Tuesday, April 24, 2018

What we're reading: A Manager First, A Coach Second



@ 796.323 on the shelf

Reviewed by Larry Urish


While Players First, penned by basketball coaching legend John Calipari, may be considered a sports book, library patrons who examine the volume quickly discover that it’s essentially about effective management. As such, it is far better suited to live in the management section (658 in Dewey Decimal speak, in case you’re keeping score). That’s really no surprise, since nearly every book written by a successful coach reminds us of essentially the same thing: Great coaches are managers first and technicians second.

The main premise of Calipari’s work is embodied in its title, Players First. The author continually reminds us that it’s the front-line people he and his assistant coaches lead – the student-athletes who do the real work – who must always be their top priority. “The motto ‘players first’ always reminds me and my coaching staff what we’re all about,” he writes, “and it influences everything we do.”

To that end, Calipari encourages any leader to place his or her people first. Their welfare, he argues, must always supersede every other factor. The iconic coach stresses that his players will always be far more effective if they clearly understand that the team’s head person has their backs. Conversely, a coach’s experience and knowledge of the game is all but worthless if his players don’t feel valued. Beyond this value-centric factor, everything else is incidental.

Calipari notes that his players-first mindset didn’t really come to the fore until he was more secure as a manager. He encourages all managers, athletic or otherwise, to adopt this philosophy far sooner than he did in his career. While the book has its share of engaging basketball-related anecdotes, the coach’s player-first management value remains paramount.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

This week at the library...

MONDAY
Central Library, 6:30 p.m.

Le Petit Cinema presents...
PHANTOM THREAD
Set in the glamour of 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock and his sister Cyril are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutantes, and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love. 130 minutes / rated R.


TUESDAY
Central Library, 6:30 p.m.

COFFEE AND COLORING FOR ADULTS
Join us for a relaxing evening of coffee and coloring. We provide the colored pencils, crayons, and coloring pages, or you can bring your own. Stop in, relax, and get creative.








Buena Vista Branch, 7:00 p.m.

8+9 BOOK CLUB
The club has read and will discuss Every Day, by David Levithan. This club is for registered teens only; to be included for next fall, please email melliott@burbankca.gov.







WEDNESDAY
Central Library, 5:30 p.m.

MEETING: FRIENDS OF THE
BURBANK PUBLIC LIBRARY



THURSDAY
Buena Vista Branch, 7:00 p.m.

Family Night presents...
BUSTER BALLOON!
A wild and wacky mix of side-splitting comedy, mind-boggling magic, and the most amazing twisted balloon creations you have ever seen, all presented by the lovable human cartoon character that is Buster Balloon.










FRIDAY
Central Library, 10:00 a.m.

COMPUTER 101: EMAIL BASICS
Learn how to create a free email account and use its features to send, receive, and organize email messages. Space is limited. Sign up at the Buena Vista Branch Reference Desk or call 818-238-5625.


Please note: This class is also offered on Saturday morning at the Buena Vista Branch, but that class session is FULL.






CHILDREN'S PROGRAMMING




BABY STORYTIME (under 12 months):
Northwest Branch: Thursdays @ 10:00 a.m.

Registration is required. Please call 818 238-5640 to sign up. Spring session began on April 5 and ends on May 10. Songs, stories, and rhymes for children under 12 months.

TODDLER STORYTIMES
(under age 3):
Buena Vista Branch:
Tuesdays and Wednesdays @ 10:00 a.m.
Central Library: Fridays @ 10:00 a.m.

Due to limited space, sign-ups are required at the Buena Vista Branch and the Spring Sessions are FULL. Plan to visit Toddler Storytime on Fridays at Burbank Central Library - no sign-ups required.

This program is geared to children under age 3 and their caregivers. The Spring Session for Tuesdays will run through May 8, 2018.

Storytime plays an important role in promoting early literacy and the love of books, learning, and exploring the world. Storytime programs expose children and their parents and caregivers to books, simple songs, finger plays, rhymes, and crafts.

