Thursday, November 27, 2008

BPL@Night Presents Alabama Actor Thom Gossom in Voices of Spirits

thom gossom
The diverse voices of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., politician Robert Kennedy, poet Maya Angelou, playwrights Athol Fugard and August Wilson, singers and songwriters Harry Chapin, Elton John and Marvin Gaye, and others are dramatized in an evening of American prose and literature interpretation. While many of the featured voices and spirits are well known, others are less known, but nevertheless brilliant. From these voices came the power to vote, to change laws, to love, to unite, and to enlighten the masses. The voices in these spirits altered the prism through which we view life.

Accompanied by a biting soundtrack, Voices of Spirits is inspirational, motivational, fun, and stirring. Through his unique oratorical style, dramatic flair and audience participation, Gossom presents Voices of Spirits as a dramatic, motivational lecture interspersed with speeches, sermons, poetry, hip-hop, and his own writings.

An accomplished actor, Gossom has appeared on television in the recurring roles of city councilman, Ted Marcus, in In The Heat Of The Night, Judge Blake Winters in Boston Legal, Judge Garamedian in Close to Home, and as J.R. Ride in Jack and Bobby. He starred as the title character, Israel, in the Emmy winning episode of NYPD Blue titled “Lost Israel.”

Other television credits include guest star roles in CSI, Cold Case, Without A Trace, The West Wing, and ER. Film credits include, Fight Club, Jeepers Creepers 2, Miss Ever’s Boys, The Chamber, and Miracle in The Woods.

Voices of Spirits: An Evening with Thom Gossom Jr. is a memorable experience that you will not forget.

Event Details
What: Voices of Spirts: An Evening with Thom Gossom Jr.
When: Thursday, December 4
Where: Atrium at the Central Library
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

BPL thanks Compass Bank for its generous support of BPL@Night. BPL@Night is also made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Brown Bag Program ~ Alabama School of Fine Arts Presents

music notes
Join us for a wonderful opportunity to hear the Alabama School of Fine Arts Music Department present a musical delight. The department is under the direction of Kim Scott. Wednesday, December 3, noon.

brown bag imageFeed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 3rd floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Free Geneaology Classes at Central

family photograph
The staff of the Southern History Department will discuss how to begin genealogical research. The Southern History Department is located on the 1st floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library. For more information call 226-3665.

Schedule of Classes for November thru January
Sunday
2:30 - 3:30 p.m.
January 11

Tuesday
10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
November 25
January 27

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Life After the Bugger War

book coverIt's been 23 years since readers were introduced to Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, a 12-year-old tapped to save the human race from an insect-like alien race called Formics, or "Buggers." Orson Scott Card's Ender in Exile is a direct sequel to Ender's Game, and it explores the lost years of Ender's life between the ages 0f 12 and 35.

After extensive training at Battle School—beginning when he was just 6-years-old—and winning the third war against the Formics, Ender must leave school and find his place in the world. But what does the Savior of Earth do for an encore?

With every nation vying to own a piece of Ender, it is decided that Ender will not return to earth but will travel to one of the worlds won in the war. He is joined by his sister, Violet, who begins writing a history of the Bugger War.

Later when Ender is searching for a new site for future colonists, he discovers a "note" from the Formics in the form of a game he played in Battle School. What he finds when he investigates further will lead him to write his first book as Speaker for the DeadThe Hive Queen.

The Ender saga:
Ender's Game
Speaker for the Dead
Xenocide
Children of the Mind
A War of Gifts
Ender in Exile

The Shadow series:
Ender's Shadow
Shadow of the Hegemon
Shadow Puppets
Shadow of the Giant

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Story Behind Schindler's List

book cover Searching for Schindler, Thomas Keneally's latest nonfiction book, is about a chance encounter in 1980 with a Polish Jew named Poldek Pfefferberg while shopping for a briefcase, and where that encounter led.

