“Murder in Battle Creek,” Discussed by Michigan Author Blaine Pardoe

All fans of the true crime and mystery genres are sure to love our upcoming program about a 50-year-old murder mystery that still goes unsolved, despite the presence of witnesses! Blaine Pardoe, a Michigan author hailing from Battle Creek, will be at AADL’s Downtown Multi-Purpose Room to discuss his new book about the infamous murder. His book, titled “Murder in Battle Creek: The Mysterious Death of Daisy Zick,” will be sold and signed at the event. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday August 21, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

"Women Who Make America" Details Struggle for Equality

Makers: Women Who Make America is a three-part PBS documentary narrated by Meryl Streep. The film delves into the story of the birth of the modern women’s movement and covers five decades of women’s struggle for equality at home, work and life. I expected to have this documentary on in the background as I worked on other things, but found the film so engrossing, I watched all of it in one sitting.

The story of activism, feminism and what became known as women’s liberation is told through old film footage and interviews with women who did more than stand by and watch; they brought about change one move at a time. The women come from social, economical, and political backgrounds that are as varied as their personalities. They are flight attendants, coal miners, mothers, politicians, secretaries, writers, actresses, telephone operators and executives.

With retro music and advertisements, "Makers" quickly pulls the viewer into the stories and lives of women such as Judy Blume, Sandra Day O’Connor, Billie Jean King, Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas, Nora Ephron, Geraldine Ferraro, and Hillary Clinton.

Film: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Historical Perspective

Wednesday May 22, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

AADL joins the Performance Network Theatre for a special screening of the acclaimed documentary "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Historical Perspective". The film examines the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.- the subject for the Performance Network's May production of Katori Hall's new play "The Mountaintop".

In this award-winning documentary, writer/director Thomas Friedman takes a look Reverend King's ideas, actions, and influence on the fight to end racial segregation. Performance Network staff will be on hand to provide an introduction to "The Mountaintop," which is having its Michigan Premiere at the Network through June 2.

Da Vinci's Demons--The Intersecting Lives of Da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Borgia

If you are a fan of the Starz original series Da Vinci's Demons you might be interested in Paul Strahorn's book The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior.

It tells the compelling tale of the events of 1502 when Italy, torn apart by warring factions, was on the brink of political convulsion. Cesare Borgia and his army threatened to take the city of Florence and Machiavelli thought of a way to stop him. He seems to have offered up Da Vinci to become Borgia's military engineer--something that Borgia wanted dearly and Da Vinci had already declined.

It is a story about genius and events that changed world history. These three men, each epitomizing a distinct aspect of humanity, spent time together in 1502 and Strathern masterfully describes the events.

Lynn Rivers Discusses "The End Of The Constitution?"

Monday May 13, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Join us for an evening on engrossing and lively discussion as former Michigan Representative Lynn Rivers presents "The End Of The Constitution?"

For this event, co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area, Lynn Rivers will discuss issues such as government surveillance and search and seizure under the Patriot Act; detention of Americans without charges as authorized under the National Defense Authorization Act; national security letters, and government infiltration into religious and issue advocacy groups. She will also touch on separation of church and state, separation of powers, the Defense of Marriage Act and gay rights, and how the "parliamentary" behavior of Congress is hobbling the three branch system.

Author Richard Snow Discusses His New Book: I Invented The Modern Age: The Rise Of Henry Ford

Monday May 20, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Richard Snow, acclaimed popular historian and former editor-in-chief of American Heritage Magazine, will discuss Henry Ford and Snow's just-released new book "I Invented The Modern Age: The Rise Of Henry Ford," a meticulous and entertaining account of Ford, the Model-T, and the remaking of American industry in the early 20th century. This special event will also include a book signing and books will be for sale.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #397

For over a decade, US publishers have been looking for English language books that deal with Chechnya, a volatile and bloody Russian Republic consistently in the news. They were thrilled when Whiting Award & Pushcart Prize winner Anthony Marra, (Stegner Fellow, Iowa Writers' Workshop) submitted his novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomena *.

In the final days of December 2004, in a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa hides in the woods when her father is abducted by Russian forces. Fearing for her life, she flees with their neighbor Akhmed, a failed physician, to the bombed-out hospital where Sonja, the only remaining doctor treats the wounded rebels and refugees. Over the course of five dramatic days, Akhmed and Sonja reach back into their pasts to unravel the intricate mystery of coincidence, betrayal, and forgiveness that unexpectedly binds them and decides their fate,

"Marra collapses time, sliding between 1996 and 2004 while also detailing events in a future yet to arrive, giving his searing novel an eerie, prophetic aura. All of the characters are closely tied together in ways that Marra takes his time revealing, even as he beautifully renders the way we long to connect and the lengths we will go to endure".

"...simply spectacular. Not since Everything Is Illuminated have I read a first novel so ambitious and fully realized". ~ Ann Patchett

"Remarkable and breathtaking,... a spellbinding elegy for an overlooked land engulfed by an oft-forgotten war. Set in the all-too-real Chechen conflict, Marra conjures fragile and heartfelt characters whose fates interrogate the very underpinnings of love and sacrifice.” ~ Adam Johnson

For readers who enjoyed The Tiger's Wife; Cutting for Stone; and City of Thieves.

* = starred review

Huron Players Present Shakespeare's Macbeth

The Huron Players present Shakespeare's Macbeth April 26 & 27 and May 3 & 4 at 7:30pm in the New Theater. Here is a description of the play from their website: “Fair is foul and foul is fair” and nothing is as it seems. The victorious Macbeth chances upon three mysterious witches who offer an intriguing prophesy, tempting him with the promise of becoming King. Upon hearing the news, Lady Macbeth urges her husband into murderous action, and what follows is a wild and maddening descent into war, insanity and demons." Ticket information is here.

Performance Network: The Mountaintop Opens April 25

The Mountaintop, by Katori Hall, runs April 25 - June 2 at Performance Network in Ann Arbor. As the play opens, the date is April 3, 1968, the night before the assassination of Martin Luther King. A maid in the motel where he is staying shows up dripping wet on his doorstep and they share a powerful conversation. This is the Michigan premiere of a play that enjoyed a run on Broadway. Ticket information is available on the Performance Network website.

Lincoln: The Man, the Legend

The historical drama Lincoln, starring Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, is based in part on the book Team of Rivals: the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Lincoln was produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, who immediately wanted rights to the film once he heard that Goodwin was planning to write the book.

The film focuses on Lincoln's last months of office in 1865, during a time of war and change, and his efforts to pass the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would abolish slavery. The film depicts the tension and conflict in the United States, while painting a revealing portrait of Abraham Lincoln during a momentous time in American history.

With an all-star cast that also includes Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the critically-acclaimed film was nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards and twelve Academy Awards. Daniel Day Lewis won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Actor for his phenomenal performance as the President. There are still grumbles that Lincoln should have won the Academy Award for Best Picture, but that honor went to another recommended historical drama, Argo.

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