What the hell are you doing?

They say that art is in the eye of the beholder. If your taste in art tends to include “outsider art” or the strange and bizarre, you may enjoy What the Hell Are You Doing : the Essential David Shrigley, recently added to our collection. David Shrigley is a British visual artist who works in various media. His art runs the gamut from the innocuous to the potentially offensive, so be prepared.

You can see more of his work at his website: www.davidshrigley.com.
To see books about “outsider art” in the collection click here.
To see materials about “avant garde” in the collection click here.

And finally, here is an animated short film David Shrigley created to mark the publication of his book What the Hell Are You Doing?
Happy Friday!


 

Cataloger’s Shelf: Rivers and Tides (Special Ed.)

When it makes it onto the library’s shelves this week, keep an eye out for the Special Collector’s Edition of the award-winning 2001 documentary Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy: Working with Time.Rivers and Tides This DVD stood out to me while I was cataloging it about a week ago.

Goldsworthy is a Scottish sculptor and land artist who creates intricate, ephemeral structures outdoors using rocks, tree branches, bits of ice, and anything else he finds around the location he’s chosen. The documentary follows him all over the world as he opens up about his creative process.

This edition includes an interview with the filmmaker plus a bonus film about a sculptural trail of giant snowballs that Goldsworthy set across London mid-June.

Check out the Rivers and Tides trailer below:


“Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time – Trailer”

Film Blog: Dead Man (1995)

Looking for a good western? Dead Man tells a story of William Blake’s journey (played by Johnny Depp) out west and the dangerous people he encounters. Other people you might recognize in the film are Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Iggy Pop, and Robert Mitchum. The film is directed by Jim Jarmusch who directed other films like Year of the Horse (1997), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), and more recently Broken Flowers (2005). Another interesting fact is that Neil Young provided the guitar score.

Although this film came out in 1995, it is completely in black and white. So if black and white isn’t your style, you may want to rethink watching it. But really, a film starring Johnny Depp is too good to pass up. As always, a trailer is included below.

“Jim Jarmusch.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 11 Dec. 2012.

“Neil Young.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 11 Dec. 2012.

Was 1993 the Greatest Year in the History of Rap & Hip Hop?

NPR will be highlighting the year 1993 marking what some believe was the greatest year in the history of rap and hip hop. The first piece was on today focusing on the reaction to the LA Riots: ‘The Chronic’ 20 Years Later: An Audio Document Of The L.A. Riots.

Our collection includes sources that explore the nature of the music, philosophy, and social context around the music.

Film Blog: Martin Luther King Jr.

I thought I’d highlight Martin Luther King Jr.’s most memorable speeches. Kennedy and King: Promises and Dreams (2005) is part of a series called Great American Speeches: 80 years of political oratory. King’s moving “I have a dream” (1963) and “When a man has already died” (1965) speeches are featured in the film. Included in the DVD are also Kennedy’s inaugural address and maybe one of his most famous speeches where JFK ends with “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

For more great speeches, check out Say It Plain: A Century of Great African American Speeches (2005), which includes King’s Lecture from the New School for Social Research (1969) and his last speech “I’ve been to the mountaintop” (1968) along with 23 other great speeches. There are 2 CDs to accompany the book, so you can actually hear the speeches.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a trailer to show, but no fear. The clip below is a short biography on Martin Luther King Jr. For more information on MLK, check out Bio.True Story.

 

Film Blog: Before the Nickelodeon (1982)

Please note that this film isn’t about the network Nickelodeon, but rather about about nickelodeons, which were early motion picture theaters. Nickelodeons got its name simply for the fact that they typically cost a nickel for admission. Can you believe that?!

Before the Nickelodeon: The Early Cinema of Edwin S. Porter centers around the years from 1894 to 1908, which is just slightly before silent films became a huge industry. Included in the DVD are a documentary, 16 Porter short films and 3 additional Porter shorts. Porter’s film The Great Train Robbery (1903) is “credited with establishing realistic narrative, as opposed to Méliès-style fantasy, as commercial cinema’s dominant form. The film’s popularity encouraged investors and led to the establishment of the first permanent film theaters, or nickelodeons, across the country” (Encyclopedia Britannica). Typical films during this time averaged only about 15 minutes.

