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The N Word, Some Context

June 26, 2015 | Bill V. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

There's been a lot of buzz around President Barack Obama's recent use of the N word on a podcast interview of "WTF with Marc Maron." 

On Monday, Obama, the first African American U.S. president, astute politician and speaker, used the N word in a very public manner. In using such a painful and demeaning term, right after the massacre in South Carolina, Obama may well be trying to intentionally spotlight attention on racism now in America. On Friday, Obama will deliver a eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the state senator who was one of nine people killed in the racially motivated shooting last week in Charleston. While it is unlikely the bookending of these two disparate public speeches is intentional, it is certainly striking.


If you're curious about the origin, history and some context around use of the N word then the following two books and DVD may interest you:

The N word  who can say it, who shouldn't, and why

Jabari Asim was a Washington Post columnist when he published this book in 2007. To quote the Booklist review (and presaging Obama's podcast) "he argues that the word has had a long history of powerful impact in more responsible hands as a reminder of the troubled legacy of race relations in the U.S."

The N Word - Divided We Stand

This DVD uses well known actors, directors, musicians and educators in a pro vs con type format where prominent figures debate the impact of the N word. 

Nigger  the strange career of a troublesome word

Distinguished Harvard legal scholar Randall Kennedy, in 2002, traces the origins and connotations of “the nuclear bomb of racial epithets". The New York Times Sunday Book Review gave it a lengthy review

RIP Archie Alleyne Canadian Jazz Legend and Drummer

June 24, 2015 | Bill V. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

When I heard that local Toronto jazz musician, trailblazer and drummer Archie Alleyne had died June 8th 2015, it made me nostalgic. In respect to his long career I decided to listen to his LP record Up There.

Up there From Bebop to Now - close up of LP Vinyl record label


I savoured handling the LP and reading the liner notes. I enjoyed the tactile process of taking it out of the album sleeve and then the thin paper cellophane liner. I placed the Sony earphones on and heard the telltale slightly scratching sound of a record. It took me back to listening to him play, quietly and slowly in the room with all the noise associated with a busy club, bar or restaurant.


Up There LP vinyl album cover by musicians Archie Alleyne and Frank Wright Quartet


Did you know the Toronto Reference Library Arts Department still has over 15,000 LP records for you to listen to? We also have over 22,000 CDs. And we have free listening stations for both CDs and two record players. There are several CDs that feature his work including Kollage, featuring Archie Alleyne and Doug Richardson.


Listening to Archie Alleyne's LP record at the Toronto Reference Library Arts Department free record players


There were many obituaries written about Archie Alleyne and I like the different takes on him from the CBC and the Toronto Star. I also thought this online interview with him really gave him a chance to speak in his own voice and fill in the details of his life.

But I was also struck by the information about him on the website of the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund for young musicians to further their training and education and its message of "without a past .... there is no future".

If you're not able to come and listen to his record then you might enjoy the following Youtube clips including two performances, one solo interview and a moderated talk with some other black Canadian musicians. 







If you're interested in jazz you'll enjoy this other blog post by Beau on jazz books.

Don't forget to check out the streaming music databases available through the Toronto Public Library's catalogue and the Naxos Music Library (Jazz).

Naxos Music Library Jazz

The Library also has many music scores including ones on drumming and jazz. The largest collection of over 30,000 music scores that you can borrow is found at the Arts Department of the Toronto Reference Library. 

Jazz, Funk & Fusion Over 60 Classic Grooves In Standard Notation

Art Scandal: Journalist Evan Solomon, Art Collector Dealer Bruce Bailey, Businessman Jim Balsillie and Artist Peter Doig

June 11, 2015 | Bill V. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

I think it's safe to say we've all heard of the conflict of interest scandal that has brought down journalist Evan Solomon. In an odd bit of coincidence, I was reading the May 2015 issue of British art magazine Apollo which had a cover story on artist Peter Doig (who incidentally also has a strong Canadian connection). Doig's paintings are central to Solomon's story and fall from grace. His work sells for millions and I was intrigued to read the interview with him in Apollo.  Doig is a major contemporary living artist and the Library has many books about him.

