Wednesday, August 28, 2013

truth is stranger than fiction

On most people’s bookshelves at home there’s a title or two they’ve been meaning to read or on a to-be-read list like so many of us keep going in our heads, on a social book sharing site like GoodReads or Shelfari, or even on good old-fashioned paper.  September’s meeting will be your chance to select that never-before-read potential favorite!  We’ll be meeting on Tuesday, September 24th at 6:30pm to discuss “Books You Wish You’d Read!”  From classics to bestsellers to children’s books, you pick it.  We’ll discuss it. 

Other than our next GRG meeting, September is chockablockfull of fun stuff to do

Each Wednesday night in September is Wild West Wednesday!  Join us in the meeting room each Wednesday at 6:30pm for classic western film.  For film titles and/or program information, contact Matt at 204-445-1141 or mlayne@bham.lib.al.us.

Our next Cities for Life event is on Thursday, September 12th at 6:30pm.  Dr. Douglas Moellering will be back with us to talk about making room in your life for physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.

On Thursday, September 19th at 6:30pm, Western Supermarkets head wine steward Scott Atkinson will be back with Caroline Pryor to share some of the wine shop staffs’ favorite wines.  This event is limited to ages 21+ only and registration at 205-445-1121 is required.  Call and reserve your spot today!

One of the premiere wine tasting events of the year falls on Friday, September 27th from 6-9pm at the Birmingham Zoo, Western Supermarkets Fall Food & Wine Festival!  Proceeds from the Festival benefit the Library.  There’ll be over 600 wines open for tasting with knowledgeable staff on hand to answer your questions and the Jeff State Culinary School will be on site preparing some of the best food you’ll ever eat.  Tickets are $50 in advance, $60 at the door, and $40 each for groups of 10 or more.  Purchase your tickets at the Emmet O’Neal Library, at Western Supermarkets, or purchase them online.