PRESCHOOL STORYTIMES
(ages 3-5):
Northwest Branch: Wednesdays @ 10:00 a.m.
Central Library: Thursdays @ 10:00 a.m.
Buena Vista Branch: Fridays @ 1:00 p.m. (Rhythm & Reading)



Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What we're reading: British police procedural

There are authors whose series I have dug myself into, and so each time they come out with a new one, I renew my interest in their cast of characters and stomping grounds. One of these is the Bill Slider series, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. The series has had its ups and downs; the first few books were quite exciting, because big things were happening in the lives of the protagonists (the dissolution of a marriage, an exciting but tentative new relationship, issues with children, new supervisors in the workplace), while some of the later books have been more focused on the work, without so many of the domestic details; but all of them are solid, well written, and thought-provoking.

In Shadow Play, a well-dressed corpse with no identification turns up in the yard of an auto repair shop near an old railway crossing. The owner of the shop can’t identify him, and the autopsy exposes a man whose injuries are at odds with his appearance. Was he working for someone else? And at some point did it become dangerous to that person to let him live? It’s up to DCI Bill Slider and his team to find the answers.

Harrod-Eagles has some particular gifts that have kept me coming back to this series. The books are infused with a wry sense of humor, that comes out not just in character interchanges but also in her descriptions. Here's an example: "In the entrance foyer was a very large bald bouncer. His shoulders and chest were big enough to warrant their own postcode, and made the rest of his body appear unnaturally tapered. He looked like what you’d get if you shaved a buffalo.” She has also created a well-developed cast of characters; we come to know each member of Slider's team, and to appreciate their particular function as part of the working whole, but the cast development also extends to the main characters' personal lives and families, which rounds out the stories and keeps a nice balance between their personal and working lives.

And regarding the mysteries themselves, this author never disappoints. Shadow Play was interesting and convoluted, with lots of unexpected elements coming into play, and all the reliable characters to spell it out for you. There were a few loose ends I thought might be tied up that weren't, exactly, but over all, this was a solid chapter in the Slider panoply.

One reviewer on Goodreads pointed out that you could read this without reading the rest of the series; while I would agree, I would also say that much nuance would be missed if the reader didn't know the background and history of the characters. So if this series sounds appealing to you, I'd start at number one, Orchestrated Death. Think what a pleasure it is to have that many books out in front of you to enjoy!


Editor's note: This book is on order, and won't be available on the New Book shelf for a little while longer (but you can read the others in the meantime!).

Sunday, April 15, 2018

This week at the library...

TUESDAY
Central Library, 12:00 noon

BROWN BAG BOOK CLUB
The Club has read and will discuss The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead. This book won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and more. Bring your lunch and join the discussion! Please email library staff at ReferenceCentralLib@burbankca.gov with questions.






Buena Vista Branch, 4:00 p.m.

Family Films presents...
FERDINAND

Ferdinand is a young bull who escapes from a training camp in rural Spain after his father never returns from a showdown with a matador. Adopted by a girl who lives on a farm, Ferdinand's peaceful existence comes crashing down when the authorities return him to his former captors. With help from a wisecracking goat and three hedgehogs, the giant but gentle bovine must find a way to break free before he squares off against El Primero, the famous bullfighter who never loses. Based on the classic book The Story of Ferdinand, written by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson.
108 minutes / rated PG




Buena Vista Branch, 7:00 p.m.

SCENE OF THE CRIME
MYSTERY BOOK CLUB
The club has read and will discuss The Ides of April, by Lindsey Davis. Fans of Davis’s best-selling series featuring first-century Roman informer Marcus Didius Falco will welcome the arrival of this spin-off centered on Falco’s spirited adopted daughter, Flavia Albia. The lovely young woman is known for her intellectual acumen and acid tongue. Now she puts those traits on display in a series debut both suspenseful and sly.

Please email ReferenceCentralLib@burbankca.gov with questions.



THURSDAY
Central Library, 7:00 p.m.

GENRE-X BOOK CLUB
(not your mother's book club)
Genre-X is a book club for Millennials and Gen-Xers to hang out, drink coffee, and read short, interesting books. For this meeting, the club has read and will discuss Crosstalk, by Connie Willis, a genre-bending novel that pushes social media, smartphone technology, and 24-hour availability to hilarious and chilling extremes as one young woman abruptly finds herself with way more connectivity than she ever desired. (Named one of the best books of the year by NPR.)




FRIDAY
Central Library, 2:00 p.m.

Friday Matinees presents...
THE SHAPE OF WATER
Elisa is a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. Her life changes forever when she discovers the lab's classified secret, a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank. As Elisa develops a unique bond with her new friend, she soon learns that its survival lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist. Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Music Score. 124 minutes / Rated R.


