The Artist

The Artist has become the first silent film to win the Oscar for Best Picture since 1929 when the film Wings won the award at the very first Oscars ceremony. For more great films of the silent era try some of these titles from the Library's collection:

Broken blossoms [videodisc] by United Artists — A young Chinaman in London's squalid Limehouse district hopes to spread the peaceful philosophy of his Eastern religion. There he befriends a pitiful street waif who is mistreated by her brutal father.

City lights [videodisc] by a comedy romance in pantomime written and directed by Charles Chaplin — A tramp wins the love of a blind flower girl and attempts to obtain money from a millionaire to help her regain her sight

David Kelly, 1929-2012

Veteran Irish actor David Kelly has passed away at the age of 82. Kelly was a familiar face in British television, as well as on the Irish stage. American audiences would most likely recognize him as Grandpa Joe in Tim Burton's adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or from his role in the Irish comedy Waking Ned Devine. For more films featuring David Kelly try one of these from the library's collection:

Greenfingers [videodisc]

Into the West [videodisc]

The Italian job [videodisc]

Stardust [videodisc]

25 New Documentaries You Shouldn't Miss

American teacher (DVD) [videorecording] — Profiles of four teachers in different areas of the country reveal the frustrating realities of today's teachers and the reasons why so many of our best educators leave the profession altogether.

At the edge of the world [videodisc] — The story of the efforts of the controversial Sea Shepherd Antarctic Campaign against a Japanese whaling fleet.

Billy the Kid [videodisc] — A fascinating look at the myth behind the man who in just a few short years transformed himself from a skinny orphan boy to the most feared man in the West.

Buck [videodisc] — The life and career of real life "horse whisperer" Buck Brannaman.

Ben Gazzara

Veteran stage and film actor Ben Gazzara died over the weekend. He was 81. Best known for his role in the classic film Anatomy of a Murder with James Stewart, he appeared in several notable films throughout his long career, including Husbands and The killing of a Chinese bookie with director John Cassavetes. He is also remembered for his starring role in the 1960s television series Run for Your Life in which he played a lawyer with a terminal illness determined to make the most of his remaining time. On stage, Mr. Gazzara originated the role of Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and was nominated for a Tony in 1955 for his performance in A Hatful of Rain. For a complete list of his films click here.

Black History Month

We owe the celebration of Black History Month to Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the son of slaves who went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. He launched Negro History Week in 1926 in order to bring national attention to the contributions of blacks throughout American history. Woodson chose the second week of February for this recognition because it marks the birthdays of two men whose lives greatly influenced the black American population — Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The celebration evolved into Black History Month in 1976.

Oscar Nominations

Nominations for the 84th annual Academy Awards were announced January 24. Several of the nominated films and performances are already available in the Library's collection. Among the nominees for Best Picture ready to check out are:

The Help [videodisc]

Midnight in Paris [videodisc]

Moneyball [videodisc]

The tree of life [videodisc]

Other Categories

Beginners [videodisc]

Bridesmaids [videodisc]

Ides of March [videodisc]

If You Like Downton Abbey

Set in an Edwardian country house in 1912, the popular PBS series Downton Abbey centers on the Crawley family, their servants and their life at their grand country home. However, the death of the Crawley heir aboard the Titanic, sets in motion a succession of changes for both the family and the servants. The second season — which began on PBS on January 8 — has moved forward to the years 1916-17 and portrays the effect that World War I has on all of their lives. This Emmy Award winning series is written by Julian Fellowes and stars Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, and Elizabeth McGovern. If you enjoy this period of history try some of the following titles.

Books

The American heiress: a novel by Daisy Goodwin — Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England.

Soon to be a Major Motion Picture

The past year saw several popular books made into movies. The Help, Moneyball, War Horse, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Extemely Loud & Incredibly Close were just a few of the titles that were made into successful films. And 2012 is shaping up to be just as full of books-into-film productions as 2011. Listed below are only a few of the titles to be released in theaters this year. Get a head start on your reading and stay tuned for more in the coming months!

Abraham Lincoln: vampire hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith — Starring Rufus Sewell and Dominic Cooper. Release date: June 2012

Breaking dawn by Stephenie Meyer — Part 2. Starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Release date: November 2012

North Korea's Kim Jong Il

The death of North Korea's controversial leader, Kim Jong Il, was announced earlier this week by DRPK state television. Although North Korean legend claimed that Kim was born on Mount Paekdu — a cherished Korean site — Soviet records indicate that he was born in Siberia in 1941. His father Kim Il Sung was a guerilla fighter who became a communist leader in Korea in 1945 after the defeat of Japan in World War II. After the Korean peninsula was divided into two states — the North, administered by the Soviets — and the South by the United States, the stage was set for the beginning of the Korean War. After the North invaded the South in 1950, three years of bloodshed ensued, killing millions and leaving the peninsula permanently divided to this day. Kim Jong Il became the country's "Dear Leader" in 1994 upon the death of his father. Kim Jong Il was widely criticized throughout the world for devoting much of his country's resources on building up its nuclear arms arsenal, while at the same time his countrymen were suffering from a prolonged famine. His youngest son, Kim Jong Un, has been designated as his successor.

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