Zara’s Tales: Perilous Escapades in Equatorial Africa by Peter Beard
From adventurer, explorer, photographer, writer, pied piper Peter Beard—eleven irresistible tales, told to his daughter in his tented encampment at Hog Ranch, Kenya, about life, about living, about Africa.
He writes of the East African hills he came to know so well over four decades, where time slows to infinity in a great bottomless, bottle green underwater world . . . about Nairobi in the 1950s, still a quaint, eccentric pioneer town, full of characters of all stripes and tribes, where rhinoceros roamed the streets and local residents went to the movies in pajamas.
He writes of the camp he built twelve miles outside of Nairobi so that he would never be off safari, a forty-acre patch of bush called Hog Ranch (abutting Karen Blixen’s plantation), named for the families of warthogs who wandered into camp, a camp populated with waterbuck, suni, dik-diks, leopard, giraffe, and occasionally lion and buffalo.
In “Big Pig at Hog Ranch,” Beard tells the story of Thaka (translation from the Kikuyu: “handsome stud”), Hog Ranch’s number-one, fearsome, 300-pound warthog, who came into camp and dropped to the ground happy for a vigorous tummy rub, and who one night, “lying in his favorite position, munching on corn and barbeque chicken,” was encroached upon by a bristly haired, wild-looking boar hog. All three hundred pounds of Thaka exploded straight at the hairy intruder, the two brutish, bony heads crashing together thundering through the camp and Peter witnessed the unleashed power—the bullish strength—of the wild pig . . .
In “Roping Rhino,” Beard tells of his first job in Africa, rounding up and relocating rhinos for the Kenya Game Department with his cohort and neighbor, a weather-beaten native of Old Kenya who thrived on danger and refused to bathe—and of the enormous silver-backed rhino bull that became their Moby Dick . . .
He writes of his quest to photograph overpopulated and habitat-destroying elephants for Life magazine on the eve of Kenya’s independence . . . of his close encounter with the legendary man-eating lions of “Starvo” (descendants of the famed beasts rumored to be immune to bullets, who in the late nineteenth century halted the construction of the Mombasa railroad, devouring railroad workers and snatching sleeping passengers from their Pullman berths in the dead of night to make a meal of them), who charged the author, “coming in slow motion, like a bullet train erupting out of a tunnel, soundless, like an ancient force.”
He tells of his round-the-clock adventure tracking and studying crocodiles with a game warden–biologist at Lake Rudolf, a tale that begins with one crewmember being grabbed from behind by a ten-foot crocodile and another doing battle with an almost prehistoric monster fish—a 200-pound Great Nile perch! . . . and he writes of the final wildlife encounter that ended his safari days, an incident that proved Karen Blixen’s motto: “Be bold, be bold . . . be not too bold.”
Zara’s Tales confirms to our constant surprise and delight that “nothing out of the ordinary happens. It’s just Africa, after all.”
Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey by Lillian Schlissel
More than a quarter of a million Americans crossed the continental United States between 1840 and 1870, going west in one of the greatest migrations of modern times. The frontiersmen have become an integral part of our history and folklore, but the Westering experiences of American women are equally central to an accurate picture of what life was like on the frontier.
Through the diaries, letters, and reminiscences of women who participated in this migration, Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey gives us primary source material on the lives of these women, who kept campfires burning with buffalo chips and dried weeds, gave birth to and cared for children along primitive and dangerous roads, drove teams of oxen, picked berries, milked cows, and cooked meals in the middle of a wilderness that was a far cry from the homes they had left back east. Still (and often under the disapproving eyes of their husbands) they found time to write brave letters home or to jot a few weary lines at night into the diaries that continue to enthrall us.
Trail of Feathers: Searching for Philip True by Robert Rivard
In December 1998, San Antonio Express-News reporter Philip True vanished during a solo backcountry trek in western Mexico, home of the reclusive Huichol Indians and the Chapalagana, the Twisted Serpent Canyon, a 150-mile long gash that twists and plunges through the heart of the Sierra Madre. Five days later his editor, Robert Rivard, was part of a small search party that, nearly miraculously, tracked a trail of feathers that had leaked from True's sleeping bag to find his body.
Trail of Feathers is the story of the search for True and of the quest to bring his killers to justice. It is also the story of another perplexing mystery: Why had True taken such a dangerous trip, into such a raw, uncivilized wilderness, alone and without sufficient safety preparations, in the first place? After an unhappy and unsettled youth, True was at the age of fifty finally settling down to a career and a wife he loved. His first child was about to be born. What was he running from, or to?
Rivard's search for answers to these questions leads him deep into the Sierra Madre Occidental, one of Mexico's last true wildernesses, and deep into the secrets of Philip True's past. It also leads him into his own past, and an acknowledgment of the ways in which his life and True's mirrored each other. Suspenseful, atmospheric, and moving, Trail of Feathers is more than a true crime tale; it's a classic tragedy about how the past reverberates destructively into the present — for individuals, for cultures, for nations.
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.
Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.
In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit.  Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.
The Man Who Rode the Thunder: The True Story of the Most Incredible 40 Minutes in History and the Man Who Lived Them by William H. Rankin (NOT IN THE LIBRARY SYSTEM)
Lieutenant Colonel William H. Rankin (1920–2009) was a Marine pilot and veteran of both World War II and Korea when a Cold War accident literally catapulted him to fame. On July 26, 1959, the engine of his F-8U Crusader, a carrier-based jet fighter, suddenly stalled and the fire warning light on his instrument panel began flashing. Rankin triggered his ejection seat, which shot him through his plane’s cockpit canopy. He was flying at an altitude exceeding 45,000 feet, without a pressure suit—and he exited the plane at the top of a gigantic thunderstorm cloud mass. His harrowing experience riding the thunder down has few parallels; if it were fiction, it would be hard to believe.
Alcatraz Island Prison and The Men Who Live There by Warden James A. Johnston (NOT IN THE LIBRARY SYSTEM)
Alcatraz is possibly the most famous prison that has ever existed.  In this book, prison warden Johnston offers a fascinating history of this island in San Francisco bay, with interviews and biographies of some of the notorious people who called it home.
Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin
The stunning, never before told story of the quixotic attempt to recreate small-town America in the heart of the Amazon
In 1927, Henry Ford, the richest man in the world, bought a tract of land twice the size of Delaware in the Brazilian Amazon. His intention was to grow rubber, but the project rapidly evolved into a more ambitious bid to export America itself, along with its golf courses, ice-cream shops, bandstands, indoor plumbing, and Model Ts rolling down broad streets.
Fordlandia, as the settlement was called, quickly became the site of an epic clash. On one side was the car magnate, lean, austere, the man who reduced industrial production to its simplest motions; on the other, the Amazon, lush, extravagant, the most complex ecological system on the planet. Ford’s early success in imposing time clocks and square dances on the jungle soon collapsed, as indigenous workers, rejecting his midwestern Puritanism, turned the place into a ribald tropical boomtown. Fordlandia’s eventual demise as a rubber plantation foreshadowed the practices that today are laying waste to the rain forest.
More than a parable of one man’s arrogant attempt to force his will on the natural world, Fordlandia depicts a desperate quest to salvage the bygone America that the Ford factory system did much to dispatch. As Greg Grandin shows in this gripping and mordantly observed history, Ford’s great delusion was not that the Amazon could be tamed but that the forces of capitalism, once released, might yet be contained.
Fordlandia is a 2009 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction.
GENERAL DISCUSSION: The PBS American Experience documentary series has a program about Henry Ford.  Check it out from the library (click here to check the catalog) or watch it online here.

