Pop Culture Series: Nintendo Switch

By James Wargacki, Learning & Research Services

Nintendo entered the current video game console generation with a bang when it released the Switch on March 3. This new home/portable console “hybrid” is the culmination of over 100 years of experience in the entertainment industry for Nintendo.

Founded in 1889, the Marufuku Company made a name for itself in its native Japan as a manufacturer of cards for the game Hanafuda. The Marufuku Company was able to survive the economic turmoil in Japan after World War I and World War II due to the relatively low cost of manufacturing and distributing card games. In 1951 the Marufuku Company changed its name to the Nintendo Card Company and began its path to gaming innovation. A shortage of paper in 1953 led Nintendo to develop plastic playing cards, and in 1959 the company released various sets of cards with licensed characters from the Walt Disney Company.

Over the years, Nintendo continued to expand further into the entertainment industry with board games in the 1960s, the electronic Beam Gun series in the 1970s, and arcade games such as Donkey Kong in the early 1980s. Also in the 1980s, Nintendo developed its first handheld console under the Game and Watch product line.

In 1983 Nintendo released its first home console, the Famicom, in Japan. Two years later the Famicom was released in the United States as the Nintendo Entertainment System which began the company’s legacy as a home entertainment powerhouse around the world. In 1989 Nintendo expanded their reach to the handheld console market with the release of the Game Boy. As the years passed, numerous competitors such as Sega and Sony came to market with their own entertainment consoles such as the Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear, and Sony PlayStation to challenge Nintendo’s dominance. Although Nintendo has not always been the market leader in the home entertainment industry, their well-received hardware like the Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, and Game Boy Color paired with strong first-party software titles from the Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, and Metroid series have contributed to their continued success throughout the years.

The peak of the company’s popularity began in 2004 with the release of the Nintendo DS. The DS included many innovative features such as an integrated touch screen, Wi-Fi connectivity, and backwards compatibility with older Game Boy titles. Two years later Nintendo released the Wii to great critical and commercial acclaim. While the Wii had less processing power than its competitors, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the innovative motion controls and strength of first-party titles such as Wii Sports and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess appealed to casual gamers and longtime Nintendo fans alike. The Wii and DS would go on to sell 101 million and 154 million units respectively.

Nintendo’s follow up consoles, the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, ended up at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of financial success and critical reception. The Wii U’s major selling point was its proprietary gamepad. With various buttons, triggers, and control sticks surrounding an integrated touch screen, the Wii U Gamepad opened up new gameplay possibilities in the form of asymmetric multiplayer experiences and the ability to play some games directly on the gamepad. Poor battery life and a lack of compelling software caused the Wii U to greatly underperform compared to its predecessor. The 3DS continued Nintendo’s history of innovation with the inclusion of a glasses-free stereoscopic 3D screen. The new technology was impressive and critically well-received but resulted in a high initial cost for the console, low battery life, and sometimes led to eye-strain and dizziness for its users. While hardware updates and price drops contributed to the 3DS selling over 65 million units, the Wii U was discontinued in early 2017 after selling only 13.5 million units.

The Switch builds on Nintendo’s history of innovation in hopes of replicating the success of their most iconic home and handheld consoles. The central feature of the Nintendo Switch is the hybrid design which allows gamers to connect the console to their television using a docking station and also allows them to undock a seven inch tablet for gaming on the go. The included pair of Joy-Con controllers can be used individually or in tandem to allow gamers plenty of flexibility in how, when, and where they would like to play. Multiple Switch consoles can connect using local Wi-Fi or Nintendo’s online services for multiplayer gaming, and the Nintendo Switch also works with the company’s popular Amiibo line of interactive figures. Gamers are able to experience new entries in established franchises such as Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Bomberman R, and Just Dance 2017, along with new titles like 1-2-Switch.

Celebrate the release of the Nintendo Switch by checking out some of these games, books, and other items from and about Nintendo and the video game industry.