Pfefferberg, number 173 on Oskar Schindler's famous list, convinced Keneally that the story of Schindler is one that begs to be told: "I was a Jew imprisoned with Jews. So a Nazi saves me and, more important, saves Misia, my young wife... Not that he was a saint. He was all-drinking, all-black-marketeering, all-screwing, okay? But he got Misia out of Auschwitz, so to me he is God."

Pfefferberg had tried selling the story to the screenwriters and filmmakers who came into his Beverly Hills luggage shop, but no one was interested. In 1963 Metro-Goldwym-Mayer bought the story rights from Oskar Schindler, who was living in Frankfurt at the time, but the movie was shelved.

An intrigued Keneally sifted through Pfefferberg's extensive Schindler files and saw the potential for a great story. Schindler's Ark was published in 1982 and won the Booker Prize. (The title on republication was changed to Schindler's List, the title of Steven Spielberg's 1993 movie.)

Reserve your copy of Searching for Schindler in advance.

See Also:
Search the JCLC catalog for more information on the Holocaust

BBC World Book Club podcast of Thomas Keneally discussing Schindler's Ark

The complete list of people saved from the Holocaust by Oskar Schindler

oskarschindler.com

Photo credit: Leopold Page Photographic Collection, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archive, November 1964, Location: Paris, Region: Seine, France. Oskar Schindler (seated) with Leopold Pfefferberg.

Book Trailer: Running Hot





Running Hot by Jayne Ann Krentz will be released on December 30.

Click here to reserve a copy today.

By the way, if you enjoy books by Jayne Ann Krentz you might consider joining our immensely popular Best Sellers Club, so that we can put advanced holds on all of her new releases for you.

The Bestsellers Club is provides quick access to new releases from many best-selling authors. Select from a list of authors and have the books delivered to your preferred Birmingham Public Library location. You will be notified when your copy is available.

Click here to join the club or visit any Birmingham Public Library for more information.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

3rd Annual Local Authors Expo

Birmingham Public Library is excited and happy to present the 3rd Annual Local Authors Expo.

We even created two videos for the event:

one excited, in the fashion of a monster truck announcer



and one happy



Join us
Friday, December 5 and Saturday, December 6, 2008.
11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.
at the Central Library

Meet local authors who will sell and autograph their books including:

Mychal Smith - Author of "Choosy Lovers a Radical Romance"
Jeanenne Bell - Author of "How to be a Jewelry Detective"
Jessie Crawford - Author of " The Christmas Prayer"
(Click on the authors name to watch an interview)

The Expo is sponsored by the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BPL@Night Presents Flying Jenny, Old-time String Band

flying jenny
The Birmingham Public Library is excited to host the old-time string band, Flying Jenny, of Birmingham, Alabama. They play the music of the American settlers from the British Isles, which is a forerunner of bluegrass and country music. It consists of lively fiddle tunes meant for dancing as well as old songs sung on front porches and in front of fireplaces when families and friends got together after the day’s work was done. Flying Jenny (named after an old-fashioned mule-powered carnival ride) plays breakdowns on fiddle, guitar, banjo and bass, and sings old songs, often comical, in three-part harmony.

In addition to the music, a performance by Flying Jenny includes stories about the tunes and the fiddlers who first played them. They have done a number of thematic performances on such topics as Alabama history, folk art, early radio music, Christmas folk music, romance in old-time music, etc., and have collaborated with storyteller Dolores Hydock in Footprint on the Sky: Memories of a Chandler Mountain Spring, a piece in which tales, tunes and songs interact with each other to create a sense of life in an Alabama farming community. They have also provided background music for weddings, picnics, art openings, and other social events.

For more information on the band, visit http://www.bamalong.com/flyingjenny.htm#Flying%20Jenny.

Performance Details
What: Flying Jenny concert
When: Thursday, November 20, 2008
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Where: Atrium at the Central Library
Cost: Free

Light refreshments will be served.

