Friday, August 23, 2013

Sidewalk Reading Companion Part 3

It's finally here - the opening night of the Sidewalk Film Festival. In this final installment of the Sidewalk Reading Companion, I will suggest some books to chase down Sunday's intense lineup of documentaries. Oh, and according to recent reports, Lil Bub is confirmed to be attending the opening night screening of her movie! For more information about the Sidewalk Film Festival and for a complete schedule, visit

(All book descriptions from
(From In God We Trust - Eleanor Squillari, Bernie Madoff's secretary of 25 years, describes her devastation and shock upon learning that the biggest financial scam in U.S. history was perpetrated right under her very nose. Click here to view the trailer.

For another woman's close-up and personal experience with Bernie Madoff's and the devastating aftermath of his scam, read The End of Normal by Stephanie Madoff Mack - An explosive, heartbreaking memoir from the widow of Mark Madoff and daughter-in-law of Bernard Madoff, the first genuine inside story from a family member who has lived through- and survived-both the public crisis and her own deeply personal tragedy. When the news of Bernard Madoff 's Ponzi scheme broke, Americans were shocked and outraged, perhaps none more so than the unsuspecting members of his own family. After learning that their father's legendarily successful wealth management company was "all just one big lie," Mark and Andrew Madoff turned their father in and cut off all communication with both parents. Mark and his wife, Stephanie, strove to make a fresh start for the sake of their two young children, but Mark could not overcome his sense of betrayal and shame-he and other family members were sued for $200 million in October of 2009. He hung himself on the two-year anniversary of his father's arrest. Left to raise her children as a single mother, Stephanie wrote this memoir to give them a sense of who their father really was, defend his innocence, and put her personal statement on record once and for all. In this candid insider account, she talks about her idyllic wedding to Mark on Nantucket, what it was really like to be a part of the Madoff family, the build-up to Bernard's confession, and the media frenzy that followed. It is about the loss of the fairytale life she knew, adjusting to life with a man she hardly recognized anymore, and the tragic and final loss of her husband.

(From Good Ol' Freda tells the story of Freda Kelly, a shy Liverpudlian teenager asked to work for a young local band hoping to make it big: the Beatles. As the Beatles' fame multiplies, Freda bears witness to music and cultural history but never exploits her insider access. Their loyal secretary from beginning to end, Freda finally tells her tales for the first time in 50 years. Click here to view the trailer.

There is no shortage of books on the Beatles, but for the definitive (800+ plus page) account, check out The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz - As soon as The Beatles became famous, the spin machine began to construct a myth--one that has continued to this day. But the truth is much more interesting, much more exciting, and much more moving. In this bestselling book, Bob Spitz has written the biography for which Beatles fans have long waited.

Like Freda, Astrid Kirchherr is another little-known female who had unique access to The Beatles - in this case, in Germany when instead of John, Paul, George, and Ringo it was John, Paul, George, Pete, and Stuart. Her moving Beatles story is told in the graphic novel 
Baby's In Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles by Arne Bellstorf - A fascinating, exhilarating portrait of the Beatles in their early years. Meet the Beatles . . . right at the beginning of their careers. This gorgeous, high-energy graphic novel is an intimate peek into the early years of the world’s greatest rock band. The heart of Baby’s In Black is a love story. The “fifth Beatle,” Stuart Sutcliffe, falls in love with the beautiful Astrid Kirchherr when she recruits the Beatles for a sensational (and famous) photography session during their time in Hamburg. When the band returns to the UK, Sutcliffe quits, becomes engaged to Kirchherr, and stays in Hamburg. A year later, his meteoric career as a modern artist is cut short when he dies unexpectedly. The book ends as it begins, with Astrid, alone and adrift; but with a note of hope: her life is incomparably richer and more directed thanks to her friendship with the Beatles and her love affair with Sutcliffe. This tender story is rendered in lush, romantic black-and-white artwork.

(From Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story depicts one man's wild, lifelong adventure of testing societal boundaries through his use of subversive art. This 98-minute film combines traditional documentary storytelling with original animation from over 70 years worth of art from the renegade children's book author and illustrator. Using a historical palette of 20th century events to paint an artist's epic yet controversial life story, this HD documentary film offers a feature-length retrospective of Ungerer's life and art, pondering the complexities and contradictions of a man who, armed with an acerbic wit, an accusing finger and a razor sharp pencil, gave visual representation to the revolutionary voices during one of the most tantalizing and dramatic periods in American history. Far Out Isn't Far Enough explores the circumstances of his meteoric rise and fall on American soil, but also delves into Ungerer's formative years leading up to, and prolific years since, his time in America. Click here to view the trailer.