Black Wave: A Family’s Adventure at Sea and the Disaster That Saved Them by John and Jean Silverwood
An exhilarating true-life adventure of one family’s extraordinary sea voyage of self-discovery and survival, tragedy and triumph
Successful businessman John Silverwood and his wife, Jean, both experienced sailors, decided the time was right to give their four children a taste of thrilling life on the high seas. And indeed their journey aboard the fifty-five-foot catamaran Emerald Jane would have many extraordinary and profound moments, whether it was the peaceful late-night watches John enjoyed under the stunning celestial sky or the elation shared by the whole family at the sight of blissful pods of dolphin and migrating tortoises. John and Jean had hoped to use the trip as a teaching opportunity, with the Emerald Jane as a floating classroom in which to instruct their children in important lessons–not only about the natural world but about the beauty of human life when stripped down to its essence, far from the trappings of civilization.
Yet rather than flourishing amid the new freedoms and responsibilities thrust upon them, the children were sometimes confused, frightened, and resentful. The two oldest, fourteen-year-old Ben and twelve-year-old Amelia, missed their friends and the comfortable life left behind in San Diego, while the two youngest, Jack, seven, and Camille, three, picked up on the stressful currents running above and below the surface–for throughout the journey, the Silverwood family found its bonds tested as never before.
John and Jean, whose marriage had weathered its share of storms, would wonder again if they had taken on too much as the physical, emotional, and financial strains of caring for the expensive catamaran and their children brought old resentments to the surface.
John’s dream trip that began on Long Island Sound ended almost two years later as a nightmare in treacherous waters off a remote atoll in French Polynesia, where, in an explosion of awesome violence, the terrifying brunt of the ocean’s anger fell upon the Emerald Jane.
Gradually, in the crucible of the sea, a stronger, more closely knit unit was forged. The Silverwoods became a crew. Then they became a family again. But just as it seemed to them that they had mastered every challenge, their world was shattered in a split-second of unimaginable horror. Now their real challenge began, forcing them to fight for their very lives.
Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer
Seven Years in Tibet  relates the author's account of the seven years he spent living in the remote and then little-known country of Tibet after escaping from a British internment camp in India in 1943. The chief value of the book is in its privileged glimpses into the Tibetan way of life -- customs and rituals, morals and manners, politics, religion, festivals and costumes. It is a rare and fascinating record of a now almost extinct culture. Harrer's description of Lhasa is particularly vivid, and he is generous in his praise of those Tibetans; it is fair to say that Harrer portrays quite accurately the Tibetan national character, at least as it once was, prior to the Chinese invasion in 1952. The book concludes with Harrer return to Europe and the fate of Tibet still very uncertain. Harrer's final statement reads: "My heartfelt wish is that this book may create some understanding for a people whose will to live in peace and freedom has won so little sympathy from an indifferent world."
GENERAL DISCUSSION: We got into a discussion of road trips and their place in literature as well as real life.  Here is a great article about a great American road trip from Paul Theroux writing for Smithsonian magazine in September of 2009. 
What has been YOUR greatest adventure, reading or otherwise?
Holley







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 sidewalkfest.com

(All book descriptions from Amazon.com)
(From sidewalkfest.com) 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 sidewalkfest.com) 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 sidewalkfest.com) 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 sidewalkfest.com) 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.

