Category: TV

The Fashions of Turn

By , July 24, 2014

AMC’s hit new series Turn has created a renewed interest in the colonial period including its fashions. Turn, based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring, tells the story of the Culper Ring and the part they played in aiding  the colonies’ liberation from England.  Turn’s Emmy award winning costume designer Donna Zakowska, makes the show’s colonial period fashions sophisticated in a contemporary way.

The library has many amazing books in its fashion history collection. If you would like to learn more about the clothing worn during the colonial period then you may want to take a look at the following titles:

 

The History of American Dress: the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods

By  Alexander Wyckoff

This oldie but goodie is packed with rich historical details depicting the clothing worn by men, women and children during the American Revolution. Drawings showcase every aspect of the clothing worn, from the men’s wigs, to the shape of the heel on children’s shoes. This book is a must read for fashion history fans.

 

  Everyday Dress of Rural America, 1783-1800: with Instructions and Patterns

By Merideth Wright

This slim volume is a “comprehensive study of late-18th-century clothing worn by the settlers of New England. Features full descriptions and line drawings with complete instructions for duplicating a wide range of garments from: shifts, petticoats, gowns, breeches, waistcoats and headgear.”

 

 Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries

By Avril Hart and Susan North

This book is filled with large, beautiful, color photographs of fashions from the historical costume collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Each featured piece includes a detailed photo and description of the item and a drawing of the garment to better understand its overall construction. This book is amazing don’t miss it!

 

 What Clothes Reveal: the Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America: the Colonial Williamsburg Collection

by  Linda Baumgarten

“Drawing on the costumes and accessories in the Colonial Williamsburg collection, Linda Baumgarten examines how Americans of all classes dressed in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Topics range from the work clothes of slaves to the elegant, high-style attire of the gentry. What people wore during significant life passages and the social contexts of such apparel are fully and engagingly discussed.”  This book features tons of lovely photographs of American colonial fashions.

 

 

-Karen

 

 

 

 

TV series review: Broadchurch

By , July 11, 2014

Broadchurch. the Complete First Season
Starring Olivia Colman and David Tennant

Were you a fan of the 2013 mystery event series Top of the Lake?  Can’t stop talking about season one of True Detective?  Then I urge you to add Broadchurch to your viewing list.

Broadchurch is an idyllic, quaint little seaside town in England shocked and torn apart by the murder of one of its own – an eleven-year-old boy named Danny Latimer.  Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller must assist her new boss Detective Inspector Alec Hardy in the investigation.  DS Miller, who grew up in Broadchurch and is liked by all, was looked over for the promotional position Hardy now occupies.  DI Hardy, the moody and broody outsider, joins the Broadchurch force after botching up the investigation of another recent child murder case.

The characters in Broadchurch are complicated and no one appears completely innocent of Danny’s murder.  In fact, the series kept me guessing until the very last episode.  If you’ve read my previous reviews, you know I absolutely adore David Tennant, and I’m really glad to see him in this serious role.  Another David Tennant project to look out for is  The Escape Artist, a recent feature on Masterpiece Mystery.

Broadchurch is being remade by an American TV network, which is nothing new.  However, what is unusual is the fact that David Tennant will be playing the detective in charge once again.  The series, now called Gracepoint, will air on the Fox network sometime this fall.  Gracepoint promises to include new twists and turns, offering a fresh viewing experience to those who enjoyed Broadchurch.  As long as David Tennant stars, I’ll definitely be watching!

 

Orange is the New Black

By , May 31, 2014
The second season of Orange is the New Black will be released on Netflix this Friday, and I’ll be binge-watching along with rest of us on the outside.  If you missed the first season, it was as fun and engaging as television can be, and you can catch up by placing your holds on the DVD’s here.

While some may criticize the accuracy of how it portrays life in prison, one cannot deny that it starts a conversation about the conditions and power dynamics in our nation’s prisons that, to most of us, remain invisible. The library helps bring the conversation to the community by providing the materials needed to help round out the picture.  Netflix may have perfected binge watching, but libraries have long been enablers of binge reading (are those 100 book check-out limits just a rumor?)  If you’re looking to delve a little deeper, here are some places to start:

If you weren’t aware, Orange is the New Black (the show) takes its title from the best-selling memoir by Piper Kerman, and loosely follows her experiences in women’s prison. In addition to paperback copies, the audio book is now available for download instantly from Hoopla (where you can also check out the soundtrack).  For book clubs, you can get everything you need in one bag with our Book Club in a Bag (10 copies, plus discussion questions and an author bio).

