Sunday, October 31, 2010

Favorite Halloween TV episodes

When I was little I, like, worshipped Halloween. And truthfully, part of me still does. 'Cause it's your one chance all year to be someone else.
~Angela Chase, My So-Called Life

My So-Called Life
Episode 9: "Halloween" (1994)
Find it in the catalog!
Angela (Claire Danes), dressed in clothes from the 1960s, keeps seeing a deceased student, Nicky Driscoll, around the high school, and feels the need to help him, just like she's trying to help Jordan (Jared Leto) stick with his classes. Danielle (Lisa Wilholt) goes trick-or-treating with Angela's former best friend Sharon (Devon Odessa) and end up having a great time. Angela, Rayanne (AJ Langer), and Brian (Devon Gummersall) break into the school at night hoping to see the ghost of Driscoll, and Rayanne and Brian get trapped in the janitor's closet. Angela's parents Graham (Tom Irwin) and Patty (Bess Armstrong) are overcome with passion after putting on their Halloween costumes (a pirate and Rapunzel).
Best costume: (tie) Danielle, dressed as her older sister Angela & Rickie, dressed as fellow student Brian Krakow

Will & Grace
Season 1, episode 5: "Boo! Humbug" (1998)
Find it in the catalog!

Will (Eric McCormick) and Grace (Debra Messing) plan to have a night in on Halloween watching movies, but at the last minute Will's client Harlan sticks him with babysitting his kids. For the duration of the episode neither child speaks-- they just sit on the couch with their masks on the entire time.
Best costumes: Harlan's kids as Richard Nixon and a bumble bee

Freaks and Geeks
Episode 3: "Tricks and Treats" (1999)
Find it in the catalog!

High school freshman Sam (John Daley) looks forward to trick-or-treating with friends Bill (Martin Starr), Neil (Samm Levine), and Harris (Stephen Lea Sheppard), and they all put careful time into their costumes. Mrs. Weir (Becky Ann Baker) is excited to hand out treats with daughter Lindsay (Linda Cardellini). But Halloween doesn't meet anyone's expectations-- at the last minute Lindsay ditches her mother to hang out with friends in the "freak" crowd, who are knocking down mailboxes, smashing pumpkins, and egging people; all the trick-or-treaters are throwing out Mrs. Weir's homemade pumpkin cookies; and Sam and his friends have a horrible time trick-or-treating, the worst being when Lindsay eggs her brother Sam.
Best costume: Bill as the Bionic Woman, not only because of his attention to detail in the costume itself, but because of how much he immerses himself into the role of Jamie Sommers. "These aren't bionic, they're all me!" He's also unintentionally creepy.

The Office
Season 2, episode 5: "Halloween" (2005)
Find it in the catalog!
It's the end of the month and Michael (dressed as a two-headed version of himself) must fire someone, but he's not sure who, and stresses about his decision all day long. My favorite scene is when Michael questions Dwight (dressed as a Sith Lord) about who to fire. Michael acts as though he is consulting his second head about possibly firing Dwight. The camera cuts back and forth between two-headed Michael and the black-hooded, intense Dwight who exclaims, "Quiet, you!" trying to silence Michael's mini head.
Best costume: Dwight as a Sith Lord

Mad Men
Season 3, episode 11: "The Gypsy and the Hobo" (2009)
Find it in the catalog!
Don (Jon Hamm) tells Betty (January Jones) the truth about his past and his family. Halloween features into the background instead of being the focus of the show. This episode makes my list because I love the line at the show's very end, directed at Don as he accompanies his kids Sally (a gypsy) and Bobby (a hobo) while they trick-or-treat. After commenting on Sally and Bobby's costume a neighbor looks at Don and asks, "And who are you supposed to be?"
Best costume: Dick Whitman as Don Draper (okay, not really a costume but I couldn't resist)

Parks and Recreation
Season 2, episode 7: "Greg Pikitis" (2009)
Not yet on DVD
Ann (Rashida Jones) throws a very dull Halloween party, and the very person she hoped to avoid, rapper-wannabe Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), comes to the rescue by livening things up with music and dancing. Leslie (Amy Poehler) is on the alert to prevent high school student Greg Pikitis from continuing a tradition of vandalizing a statue in the park.
Best costume: Tom as T-Pain

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dress up like the Black Keys

We here at the Media Blog are pretty big fans of the Black Keys.  So when, the Keys started selling a dress-up kit on their website for Halloween, we could not resist the temptation to impersonate the Akron, Ohio duo for a day.  Apparently, we are not alone as the Keys have recently posted a  look-a-like contest on their website that runs through November 4.  Below are photographs of the Media Blog staffers doing their best to be Black Keys doppelgangers:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Spectres Reveal Themselves!