Apollo Magazine


Bruce Bailey, art collector/dealer/socialite/bon vivant (is that a job and how does one apply?), sold at least one of Doig's paintings to Research in Motion /Blackberry co-founder Jim Balsillie. Evan Solomon, who introduced the two men, surreptitiously to facilitate the sale of art, felt his contract with Bailey entitled him to a 10% commission on the sale of all art to Balsillie.  Bailey had offered "only" a finder's fee of $200,000 and Solomon wanted his regular commission or about $1,070,000 (which puts the Doig painting's worth at about $10 million). Bailey disagreed and Solomon took him to court. They settled before trial.

Wow! It's a complicated, murky, dare I say sordid, combination of art collecting, selling, greed and money. That's the art world in a nutshell. There is often a morally ambiguous relationship between the collector who buys early in an artist's career, then promotes the artist and finally sells their work for a vast profit.


If you're interested in reading about Peter Doig's art you may enjoy:

             Peter Doig  Peter Doig

Peter Doig Works on Paper


Peter Doig  no foreign lands


If you're interested in reading about Jim Balsillie and Research in Motion you may enjoy the following:

         Blackberry  the inside story of Research in Motion        BlackBerry planet  the story of Research in Motion and the little device that took the world by storm

For books on other art collectors / dealers you may like a couple of the following:

  The pop! revolution how an unlikely concatenation of artists, aficionados, businessmen, collectors, critics, curators, dealers, and hangers-on radically transformed the art world

         Collecting art for love, money and more       The supermodel and the Brillo box back stories and peculiar economics from the world of contemporary art


Tales from the art crypt  the painters, the museums, the curators, the collectors, the auctions, the ar  The art prophets  the artists, dealers, and tastemakers who shook the art world  Art for sale  a candid view of the art market

Celebrate CONTACT with New Photography Books

May 14, 2015 | Brent | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

It's hard to believe the CONTACT Photography Festival -- which runs throughout the month of May--is almost half over. There are still dozens of exhibitions and events taking place throughout the city; Our own exhibition at Toronto Reference Library, Exposed features highlights from the Toronto Star archive. On May 28 at 2pm, we're lucky to have Stephen Bulger -- his Queen West gallery is one of the preeminent photography venues in the city -- conduct a tour of the exhibit.

In keeping with all this activity, the Arts Department on the fifth floor of Toronto Reference has just received a bumper collection of new photography books. They are full of surprises. Matador features wonderful work by Spanish photographer Ricky Davila whose pictures of his extended family replicates Nicholas Nixon's classic photographs of the Brown sisters.




With their casual poses and exquisite attention to light, both share links with some of the brilliant portraits by recently rediscovered Arkansas photographer Mike Disfarmer. Toronto Reference is fortunate to have new books featuring all three photographers:

     Matador photography    Nixon The Brown Sisters    Becoming Disfarmer

These are just a few of the new additions to our collection. They all look great, but they are so visually different that collectively they make a strong argument that photography might just be as diverse as painting.

           Lissie Habie       Rehersal of Space    Arctic

                   Filip Dujardin       Reisch

                         Joan Fontcuberta     Iran Interrupted

       Colita Fotografia       Grand Paris Martin Parr     Slovak New Wave

                 David Seymour      Eve Arnold       

                                   Object Photo

         Vanished Summer    Erwin Olaf  Steve Sabella

         Joan Colom      Office Romance     Exiles


                          Make a Photo Yourself

Scarborough Civic Centre Branch Has a Cool Green Roof

May 14, 2015 | Bill V. | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

The Scarborough Civic Centre Branch will be opening on Wednesday, May 20th at 10 a.m.  It's our 100th location and has a lot of special features including the sweeping architecture, a Digital Innovation Hub, KidsStop Interactive Early Literacy Centre, an outdoor reading garden and following a recent trend within Toronto Public Library it will also have a green roof.  

