Jill's blog

Film Series: Racial Healing--- A Community Conversation, May 13 @ 6:30pm

Please join the East Lansing Public Library and Michigan State University in a joint program to view and discuss the documentary The House I Live In.  MSU Professor Lisa Biggs will be facilitating discussion after the movie.   This program takes place May 13 at 6:30pm in the library's meeting room.

Film Synopsis:  From the dealer to the narcotics officer, the inmate to the federal judge, a penetrating look inside America's criminal justice system, revealing the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy.

Lisa Biggs’ Bio:  Lisa Biggs is an award-winning theatre/dance artist, performance scholar and activist. A Chicago-native, she has been devising and presenting new performance works for almost twenty years. She is a former member of the Washington, DC based Living Stage Theater Company, one of the preeminent theatre for social change programs in the USA, and a founding member of Medusa Speaks: An Artists’ Collective. She holds a B.A. in Theatre and Dance from Amherst College, an M.A. in Playwriting and Performance Studies from New York University’s Gallatin School, and recently completed her PhD in Performance Studies at Northwestern University.  Since fall 2013, she has made Lansing, MI, her home as a member of the faculty of Michigan State University, where she offers courses at the intersection of Performance Studies, Black Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and Legal Studies.

The Racial Healing-- A Community Conversation film series is intended to cultivate an inclusive community through conversations that bring about greater awareness, understanding and respect for our differences and similarities.  This program is part of MSU's Project 60/50.

 

 

Guest Poet Joyce Benvenuto visit on April 10, 7pm

Join us for a special National Poetry Month author visit on April 10 at 7pm.  

Joyce Benvenuto taught English and Creative Writing for 18 years for Haslett Public Schools.  During her career, she was awarded Michigan Alternative Education Teacher of the Year.  She is also a member of the National Writing Project based at M.S.U.  Benvenuto also created the Richard Benvenuto Poetry Prize awarded each year to local high school students at Schuler Books and Music.  The contest is now in its 15th year. 

In addition to her published book, A Grand River, Poems for Michigan, Benvenuto has a forthcoming article, “Island Lake, Gem of Old Grand River,” to be published in the Sept/Oct issue of Michigan History Magazine.  Her recent poetry readings include Saranac, Livonia, Okemos and Owosso—all stops on the Grand River Avenue corridor.  Over time, she has published in various literary magazines such as Nimrod.

Benvenuto has three children and four grandchildren.  She is widely traveled over the USA and several foreign countries.—England, Ireland, France and Japan.  She owns a cottage on an island on Lake Champlain in Vermont where she enjoys living like the cover of an L.L. Bean catalogue. 

Film Series: Racial Healing--- A Community Conversation, March 23 at 2pm

Please join us on March 23 at 2pm to view and discuss Spike Lee's film Do the Right Thing.   MSU Professor and filmmaker Jeff Wray will be facilitating discussion.   

Film Synopsis:  Producer/writer/director/star Spike Lee combines humor, drama and music in a technique used in his previous films to again expose the absurdity of racism. Do the Right Thing moves it's cast of characters through a minefield of sensations over the course of the hottest day of the year, on one block in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant.  This 24-hour period will change the lives of its residents forever. 

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Jeff Wray's Bio:  Associate professor of Film Studies in the department of English at Michigan State University. MFA in filmmaking, history & theory and screenwriting from Ohio University School of Film in 1994.  Teaches courses in screenwriting, black American & African cinema and film production.  A screenwriter and filmmaker with several completed several projects, including China (2003), a feature film produced for and broadcast by PBS. The Soul Searchers: Three Stories (2008) was screened in New York and Berlin. Current film projects Songs for My Right Side, a 30 minute short and a feature Evolution of Bert are in post-production with completion anticipated for 2014. Screenplays include Summer of 64, a story of history, race and family in turbulent times and Cliff’s Friends in Detroit, a tale of three middle aged men returning to Detroit for the funeral of their childhood friend. Honors include the John Anson Kittredge Foundation Fellowship, Art Serve Michigan Individual Artist Award, Ohio Arts Council Major Fellowship, and three nominations for the Rockefeller Foundation Film and Video Fellowship and most recently a Wexner Center for the Arts Filmmaker Residency.

The Racial Healing-- A Community Conversation film series is intended to cultivate an inclusive community through conversations that bring about greater awareness, understanding and respect for our differences and similarities.  This program is part of MSU's Project 60/50.  For more information about Project 60/50 (including a list of events), click here

***We will be posting new films in the series shortly, please check our website for updates.*** 

Your Name is Tattooed on My Heart

I am, and will forever be, a cultural product of the 70s, 80s and early-mid 90s.  Lover of punk/indie rock, gangsta rap, self proclaimed riot grrl, and a sucker for any John Hughes movie.  And, perhaps paradoxically, a big fan of the movie Love Story (the clothes, the hair!).  That being said, I immediately fell for the book Love is a Mix Tape, a tale of love and loss and music set in the 1990s.  Rob Sheffield, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, has written three excellent memoirs of his life through music.  Each one has a different focus:  falling in love and dealing with the death of his first wife, growing up as a music geek, and finding new love in a karaoke bar.  

After reading each of these books, I immediately started thinking more about and playing music that makes up the soundtrack of my life:  Sam Cooke, Beastie Boys, The Beach Boys, Gladys Knight, The Replacements, Joy Division/New Order, NWA/Ice Cube, Sufjan Stevens, and the list goes on and on...

Note:  The title of this post comes from a song by Screeching Weasel (included in The 25 Best Punk Rock Love Songs).

Great movie finds on Hoopla

So many good things can be found on Hoopla! Here's some recent movies titles well worth your time: Bernie, Sin Nombre, What Maisie Knew, The Iceman, and Monsieur Lazhar.