Amanda


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sidewalk Reading Companion Part Deux


If you are still kicking after the onslaught of cuteness that was Lil Bub & Friendz and the opening night after party at Regions Field, then you will want to wander back downtown for Saturday's excellent Sidewalk Film Festival lineup. As a documentary fiend myself, I am going to pick out a few of the documentaries scheduled for viewing on Saturday and point out related recommended reading (and viewing) that can be found at EOL. For the viewing times and locations of these films and the entire weekend schedule, click here for Sidewalk's interactive schedule. (All book descriptions from Amazon.com unless otherwise noted.)


http://www.magpictures.com/blackfish/
(From sidewalkfest.com) Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a notoriously aggressive orca that killed three people while in captivity. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite uses shocking footage and emotional interviews to present a convincing case against keeping these wild animals for human entertainment. Click here to view the trailer.
For further reading on Tilikum and Orcas in captivity, try Death at Seaworld by David Kirby - 
From the New York Times bestselling author of Evidence of Harm and Animal Factory—a groundbreaking scientific thriller that exposes the dark side of SeaWorld, America’s most beloved marine mammal park. Death at SeaWorld centers on the battle with the multimillion-dollar marine park industry over the controversial and even lethal ramifications of keeping killer whales in captivity. Following the story of marine biologist and animal advocate at the Humane Society of the US, Naomi Rose, Kirby tells the gripping story of the two-decade fight against PR-savvy SeaWorld, which came to a head with the tragic death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. Kirby puts that horrific animal-on-human attack in context. Brancheau’s death was the most publicized among several brutal attacks that have occurred at Sea World and other marine mammal theme parks. Death at SeaWorld introduces real people taking part in this debate, from former trainers turned animal rights activists to the men and women that champion SeaWorld and the captivity of whales.

(From sidewalkfest.com) The Punk Singer - Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of the punk band Bikini Kill and dance-punk trio Le Tigre, rose to national attention as the reluctant but never shy voice of the riot grrrl movement. She became one of the most famously outspoken feminist icons, a cultural lightning rod. Her critics wished she would just shut-up, and her fans hoped she never would. So in 2005, when Hanna stopped shouting, many wondered why. Through 20 years of archival footage and intimate interviews with Hanna, THE PUNK SINGER takes viewers on a fascinating tour of contemporary music and offers a never-before-seen view into the life of this fearless leader. 

To find out more about Kathleen Hanna and Riot Grrrl, read Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution by Sara Marcus
Girls to the Front is the epic, definitive history of Riot Grrrl—the radical feminist uprising that exploded into the public eye in the 1990s and included incendiary punk bands Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy, and Huggy Bear. A dynamic chronicle not just a movement but an era,this is the story of a group of pissed—off girls with no patience for sexism and no intention of keeping quiet.

(From sidewalkfest.com) In Hey Bartender, two men try to achieve their dreams through bartending. An injured Marine turns his goals to becoming a principal bartender at the best cocktail bar in the world. A young man leaves his white-collar job to buy the corner bar in his hometown years later he struggles to keep afloat. The bar is three deep and the bartenders are in the weeds at the greatest cocktail party since before Prohibition. Hey Bartender is the story of the rebirth of the bartender and the comeback of the cocktail. Featuring the world's most renowned bartenders and access to the most exclusive bars in New York with commentary from Graydon Carter, Danny Meyer and Amy Sacco. Click here to view the trailer.

If Hey Bartender inspires you to try your hand at bartending professionally or at home, EOL has several books that can help:

The Bar and Beverage Book by Costas Katsigris explains how to manage the beverage option of a restaurant, bar, hotel, country club—any place that serves beverages to customers.  It provides readers with the history of the beverage industry and appreciation of wine, beer, and spirits; information on equipping, staffing, managing, and marketing a bar; and the purchase and mixology of beverages.   New topics in this edition include changes to regulations regarding the service of alcohol, updated sanitation guidelines, updates to labor laws and the employment of staff, and how to make your operation more profitable. New trends in spirits, wine, and beer are also covered.