You can read more about the new branch from an interview with the branch head librarian Trina Preece. You can also read about the rich history of libraries in this part of Scarborough in Barbara Myrvold's local history blog post.

Cheery Blossoms and the new Scarborough Civic Centre Branch Toronto Public Library
photo courtesy of Sharanja on twitter @Sharanja_J

The sloped green roofs and adjacent landscaping has been designed to allow users on the ground floor of the library and on the raised connection to the Scarborough Civic Centre to fully see and enjoy the native plantings.

The 1,550m2 roof mimics a bio-diverse alvar ecology (native to Southern Ontario) that is self watering and will provide habitat for birds, insects and a variety of indigenous plants (and very likely a raccoon).  It will incorporate existing mature trees on the east side. 

Our buildings are often designed with large windows to let natural light come into a branch and for the outside world to see into the library. In this case, the same design elements will allow library users to see outside to the green spaces.

Scarborough Civic Centre Branch Toronto Public Library green roof and landscape design plan

Scott Torrance Landscape Architect Inc has been responsible for the green roof working with the building project team lead Levitt Goodman Architects (LGA) and with Phillip H. Carter Architect.  LGA has provided a very nifty time lapse video on Vimeo of the construction of the building that you might enjoy.

Scarborough Civic Centre Branch Toronto Public Library green roof ramps during construction

Scarborough Civic Centre Branch Toronto Public Library green roof  in progress

Scarborough Civic Centre Branch Toronto Public Library green roof  in progress with some plantings


The final roof will have varying soil depths from 50 to 150mm and will provide 50% vegetated cover. If you're interested in green roofs you may enjoy an earlier blog post on all the other green roofs at Toronto Public Library branches.

Scarborough Civic Centre Branch Toronto Public Library green roof and landscape design model

  Scarborough Civic Centre Branch Toronto Public Library green roof and landscape design model ramps

Scarborough Civic Centre Branch Toronto Public Library green roof

   Scarborough Civic Centre Branch Toronto Public Library rendering

Photo credit: LGA Architectural Partners/Phillip H. Carter Architects in Joint Venture


Outdoor Reading Gardens at Toronto Public Library

April 30, 2015 | Bill V. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

As spring becomes summer and we move into warmer weather, what could be more lovely than reading out of doors? Several Toronto Public Library branches have outdoor reading gardens with a variety of seating and landscaping that you can enjoy.

The Beaches Branch is one of Toronto Public Library's 10 Carnegie buildings (seven are still active). Built in 1915-1916, it's done in an English Renaissance style (lots of interior wood and soaring ceilings in an open central hall design) and is identical to High Park and Wychwood branches.  Beaches Branch is located beside beautiful Kew Gardens, just north of Lake Ontario and the boardwalk and is in heavily wooded neighbourhood. The reading garden was planted within the last few years as part of the most recent renovation.

There is also a detailed, visually interesting Pinterest board on Toronto's 10 original Carnegie branch libraries.

Beaches Branch Toronto Public Library exterior photo of reading garden (reason # 70)

If you're visiting the Beaches Branch, don't miss Wordsworth, the one-ton bronze owl sculpture, installed at the branch entrance on July 7, 2005. It was designed by architect Phillip H. Carter and artisan Ludzer Vandermolen. If you like the owl, then you'll likely really enjoy this duo's work at the entrance of the Lillian H. Smith Branch where they have two large bronze griffins flanking the doors.

