Joe Mullarkey

Dead Man Walking

is one of the most acclaimed operas of the 21st Century. Now onstage at Chicago’s Lyric Opera in a new production, the cast includes mezzo-soprano Susan Graham who originated the lead role in the 2000 premiere production.

The library collection contains the source of the story, Sister Helen Prejean’s 1993 memoir of the same title and Tim Robbins’ film adaptation from 1995.

Prejean recently published a new memoir, River of Fire also available in our collection.

Dead Man Walking Read More »

“Who wants to be first?”

No one had to ask Alice Guy that question. She just was. In 1896 she made her first film and what is debated by film historians to be the first narrative film ever. Take a look at surviving footage of the 1900 remake:

No, your eyes don’t deceive you, those are babies being born in a cabbage patch. And how ’bout the size of those cabbages?

Alice Guy (click on her name for a summary of her career) became a known director in her native France. In 1907 she married coworker Herbert Blache and simply added his name on to hers. Not even a hyphen. The two transferred to the United States where she continued to make films.

Examples of her work are featured in two DVD sets in the library collection. [Click here to view.]

Last year saw the release of a documentary about Alice Guy Blache which is available through the library’s streaming service. [Click here]

A trailer for the documentary can be viewed here first.

“Who wants to be first?” Read More »

Why would this seemingly loving family “fake” a wedding?

And why do they appear so grim about it?

For the answer see The Farewell in theaters now or listen to writer/director Lulu Wang’s real-life story that inspired the film on a segment of This American Life

For another ‘faked’ Chinese wedding, check out award-winning director Ang Lee’s first feature film The Wedding Banquet (1993) from our collection.

And if these don’t sate your appetite for Chinese weddings, consider viewing, listening or reading the wildly popular Crazy Rich Asians available in our collection in DVD, eAudio and eBook formats.

Why would this seemingly loving family “fake” a wedding? Read More »

Malala Yousafzai wins Nobel Peace Prize

One of the most important international prizes, the Nobel Peace Prize, has been awarded to 17-year old Malala Yousafzai for her courage and resiliency. She is the youngest recipient ever in the Nobel Award’s history. The Nobel Prizes have been awarded since 1901. Click here to read the committee’s public statement about the 2014 award.

Watch ABC’s 20/20 profile on Ms. Yousafzai anytime/anywhere through the library’s steaming video service, then read her inspiring memoir, “I am Malala…” in the library’s collection.

Malala Yousafzai advocates

Malala Yousafzai wins Nobel Peace Prize Read More »

Asian Images in American Film pt.3 1982-1998

1982 is a watershed year in Asian-American cinema as Wayne Wang’s low-budget film Chan is Missing becomes an art house success and launches his directing career, including The Joy Luck Club (1993).  Bernardo Bertolucci’s international production of The Last Emperor (1987) brings western attention to several performers including Lisa Lu, Joan Chen and John Lone.


Chan is Missing (1982) National Film Registry (1995)
Gandhi (1982)  Academy Awards for Best Picture,  Best Actor Ben Kingsly and 6 other awards
The Karate Kid (1984)  Nominated Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Pat Morita
The Killing Fields (1984)  Academy Award Best Supporting Actor Haing S. Ngor and 2 other awards
The Last Emperor (1987) Academy Award for Best Picture and 8 other awards
Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1988) Nominated for Academy Award Best Documentary

India-born Mira Nair scores a 1991 hit movie with Mississippi Masala becoming the first Asian woman to do so in the states.  See also: The Perez Family (1995) and Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996).  Ang Lee begins his successful directing career with the comedies  The Wedding Banquet (1993) and Eat Drink Man Woman (1994). Chinese-American documentary filmmaker Arthur Dong creates films that look at the experiences of his ethnic heritage and those of his fellow lesbian and gay men including Coming Out Under Fire (1994),  Licensed to Kill (1997) and Family Fundamentals (2002). Deepa Mehta challenges gender roles internationally with her “elements” trilogy set in India:  Fire (1996), 1947 Earth (1998), and Water (2005).


Mississippi Masala (1991)
Mr. Baseball (1992)
The Joy Luck Club (1993)
M. Butterfly (1993)
The Wedding Banquet (1993) Nominated Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film
Coming Out Under Fire (1994)
Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)  Nominated Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film
The Perez Family (1995)
Fire (1996)
Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996)
Licensed to Kill (1997)  Sundance Film Festival 3 nominations, 2 wins
1947 Earth (1998)

Asian Images in American Film pt.3 1982-1998 Read More »

Asian Images in American Film pt. 2: 1919-1980

Despite the early success of Anna May Wong and Sessue Hayakawa in silent film  [See],  few significant roles were created for Asian performers and often large roles went to heavily made up non-Asian performers. This practice came to be known as ‘yellowface.’ Examples of this in the collection include:

Richard Barthelmess in Broken Blossoms or Yellow Man and the Girl (1919)
Warner Oland in Old San Francisco (1927) and Shanghai Express (1932)
Luise Rainer & Paul Muni in The Good Earth (1937)
Ricardo Montalban in Sayonara (1957)

Learn about the challenges and triumphs Asian male actors faced in Hollywood viewing the documentary The Slanted Screen (2006) Watch a preview clip here:

Films in the collection featuring Asian portrayals or performances include:

Broken Blossoms or, The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919)
The Dragon Painter (1919)
The Tong Man (1919)
The Toll of the Sea (1922)
The Thief of Bagdad  (1924)
Old San Francisco (1927)
Piccadilly (1929)
Shanghai Express (1931)
The Good Earth  (1937) Academy award for Best Actress,  Luise Rainer


In the late 1950’s Hollywood takes a greater interest in Asian portrayals and three stars emerge: Miyoshi Umeki, Nancy Kwan and James Shigeta. All three combine their talents in the film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Flower Drum Song (1961).
Miyoshi Umeki is the first Asian performer to win an Academy Award in 1958.