BPL thanks Compass Bank for its generous support of BPL@Night. BPL@Night is also made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Brown Bag Program ~ It's Perfectly True

seasoned perfomers group photo
It's Perfectly True evolved from a suggestion by Martha Harrbauer, director of The Seasoned Performers, to develop a play based on a fable. Based on the Hans Christian Anderson fable, the hens become human and the tale takes a decidedly human turn.

Don't forget to make your appointment at the Curl Up & Dye where the Seasoned Performers catch up on all the latest gossip...the things that you hear at this beauty shop will make your hair curl! It's Perfectly True! Wednesday, November 19, noon.

brown bag imageFeed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 3rd floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tech Tuesdays ~ We See Dead People...Online

genealogy comic
Comic by Jonathan Brown

Genealogical resources are a mouse click away with BPL’s databases. Join us as we explore census, church, cemetery, obituary, mine fatality, and inventor records. Tuesday, November 18, 6:30 p.m. Live @ Central Library's Arrington Auditorium and simulcast at Five Points West Library.

IM, del.icio.us, MySpace, Facebook, RSS, Mashups, Photobucket, Pixer, Second Life, Wiki, blogging. What are these things and will they hurt me? Join us at Tech Tuesdays for a look at the technologies sweeping the Internet and see if you need to join the crowd!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Brown Bag Program ~ Sharing Native American Culture

native american culture
A storyteller from The Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama, Vickie King—Spirit Eyes, will be telling informative stories of Indian culture, tradition, beliefs, and lifestyles. Her original oil paintings, gathered herbs, musical instruments, tanned skins, and baskets will be on display to accompany the stories. Join us for a fun and informative look into the work of the Native American Indian. Wednesday, November 12, noon.

brown bag imageFeed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 3rd floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Children's Book Review: If You Give a Cat a Cupcake

book coverLaura Numeroff, author of the wonderful If You Give series, has a new book out titled If You Give a Cat a Cupcake. Parents, who know all to well that the moment they sit down their children will ask for something, which will lead to something else, and then to something else, will enjoy the tables being turned on some frazzled children trying to appease some needy animals.

In her latest book, a kind young girl offers a cat a cupcake. Not satisfied, the cat wants some sprinkles to go with it. When he spills them on the floor and has to sweep them up, he gets hot and is put into a bathing suit and taken to the beach. Before she knows it, the girl has taken him to the gym, a karate class, rock climbing, boat rowing, on a merry-go-round ride, the science museum, and finally back home. The sand emptied from his shoes reminds him of sprinkles, and, of course, he's going to need a cupcake to go with them!

The animals take center stage in this fun series as the girls and boys tire themselves out trying to keep up with their demands.

Other books in the If You Give series:
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (1985)
If You Give a Mouse a Muffin (1991)
If You Give a Pig a Pancake (1998)
The Best Mouse Cookie (1999)
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies (2000)
If You Take a Mouse to School (2002)
If You Give a Pig a Party (2005)

See Also:
Laura Numeroff's Web site
An interview with Laura Numeroff

BPL@Night Presents Alabama Actor Thom Gossom in Voices of Spirits

thom gossom
The diverse voices of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., politician Robert Kennedy, poet Maya Angelou, playwrights Athol Fugard and August Wilson, singers and songwriters Harry Chapin, Elton John and Marvin Gaye, and others are dramatized in an evening of American prose and literature interpretation. While many of the featured voices and spirits are well known, others are less known, but nevertheless brilliant. From these voices came the power to vote, to change laws, to love, to unite, and to enlighten the masses. The voices in these spirits altered the prism through which we view life.

Accompanied by a biting soundtrack, Voices of Spirits is inspirational, motivational, fun, and stirring. Through his unique oratorical style, dramatic flair and audience participation, Gossom presents Voices of Spirits as a dramatic, motivational lecture interspersed with speeches, sermons, poetry, hip-hop, and his own writings.

