transition Game by L.Jon Wertheim, writer for Sports Illustrated, is the story of Wertheim's return to his alma mater, Bloomington North High School where he witnesses the transformation of the game from crisp cuts and mid-range shooting to the hip-hop high flying style of the current NBA. He takes off from this example to examine changes in basketball nationwide. To underline the bittersweet nature of success, he follows the fortunes of one Sudanese family whose sons get basketball scholarships. Also, check out a two disc collector's edition of the 1986 film, Hoosiers that includes footage of the Milan vs. Muncie 1954 Indiana High School championship game.

Did the right movie win last night?

In an upset similar to the year Saving Private Ryan lost to Shakespeare in Love, Brokeback Mountain, the favorite and frontrunner up through Ang Lee's win as Best Director, lost to Crash for Best Picture. Read more. So, was Crash the right choice, or does this mean Hollywood isn't quite ready to embrace a gay love story for Best Picture?

An American Story

National Public Radio's Story Corps seeks oral histories from ordinary folks "as a record of the way we live today--and how we got here." In the case of Blanca Alvarez this is very literally a story of how she got here. In the Story Corps interview with her daughter, Connie, Alvarez describes crossing the border from Mexico to the United States over thirty years ago and the jobs she held to support her family in those difficult early years.

"Gold Soundz" from the slacker kings

Looking for something that's a little off the beaten path (or at least off the current pop charts)? Take a stroll through the charming little collection of alternative rock selections we've got. There are some beauties from the eighties and ninties, such as Pavement's 1997 Brighten the Corners and the Jesus and Mary Chain's singles. I have a particular soft spot for Pavement, as well as their ex-singer's new solo work, since it has that slacker quality of sounding both lazy and intense.

For some hints on searching for music by genre in the catalog, follow the "read more..."

The Other Awards Show

Everyone knows that the Oscar winners will be announced on Sunday, but did you also know that the Independent Spirit Awards are being awarded on Saturday? Held annually in a big tent on the Santa Monica beach, these awards are given to the year's best work in independent films. To see clips from this year's nominees, visit the IFC (Indepdendent Film Channel) website.

The library's film collection includes many of the Independent Spirit Award winners from past years. Here are some of them:

Sideways, Lost in Translation, Far From Heaven, Memento, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Election, Gods and Monsters, Fargo, Short Cuts, The Player, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape.

A Great Resource for Women's History Month

Jane Addams
Jane Addams, 1860-1935

In celebration of Women's History Month, Thompson Gale has launched a free website of information on the history of women--biographies, a historical timeline, a downloadable calendar, quizzes and activities to facilitate classroom discussion. Also included is Women's Rights on Trial, which includes information on 101 key trials of historical importance to American women since the settlement of the colonies.

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