Flaked Soundtrack Appreciation

Flaked_posterWe don’t have a cable television home, but the boyfriend and I do have Apple TV, so we like to occasionally choose a new show to watch together. He binge watches CSI when I work my late nights and I binge watch Shameless on my days off, but it’s nice to have something to enjoy together and discuss. He recently chose the Netflix series Flaked with Will Arnett. I was peacefully reading my book and got sucked in…especially by the music. The music put us on a mission; we needed these songs stat! We googled, we iTunes, we Spotify, we everything and that got me to thinking…I’m sure there are some wonderful library patrons that would enjoy these tunes as well, so I searched our catalog for what I could find so that you can build your own playlist until the soundtrack is officially released!

Happy listening: Continue reading “Flaked Soundtrack Appreciation”

Beyond Tea & Crumpets: Gritty Brits on DVD

Think of British TV mystery and you may conjure up images of teacup wielding dowager sleuths, peering through the foxgloves at some suspicious goings on about the Village green. Lord Peter Wimsey and Miss Marple. Arsenic and tweed. But there’s a whole other side to British Crime – a tough contemporary side where hardened detectives battle it out with society’s most depraved and disturbing felons on the streets. In addition to longer narrative arcs and fewer commercial interruptions, the British seem to have a knack for depicting compromised coppers with truly dark sides. American prime time TV might make much of hinting a detective’s brush with alcoholism or insanity; in British crime TV, it’s almost a given.  Here are some of my favorite gritty Brit crime shows.

Find The Commander in the Seattle Public Library catalog.Best known among these is probably Helen Mirren’s star turn as embattled detective Jane Tennison, struggling against twisted baddies and her own sexist colleagues in Prime Suspect. Fans of this might also enjoy another Lynda La Plante created series featuring a lady cop – Clare Blake – whose personal and professional lives get muddled in highly inappropriate ways: The Commander. Then there’s tenacious private eye Cordelia Gray, hero of An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, a series loosely based on the novel by P.D. James, and single mother DCI Janine Lewis juggling her messy life in Blue Murder.

Find Wire in the Blood in the Seattle Public Library catalog.Of course there are plenty of wonderfully messed up male detectives, from Robbie Coltrane’s a-bit-too-criminal psychologist Cracker to John Hannah’s portayal of Ian Rankin’s hardened Edinburgh detective John Rebus to Idris Elba as the brilliant but troubled John Luther whose ability to enter the criminal mind leaves him badly scarred. This is also the case with quirky genius Tony Hill in Wire in the Blood, based on one series by the prolific Scottish author Val McDermid. Then there’s the wonderfully twisted odd couple Dalziel & Pascoe, one bent the other a bit too straight, based on the novels of Reginald Hill.

My latest discovery while browsing the stacks was another Find Trial and Retribution in the Seattle Public Library catalog.Lynda La Plante series, Trial and Retribution, which has got some of the darkest crimes and wonderfully shocking scenes I’ve ever seen on TV (particularly one unforgettable bit in which Richard Grant playing a tortured manic schizoid presents DI Pat North with a little gift – a scene that made my wife leap off the couch and run around the house screaming), together with the usual assortment of battered, flawed detectives. We chain watched all five seasons, and can’t wait ’til more come out. In the meantime, I’ve just checked out Case Histories, based on the novels by Kate Atkinson. Not quite as dark, but it looks good. There’s also the cold case squad in Waking the Dead, and what I’ve seen so far compares well with the best American crime drama.

Fans of gritty crime psychodrama will find many other fine British series in our catalog, from The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, standalones based on Minette Walters’ The Sculptress or Val McDermid’s Place of Execution, and the wonderfully perplexing mini-series, Collision. (And yes, of course, we have Miss Marple too).

Long May You Run

Photograph courtesy of Rosemary Washington.

If the Solstice Parade and Pride festivities have you all worn out and you’re planning to take it easy next weekend, come on over to the Greenwood Car Show! Take a leisurely stroll down Greenwood Ave N. on Saturday, June 30th, where you’ll be able to drool over 1.5 miles of hot rods, collector cars, antique gems and modern masterpieces. While you’re there, swing by the Greenwood Library on 81st  and Greenwood Ave N., where we’ll be stocked up on car books and movies for all ages!

You can also get a head start by requesting some of these fun films today:

Photograph courtesy of Rosemary Washington.