Beaches Branch Toronto Public Library exterior photo of bronze owl sculpture and reading garden (reason # 70)


For something very different, I want to take you to Bloor/Gladstone Branch. Built in 1913 in the Beaux Arts style it was renovated extensively between 2006 and 2009 and the award winning results are awe inspiring (including a large pavilion addition). The renovation was very complex, but the final product is outstandingly beautiful and includes an exterior reading garden space accessible from the inside of the branch. Bloor/Gladstone also has Toronto Public Library's first green roof. There is a very detailed Pinterest board on the history of the branch that you might like as well.

Bloor Gladstone Branch Library reading garden reason # 70 courtyard

Bloor Gladstone Branch Toronto Public Library reading garden Reason #70 exterior photo of courtyard

Reading gardens are not a recent innovation at Toronto Public Library, as seen in this 1911 newspaper article about the then new Bloor Gladstone Branch, where they describe a garden terrace with fountain and shrubbery being used as a summer reading area.

Article about Bloor Gladstone Dovercourt Branch Library from the Toronto Star Dec 13 1911 page 7


There are several other library branches in Toronto that also have reading gardens:

And if your local branch doesn't have a formal outdoor reading garden space, it may have a bench in front of it and some lovely rose bushes like Highland Creek Branch.

Highland Creek Branch Library outdoor bench and roses

Celebrate National Canadian Film Day April 29 2015

April 29, 2015 | Bill V. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Did you know April 29th is National Canadian Film Day

Reel Canada wants you to celebrate and Toronto Public Library is offering several free movie screenings today. So if you're able why not join us and celebrate Canada by watching a great Canadian film?  For today only, you can also watch the free online streaming of "Rude" by African Canadian filmmaker Clement Virgo.


Icon of the event National Canadian Film Day: Rhymes for Young Ghouls
Wed Apr 29, 2015 | 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join us for a screening of Rhymes for Young Ghouls (2013): "On the Red Crow Rez, growing up means getting even." Directed and written by Jeff Barnaby, starring Devery Jacobs, Glen Gould, Brandon Oakes.

Icon of the event National Canadian Film Day: Bollywood/Hollywood
Wed Apr 29, 2015 | 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

We will be screening Bollywood/Hollywood (2002): "Nothing is what it appears to be." Written and directed by Deepa Mehta, starring Rahul Khanna, Moushumi Chatterjee, Dina Pathak.

Icon of the event National Canadian Film Day: Double Happiness
Wed Apr 29, 2015 | 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
York Woods

We will be screening Double Happiness (1994). Synopsis: Jade Li (Sandra Oh), a vivacious Chinese Canadian, wants to become an actress without upsetting her extremely traditional parents. It's a balancing act Jade finds difficult to achieve. Great for ESL. Rated PG.

Icon of the event National Canadian Film Day: Fido
Wed Apr 29, 2015 | 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

We will be screening Fido (2006), starring Kesun Loder, Billy Connolly, Carrie-Anne Moss. Ages 13+.

Icon of the event National Canadian Film Day:  Men with Brooms
Wed Apr 29, 2015 | 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
North York Central Library

Come and celebrate National Canadian Film Day with a screening of the classic Canadian curling comedy, "Men with Brooms." The film stars Paul Gross and Leslie Neilsen.Directed by Paul Gross. Rating: AA.


On a more personal note, I am going to make a pitch to watch the Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz as my own great Canadian film moment.   One of the first Canadian film success stories I remember it when it came out originally in the 1970s.   Based on Mordecai Richler's book Richard Dreyfuss gives a great and moving performance.

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz DVD


And, if you're really interested in exploring lesser known corners of Canadian films I suggest reading Life without death : the cinema of Frank Cole. This is a critique and biography of the Canadian documentary film maker (who was also a world traveler and the first documented person to cross the Sahara Desert on foot alone, where he was murdered in 2000). His remains were cryogenically preserved at the Michigan Cryonics Institute! Frank Cole shows there's a lot about Canada's film scene still to be discovered.

Life without death the cinema of Frank Cole (book)

You can watch a documentary about his life The Man who Crossed the Sahara , and see an excerpt below.