 

A World Apart : Women, Prison, and Life Behind Bars : While Kerman writes about her experience at a women’s minimum security prison, this exposé sheds light on one of the longest running women’s prisons in the country and serves to humanize its inmates

 
 
 

Assata : An Autobiography by Assata Shakur : A rare modern classic that is also a page turner.  Full of gripping descriptions and biting criticism, by a controversial figure and the grandmother of Tupac Shakur, dealing with issues of race, gender, and incarceration.

 
 
 

Herman’s House :  Herman Wallace made news last year when he was released after 41 years of solitary confinement and died just three days later, a free man.  This documentary deals with the practice of long term solitary confinement (called Solitary Housing Units, or “the SHU,” on Orange is the New Black) and the transformative power of art.  Available on DVD and streaming on Hoopla.

TV series review: The Fall

By , January 10, 2014

The Fall. Series 1
Created by Allan Cubitt

Scully* is back and she totally kills it in the new BBC crime drama The Fall!

Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson is called away from London to  review the handling of a murder investigation led by police in Northern Ireland. Gibson quickly finds procedural mistakes, and evidence that another recent murder may make this the work of a serial killer.  When yet another victim is discovered, Gibson is put in charge of the investigation.

The Fall is not a whodunnit.  From the very first episode you know who is doing the killing.  Irish actor Jamie Dornan portrays Paul Spector  – a married father of two, who works part-time as a grief counselor and full-time as a murdering psychopath.  An interesting subplot in The Fall involves corruption on the police force, which ends (slight spoiler here) in a very shocking scene at the precinct…  And since this series is set in Belfast, the past political tensions of Northern Ireland are a subtext to the unfolding events.

Fans of Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison in TV series Prime Suspect will especially be interested in The Fall.  And for those who are waiting for the Fifty Shades of Grey film,  you’ll want to watch Jamie Dornan in The Fall to experience his potential to play that troubled, dark character Christian Grey.

So check out The Fall, and lets talk after you see the finale! Season 2 is scheduled  to begin filming in February.

 

 

*I know Gillian Anderson isn’t Scully.  I’m paying tribute to a gag featured on SNL when Ron Howard hosted an episode in the early 80′s.  In one sketch Eddie Murphy kept referring to him as  Opie Cunningham, much to Mr. Howard’s chagrin.  And while we’re on topic, why hasn’t Gillian Anderson ever hosted SNL?  Let’s all write to Lorne Michaels!

TV series review: Family Tree

By , December 13, 2013

Family Tree. The complete first season.
Created by Christopher Guest and Jim Piddock.

Yikes!  We’re right in the midst of Holiday Season 2013.  If you’re looking for something to pass the time during those more awkward family gatherings, I highly recommend a group viewing of the mockumentary series Family Tree. (The family that laughs together, stays together, am I right?)

The plot revolves around Tom Chadwick (Chris O’Dowd), a 30 year old Englishman who’s hit a bit of bad luck.  Not only has Tom lost his job, his girlfriend unceremoniously dumped him.  When he inherits a box of family heirlooms from a recently departed great aunt, Tom decides to research his family tree.

That’s all you really need to know to start watching the series.  But let me gush a bit about the outstanding cast!  Michael McKean sports a great Cockney accent as Tom’s father, Nina Conti incorporates her deadpan ventriloquist skills as Tom’s eccentric sister, actor Tom Bennett provides a little Mighty Boosh-inspired humor as character Tom’s best friend Pete the zookeeper, and series creators Christopher Guest and Jim Piddock both appear in hilarious supporting roles; Guest as an American cousin, and Piddock as a London antiques dealer.  Guest project regulars Ed Begley Jr. and Fred Willard enter the action when Tom travels to Los Angeles to meet his American cousins.

