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Roseanne: THIS is What a Feminist Looks Like!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I’ve been watching Roseanne DVDs lately. I enjoyed the show as a young adult, but now I appreciate it for different reasons. Actually, I’ve come to realize that Roseanne is a feminist, and the show is remarkably progressive – even by today’s standards.

Roseanne clearly rules her home and no one can challenge that. However, she’s not such a tyrant that she’s incapable of apologizing or realizing her mistakes. She’s a responsible(ish) mother, even when making fun of her children, and she’s a devoted wife, though she doesn’t fawn over her husband. Everyone in her family defers to her (when they’re not trying to keep secrets, of course!), but she makes important decisions in concert with her husband. She jests about marriage but maintains a strong partnership. Family is prioritized over working, but Roseanne insists that her daughters are educated before starting families of their own.

I really salute the producers of the show for including gay characters before most other sitcoms would have dared to. Roseanne’s boss (and later business partner), Leon, is a gay man. Roseanne’s girlfriend, Nancy, is a lesbian. However, Leon and Nancy are teased just as much as the straight characters in the show! No one is safe from Roseanne’s comic insights.

Is there another show today that represents middle class suburban life with as much rawness and humour as Roseanne? If there is, I have yet to watch it. Until then, I’ll stay with my mid-nineties re-runs, thank you very much.

Roseanne DVDs cost about $30 per season. But, if you’ve got a library card, then you’re chuckling for free! Borrow them today!

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Redux)

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I recently had dinner with a family friend. Originally from Africa, he’s had a long and interesting career with the British Royal Marines and as an independent counter terrorism advisor. “Lieutenant-Colonel Thorpe” (although he didn’t make us address him that way!) was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and is fluent in Kiswahili. He’s worked on the open seas, and in the darkest heart of Africa.

While he was visiting, it occurred to me that our dinner party was like an updated version of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. This time, however, rather than shattering stereotypes about what black people are and are not, my stereotypes about white people were shattered! The African born, Kiswahili-speaker is Caucasian!

When I think about racial stereotypes and racial profiling, I always think about the “other”. I happen to be Caucasian, and so I tend to think about how racism and stereotypes might affect non-white people. I’ve never stopped to consider what my stereotypes about white people are, or the fact that I have them at all!

My uncle loves to tell a story about the Lieutenant-Colonel’s brother, with whom he used to jog. These men were hulking, slow moving joggers – each hovering near 240 pounds. Nevertheless, they were decent athletes. When the Lieutenant-Colonel’s brother competed in a triathlon, a group of skinny black runners passed him and mentioned (in Kiswahili) something about a “whale”. Clearly, they too didn’t expect a heavy-set white man to be a Kiswahili speaker! What a surprise to find out that the whale could understand every word!

If you’ve never seen the classic film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, then catch it at the John Dutton theatre on November 4th. It’s part of our “Thursday Afternoon at the Movies” series.

A Tour of Central Library

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

Many folks use their branch library, and don’t know what the Central Library has to offer. Here’s a quick tour, for those who are unfamiliar:

On the 5th floor, you’ll find resources for those with special needs: talking books, an ALEX computer, Braille books, books in large print, and so forth. You’ll also find books in a wide variety of world languages, and materials to support your acquisition of a second or third language.

The 4th floor is a combination of fiction and non-fiction. You’ll find classic, popular, western, sci-fi and other novels (both in print and on CD and MP3). You’ll also find books on history, genealogy, travel, poetry and writing. The Local History Room is a unique wealth of information about Calgary!

The 3rd floor has a very diverse collection. Find resources about Business, Science and Social Sciences, and special collections such as government documents, directories, statistics and law. Calgary’s largest collection of career related materials is here, too. Research Plus, the fee-for-service division of the Calgary Public Library, is located on the 3rd floor.

The 2nd floor is filled with resources for children of all ages, all the way through the teen years. Baby books, graphic novels, and everything in between!

The 1st floor houses materials about arts and recreation, including games and sports. Find our largest range of music, movies, and magazines here, too.

Make a trip to the Central Library and check out what’s beyond your branch! Staff at Central are well trained in their particular subject areas, and we love to answer your questions!

Six Feet Under at CPL!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

When the series Six Feet Under was on TV, I watched each week. I loved the drama, and was fascinated by the corpses. What’s not to love about a series that takes place in a funeral home? In fact, Six Feet Under deserves a lot of credit for bringing death and the funeral industry into a prominent position within mainstream entertainment, and for making this taboo subject a little less so. The series is full of brilliant performances from an amazing ensemble cast, and the storylines (refreshingly!) don’t pander to the audience. Get out your Kleenex for one of the most memorable series finales on record.

If you’ve never watched Six Feet Under, then stop whatever it is you’re doing and run to your local library branch!

It’s not just TV. It’s HBO!

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Sopranos on DVD!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Tony. Carmella. Dr. Melfi.

The Sopranos has been called “the greatest show in television history”, and whether or not you agree, it’s well worth watching. If you love reruns, or haven’t yet seen the series, then check it out today! I happen to know that when the University of Calgary offered a class about The Sopranos in its Film Studies program, the waiting list to get into the class was enormous!

Of course, The Sopranos is not likely to be enjoyed by everyone. It’s most certainly violent and relentlessly crass. But then, would you have your New Jersey mob boss – and his sketchy crew - any other way? The Sopranos explores so many themes: marriage, family, anxiety, violence, obligation, duty, and many more. Why not get some “gabagool” and invite your associates over for a Sopran-o-thon?

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7 UP!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

“Give me the boy until he is seven, and I will give you the man.”

Are our personalities determined entirely in our childhoods? Once molded, can we ever really evolve past those seemingly hard-wired traits?

If you love documentaries, be sure to borrow the 7 Up series. This poignant and compelling series follows a group of British people from their early years through middle age. Subjects are interviewed about their lives every 7 years, so we can see their progressions and digressions from ages 7 through 49.

It’s fascinating to see how their (and, of course, by extension, our own) personalities seem to be “set”, and how mannerisms seem to be ingrained, even from such tender ages.

This series will make you wonder about determination and fate. I especially recommend it for people who have an interest in psychology.

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