An accomplished actor, Gossom has appeared on television in the recurring roles of city councilman, Ted Marcus, in In The Heat Of The Night, Judge Blake Winters in Boston Legal, Judge Garamedian in Close to Home, and as J.R. Ride in Jack and Bobby. He starred as the title character, Israel, in the Emmy winning episode of NYPD Blue titled “Lost Israel.”

Other television credits include guest star roles in CSI, Cold Case, Without A Trace, The West Wing, and ER. Film credits include, Fight Club, Jeepers Creepers 2, Miss Ever’s Boys, The Chamber, and Miracle in The Woods.

Voices of Spirits: An Evening with Thom Gossom Jr. is a memorable experience that you will not forget.

Event Details
What: Voices of Spirts: An Evening with Thom Gossom Jr.
When: Thursday, December 4
Where: Atrium at the Central Library
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

BPL thanks Compass Bank for its generous support of BPL@Night. BPL@Night is also made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Michael Crichton Dies at Age 66

Crichton photoU.S. bestselling author and filmmaker, Michael Crichton, died Tuesday, November 4th after a battle with cancer. He was 66. Crichton was the author of scientific thrillers including Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park. Next, his most recent novel, was published in December 2006. The scientific thriller focused on genetic engineering. He was also the creator of the television medical drama, ER. Crichton won an Emmy, Peabody and a Writer's Guild of America Award for the show.

Through his writing, Crichton made many of the scientific mysteries of the world exciting and easy to understand. Andromeda Strain is a classic biological thriller portraying the threat of a worldwide epidemic from microscopic organisms. Jurassic Park involves the cloning of 15 species of dinosaurs and the construction of a park so that tourists may view these creatures. Prey explores the dangers of nanotechnology and the hazards of robots created at the molecular level. Next, published in December 2006, is an interesting, thought provoking novel about genetic engineering.

Michael Crichton was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 23rd, 1942. He graduated from Harvard College and later received an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. His background in medicine and science is reflected in his writings. Crichton's first bestseller, Andromeda Strain, was published while he was still a medical student. His books have been translated into thirty-six languages and thirteen have been made into films. Worldwide, his books have sold over 150 million copies.

Michael Crichton, his gift for storytelling , and his ability to excite us about scientific wonders, will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Battle of the Bands Gaming Tournament @ Springville Road Library

guitar hero
Music Gaming Tournament Details
(featuring Guitar Hero 2, 3: Legends of Rock and Rock Band 2 for Xbox 360)
What: Players will form bands comprised of four members. These bands will work together to obtain the highest score obtainable with the boundaries of the rules.
Who: Produced and hosted by Greg "Mastermind" Kennedy
Where: Springville Road Library
When: Saturday, November 15
Time: Registration begins at 11:00 a.m.

3 Rounds Of Gameplay:
Round One: Solo
Round Two: Doubles
Round Three: Full Band

Round One Rules:
Each band will elect one member to represent their team in Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock. They will get to choose and play one song from that game and their scores will be recorded. The band with the highest score will get to choose the order of which players play in the second round.

Round Two Rules:
Each band will elect a team of two players to play together a set of two songs in Guitar Hero 2. These songs and their scores will be added together and this will decide who qualifies for the final round. (In case of a tie, the first round score is the tiebreaker to decide who advances.)

Final Round Rules:
Every band that qualifies for the final round will play a full three song set in Rock Band 2. These songs and their scores will be recorded and added together to help us crown a "new" champion.

Rick Bragg Featured at Annual Friends Meeting

rick braggThe annual meeting for the Friends of the Library will host special guest Rick Bragg, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author from Alabama. Mr. Bragg’s new book, The Prince of Frogtown, is the third in his family trilogy. The first two books, All Over But the Shoutin’ and Ava’s Man, established Bragg as a first-rate storyteller and a national voice.

