The Year That Changed Jazz and Popular Music


Jazz changed forever in 1959. Want to sound cool at parties over this holiday break? Then you need to know your Jazz history.
The following four albums hit record shops in 1959, and they changed pop music and Jazz around the world. Our library has three of the four albums in our collection:

1: Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (greatest selling jazz album of all time)

2: The Dave Brubeck Quartet: Time Out (featuring the greatest selling jazz track “Take Five”) 

3: Charles Mingus: Mingus ah um

4: Ornette Coleman: The Shape of Jazz to Come

(And if you are looking for gift ideas, you can’t go wrong with these four albums.)

Want to learn more? Check out this documentary on YouTube:

1959 The Year that Changed Jazz

New to the Collection: “Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility” 2 Disc DVD Set

SenseAndSensibilityIf you are a fan of Jane Austen and Downton Abbey, you’ll want to check out this DVD set to tide you over until the new (and final) season of Downton starts in January on PBS. It’s a BBC television adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

In Sense & Sensibility, Dan Stevens (best known for his role as Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey) plays Edward Ferrars. Elinor Dashwood likes Edward until she finds out the devastating news that Edward has been secretly engaged for four years. Will Elinor find happiness with Edward or another suitor?

Also included in this 2 DVD set is Miss Austen Regrets, “the new BBC biopic based on the letters of Jane Austen” (DVD container). Jane reveals to her niece why she never married, and also remembers the man who got away, Reverend Brook Bridges, played by Hugh Bonneville (best known for his role as Robert Crawley on Downton Abbey).

It’s interesting to watch actors in other roles before they became famous for the best known ones!

Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility DVD set can be found here in our catalog.

Search for other Jane Austen materials here.

And if you’d rather just binge watch Downton Abbey until the premiere of the final season, click here for available seasons on DVD.


New to the Collection: “The Shining” DVDs

KubrickIf you are looking for a good horror film to curl up on the couch and watch this Halloween, check out “The Shining” DVDs. It is available in two different versions. You might ask “What is the other version? I only remember the famous Stanley Kubrick/Jack Nicholson one!”

Here’s a little back story: apparently Stephen King didn’t really “approve” of Stanley Kubrick’s version, as he felt the adaptation leant itself more towards the supernatural elements versus the important themes of his novel, such as the alcoholism of the lead character. King’s novel was almost autobiographical as he was struggling with alcoholism, so the story was very personal to him. Therefore, in 1997, King decided to produce his own adaptation for television, starring Rebecca De Mornay and Steven Weber (of “Wings” fame). King’s adaptation focused more on the lead character’s alcoholism, and also had a stronger female lead in the wife, as opposed to Shelley Duvall’s portrayal in Kubrick’s version. While King’s version was panned by critics, I think it’s a good idea to watch both adaptations of his novel and decide for yourself which you prefer.

To watch a video of the differences between King’s novel and Kubrick’s adaptation click here.

To find Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” in our collection click here.

To find Stephen King’s television adaptation in our collection click here.King

And if this doesn’t suit your fancy search for “Horror films” at our library and check out other scary DVDs for Halloween!

Ellis Island

old ellis

Immigration is one the topics that we’re focusing on as part of our One Book, One College discussion this year. No treatment of the history of immigration in this country would be complete without a look at Ellis Island. Between 1892 and 1954, over 12 million immigrants entered the United States through this station in New York Harbor.

Ellis video pics

Two DVDs from our collection will bring Ellis Island history to life for you. The first is Remembering Ellis Island. This takes us through the history of the immigration station to its becoming a national museum. We see what the immigrants experienced while on the island, waiting for their chance to start a new life in a new land.

Forgotten Ellis Island tells the story of the hospital on Ellis Island where tens of thousands of immigrants spent time inside its walls, hoping to be cured and therefore not deported. In the three decades of its existence, “where the germs of the world converged,” the hospital saw the birth of 350 babies and the death of ten times that many immigrants.

If you want to explore this topic even further, these books from our collection can tell you even more about the interesting history of the island. For further exploration, you can also visit the The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation website. Here you will find extensive history, many photographs, oral histories, a searchable passenger database, and much more.


One Book, One College, Three New DVDs

The library has just added three new highly acclaimed DVDs that complement our One Book, One College selection this year. These films depict the lives of Latin Americans struggling to reach the United States in search of a better life for themselves and for their families.

Previously appearing at numerous film festivals and now appearing on our library shelves is The Other Side of Immigration. This films takes us into rural Mexican towns where half the population has left to work in the United States. Through interviews with the townspeople, we see why so many leave their homes to find work in the US, as well as what happens to the families and communities that are left behind.

Winner of Best Documentary at several film festivals, El Inmigrante/The Immigrant tells the true story of the life and death Eusebio De Haro, a Mexican immigrant who was shot and killed during one of his border crossing attempts. This film that has been described as graphic, disturbing, poignant, and gripping examines varied group perspectives including the De Haro family, residents of the community in Texas where Eusebio was shot, vigilante border militias, and other migrants trying to make the crossing.