 

Games

Smash Bros. Melee

Smash Bros. Brawl

Super Mario Galaxy

 

Books

Portable Play in Everyday Life: The Nintendo DS

Playing to Wiin: Nintendo and the Video Game Industry’s Greatest Comeback

Replay: The History of Video Games

The Golden Age of Video Games: The Birth of a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry

Philosophy Through Video Games

God in the Machine: Video Games as a Spiritual Pursuit

Trigger Happy: Video Games and the Entertainment Revolution

Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

 

CDs

Super Mario Galaxy Official Soundtrack

Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask Official Soundtrack

 

Scores

Super Mario Series for Piano

Legend of Zelda Series for Piano



Pop Culture Series: Mardi Gras and Carnival

By Jay Sylvestre, Special Collections Librarian

Floats, parades, dancing, masks and elaborate costumes, beads, alcohol, and Dixieland jazz: these sights and sounds are all synonymous with Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday.” Celebrated just recently on February 28 of this year, Fat Tuesday is traditionally known for its colorful blend of religious and pagan festivals.

Mardi Gras has been observed for thousands of years in various forms throughout Europe. Recognition in North America began in 1699 with the Le Moyne brothers, Pierre and Jean-Baptiste, while on an expedition to reinforce French claims to the Louisiane territory. The first organized Mardi Gras was held in Mobile, Alabama in 1703, but it took until the 1830s for the city of New Orleans to officially endorse the festival. In the early 1740s, then Governor of Louisiana Marquis de Vaudreuilthen introduced the elegant society balls that became the model for contemporary celebrations. By the late 1830s, New Orleans’ Mardi Gras festival included the flambeaux, a gaslight torch bearer who lead all of the parade krewes. Since its earliest days, Mardi Gras has evolved and grown into the grand cultural event that we’ve come to expect each year.

When used as a backdrop for movies and television, Mardi Gras is often interpreted and portrayed in socially relevant ways. The “All on a Mardi Gras Day” episode of the HBO show Treme (2010) captures the intense and conflicting emotions during the first celebration following Hurricane Katrina. Movies like The Princess and the Frog (2009) and Interview with the Vampire (1994) use the festival and city of New Orleans as a lush, supernatural setting. In the counterculture road film Easy Rider (1969), Mardi Gras is the target destination for the two outlaw protagonists. Even famous “Who’s On First” comedians Abbott and Costello dropped in on Mardi Gras for their 1953 film Abbott and Costello Go to Mars. However, instead of landing on the red planet, the duo accidentally end up at the lively street party in New Orleans.

Carnival, which is sometimes confused with Mardi Gras, is actually the name for the season that runs between Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and Lent in the Christian calendar. The Mardi Gras festival marks the end of the Carnival season. Not to be outdone by New Orleans, many Caribbean and South American nations have their own Carnival celebrations. Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, and Cuba have notable Carnivals. The most famous Carnival festival takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Rio celebration attracts millions of people every year and accounts for approximately 70 percent of the country’s tourist visits. Even the birds of the 2011 computer-animated movie Rio end up at Carnival in Brazil.

Although Carnival season just passed, you can revisit the revelry of Mardi Gras anytime by grabbing yourself a slice of king cake and digging into these book, DVD, and music selections.

 

Books:

Masking and Madness: Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Mardi Gras Indians

Mardi Gras, Gumbo, and Zydeco: Readings in Louisiana Culture

Blues for New Orleans – Mardi Gras and America’s Creole Soul

Trinidad and Tobago, our ’83 Carnival and Calypsoes

En Mas’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean

 

DVDs:

Skyros Carnival: 2004

The Princess and the Frog

Cuba on Fire: Mythologies and Origins of Carnival

Tchindas

 

Music:

Mardi Gras [sound recording]

New Orleans Jazz and Second Line Drumming

Carnival! [sound recording]



Mellon Grant Supports Library-Museum Collaboration

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 11, 2017)—The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to the University of Miami to support collaboration between the Lowe Art Museum and UM Libraries on their joint effort to further faculty engagement with historical and artistic collections.

“This significant investment by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is vitally important and recognizes the immense potential of a strong library-museum collection to enhance learning and stimulate innovative and collaborative scholarship,” said UM President Julio Frenk.