Haven't tried Hoopla yet?  Click here to get started.

Titles for February's Better Living Book Club

Join us on February 3 at 7pm for the Better Living Book Club.  This month the focus is on nutrition and health, with several reading options:

"Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health" by William Davis, M.D.

"Food Rules: An Eater's Manual" by Michael Pollan

What Does it Mean to be Transgender? A discussion about Gender Dysphoria and the Gender Spectrum

East Lansing Public Library Event

Wednesday, January 29, 2014   7:00-8:30 

What Does it Mean to be Transgender? A discussion about Gender Dysphoria and the Gender Spectrum

Screening of the video: "Sexuality & Gender 101"

The Health Insurance Marketplace Opens on October 1

The Health Insurance Marketplace opens October 1 at Healthcare.gov.  This website will provide individuals and businesses with the information and resources to obtain health care through the Affordable Care Act.

While Healthcare.gov is the main federal website, MI Health Answers provides resources and information specific to Michigan residents.  

The brochure "The New Health Care Law and You" is available now (before October 1) to help people make decisions about choosing the best health care plan to meet their individual needs.  

ELPL has a variety of books available to learn more about the Affordable Care Act. Not sure what these changes mean for you?  ELPL is here to help.  Sign up for a One on One session with a librarian to get your questions answered and to get help navigating government websites.

League of Women Voters: Online Guides

  League of Women Voters of the Lansing Area have voting guides available online for Eaton, Ingham, Clinton and Livingston Counties.  The guide for East Lansing City Council can be accessed here and print copies are available in the library.  

 

Catcher in the Rye Revisited

Every year I like to highlight a banned or challenged book for Banned Book Week.  A couple of years ago I featured The Catcher in the Rye and how I inherited my mom's copy, given to her secretly by a teacher that was not allowed to assign it to her classes.  It sounds cliché but that worn

copy got me through high school and beyond.  Sure, the story resonated with me, but more than that my mom gave it to me at the perfect moment.  Now, many years later, I still cherish the book and my mom's impeccable timing.  

Flash forward 27 years and it is the year of J.D. Salinger.  There are books and movies and a lot of discussion about the famous and complicated recluse that was Salinger.  Over the years people have tried to figure out why this book and author have fascinated people for so long.  Will these new additions answer any questions?  I don't know, but I will be reading and watching to find out.

Already read Catcher in the Rye and looking for a similar (and also often challenged book)?  If so, check out: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie or The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.  Both are funny, sad, true and likely to be read for years to come.  

P.S. The movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower is great too!

Love, Concord (I guess I kinda do)

When I was young many summers were spent visiting my grandparents and extended family in Concord, California. Concord is an East Bay suburb of San Francisco and Oakland. There wasn't anything exciting there other than my family, the water park and trips up Mount Diablo (which always made me car sick). So, when I saw a DVD called Love, Concord, I picked it up figuring it couldn't have anything to do with the city of my youth (and still a place I visit), but I was pleasantly wrong!

Love, Concord is a small film and I mean that in the best way. It's a slice of teen life: fun-loving boy meets bookish girl, they fall in love and complications ensue. I liked that it showed average teens doing average things, used old school video game animation, had a realistic ending and prominently featured the gas station I have (too often) visited.

Check out our DVD collection, we have films ranging from the small indie to huge blockbuster.

Still missing The Wire?

Like many people I am a huge fan of the HBO show, The Wire.  I love the rich character development (Stringer Bell and Omar Little are my favorites!) and how each season focuses on different institutions that impact the drug trade and life in Baltimore: criminal justice, unions, politics, education, media, etc.

After devouring all five seasons of The Wire in an extraordinarily short amout of time, I was eager for another show in which I could lose myself.  Luckily, I found other programs that proved satisfying.

Justified:  In many ways, I see Justified as the rural version of The Wire.  Justified has a little of everything: on-going character development, family dysfunction, a highly compelling “bad guy”, social issues in coal-mining country, a little romance and a lot of drama.

Sons of Anarchy:  Call this a cross between The Wire and Justified, but on motorcycles.  It’s a  gritty, violent, oddly touching and funny (at times) tale about an outlaw motorcycle club.

Homeland:  While this show is definitely for fans of 24; the action, interesting cast, is he/isn’t he a terrorist storyline, and how it portrays mental illness make it a must see.  Don’t be surprised if you want to cancel all plans to watch a full season in one sitting.

The Walking Dead:  First off, I am not a fan of zombies.  But, the beauty of The Walking Dead  is that you don’t have to be to love this show. It’s a scary, adrenaline rush that has you rooting for your favorite characters each episode.  I recommend watching it with another person and in the daylight, unless you’re fearless (or stronger than me).

More shows to keep you engaged:  Game of Thrones, Dexter, Breaking Bad, Girls, Deadwood, The Sopranos, Southland.

Please, tell us your favorites too.

Remembering James Gandolfini

Sad news yesterday when I heard that the actor James Gandolfini passed away at the age of 51.  

As a huge fan of the hit TV series The Sopranos, I can remember the excitement and anticipation for each week's episode.  In my mind (at least), The Sopranos was one of the first in a long line of iconic, must-see HBO shows.

While famous for playing Tony Soprano, Gandolfini appeared in many films.  Check one of them out in honor of a great actor that left us too soon.  

 

 

East Lansing Modern, 1940-1970: Exhibit and Events

Did you know that the East Lansing Public Library is a prized example of mid-century modern architecture? Visit the MSU Museum to see ELPL and many more examples of East Lansing buildings that highlight this very popular form of architecture.  

Exhibit:

East Lansing Modern, 1940 - 1970
MSU Museum Ground Floor,  April 28 - August 18, 2013

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