Not surprisingly there is a lot published about Canadian film and if you're interested in reading further please see here for a list of books.


If you're interested in films you'll really enjoy the research potential of Film Indexes Online.  You can access it from anywhere and it's free of charge if you have a Toronto library card.

Film Indexes Online


These free online magazine databases can give you all sorts of useful, interesting information on filmmakers, actors, specific movies and critical analysis of film from many perspectives and sources. Information about film and television (some full-text), including FIAF Plus, the American Film Institute Catalog and Film Index International.

All you need is a Toronto Public Library card to log in from home 24/7, your smart phone, tablet or from any of our libraries.



Never Read Anything the Same Way Twice: Jazz Books at TPL

April 28, 2015 | Beau | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Did you know April was Jazz Appreciation Month? I didn't, either! Fortunately we've got eleven other months to also listen to jazz, but if you'd like to learn more about the music, you don't have to limit yourself to the acts you see in clubs or the albums you hear. Here are just a few of the best books about jazz that I've read and which are available for checkout at the Toronto Public Library.

Jazz by Geoffrey C Ward

Jazz: a history of America's music, by Geoffrey C. Ward, is a companion piece to the celebrated documentary film series by Ken Burns. Like the films, it's been criticized in some quarters for giving short shrift to the post-World War II (and non-U.S.) history of the music, but it's still an invaluable and gorgeously photographed survey of the personalities, social conditions and politics that shaped this most American of art forms.

Jazz New York In The Roaring Twenties book cover

Jazz: New York in the roaring twentieswritten by Hans-Jürgen Schaal and illustrated by Robert Nippoldt, is a gorgeous blend of text and art, profiling some of jazz's leading lights and evoking a time and place when you could walk down the streets of Harlem and hear the sounds of Duke Ellington's band or Louis Armstrong playing with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra pouring out of nightclubs and dance halls. It also includes a CD with many of the artists' best songs.

The Jazz Standards, by Ted Gioia

From ragtime's "Sweet Georgia Brown" to the bossa-nova favourite "The Girl From Ipanema," certain songs have become part of jazz's bedrock, revisited and re-interpreted by a wide range of musicians throughout the decades. The Jazz Standards: a guide to the repertoireby music historian and critic Ted Gioia, is a comprehensive survey of the jazz songbook that both new fans and experts will find useful and enthralling.

Jazz Covers by Joaquim Paulo                The Cover Art Of Blue Note Records, by Graham Marsh

In addition to its musical heritage, jazz also boasts a rich visual legacy. Jazz Covers, by Joaquim Paulo, features album art right through from the invention of the LP record in the 1940s to the 1990s, which saw a decline in vinyl production as the CD gained in popularity. In addition to all the cover art eye candy, each photo is accompanied by a fact sheet listing the performer and album name, art director, photographer, illustrator, year, label, and more. The Cover Art of Blue Note Records, by Graham Marsh, focuses on the artwork of that legendary label, with illustrations of more than 400 of the best covers from the company which did more than any other to visually define jazz.

Jazz by Gary Giddens

Jazz has been around for almost a century now (2017 will mark the 100th anniversary of "Livery Stable Blues" by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, the first jazz single ever released), and it can be intimidating to newcomers. The simply-titled Jazz, by Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux, is the best single-volume survey of the music and its history, theory, politics and diversity of musical styles - from ragtime to avant-garde free jazz - I've ever read. In addition to its lively recounting of jazz history, it also includes listening guides for several songs which will help novices identify and understand some of the fundamental concepts behind the music.


The Penguin Jazz Guide by Brian Morton and Richard Cook

The first edition of The Penguin Guide to Jazz was released in 1992, long enough ago that the second half of the title was "...on CD, LP and Cassette." Eight amazingly comprehensive editions followed before co-author Richard Cook passed away in 2007. This tenth and presumably final edition, titled The Penguin Jazz Guide: the history of the music in the 1000 best albums, was compiled by Cook's writing partner Brian Morton and released in 2010. While the previous versions were encyclopedic reference works, this one is more of a chronological history of the music arranged around the albums - some famous, many not - Morton and Cook have identified the ones that every fan of the music should know.