The grant will enable the Lowe and the Libraries to establish two new faculty fellowships—one devoted to campus engagement and the other to the conservation of art and archival works on paper. In addition, it establishes a new programming fund to incentivize faculty to engage with University collections and enable the development of joint public programs that highlight these collections.

“We could not be more thrilled to have received this remarkable gift, and we are deeply grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generosity,” said Jill Deupi, Beaux Arts director and chief curator of the Lowe. “This transformative grant speaks to the value of higher education, the arts, and the humanities, generally. It equally affirms the power of collaboration and impact of leveraging resources for the benefit of a broad range of audiences.”

Charles Eckman, dean of the University of Miami Libraries, said the partnership was envisioned through the inaugural Academic Art Museum and Library Summit, held in January 2016, which brought together 14 pairs of library and museum directors from North American academic institutions to address opportunities for deep intra-institutional collaboration. “Through the support of the Mellon Foundation, the Lowe and Libraries will be able to work with faculty to carry out our vision for new curricular, interdisciplinary, and collaborative engagement and shared collection stewardship opportunities while providing invaluable experience to emerging professionals in the field,” Eckman said.

A white paper co-authored by Deupi and Eckman that reports on the findings of the 2016 AAML Summit is available in UM Libraries Scholarly Repository (scholarlyrepository.miami.edu).



Internationally Significant Collection Donated to UM, MDC

From left: Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, Jay I. Kislak, and Dr. Julio Frenk

The internationally significant Jay I. Kislak Foundation collection will now have two permanent homes in South Florida – in the Special Collections Division of the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library, in Coral Gables, and at Miami Dade College’s Freedom Tower, in downtown Miami. Assembled over the course of many decades, the Kislak collection includes some of the most important original source materials related to the history of the early Americas, such as two of the earliest published editions of the famous 1493 letter of Christopher Columbus.

The Jay I. Kislak Foundation, University of Miami (UM) and Miami Dade College (MDC) jointly announced the landmark donation of rare books, maps, manuscripts and other historic materials.

Jay Kislak, prominent collector, philanthropist and Miami resident for more than 60 years, has been a lifelong collector of rare books and historic artifacts focused particularly on Florida and the Caribbean, exploration, navigation and the early Americas. In 2004, he and the Jay I. Kislak Foundation donated more than 3,000 rare books, maps, manuscripts and objects to the Library of Congress, whose Kislak Collection now forms the basis of a major exhibition and extensive scholarly and public programs in Washington, D.C.

In UM and MDC, Kislak identified two local partners with the ability and desire to create similarly extensive educational and cultural programming in South Florida. The Kislak-MDC-UM partnership will encompass exhibitions, research, education and public outreach, all designed to serve MDC and UM students and faculty, residents of the local community, and a global scholarly network engaged in the study of Florida, early American history, and the cultures of the Caribbean and Latin America. Through an operating agreement, MDC and UM will collaborate on exhibits, collections care, and events and activities open to the public.

“I think this is an ideal partnership. We have the opportunity to combine the special resources of each institution and create exhibitions and programs that will be enjoyed by Miami-Dade residents and the millions of people who visit here from all over the world,” said Kislak.

“Miami Dade College is the largest and most diverse institution of higher education in the country, and is central to the educational, social, cultural and economic life of our community. Under the leadership of Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, Miami Dade has emerged as a globally recognized institution,” he said.

“The University of Miami is among the nation’s top 50 research institutions, with a library that draws scholars from around the world. With the recent inauguration of Dr. Julio Frenk, this is an ideal time to establish the permanent repository in South Florida to conserve our collections and make them available to scholars and students for generations to come,” Kislak added.

The Kislak gift, representing a combined valuation of approximately $30 million, includes more than 2,300 rare books, maps, manuscripts, pre-Columbian artifacts and other historic materials.

UM and MDC will each receive a selection of important items. Each institution will receive a first edition of the famous 1493 letter of Christopher Columbus, in which the explorer described his New World discoveries to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.