Northwest Branch, 4:00 p.m.

GRADES 4-5 BOOK CLUB
Sign up for the book club exclusively for 4th and 5th grade students! Call 818-238-5640 to be added to the list. The club meets once each month during the school year to read and talk about some great books.



Buena Vista Branch, 5:30 p.m.

HARRY POTTER TRIVIAL PURSUIT
TOURNAMENT FOR TEENS!
After hours at the library, with special guest host Brenden Bostic. Put together a team of three, and compete to be the wizard team of the year! The tournament is open to teens in grades 6-12 ONLY. Parents, friends, and siblings may attend (but NO COACHING!).

Name your team and sign up: email melliott@burbankca.gov by Tuesday, April 17. Teams should assemble by 5:30 p.m.; others will be admitted to the auditorium after the library closes, through the outside doors to the auditorium.



CHILDREN'S PROGRAMMING

BABY STORYTIME (under 12 months):
Northwest Branch: Thursdays @ 10:00 a.m.

Registration is required. Please call 818 238-5640 to sign up. Spring session began on April 5 and ends on May 10. Songs, stories, and rhymes for children under 12 months.

TODDLER STORYTIMES
(under age 3):
Buena Vista Branch:
Tuesdays and Wednesdays @ 10:00 a.m.
Central Library: Fridays @ 10:00 a.m.

Due to limited space, sign-ups are required at the Buena Vista Branch and the Spring Sessions are FULL. Plan to visit Toddler Storytime on Fridays at Burbank Central Library - no sign-ups required.

This program is geared to children under age 3 and their caregivers. The Spring Session for Tuesdays will run through May 8, 2018.

Storytime plays an important role in promoting early literacy and the love of books, learning, and exploring the world. Storytime programs expose children and their parents and caregivers to books, simple songs, finger plays, rhymes, and crafts.

PRESCHOOL STORYTIMES
(ages 3-5):
Northwest Branch: Wednesdays @ 10:00 a.m.
Central Library: Thursdays @ 10:00 a.m.
Buena Vista Branch: Fridays @ 1:00 p.m. (Rhythm & Reading)


BILINGUAL STORYTIME: ENGLISH/SPANISH
Northwest Branch, this Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Join us for a bilingual storytime with stories, songs, and rhymes in English and Spanish. There will be a short video at the end of the program.

Vengan para una hora de cuentos bilingüe con cuentos, canciones, y rimas en inglés y español. Habrá un video corto al final del programa.



Monday, April 09, 2018

What We're Reading: Looking Back to the Future

Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece,
by Michael Benson


Reviewers solicited by book publicists for advance reviews of a book—material for publicity and book jacket blurbs for the most part—know the game: If they want to be quoted (and who doesn’t like the notoriety?) they need to come up with praise that is pretty enthusiastic but short of fulsome. And so readers have learned to take such comments with a bit of skepticism. But if you read this book you will discover that what author and film critic Scott Eyman has to say about his book is praise deserved. He has called Space Odyssey “a masterpiece about a masterpiece—a passionately written, impeccably researched book about a great director’s pushing himself and his cast and crew beyond safety or sanity in a relentless quest or a nonverbal vision of the transcendent future of both space and film itself.”

The film 2001: A Space Odyssey was released in 1968, and for my generation it has become a touchstone for the time in which we came of age. It seemed to intuit what we were feeling about the world we lived in, with its sense of a special destiny for our species in a future that held both great promise and peril. It opened our minds to the cosmos in a way nothing had before, just as we as a species were taking our first tentative steps into outer space. The film was dazzling in what it imagined and how it was able to express that, through story line, in the creation of amazing futuristic film sets, and in the invention of pioneering special effects. Benson’s book walks us through how all of this was accomplished. His research and detail on every aspect of the creation of the film is remarkable and engrossing. You will find that going back and watching the film again after reading his book gives you a sort of special power, an enhanced ability to appreciate what it took to realize this film that will leave you even more stunned than you were the first time you saw it.

Astronauts Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) and David Bowman (Keir Dullea
hold what they hope is a private conversation in the space pod about HAL's
erratic behavior. HAL is reading their lips.


Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke
meet at the early stages of their project
 .
Many books have been written about the production of particular motion pictures. Only a few match the incisive detail and the insight of the narrative Benson gives us here. But what is perhaps unique about this book is that he has been able to follow the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey from the inception of the idea for the film, and follow it in all its permutations, traced here in his account of the discussions and creative collaboration between Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick. The narrative about the film’s production is wonderful. Unlike a lot of other books about the making of a film, Benson has with circumspection avoided anything that feels apocryphal. It is, however, these opening passages in which he gives the reader the feeling of being a privileged witness to the birth and development of an unfolding creation. They will remain my favorite section of the book, and they set the stage for the narrative that will follow. 

Astronaut David Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Kubrick with his teacup,
discuss shooting the scene in the Louis XIV bedroom.
Space Odyssey, however, is not just an entertaining and finely crafted account of the making of a movie; it is also a deeply affecting book. Somewhere along the way, as you become more emotionally drawn in, you ask yourself why. It’s because through Benson’s choice of primary sources—especially the words of Kubrick’s colleagues as well as Kubrick himself—and his keen eye for expressive actions, we realize we are coming to know the film’s director intimately: his imagination, the reach of his ambition, his will and obsession, and the scope of his accomplishment. It may at first seem incidental, but as you read along you come to understand that this book is not only the story of how an iconic movie was made but also a moving portrait of its director. It all leads to a penultimate moment towards the end of the book, when you feel you are there at the disastrous opening premier in New York, with all the MGM executives and the film critics, where as the projector rolls there is growing and palpable sense of the negative reaction to the film in the theater. You feel that after your journey through the cosmos, and your newfound understanding of what it took to make this film, you have landed at last right down into the seat in the darkened theater next to Stanley Kubrick and can feel every ounce of his pain. You discover you have empathy, what might even be called love, for its creator.

2001: A Space Odyssey took what was scientifically and technically new, and heroically responded to the call those new things made upon our imagination and understanding, then tried to express that call in art. We have been brought to an epiphany. We have just received a lesson about how, as the world changes, such art is ever our deepest need, but that there is an enormous cost the artist takes on for all of us in creating it. Kubrick made an epic for our times, but doing that was an epic journey in itself, with—he would like this—Stanley Kubrick as the hero. It’s a story that will never be better told than it has been here. 


Grim astronaut David Bowman returns to the Discovery spaceship
after recovering the body of Frank Poole from space, and asks HAL
to open the doors on the spaceship for his return. HAL famously
replies, "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."


Reminder: Program with author Michael Benson and friends this Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. at the Buena Vista Branch.


Sunday, April 08, 2018

This week at the library...

TUESDAY
Central Library, 7:00 p.m.

6+7 BOOK CLUB
The club has read and will discuss The Last Dragonslayer, by Jasper Fforde.

This book club is for registered teens only; if you are interested in joining us starting in the fall, please email melliott@burbankca.gov. We have teens moving up to the next club, so there will be some spaces!






Buena Vista Branch, 7:00 p.m.

AUTHOR MICHAEL BENSON
and SPACE ODYSSEY

In April of 1968, Stanley Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey premiered in the United States. Now, on the fiftieth anniversary of the film’s release, Michael Benson provides the definitive account of how the movie came to be made in SPACE ODYSSEY: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece.

The author will be part of a panel discussion that will include the film’s special effects supervisor Con Pederson, choreographer/ actor Dan Richter, and visual effects artist Bruce Logan.

Regarded as a masterpiece today, 2001: A Space Odyssey received mixed reviews on its original release. Despite the success of Dr. Strangelove, director Stanley Kubrick wasn’t yet recognized as a great filmmaker, and 2001 was radically innovative, with little dialogue and no strong central character. The movie's resounding commercial success launched the genre of big-budget science fiction spectaculars. Such directors as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and James Cameron have acknowledged its profound influence.


WEDNESDAY
Central Library, 5:30 p.m.

MEETING: BOARD OF LIBRARY TRUSTEES


THURSDAY
Central Library, 7:00 p.m.

Family Night presents...
BUSTER BALLOON!
Enjoyed by kids and parents, The Buster Balloon Show is a wild and wacky mix of side-splitting comedy, mind-boggling magic, and the most amazing twisted balloon creations you have ever seen, all presented by the lovable human cartoon character that is Buster Balloon.