Nothing says summer like a good old-fashioned car chase movie. The French Connection includes one of the most iconic car chases in film history, where a 1971 Pontiac Le Mans pursues an elevated train through Brooklyn. Or maybe it’s time to revisit Bullitt, in which Steve McQueen roars through the hills of San Francisco in a 1968 Ford Mustang, sealing his place as one of the coolest guys in film history. If you’re wondering where all the women are, look no further than Death Proof. One and a half hours of Quentin Tarantino’s trademark snappy dialogue concludes with one of the most thrilling and satisfying car chases ever. Honorable mention goes to the The Italian Job (1969), a silly British caper film involving three Mini Coopers. Compared to Mustangs and Pontiacs, these little cars are just so darn cute. Plus, they can weave through the buildings (and pipes!) of Turin like no other car can.

If one too many car chases has desensitized you to that kind of thrill, get your heart racing with a horror movie.  A product of Stephen King’s and John Carpenter’s sick imaginations, Christine is the love story of a teenager and his demonically possessed – and extremely possessive – 1958 Plymouth Fury. This unstoppable car from hell stops at nothing to make sure that no one gets between her and her man. Not scared yet? Try Duel, in which a mysterious tanker truck relentlessly stalks a single unlucky motorist down a remote road. The omnipresence of the tanker leaves little time to figure out WHY this is happening, and ultimately it is this lack of any kind of explanation that makes the pursuit so horrifying.

If you’re looking for less mayhem and more family-friendly viewing, try The Love Bug, which follows the adventures of Herbie, a VW Beetle who loves to race. And if you fall in love with this funny little car, there are several more Herbie movies to enjoy! The 60’s also produced such gems as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Absent-minded Professor, both of which involve offbeat gentlemen adapting their vehicles to do magical things. (Of course, if that’s what you’re looking for you could just watch Back to the Future for the millionth time). Sure, these aren’t as flashy as Speed Racer or Cars, but they’ll give you an evening of wholesome family fun nonetheless.

A wise man once said “cars are the dinosaurs of tomorrow,” and despite their powers to destroy all of mankind, both are still pretty cool. So snuggle up with a bowl of Orville Redenbacher and hunker down with a classic car or two.

See you at the Greenwood Car Show!

LGBT Pride

June is here, which means LGBT Pride Parades are taking to the streets of major cities, including ours: the Seattle Pride Parade and Seattle Pride Fest take place on the weekend of June 23-24! Names like Ellen, Harvey, Elton, Dan, and Wanda will float about, rekindling our knowledge of famous gays and lesbians throughout our rich history who have been out. However: did you know that Piotr Tchaikovsky, Dusty Springfield, Lorraine Hansberry, and Alan Turing identified as gay, lesbian, and bisexual? It’s true!

LGBT Display, Level 8, Seattle Public LibraryCome visit the Arts, Recreation, and Literature section on level 8 of the Central Library to learn about the spectrum of LGBT celebrities who were out and proud, known to be gay, and those who struggled with themselves and the limitations of the times they lived in. Movies, books, and even music CDs and feature films will be available for check out for you to (re)acquaint yourself with the LGBT experience.

At the Business, Science, and Technology section on level 7, we will display a history of the LGBT civil rights movement, and resources for individuals and their loved ones that offer information on navigating the process of coming out. We’ll even have materials on starting a family and caring for LGBT family members as they age.

Celebrate Pride with the Library this month! Also, celebrate a milestone with us and the country, as even the President has declared June to be LGBT Pride Month in the U.S.

A small sample of materials to pique your interest includes:

Fabulous! by Donald Reuter in the Seattle Public Library catalogFabulous! A Loving, Luscious, and Lighthearted Look at Film from the Gay Perspective. Donald F. Reuter’s semi-encyclopedic book gives synopses, light criticism, and the social implications of classic to modern films such as “Sunset Boulevard,” “Babe,” and even “Risky Business.”

Adoption by Lesbians and Gay Men: A New Dimension in Family Diversity. As acceptance of the LGBT community in the U.S. rises, so does LGBT parenting. Editors Adam Pertman and David Brodzinsky give LGBT parents-to-be tips, history, and recommendations for starting a new family.

M*A*S*H, Season 6. This season marks the arrival of out and proud actor David Ogden Stiers, who plays Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III.

Tegan & Sara: Sainthood. Known lesbian twins Tegan and Sara’s follow up album to “The Con” has tracks that “count as power-pop, but tightly wound as they are, they’re closer to high-strung 1980s new wave (think: Missing Persons).” (Klein, 2009)

• David Sedaris’ Live at Carnegie Hall. Sedaris’s live performance, captured as an audiobook, will make you laugh yourself off the road…or off the plane, if you’re not careful!

~Amy A., Central Library