Other Kislak gift highlights include:

  • A 1486 edition of Ptolemy’s Cosmographia, among the most influential works in the history of cartography. A copy of this atlas was known to have been owned by Columbus.
  • A 1521 volume describing Cuba, by Italian historian Peter Martyr d’Anghiera, who wrote the first accounts of Spanish explorations in the Caribbean and Central and South America.
  • A 1589 volume, The Principal Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English Nation, by English writer Richard Hakluyt, who was known for promoting the British colonization of North America.
  • A two-volume account of the 1804-1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition, commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson after the Louisiana Purchase.

The University of Miami’s share of the Kislak materials will become part of the Richter Library’s Special Collections Division, enhancing a collection highly regarded for its holdings of rare books and archives related to the cultural and political history of South Florida, the Caribbean Basin and South America, as well as its Cuban Heritage Collection of materials related to Cuba and the Cuban diaspora from colonial times to the present. The university is currently renovating its special collections center, which will be renamed the Kislak Center, envisioned as a hub of expanded educational and cultural programming, with lectures, fellowships, undergraduate and graduate courses utilizing the collection resources, and a new exhibit gallery featuring a broad range of materials from the Kislak collection.

“We are grateful to Jay Kislak for his extraordinary vision and lifelong devotion to creating a scholarly and culturally significant collection that showcases the rich history of Florida and the Caribbean,” said UM President Julio Frenk. “Our Special Collections will be home to these unique and exceptionally important materials from the Kislak Collection, and working with our partners at Miami Dade College, the University of Miami will have an unparalleled opportunity to engage our community in the history and culture of our hemisphere.”

Miami Dade College plans to create a permanent 2,600-square-foot public exhibition gallery in the Freedom Tower. The exhibit space will be located in the building’s main public area, adjacent to its ballroom and historic New World Mural, which celebrates Ponce de Leon’s 1513 discovery and naming of Florida.

“We are honored and privileged to receive such a significant gift and to work with such great partners. In a community as diverse as ours, we feel the responsibility to embrace and share the arts, culture and history with our students, faculty and residents,” said MDC’s President, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón.

The two Miami institutions also expect to collaborate with the Library of Congress in studying and promoting all Kislak collections and making them accessible to audiences throughout Florida and the region.

“For 500 years, Florida has been a focal point of global exploration and cultural exchange,” Kislak said. “I’m thrilled that Miami’s top two institutions of higher education, along with the Library of Congress, will now be using our collections to reveal the fascinating and important role of our community in world history.



DVD Picks: Academy Awards for Best Picture

by Terri Robar and James Wargacki Learning & Research Services

As we move into a new Academy Awards season, it is a good time to look back and revisit old favorites. Here are the most recent winners in the Best Picture category. We hold many others, so check our catalog – we have nearly every film that has ever won the top prize.

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection. In addition to the thousands of DVDs spanning comedy, drama, sci-fi, horror, documentary, and other genres, UM Libraries also houses film-related materials such as screenplays, soundtracks, musical scores, and original book titles. Search the catalog to browse music and print resources related to these films.

In 1927, George Valentin is a silent movie superstar. However, the advent of the talkies will kill his career and he will sink into oblivion. For young extra Peppy Miller, it seems the sky’s the limit as major movie stardom awaits. Though their careers are taking different paths their destinies will become entwined.

Based on the true story of Solomon Northup. It is 1841, and Northup, an accomplished, free citizen of New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Stripped of his identity and deprived of all dignity, Northup is ultimately purchased by ruthless plantation owner Edwin Epps and must find the strength within to survive.

Llewelyn Moss stumbles onto a drug deal gone monumentally wrong and a satchel filled with $2 million. It isn’t long before he’s being tracked by Anton Chigurh, a psychopathic “debt collector.” Sheriff Bell sets out to find Llewelyn, not so much for the propriety of recovering the money but to protect one of his citizens from Chigurh, an evil like nothing Bell has ever seen.

A car accident brings together Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives that collide in interweaving stories of race, loss, and redemption.

A black comedy story of an actor famous for portraying an iconic superhero as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself.