Several of Tomi Ungerer's celebrated children's book are on the shelf in the library's Childrens Department including the following:

Moon Man - In this gently satiric fable, Ungerer pokes fun at self-important adults who are afraid of anything or anyone unfamiliar, and reminds us that there is indeed no place like home. On its first publication in the US in 1967, at the height of the Space Race, Moon Man won the Book Week prize for books for children aged 4-8, and Maurice Sendak described it in "Book Week" as 'Easily one of the bet picture books in recent years'. Bored and lonely in his shimmering home in space, the Moon Man watches the people on Earth dancing and having a good time.Just once, he thinks, he would like to join in the fun. So one night, he holds on to a passing comet and crash lands on Earth. But the unexpected arrival of this mysterious visitor causes statesmen, scientists and generals to panic, and the Moon Man is thrown into jail. Alone in his cell, the Moon Man uses his special powers to slip through the hands of the law: it turns out that in accordance with the lunar phases, the Moon Man waxes and wanes.

The Three Robbers - Tomi Ungerer has been described as 'the direct natural descendant of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen' and, like all the best fairy tales, The Three Robbers is by turns scary, charming, and surprising. The book tells the story of three fierce black-clad robbers who terrorize and plunder the countryside, armed with a blunderbuss, a pepper blower, and a huge red axe. One night, they meet a small girl called Tiffany, who is on her way to live with a wicked aunt. Tiffany is delighted to meet the robbers, and they take her back to their hideout in place of their usual haul of gold and jewels. Tiffany asks what they plan to do with their riches, but the robbers had never thought about spending money before. They soon find themselves embarking on a completely new career: they gather all of the lost, unhappy, and abandoned children that they can find, and then they buy a big castle so they can give all of the children a happy home.

(From Antenna -  In 1977, Memphis had hit bottom. With the death of Elvis and the collapse of Stax Records, the music that made the city famous was fading into memory. Local artists who played original music found themselves locked out of Memphis clubs in favor of cover bands and disco Djs. Tired of being ignored, a small group of punks found a decaying dive bar on Madison Avenue and transformed it into the Antenna, a name that would, for the next 15 years, be sononymous with new music. The no-rules club introduced the city to punk, new wave, alternative, and hardcore by providing local and national bands a place to play. But Antenna was more than a musical venue. It was a meeting place for the freaks, misfits, and artists; a pressure cooker for art and ideas. Seventeen years after it closed, the Antenna lives on in the thriving Memphis underground music scene it inspired. Featuring the music of Panther Burns, The Grifters, The Oblivians, The Modifiers, Pezz, Calculated X, Sobering Consequences, Raid, Impala, Big Ass Truck, The Hellcats, and many more, this rollicking documentary shines a light on a neglected episode of 20th century music history, and finally gives the Memphis scene the respect it deserves. Click here to view the trailer.

Remember when I suggested Respect Yourself: the Stax Records Story in the previous post? Definitely watch Respect Yourself to find out more about Memphis' legendary music scene. But for another account of a punk community emerging from the dregs of a rich cultural landscape, check out Gimme Something Better: the Profound, Progressive, and Occasionally Pointless History of Bay Area Punk from Dead Kennedys to Green Day - Outside of New York and London, California's Bay Area claims the oldest continuous punk-rock scene in the world. Gimme Something Better brings this outrageous and influential punk scene to life, from the notorious final performance of the Sex Pistols, to Jello Biafra's bid for mayor, the rise of Maximum RocknRoll magazine, and the East Bay pop-punk sound that sold millions around the globe. Throngs of punks, including members of the Dead Kennedys, Avengers, Flipper, MDC, Green Day, Rancid, NOFX, and AFI, tell their own stories in this definitive account, from the innovative art-damage of San Francisco?s Fab Mab in North Beach, to the still vibrant all-ages DIY ethos of Berkeley's Gilman Street. Compiled by longtime Bay Area journalists Jack Boulware and Silke Tudor, Gimme Something Better chronicles more than two decades of punk music, progressive politics, social consciousness, and divine decadence, told by the people who made it happen.


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