While watching Family Tree it occurred to me the series tickles the same funny bone that both  Modern Family and perennial holiday favorite  National Lampoon’ s Christmas Vacation hit every time I watch them.  Everyone’s family ranks on the offbeat scale, and that’s why movies and TV series featuring families can be so entertaining.

Enjoy the rest of Holiday Season 2013.  Have fun, be safe, and above all, be good to one another.  May 2014 be our best year yet!

 

 

 

DVD review: Top of the Lake

By , December 10, 2013

Top of the Lake

If you need more evidence that cream of the crop dramatic narrative lives in series TV these days and not movies, look no further than the miniseries Top of the Lake. The latest project from New Zealand auteur Jane Campion (if you’re not a film nerd you still remember The Piano right?), Top of the Lake features Detective Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss) trying find Tui (Jacqueline Joe) a tween age girl that goes missing after discovering she is pregnant. Tui claims to have no idea who the father is before she goes disappearing into the woods. All the clues point towards Matt (Peter Mullan), Tui’s own father and local big man with as many criminal connections as illegitimate children. Matt’s sway over the rural community is challenged by the appearance of G.J. (Holly Hunteroh yeah I remember The Piano now), a perplexing guru who has set up all female commune on an idyllic lakeside plain, the traditional stomping ground of Matt and his family. Detective Griffin is stuck in the middle. She has affinities for G.J. and her followers but she has tasked herself with solving the case by the book – not only to rescue Tui and her baby, but to spite a patriarchal police force whose good old boys ties with Matt and his gang reek of corruption.

There’s evil in the woods. The lake and the wilderness are as much a part of the story as any of the human characters. It is nothing short of Twin Peaks New Zealand, but where Twin Peaks’ palette is warm, Top of the Lake’s palette is cool. Where Twin Peaks is ironic, Top of the Lake is realistic. Since Mad Men devolved into Dallas, I know I’ve been dying to see Elizabeth Moss go toe to toe with sexist meatheads again. Peter Mullan’s turn as Matt, a conflicted ball of neuroses about to burst at the seams, is the tightest, most engrossing performance of a royal baddest dad since Tony Soprano. (Anyone who thought I was going to write “Walter White” can go watch Sons of Anarchy while drinking beer out of a can.) With astonishing cinematography usually reserved for feature films and powerhouse performances, Top of the Lake deserves to be at the top of your holds queue.

Downton Abbey Season 4 the Countdown Begins…

By , November 7, 2013

Less than two months to go before season 4 of Downton Abbey premiers on PBS on Sunday, January 5, 2014 and to get you into the swing of all things Downton we have…

 

 

 

 

The Series:

Downton Abbey Season  1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Downton Abbey Season  2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Downton Abbey Season  3

 

 

 

 

 

 



Downton Abbey
Season  4

 

 

 

 

 

Downton Abbey Books:

Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey: the Official Backstage Pass to the Set, the Actors and the Drama

By Emma Rowley

 

Below Stairs: the Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir That Inspired “Upstairs, downstairs” and “Downton Abbey”

By Margaret Powell

 

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey

By Jessica Fellowes and Matthew Sturgis

 

 

Downton Abbey: the Complete Scripts. Season one

By Julian Fellowes

 

 

Downton Abbey Script Book: Season 2

By Julian Fellowes

 

 

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: the Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle

By The Countess of Carnarvon

 

 

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey

By The Countess of Carnarvon

 

 

Life Below Stairs: True Lives of Edwardian Servants

By Alison Maloney

 

 

Secrets of Highclere Castle DVD

By PBS

 

 

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook : From Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas Pudding : More Than 150 Recipes From Upstairs and Downstairs

By Emily Ansara Baines

 

Upstairs & Downstairs: an Illustrated Guide to the Real World of Downton Abbey

By Sarah Warwick

 

 

The World of Downton Abbey

By Jessica Fellowes

 

 

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey

By Wendy Wax

 

 

Downton Abbey Soundtracks:

Downton Abbey: the Essential Collection

Downton Abbey: Original Music from the Television Series

 

Enjoy!