The story of King George VI of Britain, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.

In South Boston, the police are waging a war on Irish-American organized crime. Undercover cop Billy Costigan is assigned to infiltrate the mob syndicate. Colin Sullivan is a hardened young criminal who has infiltrated the police department as an informer for the syndicate. When it becomes clear to both the mob and the police that there’s a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin are suddenly thrust into danger. Afraid of being caught and exposed to the enemy, each must race to uncover the identity of the other man in time to save himself.

Boxing trainer Frankie Dunn has been unwilling to let himself get close to anyone for a very long time–then Maggie Fitzgerald walks into his gym. Won over by Maggie’s sheer determination, he begrudgingly agrees to take her on. In turns exasperating and inspiring each other, the two come to discover that they share a common spirit that transcends the pain and loss of their pasts, and they find in each other a sense of family they lost long ago. Yet, they both face a battle that will demand more heart and courage than any they’ve ever known.

When Staff Sergeant Will James arrives on the scene, Bravo Company has thirty-nine days left on its current deployment, and it will be a long time for Sanborn and Eldridge whose styles do not mesh with that of their new leader. While the three members face their own internal issues, they have to be aware of any person at the bomb sites, some of whom may be bombers themselves.

On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the American embassy in Tehran and captured dozens of American hostages, sparking a 444-day ordeal. There’s a little-known footnote to the crisis: six Americans escaped and a mid level agent named Antonio Mendez devised an ingenious yet incredibly risky plan to rescue them.

Jamal Malik is an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” When the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating. Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life which reveals where he learned the answers to the show’s seemingly impossible questions.

The riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper’s tenacious ‘Spotlight’ team of reporters delve into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment.





DVD Picks: Stress Relieving Films

by Terri Robar and James Wargacki Learning & Research Services

Cramming for finals? Rushing to meet deadlines? Stressed to the max? We suggest you take a break with one of the entertaining films from our DVD collection. This list of titles have a proven track record for relieving stress either by making you laugh til’ your sides ache or by getting you so involved in the story line that you forget about the real world. So, heat up some popcorn and enjoy your favorites!

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection. In addition to the thousands of DVDs spanning comedy, drama, sci-fi, horror, documentary, and other genres, UM Libraries also houses film-related materials such as screenplays, soundtracks, musical scores, and original book titles. Search the catalog to browse music and print resources related to these films.

Carl Fredericksen is a 78- year-old curmudgeon. He used to enjoy his modest life as a balloon seller when his adventure-loving wife Ellie was still alive. When she died, Carl was left with his memories and the awareness that they never made their dream journey to Paradise Falls in South America. He rigs thousands of helium balloons to his house and floats away accidentally taking young Russell with him. In the tropical jungle, Carl and Russell find more than they bargained for and discover they need each other.

Heartbroken over the death of her beloved Westley, beautiful Buttercup finally succumbs to the advances of the wicked Prince Humperdinck. Yet, when she’s suddenly kidnapped by a motley band of deviants, what gallant hero comes to the rescue? None other than Westley–alive, well and as wonderful as ever. But before these two can live happily ever after, they must first overcome formidable odds. Will these star-crossed lovers ever fulfill their destiny? Or, this time, will Buttercup lose Westley forever?

Downton Abbey needs an heir. Lord Grantham is faced with the possibility that the house he’s loved his whole life might one day belong to a distant cousin he’s never met. Even the staff have opinions: while many are devoted to the family, there are others whose selfishness and scheming do more than disrupt the well-oiled workings of the estate. How will the troubles of its family–above and below stairs–be resolved? Or will life be altered so dramatically that its master no longer matters?

A tornado appears and carries Dorothy to the magical land of Oz. Wishing to return home, she begins to travel to the city of Oz where a great wizard lives. On her way, she teams up with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. They all hope the Wizard of Oz will help them but they have to get to the Emerald City before the Wicked Witch of the West catches up with them.