Straight Life      Miles the autobiography      Lady Sings The Blues

I'll finish up with a switch from the general to the specific: three autobiographies by legendary jazz artists. Saxophonist Art Pepper's autobiography Straight Life is an often-harrowing and remarkably candid account of his life as a musician, which was marred by horrific problems with drugs and alcohol, prison sentences and stints at a rehabilitation centre which turned out to be a cult. Miles: the autobiography (co-written by Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe) is an equally unsparing account of the life of arguably the greatest figure the music has ever known, detailing his own struggles with substance abuse and systematic racism as he changed the course of jazz several times over the course of his extraordinary life.

Finally, Lady Sings The Blues by Billie Holiday (also available in eBook format) takes readers on a journey from her hard-knock childhood (where she ran errands at a brothel in exchange for the chance to listen to jazz records) to her career as a singer fronting some of the biggest names in jazz (including Count Basie and Artie Shaw), all the while battling her own demons and the vicious racism she decried in songs like "Strange Fruit."

Alfred Hitchcock's soundtracks on Vinyl LP

April 23, 2015 | Bill V. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

I was watching North by Northwest the other day and was struck by the soundtrack.  The music in Alfred Hitchcock's movies plays a key role.  Can you imagine the Psycho shower scene without the intense sound that is now virtually synonymous with stabbing? 

Speaking of Psycho you may be interested in the ProfTalks symposium on April 25th being held in the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon that includes Professor Annette Insdorf's talk "Master of Suspense: The Artistry of Alfred Hitchcock" focusing on Psycho.

Did you know the Arts Department, 5th floor of the Toronto Reference Library has 15,000 LP records including several of his soundtracks with period vintage psychedelic covers (and we have 2 record players you can use too!).


Music from Alfred Hitchcock films LP record cover on vinyl


Music from the great movie thrillers music composed for motion pictures directed by Alfred Hitchcock


Hitchcock's Music  by Jack Sullivan


Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo LP record


The lovesong of Alfred J Hitchcock a play This poetic new play takes a unique look at the way the great filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock developed the idea of his most famous films, including Marnie, Vertigo, Psycho and Strangers on A Train. The result is a unique and haunting character study and an unprecedented journey into the mind of one our most fascinating cultural icons.


North by northwest original motion picture score LP vinyl record


Alfred Hitchcock presents Music to be murdered by Circus of horrors.








Did You Say Hot Docs? 8000 DVDs to Borrow (free!)

April 20, 2015 | Bill V. | Comments (5) Facebook Twitter More...

Did you know there are 8000 DVDs you can borrow from the Toronto Reference Library's Arts Department on the 5th floor? The collection is focused on documentaries, how to, practical and performance (including many PBS type shows). 

And what do 8000+ DVDs and 3700 VHS look like? Well, we have compact shelving that moves, opening up vast riches in a dramatic yet safe way!

DVD compact shelving of 3 bays seen closed on the 5th floor of the Toronto Reference Library

DVD compact shelving partially opened as seen on the 5th floor of the Toronto Reference Library

DVD compact shelving shown fully open as seen on the 5th floor of the Toronto Reference Library


Faced with this much choice I asked staff to recommend some of their favorites:

20 Feet from Stardom DVD

20 Feet from Stardom was last year's Academy Award winner for best feature documentary. It's an inspiring and uplifting look at the unsung (no pun intended) heroes of pop music: the nameless back-up singers behind all the great popular music artists. They're mostly women, and women of colour, who grew up singing harmony in gospel choirs and it's great to see them finally get their due. Watch for the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" and a wonderful rendition of Samuel Barber's "Sure on that Shining Night".


