The Play Ground

Sandra Storrer directs Eve Ensler's Obie-winning play, THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, a series of ribald, explosively funny monologues exploring a woman's relation to her body, sexuality, and language. Originally a one-woman show, it is now regularly cast for 3 monologists. Cast: Grace Morand, Judy Dow Rumelhart, Linda Carter. A benefit for SafeHouse, the local shelter for battered women and their children. The Ark, 316 S. Main. General admission $20 in advance at Herb David Guitar Studio, the Michigan Union Ticket Office, & all other Ticketmaster outlets; $25 at the door. Saturday, February 4 at 2pm, evening show sold out.

Betty Burzon, longtime gay activist, dies at 78

Betty Berzon

Betty Berzon, influential psychotherapist and author who championed gay rights for more than 30 years, died Tuesday, January 24, 2006.

Born January 28, 1928, Dr. Berzon was a pioneer in providing therapy to gay clients in the early 1970s, just a few years after she came out publicly and more than twenty years after her conflicts with her own sexuality led to a suicide attempt.

Berzon was the author of several important books on homosexuality, including Permanent Partners: Building Gay and Lesbian Relationships that Last (revised edition, 2004). In 1979 she edited Positively Gay: New Approaches to Gay and Lesbian Life, which she edited beginning in 1979 and which has remained in print ever since.

New Titles on the New York Times Bestseller List (1/22/06)

There were three new titles last week and three this week. Romance and mystery/suspense are still what most people are buying and reading these gray winter days and long cold nights.

At #1 is The Hostage by W.E.B. Griffin: the military investigates the murder of a diplomat and the kidnapping of his wife who has ties to the Iraq oil-for-food scandal.

At #6 is All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Quick, Amanda): the death of a friend leads a journalist back home to Northern California and an old cold case of murder.

Happy Birthday Paul!

Today (January 26) Paul Newman turns 81. He is a very notable contributor to film as both an actor and director and a personal favorite of mine. Here are some of my favorites:

The Sting (1973), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), The Color of Money (1986), and The Hudsucker Proxy (1994). He also directed Rachel, Rachel (1968), The Glass Menagerie (1987), and more.

Did I miss any??

Matisse biography wins the 2005 Whitbread

Whitbread winner

Hilary Spurling, author of Matisse, the Master, captured the 2005 Whitbread Book of the Year after a hotly contested discussion among the judges. Even more surprising is that it was a children's, The New Policeman by Kate Thompson, which nearly took the much-sought-after literary prize.

The Whitbread Book of the Year is selected from the five finalists in the following categories:

Ali Smith for The Accidental

29th Ann Arbor Folk Festival

Ark logo

This weekend is the 29th Ann Arbor Folk Festival at Hill Auditorium, an annual benefit for The Ark. This year's lineup includes The Robert Cray band, the Lyle Lovett Trio, Iris Dement, the Holmes Brothers, and Jonatha Brooke. Also included are top-notch regional acts, from Ann Arbor guitarist Bill Kirchen and Ypsilanti's Mady Kouyate, a Senegalese-born player of the kora, a 21-stringed harp, to 97-year-old Wade Mainer, a Flint native who taught Earl Scruggs the banjo.

For more information on performers, showtimes and tickets, check out The Ark's website.

Vive la musique!

Mes petits choux, you must know the divine Edith Piaf--she is very classique. But there is more: pour yourselves a nice cup of coffee, get a slice of gateau or another delight from the creperie, and imagine yourself in a Parisian Cafe with these compilations of French music. If perhaps you are more inclined to the contemporary, preferring the Pompidou to the Louvre, you might try One Step Forward or Princesses Nubiennes from duo Les Nubians. Last but not least, try Air, French Band.

History Bits: African American Dance

Mr Bojangles is a part of 20th Century African-American history. Rap A Tap Tap is a book that shares a part of the Bojangles story with children. Add the sounds of Stars at the Apollo and share the era with family.

History Bits - African American

A bit of African-American history can start in picture books with Charlie Parker Played BeBop and a recording of his music Diz 'n Bird at Carnegie Hall for ambience.

Olympic DVDs

On January 25, 1924, the first Winter Olympics, actually called "The International Winter Sports Week," began at Chamonix in the French Alps. This year the XX Olympic Winter Games will be held in Turin (Torino in Italian), Italy from February 10-26.

The library's DVD collection includes several titles that have something to do with the Olympic Games, including Miracle, The Real Olympics, The First Olympics, Criterion's release of Tokyo Olympiad, One Day in September, Chariots of Fire, and this movie that was so moving it nearly brought me to tears.

So, what's your favorite Olympic event?

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