Liz Lemon is the head writer of a live variety program in New York City. Liz’s life is turned upside down when brash new network executive Jack Donaghy interferes with her show, bringing the wildly unpredicatable Tracy Jordan into the cast. Now it’s up to Liz to manage the mayhem and still try to have a life.

40-year-old Andy Stitzer has a cushy job, a nice apartment, good friends, a nice attitude. But at 40, Andy is still a virgin. His friends consider it their duty to help Andy out of his dire situation. But nothing proves effective until he meets Trish. Andy’s friends are excited by the possibility that “it” may finally happen, that is until they hear that Andy and Trish have begun their relationship based on a mutual no-sex policy.

Farmer Hoggett wins a runt piglet at a local fair and young Babe, as the piglet decides to call himself, befriends and learns about all the other creatures on the farm. He becomes special friends with one of the sheepdogs, Fly. With Fly’s help, and Farmer Hoggett’s intuition, Babe embarks on a career in sheepherding with some surprising and spectacular results.

Michael Dorsey is an out-of-work actor who makes himself up as a woman to get a job. When his girlfriend, Sandy, fails an audition for a soap opera, Michael dresses up as “Dorothy Michaels” and lands the part. All goes well until “Dorothy” falls in love with beautiful co-star Julie, and Julie’s father, Les, falls for “Dorothy.”

Irreverent slacker panda Po is the biggest fan of Kung Fu around … which doesn’t exactly come in handy working every day in his family’s noodle shop. Unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Po’s dreams become reality when he joins the world of Kung Fu and studies alongside his idols, the legendary Furious Five–Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey–under the leadership of their guru, Master Shifu.

Friends is the story of 20-something buddies who are struggling to find their way through life in the city of New York. From fights and family troubles to romance, breakups, tears and surprises, this lovable group discovers what it truly means to be friends.

A comedy about an idealistic young man and his friends and their pursuit to find jobs and a purpose to life in their hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. The four friends take on the fraternities in the yearly bike race, earning not only the college students’ respect but their peers’ as well.

An uplifting film of the season. George Bailey, a desperate and suicidal man, is visited by a guardian angel who shows him how important he has been to those around him in his life.



Pop Culture Series: 75 Years of Wonder Woman

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By Lauren Fralinger, Lauren and Research Services

They’re often called the “trinity” in comic book circles: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Over the past 75 years, we have seen Superman and Batman on screen in many incarnations, each portrayal adding a bit more history to the character. 2016 has brought us only our second live portrayal of Wonder Woman, and though audiences haven’t seen her as frequently, that is about to change. Celebrating her 75th anniversary in 2016, Wonder Woman is a feminist pop culture icon whose legacy has endured nearly a century.

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Wonder Woman appears on the first issue of Sensation Comics (1942). Art by H. G. Peter.

Debuting in 1941 in All Star Comics #8, Wonder Woman was one of the earliest female superheroes to make it into print. Developed by William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman was created to be a different kind of superhero. Still in their early days, superhero comics were dominated by powerful, almost exclusively male heroes who used physical strength or technology to win their battles. In contrast, Marston wanted to create a superhero who won not through the strength of their fists, but also through love. It was Marston’s wife Elizabeth who suggested that this new superhero be a woman.

Wonder Woman’s origins are steeped in Greek mythology. Born as Diana, Princess of the Amazons, she was sculpted from clay by her mother, Queen Hippolyta and imbued with powers from several Olympian goddesses. Withdrawn from the world and protected by the gods, the Amazons lived in isolation on a hidden island until it was accidentally discovered by an American intelligence officer whose plane crashed there during World War II. Selected to bring the man back to “Man’s World” and to join the fight against the Nazis, Diana was gifted a pair of magical, bulletproof bracelets and a lasso of truth, which forces honesty from anyone it captures. Wonder Woman quickly joined the war alongside other early superheroes and served on the Justice Society of America, one of the first superhero teams.

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Lynda Carter (left) first portrayed Wonder Woman on screen in the 1970s. Gal Godot (right) will take on the role in the 2017 series.