To Be Takei DVD

To Be Takei: The actor most famous as Mr Sulu in Star Trek developed an unexpected new career as a gay rights advocate and a Facebook phenomenon.The movie follows his story from boyhood in an Asian internment camps in Arkansas  during World War II to his current life with his husband Brad (they wed in 2008). An inspiring story which somehow makes room for lots of bad puns. The film presents unprecedented access to the daily life of 77-year-old George Takei. And speaking of puns you may also want to take a whiff of his cologne offering "Eau My".


The Queen of Versailles DVD

The Queen of Versailles is a character-driven documentary about a billionaire family and their financial challenges in the wake of the economic crisis. The film follows two unique characters, whose rags-to-riches-to-rags success stories reveal the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream.  Deeply moving and a tiny bit bizarre.


Men at Lunch DVD

Men at Lunch: In New York City, 1932, a photograph, "Lunch Atop a Skyscraper," is taken during the construction of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. In it, 11 construction workers are taking their lunch break while casually perched along a steel girder. For 80 years, the identity of the 11 construction workers and the photographer that immortalized them remained a mystery: their stories, lost in time, subsumed by the fame of the image itself. Then, at the start of the 21st century, the photograph finally began to give up some of its secrets.


The Invisible Frame and Cycling the Frame DVD

Cycling the frame (60 min.): In 1988, director Cynthia Beatt and the young Tilda Swinton embarked on a journey along the Berlin Wall into little-known territory. Over 20years later, Beatt and Swinton reteamed to retrace the entire 160 km line of the Wall that once isolated Berlin. The Invisible frame (28 min.) depicts a poetic passage through varied landscapes, this time on both sides of the former Wall.

The Buddha The Story of Siddhartha DVD

The Buddha the story of Siddhartha (PBS) recounts the life of the Buddha and presents the tenets of Buddhism. Produced in conjunction with the exhibition, Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art, organized by Asia Society Museum, New York. 

Not for Ourselves Alone The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony  DVD

Not for ourselves alone the story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony: The staff who recommended this DVD said "I cried the first time I watched it". Presents the history of women's suffrage in the United States through the dramatic, often turbulent friendship of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan Anthony. Part 1 covers the years from their youth up to the establishment of the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1868. Part 2 spans the period from 1868 to the passage in 1919 of the 19th amendment to the Constitution which gave women the vote.

Bruce Weber, the film collection DVD

Bruce Weber, the film collection: includes four films by Weber -- Broken Noses (1987), Let's Get Lost (1988), Chop Suey (2000) and A Letter to True 2003. I saw the Chet Baker film Let's Get Lost at the old Carleton Cinema on College Street and was struck by the black & white filming, the cigarette smoke, the sound and the beauty of the characters.  I recently discovered this compilation of his films and was moved by the music and life of cabaret singer Frances Faye as seen in Chop Suey.

China heavyweight Qian chui bai lian DVD

China heavyweight Qian chui bai lian: profiles the ever-changing Chinese economic landscape through the view of the sport of boxing. Filmmaker Yung Chang follows boxing coach Qi Moxiang as he travels across China's Sichuan province recruiting young fighting talent from impoverished farms and villages. Selected boys and girls are taken to national training centres in hopes of becoming Olympic heroes, but can they leave their families behind to become boxing's finest?

  Herb and Dorothy
Herb & Dorothy: tells the story of a postal clerk and a librarian who managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history with very modest means.

Pima DVD

Pina: Director Wim Wenders takes viewers on a sensual, visually stunning journey of discovery into a new dimension: straight onto the stage with the legendary Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch ensemble. He follows the dancers out of the theatre and into the city and the surrounding areas of Wuppertal, the place which for 35 years was the home and center of Pina Bausch's creativity. 

The library's blog devoted to the discovery of diverse artistic, music and cultural works in the library and Toronto.