- Ghost Busters, 1984

Thanks to an experimental new photography method, one so highly technical that I can't go into it here, we are able to provide you with actual physical images of the apparitions haunting your local library. I must warn you, these images may be unsettling for some of you. Think twice before following the link.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip at the Aragon Ballrom, 10/25/10

New York City-based indie dance punk outfit LCD Soundsystem played a sold-out show at Uptown's Aragon Ballroom this Monday.  UK electropop band Hot Chip opened for the show. I like both bands and their music seemed complementary, so I was excited to get to see them both together.

I hadn't been to the Aragon Ballroom in several years and I was surprised by how much bigger it is than most of the other indie rock venues in Chicago.  It is at least four times as big as my most frequently visited venue, the Metro.  Aragon is somewhat dubiously known for having poor sound quality.  This was more apparent during the Hot Chip set, where the bass seemed to overtake the rest of the music. Parking was also more expensive than most other venues, a hefty 20 dollars for a spot at any of the nearby private lots.

Hot Chip took the stage almost immediately at 8 PM and played for about an hour.  Their set started out somewhat low-energy and with a bass-dominated, muddled sound.  However, their performance improved greatly through out the evening.  Standouts included "Over and Over" from their 2006 album The Warning, and "A Touch Too Much" and "Ready for the Floor" from Made in the Dark (2008). The highlight of the set for me was the fancy footwork by the band's sharply dressed multi-instrumentalist Owen Clarke.  He is truly the Justin Hammer of Hot Chip.

It was uncomfortably warm during the Hot Chip set, and once people had packed in for LCD Soundsystem, it became practically a sauna.  However, lack of room and high temperatures did not stop anyone from dancing.  LCD Soundsystem opened with an awesome rendition of "Dance Yrself Clean."  Their set list drew equally from all three of their albums and they played pretty much every song you could expect or want.  Their sound fared much better than Hot Chip; it was super loud, but the guitar and drums stood out as much as the bass.  However, singer and band leader James Murphy's onstage comments were barely audible.

Upcoming movies at the Dundee Library

The Shining (R)
Tuesday, October 26 at 6 PM
Catch a Classic at the Library: Stephen King Adaptations

The Shawshank Redemption (R)
Thursday, November 18 at 6 PM
The final installment in our Catch a Classic at the Library: Stephen King Adaptations series.

How to Train Your Dragon (PG)
Saturday, November 20 at 2 PM
I'm expecting this to be a popular one, so arrive early to get your popcorn and save your seats. I will also be giving away an awesome How to Train Your Dragon movie poster at this screening!

Robin Hood (PG-13)
Tuesday, November 23 at 6 PM

All movies are shown in the downstairs Meeting Room. Free popcorn and refreshments are served at each movie screening. The Meeting Room door opens 30 minutes before the movie's start time. Children under the age of 9 must be accompanied by an adult.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Strange Happenings

"Symmetrical book stacking. Just like the Philadelphia mass turbulence of 1947."
- Ghost Busters, 1984
As even a non-Ghost Busting scientist can tell you, no human being would stack books this way. It's illogical and frankly not something a mortal being is capable of. So, we couldn't help being alarmed when these seemingly random symmetrical book stackings began to crop up around the library. We've chosen to document this paranormal activity. You know, for science. See the spine-tingling photos below for what can only be concrete evidence of the supernatural at work. (We have ruled out the possibility of smarmy, egg-headed librarian humor. It couldn't be that.) Stay tuned for further paranormal developments.

* Note: The signs referencing the eerie similarity to Ghostbusters were added by library staff.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Men of Style: The Ornette Coleman Quartet

Let's be clear, it's the music that's important. Ornette Coleman has influenced generations of musicians with his powerfully liberated solos, and his mid-century work in particular pushed jazz - and popular music generally - to ever more avant-garde extremes. Mike Davis, in his Los Angeles history City of Quartz, aptly described Coleman as a "cultural guerrilla." So, yes, I encourage you to seek out The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959) and Change of the Century (1960) for the revolutionary aural content of the recordings themselves. But, I also want you to look at the album covers. I can't think of a more illustrative document of men dressed "correctly" than the album cover of the Coleman Quartet's This is Our Music (1961). Coleman, drummer Ed Blackwell, trumpeter Don Cherry, and bassist Charlie Haden are elegantly dressed in trim dark suits, slim ties, and narrow collars. Their appearance makes it plain that these gentlemen mean business, even if you've yet to hear a note of their music.

