David Cherry's blog

Thunder Soul: Free Screening and Performance by Legendary Kashmere Gardens High School Funk Band

Thunder Soul Promotional Material used with permission of copyright holderA young band director at a rough inner city school, through hard work and inspirational leadership, transforms a run-of-the-mill jazz ensemble into a force-of-nature funk band that storms through all comers at national competitions. Thirty-five years later, the students return to pay tribute to the teacher and mentor who changed their lives. Sounds like a Hollywood heart-warmer, right?.  What if the movie was set right here in Houston?  What if it wasn’t “based on a true story,” but absolutely true?

2012 National Book Critics Circle Awards Nominations

National Book Critics Circle Logo fromThe flood of awards--literary and cinematic--that come churning out of your preferred news delivery device this time of year is almost as overwhelming and/or annoying as all those "Best of" lists that precede it. Because there are just so many awards with maddeningly similar names--Quick! what's the difference between an Obie and a Tony?--it’s hard to choose which (if any) to pay attention to. Facing another round of glitzy award spectacles, many of us ask ourselves a very good question: “Why should I care what these people say I should read or watch or listen to?”

Celebrate Black History Month with HCPL

Black History Month Logo - Photos courtesy Library of Congress via Flickr CommonsThis February, Harris County Public Library will celebrate Black History Month with a slate of programs and events that is as dynamic and diverse as Texas’ African American communities themselves. Programs range from live music, spoken word and film to special storytimes for the kids and crafts inspired by African and African American traditions for all ages.

Once Upon a Midnight Dreary: 2012 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominations

Mystery Writers of America Logo-copyrighted materialAnnually, on the anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's birth, the Mystery Writers of America announce the nominations for the aptly named Edgar Awards honoring "excellence in mystery." Prize categories include Best Novel, Best First Novel by an American Author and Best Fact Crime, as well as Best Juvenile and Young Adult Mysteries.

The list of past winners is chock full of above-the-title names such as James Lee Burke, Elmore Leonard and S. J. Rozan. So just because you haven't heard of some of this year's nominees, doesn't mean you won't be hearing a lot more about them in the future.

Americans in Paris (Before Hemingway, Stein and the Fitzgeralds)

Cover Art: The Greater Journey by David McCulloughIt is all too easy for successful writers to slide into a comfort zone and never want to leave it. Writing is such an iffy proposition, working from a formula isn’t just easier and safer for the psyche, it’s often the smartest business decision one can make--if it worked once, chances are pretty good it will work again.

The historian, author, PBS mainstay and owner of the most avuncular voice this side of Bob Ross, David McCullough has found his formula and shows no inclination to tinker with it. He's not out to stretch our minds or question the foundations of American Civilization. He's at heart a weaver of tales and he's exceedingly good at it.

Go Viral: Enter Story Tubes 2012

Official Story Tubes 2012 Logo - Copyrighted MaterialWhen you read a really good book, you just naturally want to tell people about it. So you do—on the bus, at lunch, maybe even on Facebook. But, in the end, how many people have you reached? 100? 500? What if you could double or triple that number? What if you could go viral and win a prize too? Harris County Public Library can’t guarantee you’ll be the next Keyboard Cat or Annoying Orange, but you never know…

Beyond 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Holiday Poetry for the Harried

Photo Credit: Blue Lights, Snowy Night by William KlosFor many adults Christmas has become a rote observance of traditions wholly estranged from their original meanings. For others it is a sort of annual moral mulligan, a time to shower attention, gifts and good cheer on those who rightly deserve those things year-round. For still others it is a time to take stock of their lives—to measure themselves against the pervasive messages of the season and to inevitably judge themselves lacking.

The message of every “very special” Christmas Special on TV is that Christmas is not at all about the gifts and tinselly excess, but the advertisements strewn liberally throughout make an utterly convincing counter-argument.

“Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” Traveling Exhibition Visits Cy-Fair

President Abraham Lincoln, from Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes. Courtesy Flickr Commons and Library of CongressBeginning December 28, Cy-Fair College Branch Library will host a unique traveling exhibition focusing on President Abraham Lincoln’s struggle to meet the political and constitutional challenges of the most turbulent era in the nation’s history.

Using period photographs, posters, historical documents and artifacts--including the Bible used during Lincoln’s first inauguration, “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” explores how the president used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the war—the secession of Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties.

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