 

-Karen

 

 

 

 

TV series review: Jack Irish

By , November 5, 2013

Jack Irish. Set 1 (featuring the TV movies Bad Debts & Black Tide)
Based on the novels by Peter Temple

Move over Jack Reacher, here comes Jack Irish! Actually, the two characters would probably enjoy working together, but I’ll leave the fan fiction mash-up to more capable hands…  If you like to read or watch thrillers, you must add Peter Temple’s Jack Irish novels and movies to your list.

So who is Jack Irish?  He’s a criminal defense attorney living in Melbourne, Australia.  After a crazed ex-client murders his wife, Irish quits his law practice, and drinks heavily in grief.  But Irish turns his life around: he becomes an apprentice to a master wood worker, and chooses a new controversial career path – becoming a debt collector for an affable gangster with a “special” interest in horse racing.

In Bad Debts, Irish receives a mysterious message from a former client, who turns up dead.  As he begins to look into the death of his ex-client, Irish discovers shocking corruption.  In Black Tide, Irish puts his lawyer hat back on to help his own late father’s friend find his missing son and save his family home.  But it’s not so simple as a missing person case – international drug trade and dirty real estate deals make for another thrilling ride.  In amongst the suspense are quite tender and funny moments at the local pub, a hangout for a lovable group of old guys passionate about their football team.

I’ve yet to read one of Peter Temple’s novels, but considering how fantastic these two Jack Irish stories play out in the movies, I’m convinced the source material is outstanding!  Guy Pearce and the rest of the cast, many veterans of Australian TV, are absolutely amazing in these two movies.  Dead Point, the third Jack Irish TV movie, should premiere in 2014.

Library things I will not be enjoying today.

By , November 2, 2013

Here are some great things from the library that I will not be enjoying today:

1) Downloading “Wrecking Ball” from freegal. I’m not the biggest Miley fan, but when this song comes on the radio I love to turn it up and sing along (this might be because it’s so overly dramatic it’s funny than because it’s poignantly emotional…just saying…). Now you can own it yourself for the low, low price of free. Let the wre…eck…ecking begin.

 

 

2) Reading the Bride Quartet books on my Kindle.

Like Nora Roberts? Me too. Well, actually I really like JD Robb, but those two are so close they’re like twins (ahem). The fun part about being able to download them from Overdrive to my Kindle is that I get all four for the price of 1! There’s no waiting in between each book to see how things turn out. Thanks Overdrive and NPL! You guys are the best. Too bad my day is booked…

 

 

3) Watching Glee Season 4.

New York. Ohio. Cory Montieth’s final season. How will it all work out? I must admit I’ve fallen behind on my Glee. Sigh. There are only so many hours in a day. But thanks to the library, I have the whole season just waiting for me to check it out. But it will just have to wait. Today I have bigger things to do…

 

 

Like what, you might ask? Well, since you brought it up, I am getting married today (and cue the brass band)! So I won’t be at work to see your smiling face, but come on in any way. Check out a couple of things and we’ll chat when I get back. I’m sure I’ll have some interesting stories to tell from the reception…

Happy listening/reading/watching/singing along,

:) Amanda

TV review: Duck Dynasty

By , August 10, 2013

Duck Dynasty Season One

What in the world is up with all these Duck people everywhere? I kept hearing about this Duck Commander thing. My first thought: not interested. There are even two books out: The Duck Commander Family and Happy, Happy, Happy. Still not sold. But when a guy in my Sunday School class mentioned it, I changed my mind thinking “Ok, I have got to figure out what all the hoopla is about.”

Basic premise: backwoods Louisiana rednecks make a fortune from the family company of making duck calls. The company is called Duck Commander. But most of the guys who make the duck calls would rather be hunting or blowing things up.

This show should not be so charming, but it pulls you in. These people may not be the most cultured, but they are still good people (although if Uncle Si was my uncle, I’d probably want to lock him in the closet. I’m just saying…). When was the last time you watched a reality TV show and there were no bleeped out cuss words?  And I really like how Phil ends each episode with the family sitting down to dinner for a meal and a prayer.

In this day and age of “quality” entertainment consisting of a bunch of trashy folks getting drunk and partying, it’s nice that a show can depict a solid, if not crazy, family. I will certainly be coming back for Seasons 2 & 3.

Happy watching…

:) Amanda

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