Men who set the standard:


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What we're listening to: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World soundtrack

Find it in the catalog!

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is one of my favorite movies this year and one of the reasons is due to its music. In the movie, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) plays bass in the band Sex Bob-Omb along with friends Stephen (Mark Webber) on guitar and Kim (Allison Pill) on drums. The soundtrack includes all the songs I enjoyed so much in the movie. The biggest highlights are the Sex Bob-Omb songs: "We Are Sex Bob-Omb," "Garbage Truck," "Threshold," and "Summertime." I love that the CD includes Scott's hastily made intro to "Thresold," which comes at a point in the movie where it appears that Sex Bob-Omb is about to be beaten during Battle of the Bands by the Katayanagi Twins: "We are Sex Bob-Om and we're here to make you sad and think about death and stuff!" The actors actually perform their own songs, and if you read the credits closely you will see that Beck also plays on the songs.

The soundtrack even includes the hilariously short, three second-long "I'm So Sad, So Very, Very, Sad" by Crash and the Boys (performed by Erik Knudsen and Broken Social Scene). Broken Social Scene also has the song "Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl" included. The 8-bit version of "Threshold" is fun because the music sounds like you're playing a video game. Another of my favorites is Metric's "Black Sheep," performed in the movie by Scott's ex, Envy, and her band Clash at Demonhead.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World disappeared pretty quickly from theaters but I predict this is a movie that will gain a cult following from repeated viewings. I'll write more about its great cast, funny script, and awesome directing after its November 9 DVD release and for my Best of 2010 list. Until Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is released on DVD, be sure to check out the soundtrack.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Actress to watch: Emma Stone

I think Emma Stone is one of the more talented young actresses working today. She currently stars in the comedy Easy A. Stone plays intelligent (and invisible) high school student Olive, who tells a lie to her best friend about losing her virginity. The lie is overheard and then spreads around school. Other students begin noticing her for the wrong reasons and Olive feeds the rumor mill as she agrees to pretend to have slept with nerdy, unpopular students. She embraces her bad reputation by wearing an A on her clothes to see what it feels like to be an outcast like in the book The Scarlett Letter. Stone is wonderful in the movie, and I especially enjoyed the scenes where she interacted with her parents (played by Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci). Daily Herald film critic Dann Gire deems her performance worthy of an Oscar nomination ("Emma Stone should be on short list of Oscar nominees").

Saturday, October 23 she will host Saturday Night Live. Stone has also been cast in the film version of the popular Kathryn Stockett novel The Help, and it has been confirmed that she will play the role of Gwen alongside The Social Network's Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker in the next Spider-Man films. Check out her earlier work:

Superbad (2007)
Find it in the catalog!
High school students Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) look forward to going to Jules' (Stone) party. Seth has a crush on Jules and wants to impress her by buying the alcohol, which they think they'll have no problem doing thanks to the new fake ID of their friend Fogel aka McLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). When the guys finally make it to her party Seth finds out that Jules wasn't too concerned about the alcohol (she doesn't even drink!) and really was just looking to hang out with him.

