Where is journalism headed?

With the Ann Arbor News closing in July, many people are talking about the future of journalism here and across the country. Already the new venture, Ann Arbor.com, has set up community meetings in April, asking readers to help shape their upcoming product, which will include daily reporting on the web and a bi-weekly print edition. In this environment, we all may want to check out books such as What Would Google Do? with cutting-edge ideas on information technology management, journalism, and creativity in business.

47th Annual Ann Arbor Film Festival Begins!

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The 47th annual Ann Arbor Film Festival kicks off today, 3/24, after a winter of anticipation, with a full schedule of events and a wide range of ground-breaking films for audiences to experience. Tonight's main screening starts at 8:00pm and features 12 shorts, including the intriguing Oh Great Now Look What Happened, and the startling Team Taliban. From Wednesday through Friday, the festival will show the majority of films between the hours of 7pm and 11pm in the Michigan Theater's Main Theater and Screening Room. As a festival finale, Saturday and Sunday (3/28 and 3/29, respectively) are packed with events and screenings all day, from 10am to midnight.

Battlestar Galactica and the United Nations

Battlestar Galactica and the United NationsBattlestar Galactica and the United Nations

Last night marked the final episode of Battlestar Galactica, the Sci Fi channel’s critically acclaimed TV series. In Battlestar Galactica, a nuclear war sends the last survivors of the human race drifting through the universe, fleeing from the Cylons (a race of machines identical to humans in almost every way) and searching for a new home, a legendary planet called Earth. BSG has been praised for its extremely relevant commentaries on different social and political issues, the main one being moral relativism in a time of war.

On Tuesday, March 17, the United Nations hosted a panel of UN representatives and the creators and cast of Battlestar Galactica to raise awareness about humanitarian concerns. The panel used episodes of the TV show to exemplify and discuss issues of human rights, terrorism, children and armed conflict, and interfaith reconciliation and dialogue.

Chick Corea Reunites with John McLaughlin

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On Saturday, April 4, at the Hill Auditorium, Chick Corea and John McLaughlin lead a phenomenal jazz combo called Five Peace Band, showcasing the talents of alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Brian Blade. Any of these artists alone is worth the price admission, but all of them playing together is sure to be a spectacular evening of live music. The performance is a University Musical Society event, and is likely to feature tunes from the early 70s fusion era -- when Corea and McLaughlin played with Miles Davis' Bitches Brew lineup -- in addition to more recent pieces from these artists. The AADL owns recordings of all of these musicians, and through our recently updated Picture Ann Arbor gallery, aadl.org also has pictures of Corea / McLaughlin from the early 1970s and from their reunion tour this year.

U2 Releases 'No Line on the Horizon'

U2 released their twelfth record, No Line on the Horizon, on March 3 to mixed reviews, ranging from Rolling Stone's five star accolade to Allmusic's tepid 3 star review, and all the way down to Pitchfork's scathing 4.2/10 diatribe. Reuniting with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, this U2 record features several longer, more sonically reaching songs rather than the tightly anthemic cuts off 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind and 2004's How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb. The only songs on the latest release that directly point to the band's most recent singles are "Get on Your Boots" and the long-winded "I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight." The hold list for AADL's copies of No Line on the Horizon is growing quickly, so if you're a fan be sure to get on that list today.

"Encore" may deserve an encore!

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Check out the new on-line magazine, Encore Michigan, which covers professional theater in southeastern Michigan. There's a wealth of information here, from a calendar with links in it to the productions, blogs, reviews and news features. It covers theater in the Detroit area, Flint, Ann Arbor and more. Barton Bund, director of the Blackbird Theater in Ann Arbor is one of the contributors. To get an in depth view of what's happening in theater in this area, including edgier, offbeat productions, read Encore Michigan.

Press Play @ Your Library during Teen Tech Week 2009

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Think the library is all about books? Think again. Libraries are chock-full of CDs, DVDs, access to on-line databases, and a great place for gaming events too.

Teen Tech Week (March 8-14) is a national initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). This Survey will tell YALSA what your technology preferences are; so go ahead, it only takes a few minutes. So whether it's Dark Knight or a Ry Cooder Anthology go ahead and 'press play' today.

Ann Arbor Film Festival Website Now Up

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The official website for the 47th annual Ann Arbor Film Festival is now up and teeming with information about the March 24-29 event. On the site, you can preview stills, descriptions, and times of the films that will be screened and judged throughout the week, making it easier to decide which days you want to attend. A couple of films sure to garner their fill of attention are Secret Machine, a short about a woman whose resistance to pain is measured by an antagonistic scientist, and Afterville, the apocalyptic tale of a few lives at the end of days in Turin, Italy. Also see the full schedule of events to find out what's going on each day of the festival. Want to know more about film criticism before diving into the experimental films? Check out Stanley Kauffmann's book, Regarding Film: Criticism and Comment from the AADL before you go.

Amazon's New Kindle E-Reader

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Perhaps you've seen one of the first-generation Kindle e-readers from Amazon, one of those rare little creatures that everyone seems to have heard about but no one has actually seen. As someone who's heard quite a bit about the first version of Kindle but never met one, I was interested to hear that Amazon is now releasing a second-generation product, touted as Kindle 2. The changes appear to be minor, and by all accounts, seem to have improved what was already a good piece of technology. The new Kindle comes with more memory space, holding up to 1,500 titles, a battery that lasts 25 percent longer than before, better text definition, and a sleeker design. The Kindle 2 also has automated audio-read voices; you can choose from a male or female voice and plug your headphones in for a listen.

Dear Science Delivers

When post-punk/electronic band TV on the Radio broke onto the Brooklyn indie rock scene, most comparisons leaned toward The Pixies because of their penchant for layering heavily distorted guitar and keyboard hooks over punched-out vocals that teetered the line between screaming and singing. The most pulse-pounding tunes were accusations of masked racial inequity, and the ballads were just a touch less angry, but still pointed statements of mistrust.

None of these elements are absent from 2008's Dear Science, but whereas the first two records were a sonic shock that grated on the listener halfway through the record, the latest album is much more listener friendly. Here, the dance beats on tracks like Golden Age, Dancing Choose, and DLZ, along with the opaque ballads like Family Tree strengthen the record as a whole, making it an investment sure to return in repeat listens. Each song has a clear thematic direction, and though the sounds and structure of the music are still experimental, TVOTR no longer comes off like art for artists, but rather, music that speaks to artists and rock audiences alike.

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