CHILDREN'S PROGRAMMING

BABY STORYTIME (under 12 months):
Northwest Branch: Thursdays @ 10:00 a.m.

Registration is required. Please call 818 238-5640 to sign up. Spring session began on April 5 and ends on May 10. Songs, stories, and rhymes for children under 12 months.

TODDLER STORYTIMES
(under age 3):
Buena Vista Branch:
Tuesdays and Wednesdays @ 10:00 a.m.
Central Library: Fridays @ 10:00 a.m.

Due to limited space, sign-ups are required at the Buena Vista Branch and the Spring Sessions are FULL. Plan to visit Toddler Storytime on Fridays at Burbank Central Library - no sign-ups required.

This program is geared to children under age 3 and their caregivers. The Spring Session for Tuesdays will run from April 3 through May 8, 2018.

Storytime plays an important role in promoting early literacy and the love of books, learning, and exploring the world. Storytime programs expose children and their parents and caregivers to books, simple songs, finger plays, rhymes, and crafts.

PRESCHOOL STORYTIMES
(ages 3-5):
Northwest Branch: Wednesdays @ 10:00 a.m.
Central Library: Thursdays @ 10:00 a.m.
Buena Vista Branch: Fridays @ 1:00 p.m. (Rhythm & Reading)

MUSIC & MOVEMENT
Central Library, this Saturday @ 10:15 a.m.

Join us for a fun introduction to movement, coordination, rhythm, and dance! We'll be dancing using shaker eggs & scarves, and listening to music.



Friday, April 06, 2018

Now At the Movies: Revisiting the Final Years

This Wednesday, April 4, will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968.
A new HBO documentary, King in the Wilderness,
is currently playing in theaters, and you might want to catch it before it moves on from the big screen. The movie looks at the last three years of King’s life, the years after the landmark Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, when there were major riots in large U.S. cities and when King’s attention turned to the problems of economic inequality and injustice, the moral and domestic costs of the war in Vietnam, and to a confrontation with racism in areas of the country outside the south. Those campaigns, particularly his experience in Chicago as he led demonstrations for fair housing laws, exposed racism in America as a national rather than just a southern problem, one that involved discrimination not just by law but a deliberate and complex structure of de facto segregation that limited both educational and economic opportunity.

At the time of his death, King, among other challenges, was confronting poverty in America and planning the Poor People’s Campaign. The Civil Rights Movement was also dealing with the so-called “backlash” to recent victories, something that was less a “reaction” than the exposure of a deep and long abiding racism that existed both north and south in America. It produced a frustration among those in the movement that resulted in internal challenges to its unity, as arguments grew over both message and method.

The film is an intimate look at King as he attempted to deal with these challenges. It leaves the audience with the understanding that those problems remain with us today. Perhaps what is most memorable about this film is the news footage from the demonstrations in Chicago and other northern cities, where, unlike the sanitized contemporary newscasts of these events, you see King ducking  objects thrown at him and hear the slurs and insults from white urban crowds taunting him and the other marchers. And there is a wonderful segment where a reporter conducts an  interview with both King and Stokely Carmichael while they are leading James Meredith’s “March Against Fear” (King and Carmichael had stepped in to take Meredith’s place after he had been shot earlier in the march). The differences in their views crystallized the growing frustration and dissension within the ranks of the Civil Rights Movement.

Martin Luther King Jr, and Stokely Carmichael of the SNCC
(Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee) leading James Meredith's
"March Against Fear," 1966.
Photo Flip Schulke Archives

This is a sad, moving, and sobering film, but it is an important one, because it reminds us that the Civil Rights Movement was more than just a fight against segregation in the South, that King understood that he was confronting a national problem, one that involved racism embedded in social and economic structures that enforced segregation and inequality.

There are a number of books that have come out recently--or are forthcoming--during this anniversary year of King’s death that remind us of the broader scope of his vision: The Heavens Might Crack: The Death and Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Jason Sokol; Redemption, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Last 31 Hours by Joseph Rosenbloom; and To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice by Michael K. Honey. A book from a few years ago (The Radical King, edited by Cornell West) may also be of interest to readers, as well as Jeanne Theoharis’s new book, A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History, which seeks to show us the broad scope of a movement that we have narrowed in our recollections and tamed in service of our current complacency about the unfinished work we still must do regarding race and economic justice in America.