Science Fiction Fridays: Happy 50th Anniversary Doctor Who!

Doctor Who is a British science-fiction show about a humanoid alien who travels through space and time with a companion (or two, hi Rory!) looking for adventure. On the eve of the show’s fiftieth anniversary it has never been more popular, especially in the United States. However, some of the show’s most ardent fans have avoided the massive back catalogue of the series’ initial run from 1963 to 1989, which is a shame. Admittedly none of the early Doctors were as adorable as David Tennant; nonetheless the show was often as witty, hilarious, and thought-provoking as its current iteration. Looking for a place to start with Classic Who? Try some of these serials available on DVD at your local library! Continue reading “Science Fiction Fridays: Happy 50th Anniversary Doctor Who!”

Happy Birthday Akira Kurosawa!

While Akira Kurosawa’s status as the greatest director of all time is debatable, we’re all agreed that Seven Samurai is the best movie ever made, right? Good, I’m glad we got that all squared away.

Ran--film in the Seattle Public Library catalogAkira Kurosawa was born 103 years ago today. A few short months later, in August of 1910, the University Branch of the Seattle Public Library opened in its current location. These two events alone are why 1910 is universally recognized as the greatest year in history. To celebrate Kurosawa, the branch is displaying films from the artist’s oeuvre, so come on by and pick up a copy of Ran or High and Low. Continue reading “Happy Birthday Akira Kurosawa!”

Paperback Readers

Although not nearly as famous as Paul McCartney’s “scrambled eggs” dream that resulted in the iconic “Yesterday,” the birth of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is equally interesting. Being the 1960s, George Harrison was really into the I Ching at the time (see also: Pattie Boyd and LSD). He vowed to write a song by opening a book at random and taking the first line he saw as inspiration. Well, forty-five years later the books at the University branch are returning the favor. Our August display is chock full of books and media that share titles with Beatles songs that perversely have nary a thing to do with the Fab Four.

There are books on travel (The Long and Winding Road), self-help (Think for Yourself) and cephalopods (The Octopus’s Garden). Fiction fans will happily see novels ranging from romance (Yesterday) to science fiction (Here, There & Everywhere). And of course, like life, everything must have an end – or in this case, The Ends. Lemony Snicket’s final unfortunate event snuggles up next to a book on last lines in cinema and a memoir about World War II.

Oh, and then there’s this:

So come on by and peruse our shelves. I dare you to walk out of the building without humming “Revolution 9.”

What’s your favorite Beatles song?
Hint: the correct answer is “Julia.”

               ~ Michael S, University Branch

See how pretty, see how smart

Well kids, the self-proclaimed “greatest band in the history of music,” the Melvins will once again be gracing Seattle with their exalted presence May 13 and 14. They will be playing some of their most esteemed works, including the albums Houdini and Stoner Witch, in their entireties. If you need to find me I’ll be front row, stage Buzz, as always.

In honor of their momentous return to our fair city, I present an archaeological expedition into all forms of media looking for clues to this band’s peerless artistry and volume. What books or films could influence such skilled musical craftsmen? Let’s find out! Continue reading “See how pretty, see how smart”

Sit Down with Stand-Ups

My colleagues inform me that March is the official month of mirth, a more depressing concept I truly cannot think of. Despite my enormous reservations with such a frivolously joyful demarcation (what next, Cake and Presents Day?!?), I resign myself to acknowledging such trivialities in my role of public servant.

So here we are. Mirth. Laughs. Jollies. Chortles and/or guffaws. Who better to administer a professional prescription of glee than stand-up comedians? It seems like two decades ago the apex of a comedian’s career was landing an eponymous sitcom on broadcast television. Since the sitcom is now a relic of simpler times the only recourse for gagsters appears to be quill and parchment. 

The funniest nail in the sitcom coffin has got to be Larry David’s HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm. Two of the show’s side-splittingly hilarious co-stars, Susie Essman and Jeff Garlin released books recently. Ms. Essman’s What Would Susie Say? takes its tone from the foul-mouthed, outspoken housewife she Continue reading “Sit Down with Stand-Ups”