Over the course of 75 years, Wonder Woman has gone through dozens of incarnations in the comics as writers and stories have come and gone. Acknowledged early on as one of the most powerful heroes in the DC Comics stable, Wonder Woman went through a strange period in the late sixties and early seventies where her powers were taken from her entirely. Dismayed that one of the most recognizable and powerful women in pop culture was no longer able to compete on the same field as her super powered male counterparts, Gloria Steinem placed Wonder Woman on the cover of the inaugural issue of her new magazine, Ms., and criticized the decision to strip away everything that made Diana so empowered. A year later, Wonder Woman had her bracelets, lasso and superpowers returned, and was back in full fighting form.

Diana’s first on-screen portrayal was made by Lynda Carter in the 1970s Wonder Woman television series. Airing from 1975 to 1979 during the peak of the second-wave feminist movement, Wonder Woman presented a powerful, intelligent, and deeply human woman capable of extraordinary abilities to American audiences. Decades after the end of the 1970s series, Wonder Woman made appearances in various animated series such as Justice League and Justice League Unlimited in the early 2000s, but was not portrayed live again until 2016’s Batman vs. Superman. Though Batman and Superman both made the jump to the movies decades earlier, Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the Amazon princess was the first time Wonder Woman had made it into theaters. Batman vs. Superman may have been her first silver screen appearance, but it won’t be her last; Gadot will reprise her role as Diana for 2017’s Wonder Woman.

Interested in more Wonder Woman? The Richter Library has you covered. Check out more books and comics about the adventures of the Amazon Princess here:

Books:

Wonder Woman: A Celebration of 75 Years (2016)

Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine (2014)

Wonder Woman (2012)

Wonder Woman ‘77 (2016)

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman (2015)

Wonder Woman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told (2006)

Wonder Woman: Earth One (2016)

 

DVDs:

Wonder Woman: The Complete First Season (2004)

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines (2012)

 



DVD Picks: Funny Halloween Movies

by Terri Robar, Learning & Research Services

Some people like to watch scary movies at Halloween, but some of us like to laugh. So here’s a list of movies that have plenty of spooks and monsters but are unlikely to give you nightmares.

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection. In addition to the thousands of DVDs spanning comedy, drama, sci-fi, horror, documentary, and other genres, UM Libraries also houses film-related materials such as screenplays, soundtracks, musical scores, and original book titles. Search the catalog to browse music and print resources related to these films.

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In a world that has become overrun with zombies, two men must figure out how to survive. Wimpy Columbus is afraid of his own shadow, while Tallahassee is the biggest, baddest, gun-toting zombie-slayer who ever lived. When they meet two sisters, Wichita and Little Rock, the four strike out for an amusement park that is said to be zombie-free. This mismatched group will have to rely on each other to survive, which could be worse than surrendering to the zombies.

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When three college professors lose their jobs, they decide to go into the freelance “paranormal investigation and elimination” business. When ghosts go on a rampage, only these men can save the world. Soon every spook in the city is loose and our heroes face the supreme challenge. Who you gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS!

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David and Jack are two American youths who just want to see a bit of Europe. A trek across the moors of northern England leads to an attack by a werewolf. Jack is killed, but returns as an undead corpse to warn David that he, too, will morph into a werewolf when the full moon rises.

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The story of Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king, who decides to bring the magic of Christmas back to Halloween Town.

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When flesh eating zombies go on the hunt for a bite to eat, it is up to Shaun and his best pal to save their friends and family from becoming the next entree.

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A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

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A couple of likable ghosts contact the afterlife’s bio-exorcist to rid their home of a trendy New York family that moves in.

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Earth is invaded by Martians with unbeatable weapons and a cruel sense of humor.

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And one more time: Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, four women band together to stop the otherworldly threat.

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Summoned by a will to his late grandfather’s castle in Transylvania, young Dr. Frankenstein soon discovers the scientist’s step-by-step manual explaining how to bring a corpse to life. Assisted by the hunchbacked Igor and the curvaceous Inga, he creates a monster who only wants to be loved.

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Sidelined after their spectacular save of New York City five years ago, the heroes of the hereafter once again answer the call when an underground river of ghoulish goo threatens to rot the Big Apple to the core.