Mix Shake Stir by Danny Meyer - The bartenders at Danny Meyer's wildly popular restaurants are known for their creative concoctions. Guests at Union Square CafĂ© or Gramercy Tavern expect not only the finest cuisine but also Meyer's special brand of hospitality that often begins with a Venetian Spritz or a Cranberry Daiquiri. In Mix Shake Stir, Meyer offers all the tips and tools needed to become a masterful mixologist and supplements the cocktail recipes with gourmet takes on bar snacks. There are over 100 recipes of bar classics, signature favorites, and original, refreshing libations--from the Modern's elegant mojito made with champagne and rose water to Tabla's Pomegranate Gimlet. Shaken or stirred, straight up or on the rocks, these cocktails make this collection an invaluable resource for elegant entertaining. 

(From sidewalkfest.com) Muscle Shoals -Under the spiritual influence of the "Singing River" as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals is some of the most important and resonant of all time. "I’ll Take You There", "Brown Sugar", "When a Man Loves a Woman", "I Never Loved A Man the Way That I Loved You", "Mustang Sally”, "Tell Mama", "Kodachrome", and "Freebird" are just a few of the tens of thousands of tracks created there. At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, he brought black and white musicians together to create music that would last for generations while also giving birth to the unique ‘Muscle Shoals sound’ and the rhythm section ‘The Swampers’. In this movie legendary artists including Aretha Franklin, Greg Allman, Bono, Clarence Carter, Jimmy Cliff, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Wilson Pickett, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Steve Winwood and others bear witness to the magnetism and mystery of Muscle Shoals and why it remains a global influence today. Click here to view the trailer.

If Muscle Shoals gets you curious about the stories of some of the South's other legendary musical enterprises, or if you just want to hear some more sweet soul music, watch Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story. - The rise and fall of Memphis-based Stax Records remains one of the more compelling sagas in American popular music history. Founded in 1957 as Satellite Records, renamed in 1961 by blending the surnames of brother-sister co-founders Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton, Stax was Motown's funky Deep South counterpart. From its loose atmosphere came giants, including Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas and daughter Carla, Booker T and the MGs, Eddie Floyd, Sam & Dave, Albert King, Isaac Hayes, and the Bar-Kays. Recording in a converted movie theater, the earthy results were often as stunning and transcendent as anything from the equally loose Sun Records across town or Motown itself. While celebrating Stax, its triumphs and the genius of its artists and musicians, the documentary doesn’t shy away from the label's woes, like unexamined fine print that gave Atlantic Records, who distributed Stax, the rights to classic Stax masters. While it resurged following its sale, through the successes of Isaac Hayes, the Shaft soundtrack and legendary Wattstax show, those triumphs were a prelude to the label's final, ugly collapse. The redemption comes by detailing Stax's legacy into the 21st century. The DVD extra consists of rehearsal footage from the rehearsals for a Stax reunion show. Click here to view the trailer.

Until next time, happy reading (and viewing!)

Amanda







Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sidewalk Reading Companion Part 1


This weekend brings us another strong lineup of documentaries and narrative films at one of the country's best film events, Birmingham's very own Sidewalk Film Festival. Now in it's 15th year, the festival will be held August 23-25, 2013 at multiple locations in downtown Birmingham. The amazing crew behind Sidewalk work all year round to put on a world-class festival and this year they have really outdone themselves! Since our lovely EOL patrons are avid movie-watchers AND readers, I've compiled suggested reading to some of this year's Sidewalk Film Festival selections.

Sidewalk's opening night film Lil Bub & Friendz proves that big starz can come in little packages. If you haven't already met the internet sensation Lil Bub, be prepared to fall in love. Click here to view the trailer.

(From Sidewalkfest.com) "Lil Bub & Friendz, the doc about the cutest toothless, deformed kitty in the known universe (and potentially beyond) also features some of your favorite feline meme generators — Grumpy Cat, Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat — and Bub’s adorkable owner Mike Bridavsky.

Lil Bub is a tabby riddled with deformities, from misshapen leg bones to a perpetual toothless overbite that makes drool prevention impossible. Her tongue hangs out. Her bug-eyes engulf her forehead and give her a look of unwavering surprise. In other words, she’s adorable. And she’s unbelievably famous.