The House Bunny (2008)
Find it in the catalog!
The Zeta Alpha Zeta sorority, so unpopular it only has seven members, is on the verge of losing its charter. The members are clueless about how to talk to the opposite sex, and the other Greek organizations on campus make fun of them. Stone plays sorority sister Natalie, who decides to let former Playboy bunny Shelby (Anna Faris) come in to the sorority as their new house mom and help them fund raise and recruit pledges. The comedic chemistry between Stone and Faris is great. Natalie's awkwardness shows through in Stone's facial expressions, body language, and pure enthusiasm for activities no one else really understands. For example, Natalie's fundraising ideas for the sorority include starting a bee keeping club, paleolithic bake sale, and BYOM (bring your own mouse) party, where everyone would dress up mice. Her delivery, facial expressions, and arm movements are hilarious when she's trying too hard to be cool, such as the scene where Shelby suggests they go out to a club and Natalie adds on her own suggestion:
"We could tie our shoes together, our tennis shoes, and throw them over telephone wires because I see that everywhere and it seems people would have fun doing that. Like, how hard can you throw? You know what I mean?"
The Rocker (2008)
Find it in the catalog!
Stone plays the "kind of ironic, post-modern punk girl" Amelia, bass player for the band A.D.D. After their drummer is suspended from school, they recruit Matt's uncle, Robert Fishman (Rainn Wilson), a forty-something out-of-work former drummer for '80s hair band Vesuvius.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009)
Find it in the catalog!
Womanizer Connor Meade (Matthew McConaughey) visits ghosts of his ex-girlfriends with the help of Allison (Stone), a ghost herself and one of his high school girlfriends (and his "first"). Wearing scrunchies in her curly permed hair and an acid-washed jean jacket, Allison is hilariously enthusiastic. "This is my favorite part!" she exclaims as they watch Connor as a kid with Jenny (played as an adult by Jennifer Garner). Allison is especially excited when they watch Connor at a past middle school dance. After the dance, she then gives Connor a hard time as they watch his uncle (Michael Douglas) bring him into a bar and then share tips about women: "Would someone please call Child Protective Services?" In my opinion Stone steals the movie with her supporting performance as super-bubbly Allison.

Zombieland (2009)
Find it in the catalog!
Almost all of the humans have been wiped out due to the 21st century plague of zombies, leaving deserted grocery stores, roads, and homes. Ohio (Jesse Eisenberg) and Tallahasee (Woody Harrelson) meet sisters Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) at Blaine's Grocery and fall for one of their cons. Wichita and Little Rock are on their way to Pacific Playground amusement park because they've heard it's zombie-free.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Solomon Burke: The Bishop of Soul: 1940-2010

Legendary soul singer Solomon Burke passed away Sunday morning, at the age of 70. Known for his powerful, impassioned voice, Burke's 1960s recordings for Atlantic Records have become sacred texts for aficionados of soul music. More casual music fans may recognize his work from several mainstream Hollywood films, including The Blues Brothers and Dirty Dancing. Burke was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Home in Your Heart: The Best of Solomon Burke
Find it in the catalog!

Nothing's Impossible [2010]
Find it in the catalog!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Young and Restless Event: Trivia Night at Emmett's

Do you think you're smarter than a librarian?  Show up our know-it-all team of librarians this Tuesday night at West Dundee's own Emmett's Tavern. We will be bringing with Pass the Popcorn (movie trivia), Bezzerwizzer (general trivia plus strategy), and some old school Trivial Pursuit.  So trivia whizzes of all varieties can show off their skills.

The Young and Restless is a new group we started at the Dundee Township Public Library for twenty and thirty somethings.  You can read more about it on our splendorous Facebook page.  Or call us at (847)428-3661 x 308 for more info or to register.

When: Tuesday, October 12th at 7PM
Where: Emmett's in West Dundee (128 W. Main St).
What: Trivia and hanging out with three cool librarians.

Register for this event online.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What we're listening to: Aphrodite by Kylie Minogue

Find it in the catalog!

"Dance, that's all I wanna do," Kylie Minogue sings on "All the Lovers." Minogue's new album Aphrodite is full of upbeat, fun dance music. Aussie singer Minogue is probably best known in the States for the songs "Can't Get You Out of My Head" and "Love at First Sight" from 2002's Fever. If you haven't listened to Minogue since then, you've been missing out. With Aphrodite she shows she has plenty more addictive pop songs in her arsenal. On all the tracks Minogue makes sure the dance beat continues. Current single "Get Outta My Way" finds Minogue singing about leaving an inattentive partner ("I don't recognize the zombie you've turned into") to go out on the dance floor with someone else: "This is what'll happen if you're not giving your girl what she needs." Minogue's positive energy and outlook on life is felt in the songs "Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)" and "Everything is Beautiful." The title track "Aphrodite" is one of my favorites. The clapping in the background is really energetic; to my ears I think the song sounds like something out of the '80s or early '90s. "Illusion" is another fun song with an '80s vibe. Minogue sings about the connection between people, music, and emotion in "Can't Beat the Feeling:" "When I'm with you my heart plays a rhythm in my head / I can't help but move."

Aphrodite contains songs celebrating the joy of music and dancing, and I recommend this CD to anyone looking to be in a better mood or in need of some dance music. Minogue sums up what she is about in the song "Better Than Today." She wonders, "What's the point in livin' if you don't wanna dance?"