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Outside all day? Relax with a movie from the library

By Pam Everhardt Bloom

Rowan Public Library

Spring arrived March 20 and with it the opportunity to be outdoors with warm weather once again. Whether digging in the dirt, mowing the grass, riding a bike or taking long walks, add a stroll through the DVD collection at Rowan Public Library and you might find yourself ready to kick back and relax after an active day of work or play.

Take a close look at the following movies. All have won or been nominated for awards in film or TV.

Don’t miss “Painted Lady,” starring Helen Mirren. Like her starring role in an April release that centers on a famous painting, this 1997 movie tells the story of a different type of art theft as Maggie Sheridan, a former 1960s rock singer, sets out to solve a murder and find the missing work. The complex plot and performance by Mirren will keep you riveted.

Another 1997 film, “Life is Beautiful,” stars Roberto Benigni, the first male to win Best Actor at the Oscars for a male performer in a non-English-speaking role. The film centers on an Italian Jewish family and their internment in a Nazi concentration camp. Controversial at the time among some critics, the plot revolves around a father trying to protect his son’s innocence with a fabricated tale that makes this movie a true tragicomedy.

“Hugo,” a Martin Scorsese film, is based on the 2008 Caldecott winner, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” a juvenile novel. Don’t dismiss this award-winner as just a kid’s movie because it is a masterpiece on so many levels. An adventure story, a magical quest, transformation — take your pick, you may be transformed. Interestingly, I actually saw “Hugo,” the movie, before I read the book and enjoyed both thoroughly.

Another film I saw before reading the novel was “The Book Thief.” Had I not seen the movie first, I would have hurried through the book to reach the conclusion of illiterate Liesel and her journey with books, family, war and Death himself. Instead, I read it over a period of weeks, savoring the story and the language. The visuals from the film actually added to my enjoyment of the book, something I did not expect.

On a lighter note, “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day” was nominated for People’s Choice Award for Favorite Independent Movie. Miss Pettigrew literally seizes the day with her unexpected employment as social secretary to a glamorous American actress. Set in 1939 London, this film is a romantic comedy staring Frances McDormand and Amy Adams.

Other DVDs from Rowan Public Library you might want to add to your list of possibilities include “Bottle Shock,” “Danny Deckchair,” “Julia,” “Kinky Boots,” “Philomena,” “Official Best of Fest” and “The Story of Qiu Ju”. Meanwhile, “The Visitor” is next on my list for viewing. With reviews from Rex Reed, “moving, humane and life-affirming” and the Boston Globe’s, “This is a film of our times — paranoid, heartbroken, disillusioned — and the rare recent American movie whose characters react the way actual people might.” (Wesley Morris) this is definitely a film I look forward to enjoying after a lovely spring day.

Computer classes: If you’re new to computers or never felt comfortable, Computer Basics is for you. Classes are free. Sessions: 90 minutes. Class size limited and on a first come, first served basis. Dates and times subject to change without notice. Call 704-216-8242 for more information. Headquarters, April 7, 7 p.m. and April 23, 9:30 a.m.

Headquarters, Getting to Know Your iPad, April 21,  7 p.m. Registration required. Discussion of components, navigation and use of apps. Must bring own iPad, charged, and have an updated iOS (operating system). Bring current, valid Apple ID. For more info or to register, call Paul Birkhead at 704-216-8242.

Spring Photo Walk: Headquarters, April 11, 10:30 a.m. Capture the hidden treasures of downtown Salisbury on camera. Register at www.rowanpubliclibrary.org or by calling Paul at 704-216-8242 to ensure your spot. In the event of inclement weather, the makeup date will be Saturday, April 18.

Adventure Club: April 11, 11 a.m.,  Adventurous hands-on science based activities and projects for all ages. This month’s theme is “All About the Grass.” As lawn mower season starts, learn about one of the hardiest plants in its species. Create your own Grass Head planter and give it grasscuts all season long. Call 704-216-8234 for more details.

Teen Anime Club: Headquarters, April 14, 4:30 p.m. Free and open to middle- and high-school teens interested in anime, manga and comic books. Meets in the Hurley Room. New members are always welcome. Call 704-216-8229 for more information.

Explorer Club: Headquarters, April 25, 11 a.m. Investigate different genres through activities based on books from the collection. Programs for children in third-fifth grade last one hour. This month’s theme will be “Every Hero has a Story-Life Before the Avengers!” Be part of the prequel to Summer Reading and jump-start your imagination with heroes from around the world. Come dressed as a superhero you create or your own personal favorite. For more information call 704-216-8234.

Smart Pedaling workshop: South branch, China Grove, April 27, 5:45 p.m. Visit different stations set up by local experts to understand bicycle types, basic fitting, rules of the road, quick maintenance, bike-friendly trails and road routes and more. Led by David Freeze and Skinny Wheels. Part of the 2015 Learn.Act.Grow.Series. Register online or call 704-216-7734 to ensure your spot.

Teen Poetry Slam: Headquarters, April 28, 5:30-7 p.m. April is National Poetry Month and the library invites teens to submit and perform their favorites for a chance to win special prizes.All middle and high school students are eligible. Rules and entry information available online or at any library location or call 704-216-8229.

Book Bites Club: April 28, 6:30 p.m., “Falling Together, by Marisa de los Santos. Book discussion groups for adults and children at South Rowan Regional Library meet the last Tuesday of each month. Open and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments. For more information, call 704-216-7734.

Displays: Headquarters, 411; South, stained glass by Betty Corriher and Sandra Collins; East, Kim Davis.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second  language.

Children’s Storytime: Weekly events for children through April 30. For more information call 704-216-8234.

Baby Time — Simple stories and songs for 6-23 month-olds with parent or caregiver. Program about one hour. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays,  10 a.m.

Toddler Time — Sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills; 18-35 months old with parent or caregiver; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Mondays, 11 a.m.

Tiny Tumblers — Stories, musical scarves and instruments for ages 6-23 months with parent or caregiver. Same program offered twice a week;  30 minutes. South, Tuesday and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.

Preschool time — Encourages exploration of books and builds reading readiness skills for children 3-5 years old with parent or caregiver; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Noodle Head storytime — For children 4 years and up to enjoy listening to silly books and tales together; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Mondays, 4 p.m.

Art programs — Activities vary by branch.  Children 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult.; 30-45 minutes. Headquarters, Art in the Afternoon, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, Emma’s Easel, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Art with Char, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.

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