Three on a Theme: Music Documentaries on Kanopy

The library has always had great resources for music buffs, but lesser known among these are the many documentaries about music, musicians, and musical history that are available on our video streaming services. Often, these include both great insights into the works of famous musicians or hidden gems that tell a particular story about music history that is not necessarily well-known in the mainstream. If you are interested and want to learn more, here are three excellent documentaries about musicians and musical history that are available to you for free on Kanopy with your library card.

Nas: Time is IllmaticThis documentary, subtitled “The Making of a Groundbreaking Hip Hop Album,” is a little over an hour long and tells the story behind influential 90s rapper Nas’ breakout hit album. It also treats the early personal life of Nas himself.. The film includes interviews with musicians Nas influenced, worked with, and/or was influenced by, including Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keyes, and Busta Rhymes. It is also beautifully filmed, and this has been recognized critically as it has also been nominated for a few awards. It’s a real treat that it is available for free via Kanopy. Continue reading “Three on a Theme: Music Documentaries on Kanopy”

Documentaries for Pride

Even though Pride events and in-person festivities are cancelled this year, it is still possible to celebrate LGBTQ resilience from the comfort of your home – and the Library can help with that! Aside from going out to protests and engaging with written content by queer authors, there are also lots of video resources available to you with your library card. Your barcode and PIN number will give you access to lots of documentaries, movies, and other online video content through platforms such as Kanopy. Here are three great queer history documentaries of varying lengths to get you started:

After Stonewall. A 90-minute documentary from filmmakers Dan Hunt, Janet Baus, and John Scagliotti, After Stonewall details the LGBTQ rights movement beginning in the early 1970s until the end of the 20th century. It is the sequel to Before Stonewall, which focuses on the fight for LGBTQ rights prior to the movement’s watershed moment with the riots of 1969. After is particularly poignant in its treatment of the ordeals that LGBTQ people went through during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and how this political crisis impacted the type of activism that the movement turned towards at the end of the century. Continue reading “Documentaries for Pride”

Now Showing: Artists and Their Works on Screen

We get it: you’re stuck. Your productivity levels are low, imagination exhausted, and creativity, well, not entirely there. Everybody has those days! Yes, even the great and genius creators of art in their prime. So take a seat, and watch their trials and successes unfold in these biopics available on Kanopy and Hoopla with your Seattle Public Library card. They might even help in getting you out of that rut.

Frida Movie PosterFrida Kahlo is depicted on Frida, in which the Mexican Surrealist painter’s life is explored–from her youth to her relationships with others, most notably with fellow artist Diego Rivera. It follows the triumphs and tragedies in her personal and professional abilities. The film received multiple nominations and awards in the United States and internationally.

Séraphine follows Séraphine Louis, a French painterSéraphine Movie Poster with humble beginnings. She regarded her painting to be an experience deeply inspired by religion and nature. When an art critic begins to encourage and support her talent, the painter’s circumstances improve, but not for long. The film received multiple César Awards, the French national film awards.

Loving Vincent Movie PosterLoving Vincent presents Vincent van Gogh’s life through the eyes of his acquaintances after the artist’s death. If you are not drawn in by the tragic story of van Gogh, the techniques used to produce the film might invite you to stay. Considered an animation, the movie itself is the combined effort of more than one hundred artists from around the globe, showing each frame as an oil painting on canvas in the same style as van Gogh. Continue reading “Now Showing: Artists and Their Works on Screen”

Films to inspire you to change the world: Recommended picks from Seattle’s Social Justice Film Festival

Books to Prisoners logoOur guest post today is thanks to Michelle Dillon, librarian for Seattle’s groundbreaking and award-winning Books to Prisoners, a non-profit organization that puts thousands of books into the hands of incarcerated individuals each year. Learn more about the importance of this work in promoting literacy and reducing recidivism in this recent article from The Guardian, and learn about how you can support this cause at the Books to Prisoners website.  – Editor

Filmmakers have precious few moments to motivate you: to make you laugh, to move you to tears, or to lay bare important issues. The most resonant movies are often those which challenge your perceptions and expand your understanding of society. Seattle’s upcoming Social Justice Film Festival, running October 14-25, brings together 52 films on global issues of worker rights, immigration, Indigenous rights, prisoner justice, Black Lives Matter, government surveillance, and much more. We are showcasing three selections from past years at the festival—each of which is available through the Seattle Public Library. These films shed light on urgent inequities—and might inspire you to take action in your own community. Continue reading “Films to inspire you to change the world: Recommended picks from Seattle’s Social Justice Film Festival”

Mary Ellen Mark: Eyeing Life

Follow us throughout the fall for posts which highlight library resources and information that support the Tiny: Streetwise Revisited exhibit at the Central Library and its community programming.

The undiffused difference between the placid suburb of her youth and the rough-edged city that surrounded it became quickly apparent. In she went with her lens widening as a jagged journey ensued. Lengths and dimensions of lives spread across cityscapes of lost dreams, nightmarish realities, and undying hope.

Pike
Tiny on Pike Street Seattle, Washington, 1983

Mary Ellen Mark made her mark when the book Streetwise was first published in 1988.  Within the reeking insides of a city, runaway children observed yet another stranger inserting herself into the frame of their lives.  Who else could she be except a question dangling itself before their eyes until it, too, disappeared after having received an answering look.

Look, I don’t have to tell you that in this world there are streets not meant to be crossed and sidewalks one dare not step onto less the last step at the far end of the block means curbing your own life. The innocent are not spared, the guilty go on to greater gory and there, midway, on that tumultuous street is a woman with a camera that haunts the harm.  She knows how, even absent the suburban enclave of a carefully manicured life, life remains hungry for itself.  A woman with a camera arrives a stranger and leaves with your face in her hands. Continue reading “Mary Ellen Mark: Eyeing Life”