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Natives of a small isolated town defend themselves against strange underground creatures which are killing them one by one.



Pop Culture Series: TV Elections

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By Ellen Davies, UGrow Fellow, and Jay Sylvestre, Special Collections Librarian

With the 2016 Presidential election less than a month away, it will soon be time for another State of the Union address in January 2017. As portrayed in the show Designated Survivor you may know that one member of the President’s cabinet is selected to spend the address in an undisclosed location to guard against a catastrophic loss of the Executive and Legislative bodies of government. In the show Tom Kirkman, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, played by Kiefer Sutherland, is that member of the Cabinet chosen to spend the State of the Union in an undisclosed bunker. After an explosion kills the President, Vice President, Speaker of the House, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and many other cabinet Secretaries, Kirkman becomes President.

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George McGovern on election night in Roger Smith Hotel in Washington, D.C., 1972. Photograph by Michael Carlebach. University of Miami Special Collections.

The United States Constitution specifies that the Vice President succeeds the President, but makes no mention of further succession. Two amendments clarify the role of Vice Presidential succession, while the rest of the line is governed by laws passed by Congress. Cabinet-level succession is determined by the founding date of each department. For example, the State Department founded as the Department of Foreign Affairs was the first federal agency created under the Constitution. It was approved by Congressional legislation on July 21, 1789, making its Secretary the first of the Cabinet positions. The Department of Transportation, number 14 in line, was founded in 1967.

Of course, before a line of succession can exist, a President must be elected. Elections and campaigning have been fertile ground for Hollywood to explore. Satire, political thrillers, and outright comedy go hand in hand with movies about elections and often overlap with each other.

One of the most popular comedic explorations of political campaigns, and the moments of joy and frustration they can bring, is portrayed in Parks and Recreation. The series stars comedian Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, a deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department in small-town Pawnee, Indiana, and is known for her unwavering positivity, admiration (and borderline obsession) for powerful female politicians like Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher, and undying belief in local government’s potential to have a positive impact on people’s everyday lives. When she decides to run for city council, however, she quickly learns she must overcome the influence of gender bias as well as overall skepticism of government in order to effect any change in the small town. One idea that receives major pushback for instance is on combatting childhood obesity, a major health issue in Pawnee, where the existing city council has just decided to sell the space allocated for a new park to a fast food chain called “Paunch Burger.”

Other popular TV shows like House of Cards, Scandal, and Veep work to pull back the curtain on political campaigns and presidential elections, giving an inside look at Washington through the use of story lines tied to current events and allusions to American politics and politicians that blur the line between satire and reality. These shows mix all the things that aren’t supposed to be discussed in polite conversation: money, sex, and politics, and allow us to binge on them in the privacy of our own living rooms.

Family standing outside of the White House, 1970s. Photograph by Michael Carlebach. University of Miami Special Collections.

In the first season of Netflix’s wildly popular series House of Cards, Frank and Claire Underwood’s marriage reeks of the early Clinton years. Southerner Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, is a Democratic Majority Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives who has aspirations of becoming President. Together he and his wife Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright, are an unstoppable political duo ready to take on Washington and gain political power at all costs. Claire is the definition of a true “ride-or-die” and the pair have more of a business-like partnership than a romantic relationship, both more than willing to accept the other’s morally questionable actions and keep quiet about extra-marital affairs for the greater good of their own political careers. As the series evolves it ultimately becomes clear that while Frank is the public front man, Claire, like many first ladies and wives of politicians, is the tail that wags the dog.

Meanwhile it may be worth noting that Robin Wright, who plays Claire, recently made headlines for revealing that she earned less money than co-star Kevin Spacey in the first two seasons of the series and was only able to negotiate equal pay with Netflix after threatening to go public with the wage gap.

UM Libraries houses several books, movies, and television series related to political elections:

Election-Themed Resources

Movies

Being There

Dave

The Contender

Television Series

John Adams

The West Wing

Books

The Manchurian Candidate

Too Close to Call

1920: The Year of Six Presidents

How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians

Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968