Another film festival favorite, and winner of the Audience Award at Sundance, is De Nadie. Here we meet migrants from Central and South America and learn of their dangerous journey through Mexico as the determined travelers try to reach the United States. We see the risks they are taking with their money, their health, and their lives as they face intimidation from oftentimes corrupt Mexican authorities.

Chicago in Film

Did you know that before there was Hollywood, Chicago was the place for movie making? Chicago has a long history as an important place in the film industry. Movie making began in Chicago in 1896, with two of the world’s first film studios headquartered in Chicago. William Selig’s Polyscope studio, at Irving Park Road and Western Avenue, was the world’s largest. Chicago’s innovative filmmakers developed some of the earliest movie cameras and projectors. The weekly serial was also born here.

Some of the original buildings remain. At Claremont and Byron you can spot this building’s doorway that still bears the Selig symbol.

A few miles away at St. Augustine College, you can find this former entrance to Essanay Film Manufacturing, the most important of Chicago’s silent film studios.


The major studios eventually left Chicago for sunnier climates, but today the area still enjoys a vibrant business as setting and location for many movie productions. It is not uncommon to be able to see scenes from your everyday life on the big screen. You can also borrow many of these movies from the MVCC Library for your smaller screen viewing. This list from our collection includes movies that are important to Chicagoland because they were either filmed in the Chicago area or are stories/histories about Chicago. Here are some highlights from our collection.






If you want to find out more about Chicago’s film industry there are a few really great resources you might want to consult. From the Chicago Historical Society, The Encyclopedia of Chicago covers the history of movie production and movie going in Chicago and highlights the importance Chicago has played over time. The Chicago Film Office oversees filming in Chicago. Their site includes links to casting call information, film festivals, a listing by year of movies that were filmed in the city, and a listing of what is filming right now around the city. For an extensive listing of movie (and television) people, including actors, writers, and directors from Chicagoland you can visit the IMDb website. Lastly, for a guide to 100 years of movies and locations (and quite a few anecdotes), as well the history of the industry in Chicago, check out the book Hollywood on Lake Michigan from our collection.

Film Blog: Castle in the Sky

Last time we featured Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which was Miyazaki’s first animated feature film.Today we’re going to continue on that trend of Miyazaki films with Castle in the Sky. This film is considered the first Studio Ghibli produced film (1986).

The film opens with an engineer’s apprentice Pazu finding an unconscious and floating Sheeta. The story is filled with adventure as Sheeta and Pazu as they are chased by mysterious agents and even pirates! This is definitely a story for everyone. Be sure to check out the trailer before for more information, also check out Studio Ghibli’s website here.

Irish Film

The Chicago Irish Film Festival begins this weekend and runs through March 7th. This marks the 16th year of presenting the works of Irish filmmakers to the Chicagoland community. Since the festival’s inception, over 500 feature films, documentaries, and short films have been shown representing the very best in works by talented and award-winning Irish filmmakers. This year’s festival features 3 feature films and 34 short films that will be screened at one of the festival’s two venues. For a list and descriptions of this year’s films, as well as venue information, visit the festival’s website.

If you are looking to get yourself into an Irish film mood, you could enjoy some of these films in our collection covering Irish history and culture and stories featuring and taking place in Ireland.

Film Blog Series: New Marvel Movies Added!

Today I’m featuring the latest Marvel movies added to our collection, which are Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, and The Avengers! But just in case you haven’t seen Iron Man, we have that film in the library as well! You could definitely make a weekend out of it especially considering the cold temperatures outside.

If you’re interested in learning more about Marvel, I would highly recommend checking out Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe.

This summer will be a big summer for Marvel, which will have TWO big films come out. Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out May 1st while Ant-Man comes out July 17th.  I’m going to leave you with a preview for both films below.


Film Blog: Studio Ghibli Series and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Today I’m going to start featuring all the Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki films we have in our collection. For those of you who have never heard of Studio Ghibli, you’re in for a treat! I will introduce the films in chronological order to make it a little easier.

Studio Ghibli was founded by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata in 1985. Before Miyazaki founded Studio Ghibli, he illustrated manga and even wrote a series (considered to be his life’s work) called Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. The book was later turned into a film in 1982, which is why it’s being featured here! So technically the film I’m featuring isn’t a Studio Ghibli film, but it was written and directed by a Studio Ghibli founder.

For those of you who have never seen a Studio Ghibli film, you should probably first know that most of the their films have an element of magical realism meaning there’s some element of fantasy within the story that seems completely normal. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind takes place in an unknown time (but probably in the future) after a toxic war has killed many people and has pretty much left the world desolate. The only thing thriving are large mutant insects and the Toxic Jungle where humans aren’t allowed. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just leave it at that. I’m leaving a trailer below, so you can decide for yourself.

You should also check out the Studio Ghibli website so you can see all the the Ghibli films out there. They also include summaries and movie trailers to watch. If you wan to learn more about Miyazaki, you should check out The Genius and Wonder of Hayao Miyazaki Timeline.