Bad Day at Black Rock  (1954)
The King and I (1956) Academy Award for Best Actor, Yul Brynner
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, Sessue Hayakawa
Sayonara (1957)    Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, Miyoshi Umeki
The Geisha Boy (1958)
South Pacific (1958)
The World of Suzie Wong (1960)
Bridge to the Sun  (1961)
Flower Drum Song (1961)
Enter the Dragon  (1973)

Bruce Lee Interview

Asian Images in American Film pt. 2: 1919-1980 Read More »

Native Americans and American Film: 100 Years cont’d

1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a landmark in American film as Native-born actor Will Sampson was cast in a significant role as a Native American. His success in film and television marks a turning point for Native and First Nations performers.

Director Michael Apted’s Incident at Oglala [documentary] and Thunderheart [feature film] (both 1992) question the conviction of Native American leader Leonard Peltier for the murder of two FBI agents near Oglala, SD in 1975.

Comité de Defensa de Leonard Peltier Thunderheart [DVD New]

Films written, produced and directed by Native Americans begin to appear in 1998 including Naturally Native, Smoke Signals (both 1998) and The Business of Fancydancing (2002).

Naturally Native        

Other films in the collection include:

Windwalker (1980)
Broken Rainbow  (1985) Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature
Dances With Wolves (1990)
Black Robe (1991)
In the White Man’s Image (1992)
The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
Ancestral voices [Power of the Word series pt.3]  (1994)
Dance Me Outside (1994)
Sioux City (1994)
Dead Man (1995)
Skins (2002)
DreamKeeper (2003)
Four Sheets To The Wind (2006)
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007)
Trail of Tears: A Native American Documentary Collection (2001-2008)
Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding School (2008)
We Shall Remain: America Through Native Eyes (2009)
Don’t Get Sick After June: American Indian Healthcare (2010)
A Good Day to Die  (2010)
Up Heartbreak Hill  (2011)

Books on Native Americans in film:

American Indians and Popular Culture / Elizabeth DeLaney Hoffman, editor  (2012)
Injuns!’ : Native Americans in the movies / Edward Buscombe (2006)
Visualities : perspectives on contemporary American Indian film and art /edited by Denise K. Cummings (2011)

Native Americans and American Film: 100 Years cont’d Read More »

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…long before ‘glee’ “

The young Mickey Rooney’s answer to all problems was,

“Hey kids, let’s put on a show!”

The library collection contains 4 of what MGM deemed his “Backyard Musicals”:

Babes in Arms (1939)
Strike Up the Band (1940)
Babes on Broadway (1941)
Girl Crazy (1943)

In the Greatest Classic Legends: Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland set.

Then travel through time and space to the New York High School for the Performing Arts with 1980’s Fame and reset the Way-back Machine to 2003 and enjoy Camp.

Sing out, but sing loud!

Babes in Arms Poster Movie 27 x 40 In - 69cm x 102cm Mickey Rooney Judy Garland Charles Winninger Guy Kibbee June Preisser Grace Hayes 1 of 1 fame poster   File:Camp.jpeg

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…long before ‘glee’ “ Read More »

National Poetry Month: A Poem A Day?

Consider celebrating National Poetry Month by reading a poem a day! (Click on titles for location and availability)

The library has many poetry anthologies including:

180 more : extraordinary poems for every day / selected and with an introduction by Billy Collins
The Best American Poetry annual allows an accomplished poet to to review and anthologize published poems of the previous year.

The Yale Series of Younger Poets features an established poet choosing from collections of poems submitted by poets new in their careers.

Poetry volumes recently added to the collection include:

Blood dazzler : poems / Patricia Smith
Collected poems / May Swenson
Collected poems 1996-2011 / W. S. Merwin
Jack Kerouac : collected poems / Jack Kerouac
Metaphysical dog / Frank Bidart
My mother’s artwork : a poetry chapbook / poetry by Caroline Muller Johnson
Schtick : “these are the poems, people” / Kevin Coval
Testimony, a tribute to Charlie Parker : with new and selected jazz poems / Yusef Komunyakaa

Hear & see poetry read by poets by viewing:

 The power of the word/ with Bill Moyers

Enjoy performance poetry viewing:

Russell Simmons presents def poetry. Season 1
Russell Simmons presents Def poetry. Season 2

Learn techniques of performance poetry by viewing:

Spoken word– the power of poetics/ directed, photographed, written and edited by James Seligman
Spoken word– the power of performance/ directed, photographed, written, and edited by James Seligman

Spread the word!

national poetry month

National Poetry Month: A Poem A Day? Read More »

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