The video below is Porter’s The Great Train Robbery (1903). It’s in black and white, but Porter also uses a technique called tinting, so there are bits of color in the film. Tinting involves manually coloring each frame, which, as you can imagine, is incredibly time consuming.

As always, here is a short trailer to the film to entice you.

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“nickelodeon.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 14 Jan. 2013. <http://0-www.britannica.com.library.morainevalley.edu/EBchecked/topic/414336/nickelodeon>.

“Edwin S. Porter.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 14 Jan. 2013. <http://0-www.britannica.com.library.morainevalley.edu/EBchecked/topic/471087/Edwin-S-Porter>.

Film Blog: Nanny McPhee (2005)

Looking to unwind with some family fun? Nanny McPhee is part Mary Poppins film, part fairy tale. In this modernized yet still Victorian England era, Nanny McPhee (played by the lovely Emma Thompson) comes to help a newly widowed Cedric Brown (played by Colin Firth) and his seven children.

Emma Thompson, who is mostly known for her remarkable award-winning acting skills, plays governess Nanny McPhee and is also responsible for adapting the story (originally written by Christianna Brand) into a screenplay. Most recently, you might recognize Emma Thompson’s voice in Disney’s Brave (2012) as the Scottish queen. Princess Merida is played by Kelly Macdonald, who also stars in Nanny McPhee as Evangeline, the family maid.

 

“Emma Thompson.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 11 Dec. 2012.

Film Blog: I.O.U.S.A. (2008)

Now that the whole business of the election is behind us, congress and the POTUS are back to work solving the financial crisis. If you have been following the news of late, you know that it’s quite a crisis. The featured film of this post is about just that.

Consider I.O.U.S.A. as a great resource for background information about the national debt. Take into account that the film is a little behind (the film came out in 2008), but filled with useful information to bring you up to speed. Included in the documentary are candid interviews with Warren Buffett, Alan Greenspan, Paul O’Neill, Robert Rubin, Alice Rivlin and Paul Volcker, along with David Walker of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition.

If you’re interested in reading a book about the fiscal crisis, it will interest you to know that the documentary was inspired by the book The New Empire of Debt: The Rise and Fall of an Epic Financial Bubble by William Bonner and Addison Wiggin.

As always, here is a short trailer about the film.

The tagline reads, “One Nation. Under Stress. In Debt.”

Film Blog: Adaptation (2002)

Today in Filmblogland, I bring a semi-autobiographical story about Charlie Kaufman’s (played by Nicholas Cage) struggle to transform the non-fictional book The Orchid Thief into a screenplay (hence the film title). Now, I know what you’re thinking, “what do you mean by semi-autobiographical?”

The screenplay writer for Adaptation (also available on Bluray) Charlie Kaufman, writes himself and his fictional twin brother Donald into the story. And although there is no Donald Kaufman (in real life), Charlie gives his fictional brother credit for co-writing the screenplay Adaptation. Well, the joke’s on Charlie when he and Donald are both nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2003.

If you’re a fan of Being John Malkovich, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman is responsible for those screenplays as well.

For a preview of Adaptation, look at the trailer below.

“Charlie Kaufman.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

Film Blog: Training Day (2001)

Looking for a thriller about crime? Training Day is about a rookie cop (Ethan Hawke) and a corrupt veteran narcotics officer (Denzel Washington) set in Los Angeles. Although the film only covers 24 hours of a day in the life of a narcotics detective, quite a lot happen including numerous fights, drug busts, attempted murder, attempted assault, and a standoff. Denzel Washington won an Oscar for Best Actor for Training Day, and became the second African American actor to win an Oscar for Best Actor. On an unrelated note, the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Actor was Sidney Poitier as Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field, which came out in 1963.

“Denzel Washington.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

“Sidney Poitier.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.