Starring Lil Bub and Bub’s owner, Mike Bridavsky, along with Grumpy Cat, Nyan Cat, Keyboard Cat, and meme-manager supreme Ben Lashes, the movie follows the life and times of Bub and examines the internet cat phenomenon with an amazing soundtrack that features Spiritualized, Vernon Elliott, Mort Garson, Steve Reich, and Integrity."



To get you in the Lil Bub spirit, here's a selection of cat-tastic books that can be found at EOL: (all book descriptions from Amazon.com unless otherwise noted.)

I Am Maru by Mugumogu Maru, the mischievous male Scottish Fold cat, is an international YouTube sensation—an adorable ball of fur with a penchant for finding remarkably cozy hiding places. Compiled by Maru’s owner, the user-named mugumogu, I Am Maru celebrates the unique abilities of this unforgettable feline contortionist with photographs and text, in English and Japanese. Cat lovers everywhere and readers who made Dewey, Zooborns, and I Can Has Cheezburger phenomenal hits will be delighted to get to know better this endearing celebrity cat with a big personality and an enormous established online fanbase.

A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life by James Bowen James is a street musician struggling to make ends meet. Bob is a stray cat looking for somewhere warm to sleep. When James and Bob meet, they forge a never-to-be-forgotten friendship that has been charming readers from Thailand to Turkey. A Street Cat Named Bob is an international sensation, landing on the bestseller list in England for 52 consecutive weeks and selling in 26 countries around the world. Now, James and Bob are ready to share their true story with the U.S. in this tale unlike any you’ve ever read of a cat who possesses some kind of magic. When street musician James Bowen found an injured cat curled up in the hallway of his apartment building, he had no idea how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London, barely making enough money to feed himself, and the last thing he needed was a pet. Yet James couldn't resist helping the strikingly intelligent but very sick animal, whom he named Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining that he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas.
Perfect for fans of Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog and Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat That Changed the World, this instant classic about the power of love between man and animal has taken the world by storm and is guaranteed to be a huge hit with American fans as well.

I Can Has Cheezburger?: A LOLcat Colleckshun by Professor Happycat
The Internet has provided us with many wonders, from skateboarding dogs to Chuck Norris facts. Over the past year, though, one sensation has dominated the Web: LOLcats. Here’s how it works: First you find a picture of a cat online, and then you add a caption that reflects the cat’s point of view. Just remember that although cats can speak English, their spelling and grammar is not so hot. Once you’re done, you have a LOLcat (laugh out loud cat). 
Since its founding in January 2007, icanhascheezburger.com (named after the most famous LOLcat of all) has been the center of the LOLcat world. I Can Has Cheezburger? collects 200 LOLcats from the enormously popular site, some classic and some new, in glorious and glossy full color.
The book also highlights legendary LOLcat forms recognizable to fans everywhere (including “Do Not Want,” “Monorail Cat,” and “Oh Noes!”), and offers a guide to the finer points of LOLspeak. Packed with witty and endearing images and published into a proven cat-egory, I Can Has Cheezburger? is sure to delight feline aficionados and Internet nerds alike.

Dewey: The Library Cat by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter
How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can't even begin to answer those questions until you hear the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa.

Dewey's story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility (for a cat), and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most. 

As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history.

Not content to be a film star, Lil' Bub is an author, too. Her book comes out next month:

Lil Bub's Lil Book: The Extraordinary Life of the Most Amazing Cat on the Planet by Lil Bub
Lil Bub is a star. The adorable “perma-kitten” might look a little different than other felines, but her tiny size, toothless mouth, and extra toes have made her the darling of cat lovers around the world.Aided by her human, this celebri-cat is finally satisfying her demanding public with a book. Showcasing 100 captioned full color photos of Lil BUB —traveling through space, exploring the Earth, flying in hot air balloons, napping, and even skateboarding—Lil BUB’s Lil Book is exactly what her millions of fans want. Sure to please fans of LOLcats and Boo: The Life of the World’s Cutest Dog, Lil BUB’s Lil Book is the perfect book for anyone who needs more cute in their lives.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I will cover Sidewalk's Saturday selections. Until then, happy reading!

Amanda