The Prince of Frogtown chronicles the life of his father, a man whose difficult behavior, bad choices and alcoholism separated him from his family. The impetus for this book came from two sources. Rick Bragg decided to find something good about his father, a man who had left his mother with three young children. Secondly, Bragg “inherited” a stepson when he married “a tall red headed woman ... who was a little bit slinky.” This stepson had every advantage that Bragg didn’t have and brought Mr. Bragg full circle, to confront the issue of fatherhood.

The Prince of Frogtown intersperses the stories of Bragg’s father and the stories of his stepson. As ever, Bragg’s voice is real and honest and Southern and wonderful. As a natural-born raconteur and hilarious storyteller, Rick Bragg will delight the Friends of the Library at this special program. You will not want to miss it. He will also be on hand to sign copies of his new book and interact with everyone.

The only requirement to attend the Annual Meeting will be a current membership. Basic membership costs $20 for individuals and $10 for senior citizens, students, and library employees. It's time to renew your yearly membership with the Friends, and you may do so at the meeting or by mail using the enclosed form. For more information, please visit http://friends.bplonline.org.

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting!

Event Details
What: Rick Bragg book signing
Where: Arrington Auditorium at the Central Library
When: Thursday, November 13
Time: 5:00 p.m.

Monday, November 03, 2008

It's Fall—Time to Watch Hannah and Her Sisters Again

hannah and her sisters"And Nietzsche, with his theory of eternal recurrence. He said that the life we lived we're gonna live over again the exact same way for eternity. Great. That means I'll have to sit through the Ice Capades again." ~ Mickey Sachs

Every fall when there's a chill and a whiff of wood smoke in the air, I watch Woody Allen's 1986 movie Hannah and Her Sisters. I don't know why it beckons me at summer's end. There's just something about the dark wood interiors of the New York apartments, and the fact that the meat of the story is sandwiched between three Thanksgivings. The first Thanksgiving introduces the characters; the second shows their crumbling lives; and the third shows them at peace with the choices they made over the span of two years.

Now stay with me—this gets complicated. Hannah at one time was married to Mickey Sachs (Woody Allen), but the marriage crumbled when Hannah wanted children and it was discovered that Mickey was reproductively challenged. Did he sexually damage himself in some way? she wants to know. “You gonna start knocking my hobbies?" he retorts. She eventually gives birth to twins via a donation from his show business partner.

Hannah is happily married to Elliot (Michael Caine), but he is not happily caine and hersheymarried to her. He is infatuated with her sister Lee (Barbara Hershey), who lives in a loft with the much older agoraphobic artist, Frederick (Max von Sydow). She serves as his connection to the outside world, and he depends on her for daily validation. But who validates her? Hannah is a successful actress, and the third sister, Holly (Dianne Wiest), is a confident aspiring actress/writer/singer/caterer. Lee is adrift in her own insecurities, and so she embarks on an affair with Hannah’s husband.

Mickey is a wealthy Jewish TV producer and a hypochondriac who finally gets what he thought he always wanted—a possible devastating diagnosis. He panics at the thought of dying sooner than expected, and while waiting for the results of the test, starts a desperate search for meaning in his life. He turns to religion for comfort. He hangs out with the Hare Krishnas in the park, and prepares for a conversion to Catholicism by purchasing a crucifix, a picture of Christ, a loaf of Wonder Bread, and a jar of Hellman’s mayonnaise. His parents are devastated at his conversion plans, and in a moment of weakness he turns to suicide.

But redemption arrives in the form of Holly, a former cokehead whom he once tried to date. It was a disaster then, but they cautiously give it another go. The movie was supposed to end on a down note, with Elliot still pining for Lee, but Allen decided to end his story with an intimate scene between Holly and Mickey, and it's a magical blindsiding movie moment.

My love for Woody Allen has waned over the years, but I'll never give up my visitation rights to Hannah, Holly, and Lee.