rubydee

Known for her ground-breaking activism during the Civil Rights era, as well as her equally radical acting career, Ruby Dee died at the age of 91. She was one of the first black actresses to make her mark on Hollywood, along side her husband of over 55 years, Ozzie Davis. In the beginning of her career, as well as working with Davis, she often worked with Sidney Poitier, and later in life, she worked twice with Spike Lee and received her only Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actor, in 2007′s American Gangster, directed by Ridley Scott.

Check out these Ruby Dee movies at the Niles Public Library:

America

American Gangster (also on Blu-ray)

Betty and Coretta

Decoration Day

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maya

Maya Angelou has been a creative force to be reckoned with for decades. She was a poet, an activist, an author, a playwright, an actor, a film director, a professor, an inspirational speaker and a strong, fierce presence in the American cultural landscape. She was chosen by Bill Clinton to recite her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at his inauguration in 1993. She has honorary degrees from too many institutions to name and she has written seven autobiographical books on her life and work. Maya Angelou will be missed more than we know.

Check out these Maya Angelou movies at the Niles Public Library:

African American Lives 2 (Nonfiction)

As Seen Through These Eyes (Nonfiction)

Down in the Delta

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dramas2

The first part of this blog series featured Character Driven Procedural TV shows, and today I’ll focus on Plot Driven Procedural TV shows.

If you have flipped through the channels, you may have noticed already that the vast majority of plot driven procedurals are crime dramas. They are easy to follow and do not require viewers to make an appointment with their TV sets as is the case with serial dramas. Viewers can jump in at any point in the series to sample the type of show that they’d be watching. With any type of narrative, they have a beginning, middle, and end. Most if not all of the crime dramas close their case at the end and give viewers a sense of comfort or closure. They’re made to be fun and escapist entertainment. Once an episode ends, the same type of format starts all over again the following week: the crime is committed, the investigators are brought in and by episode’s end, the perpetrator is discovered and captured. And by then, you’ll have known the who, what, why and how of the crime. This explains why procedurals are the most popular format in TV today.

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dramas1

Television is a vast wasteland. With so many shows on right now, how do you know which one to choose from? Dramas and comedies are the most popular forms of genre. But within the context of dramas, what is the right show for you? This blog series is a handy guide to some of the most popular dramas (divided into subcategories: Character Driven Procedural, Plot Driven Procedural, Serial Dramas and Supernatural Dramas) currently airing today, some of which are based on ratings, others based on my recommendations. All of which are available either at the Niles Library (click on the link to access online catalog) or as interlibrary loan.

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Doctorwho_01

The much beloved British television series Doctor Who has been with us for 50 years. Debuting in 1963, this science fiction show about a time traveling alien ran for 26 seasons before ending in 1989. Reborn in 2005, the series is as popular as ever. The eighth season of the new series begins this fall, starring Peter Capaldi as the 12th version of the title character.

Originally conceived as a program to teach kids about science, Doctor Who has grown into an international geek culture juggernaut. In case you’ve never seen an episode, the lovably goofy and absurd Doctor looks human, but is really the last living Time Lord from the destroyed planet Gallifrey. He travels through both time and space in the TARDIS (a ship that looks like an old-fashioned British police emergency call box) but that is “bigger on the inside.” The Doctor looks great for his age (which fluctuates constantly from all that time travel, but is at least 1000 years) because any time his body is destroyed he simply regenerates in a new one. He loves earth and humans (and, hey, constant space and time travel must get lonely) so he is always recruiting a human companion or two to journey with him.

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bob-hoskins

You most likely will have seen him in a movie, even if you do not know the name. British actor Bob Hoskins might be most know for the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but his body of work, both on the big screen and the small screen, is vast. He worked on both American film, as well as keeping to his British roots by going back home often to do productions of the famed classics, such as 1999′s adaptation of David Copperfield. He will be missed here, across the pond, and all over the world.

Check out these Bob Hoskins movies at the Niles Public Library:

Beyond the Sea

Brazil

A Christmas Carol (2009) (J)

David Copperfield (1999)

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rooney

Mickey Rooney died on April 6, 2014 at the age of 93. Rooney’s career in Hollywood began early-on…he became a well-known child actor, with films like Manhattan Melodrama in 1934 and Reckless and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, both in 1935. But, he was most known from his work in the late 1930s and 1940s, especially for his Andy Hardy films with Judy Garland, with whom he also starred along in Babes in Arms, Girl Crazy, Babes on Broadway, Strike Up the Band, Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry and Words and Music. Rooney worked right up until the end, even having some projects in the works at the time of his death.

Check out these Mickey Rooney movies at the Niles Public Library:

The Atomic Kid

Babes in Arms

Babes on Broadway

Beach Blanket Bingo

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James Rebhorn

You might not know his name, but you will surely know his face. A veteran character actor that has starred in blockbusters, indie films, television and kids movies, James Rebhorn is one of Hollywood’s most unsung and unknown heroes. No matter how big or small the role, Rebhorn always pursued his roles with the same tensity and passion. The wonderful thing about character actors, as opposed to movie stars, is that they rarely get pigeon-holed in a type of role and are able to express their vast acting talents across all genres. That certainly applied to Rebhorn, who went from action to comedy to dramas with ease and skill. He will be missed!

Check out these James Rebhorn movies at the Niles Public Library:

An American Affair

Baby Mama

Basic Instinct

Bernard and Doris

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