Preserving Your Digital Photos With Archivist Lance Stuchell

Saturday April 28, 2012: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Learn how to ensure that your family's cherished digital photos are secure from loss, damage, changing technology or electronic equipment failure when archive specialist Lance Stuchell visits AADL for this informative presentation. All technical skill levels are welcome.

Lance Stuchell is the Digital Project Archivist at the Henry Ford's Benson Ford Research Center. He will explain how digital preservation lessons learned in the archive library profession can be applied by the home user to help secure family's photographic legacies.

Fear of Lethem

This month, 33 1/3, the intriguing music review book series, drops what is sure to be another gem into its readers' eager hands. One of my favorite writers, Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn, Fortress of Solitude, and Chronic City (among others), tackles the seminal 1979 post-punk album, Fear of Music, by Talking Heads. Jump on the AADL hold list for this forthcoming book by clicking here.

Fans of Lethem's work will remember his stake in the late-70s Brooklyn scene in Fortress of Solitude, as well as in his collection of essays, The Disappointment Artist. Fans of Talking Heads will find Lethem's nervy characterizations of place and time a fine pairing with David Byrne's lyrics.

For those unfamiliar with the 33 1/3 book series, each book focuses on one album from one musical artist. The books are each written by a different author, ranging from critic to uber-fan to musician, and now, even to bestselling authors. I always look forward to tossing a great record on repeat and diving into the back-stories behind the songs and the personal connections to the author's life.

Teen Stuff: Music Magazines

Want to know what your favorite musicians are up to today? The AADL has eight magazine titles covering everything related to music. For the guitarists and drummers among us, check out Guitar World and Drum! magazine for techniques and tips from current and legendary players. For the latest news, pics, and updates from your favorite music makers, check out Revolver: The World's Loudest Rock Magazine, AP: Alternative Press, Rolling Stone, Spin, Vibe, and XXL: Hip-hop on a Higher Level.

The AADL owns 47 teen magazine titles covering topics such as lifestyle, fashion, gaming, music, sports, celebrities, and everything in between. You can now request magazines for pickup at your local branch library.

Podcasting: 101

Saturday March 24, 2012: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Training Center

Do you like to listen to/watch podcasts? Want to know how they're made? More importantly do you want to know how to make your own?

One of AADL's podcast producers presents this basic workshop on what it takes to produce your very own audio or video podcast. Listen to aadl.org podcasts and AADL's comic podcasts.

This workshop is for teens (grade 9 and up) and adults.

Fall NY Times Fiction Review: Interview for Haruki Murakami's "1Q84"

At a mere 932 pages, the Knopf English publication of 1Q84 is “like a telephone directory.” This is according to the author, Haruki Murakami. In his fall interview with the New York Times Magazine, critic Sam Anderson, asks Murakami: had he intended to write such a big book? This question meant nothing of the scope of his literature or the fact that it's an international bestseller in hundreds of different languages. Just, why so many pages?

We must understand, Murakami is a man driven primarily by his love of writing. On his methodology, he tells Anderson "he begins a piece of fiction with only a title or an opening image" Then, waking up at 2am to write every morning in part of what Murakami calls a "voluntary confinement, happy confinement;” he eats, excercises, and schedules with the sole purpose of creative producation.

"1Q84 took three years to write," Murakami tells Anderson with what he calls simply "improvising until it’s done...A boy meets a girl. They have separated and are looking for each other. It’s a simple story. I just made it long.”

"If he’d known how long it would turn out to be, he might not have started at all." Anderson jokes.

But we're glad he did. The intrigue of well-developed characters and a place you think you know only to have their situations defy expectations is what makes IQ84 a good fall thriller and stand-out literary achievement.

Steve Reich: Mind Blender

American classical composer, Steve Reich, has at least one thing in common with great science fiction writers: they put your mind through a blender. This week, Reich celebrates his 75th birthday while he continues challenging audiences with a new musical language.

Never heard of Reich? Watch this short documentary on his life and you may have to restrain yourself from checking out everything the AADL has by him. As the documentary says, Reich’s work is often based on repeated melodic patterns set to a regular pulse. His instrumentation is often unusual, such as using hand clapping and tongue clicking for an entire piece, or swinging microphones on pendulums over speakers to produce rhythmic feedback.

Brian Eno says his music wouldn’t exist without Reich’s influence. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas says, “I know when I’ve truly learned [Reich’s] pieces because they stop hurting.” Reich has named Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Charlie Parker’s music as strong influences on his work. Put these pieces together and you get a complex rhythmic experience akin to setting your brain blender on ‘Frappe.’

Dance!!

In the last year AADL has had an influx of all things Dance! Starting with well known entertainer Michael Flatley, take a tour of AADL's recent additions in dance related materials.

Michael Flatley has a new DVD out for fans of Lord of the Dance.

Tap Dance History : From Vaudeville To Film contains rare dance footage from the 1930s and 1940s.

Also, the dancetastic film Burlesque was released this year, starring Cher and Christina Aguilera. To read my review of the film, click here.

In books, dancer Cheryl Burke wrote the autobiographical Dancing Lessons : How I Found Passion And Potential On The Dance Floor And In Life

Check out these and more today!

Author Birthdays: Lorca, Scarry, Drabble

June 5th marks the birthday of authors Federico García Lorca, Richard Scarry, and Margaret Drabble.

Federico García Lorca was a Spanish poet and playwright who is believed to have been killed during the Spanish Civil War. Some of his unpublished poems and essays were collected in a volume in 1998, A Season in Granada; the overall theme of the collection is Granada, where Lorca was supposedly killed.

Lorca's works also include: In Search of Duende, which describes theories on dance, music, and bullfights; the play Yerma, which was made into a Spanish language film; and a collection of his letters, which gives a sort of autobiography of his life.

Richard Scarry was an American author and illustrator of children's stories. His most well-known works include those about Busytown, a place inhabited by animals.

Scarry wrote for many ages; we have board books, picture books, and readers. We even have some of his works in Chinese.

Margaret Drabble is an English writer of novels and biographies, as well as some other assorted non-fiction subjects. Of these non-fiction works, AADL has a biography of Angus Wilson (a fellow novelist), and a book on jigsaw puzzles, The Pattern in the Carpet.

Drabble's novels include: The Red Queen, which details the story of a London woman who receives an unpublished memoir of a Korean princess; The Seven Sisters, which Library Journal noted as having "a character who describes herself accurately as having 'much to be ashamed about'"; and The Millstone, set in 1960s London.

June 1st is National Running Day

Whether you run every day and National Running Day is just another Wednesday to you, or if you haven't run since you were a kid but you think it might be (even a little bit) fun, today's a perfect day to lace up those shoes and go for a run. One of the most popular and beautiful places to run in Ann Arbor is Gallup Park, home to a paved, pancake flat, multi-use path that's easy to get to from the parking lots shown here, or you can run there if you're extra ambitious.

After your run, stop by the National Running Day website and post why you run on the scrolling inspire badge. Check out the sometimes funny, often motivating reasons why other people run, such as "I run because I like to eat. A LOT", "I run for cheap therapy", "I run because no one thought I could", and "I run so I can smile the rest of the day". The site also has 10 Ways to Celebrate National Running day, which applies to any day of the week.

The AADL has a great collection of running books and media for the first timer and for the veteran. Happy running!

Back to the Front: 1989 in Music

I went to my first concert in 1989. Bon Jovi was touring their latest, New Jersey, at the since-demolished Silver Stadium in Rochester, NY, and Skid Row opened for them. I was in 2nd grade. The only thing I remember from the show is sitting next to my best friend in the bleacher seats with cotton balls in my ears feeling like a dork (my mom made me wear them!), yet overcome by this conviction that I wanted to experience as much music as I possibly could until forever. Even when I got old.

Turning back to 1989, with the end of the Reagan administration, the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and the Berlin Wall falling that year, it follows that musicians were reaching as far into the future as the world around them. There are several albums from '89 that to this day I keep thinking came out after Cobain died. They didn't. They just sound like they did.

That year, keg-party rappers, Beastie Boys, studied sophisticated sampling techniques and laid them over aggressive break beats that would shape the sound of hip-hop's post Golden Age artists with their release, Paul's Boutique. Check out the Annotated Lyrics to this album for a dip into the goody bag of samples these guys used. It's enough to make Girl Talk giggle.

Meanwhile, nearly ten years after New Order's flux-capacitor rise to power out of the ashes of Joy Division, the best live dance band on the planet unleashed Technique, bringing the sun-drenched clubs of Ibiza to the dank CBGBs of the states. The rave club DJs of the following decade owe every last glow stick to this record.

If the front half of the '90s was driven by the often opposing forces of grunge and Brit-pop, then the road back home leads to Pixies' Doolittle and The Stone Roses' self titled record, respectively. Doolittle's fuzzed out guitar riffs and scream along lyrics are balanced by some of the catchiest rock hooks not written by Kiss. For me, Pixies prove that the beautiful and the profane share the same bungalow. The Stone Roses drew from Ray Davies' ear for phrasing and his love for all things UK, washing it in a dreamy haze that continues to float out of my car's windows on the sunniest of summer days.

Other visionary rock albums from 1989 include The Cure's Disintegration, Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine, and Faith No More's The Real Thing. All of which share far more in common with the decade that followed their release than the one that led up to it. Hmmm, somehow neither Bon Jovi nor Skid Row made the cut? But both of them led me to music, so they'll always have a place in my heart, if no longer in my ear.

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