February 2011

When asked what the television program “Mad Men” is about, author Natasha Vargas-Cooper usually replies that it concerns the culture clash and contradictions that occurred during the end of the Eisenhower era and the great changes in American society in the 1960s.

This Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning television series inspired Ms. Vargas Cooper to delve into the most interesting and essential references in the program from the early 1960s – advertisements and advertising campaigns, the literature of the decade, the politics and sexual mores of the time. This book, which I found both entertaining and informative, serves as a glossary for fans of the series and also as a social history of this important period in American history.

The wealth of topics covered by the author and invited guest writers range from the biographies of the leading advertising executives to the civil rights movement to the “glass ceiling” limited women’s career choices to the effect of popular movies on popular opinion.

Entries that particularly interested me covered the phenomenally popular “A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy,” the campaign that broke all the established rules of advertising and persuaded the American public to buy as many as 500,000 Volkswagens a year, and the effect of the film “The Misfits” on the buying habits of American dog owners who stopped buying dog food made of horse meat.

Being a Baby Boomer myself, I remember my family’s VW, Mrs. Kennedy’s tour of the White House, JFK’s assassination, and rallies and demonstrations for racial equality and for ending the Vietnam War.

To inform yourself further about the 1960s in the USA and subjects mentioned in the “Mad Men” television program series, I recommend the following books and DVDs available in your Alameda County Library branches:

Mad men unbuttoned : a romp through 1960s America / Natasha Vargas-Cooper

New York : Collins Design, c2010 791.4575 VARGAS-COOPER

Mad men. Season one [videorecording] / Lions Gate Television Inc. ; created by Matthew Weiner         

Santa Monica, CA : Lionsgate, [2008]                          DVD Fiction MAD

(Seasons Two and Three can also be found under the call number DVD Fiction MAD.  This series is extremely popular, so I recommend placing holds on the seasons you wish to view.)

Eyes on the prize : America’s civil rights years, 1954-1965 / Juan Williams ; with the Eyes on the prize production team ; introduction by Julian Bond 

New York, NY : Viking Penguin, 1987                                323.40973 WILLIAMS

Missiles in Cuba : Kennedy, Khrushchev, Castro, and the 1962 crisis / Mark J. White      

Chicago : Ivan R. Dee, c1997                         973.922 WHITE

The misfits [videorecording] / Seven Arts Productions ; director, John Huston ; producer, Frank E. Taylor ; screenplay, Arthur Miller

Santa Monica, CA : MGM Home Entertainment, 2001          DVD Fiction MISFITS

The man in the gray flannel suit [videorecording] / Darryl F. Zanuck presents ; produced by Darryl F. Zanuck ; screenplay by Nunnally Johnson ; produced by Daryl F. Zanuck ; directed by Nunnally Johnson

Beverly Hills, Calif. : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, [2005]        DVD Fiction MAN

 The apartment [videorecording] / United Artists ; the Mirisch Company ; written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond ; produced and directed by Billy Wilder

Santa Monica, Calif. : MGM Home Entertainment, [2001]        DVD Fiction APARTMENT

Atlas shrugged / Ayn Rand

New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Dutton, [1992]               Fiction RAND, A

The feminine mystique / by Betty Friedan ; introduction by Anna Quindlen

New York : W.W. Norton, 2001                               305.42097 FRIEDAN

Sisterhood is powerful; an anthology of writings from the women’s liberation movement

New York, Random House [1970]                              301.412 MORGAN

Days of wine and roses [videorecording] / Warner Bros. Pictures ; Martin Manulis-Jalem Productions ; director, Blake Edwards ; producer, Martin Manulis ; writer, J.P. Miller

[United States] : Warner Home Video, c2004           DVD Fiction DAYS

Dublin Library is pleased to host an “OperaLive!” performance program by the Livermore Valley Opera featuring principal singers and instrumentalists from their upcoming production of Madama Butterfly. This beloved opera by Giacomo Puccini features some of the most beautiful music and soaring melodies ever composed.  This free program will be held in the Dublin Library Community Room on Sunday, February 27th, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. 

The fully-staged production of Madama Butterfly by Livermore Valley Opera will be presented in the Bankhead Theater in Livermore on March 12, 13, 19 and 20.  More information on the production at the Bankhead Theater can be obtained here.

The origin of the present-day opera “Madama Butterfly” is a bit complicated.  After successes with the operas “Manon Lescaut,” “La Bohème,” and “Tosca,” Puccini decided to use the plot of a play he’d seen in London by American impresario David Belasco, entitled “Madame Butterfly.”  Though he understood very little English, Puccini felt the appeal of the story as the basis for an opera.  The original English-language play by Belasco had cleverly capitalized on the vogue at the end of the 19th Century for things Japanese.  Belasco’s play had in turn been based on a magazine novella by John Luther Long, which had itself been influenced by the novel “Madame Chrysanthème” by Pierre Loti. 

Puccini’s play had a rather rocky beginning, with an unsuccessful premiere at La Scala in Milan in February 1904, followed by a second premiere at Brescia in May 1904, and the composer made further changes for the premiere in Paris at the Opéra-Comique, on December 28, 1906.  This last version forms the basis for the printed edition of the score used today.

The first U.S. performance was in Washington, D.C., in English, by the Henry W. Savage Opera Company on October 15, 1906; the same company brought “Butterfly” to Manhattan’s Garden Theatre the following month. The Metropolitan Opera premiere, supervised by the composer, was in Italian, on February 11, 1907.

Before seeing excerpts of “Madama Butterfly” or before seeing the complete opera, you can hear and see the libretto, CDs and DVDs of this play in the collection of your Alameda County Library: 

Madam Butterfly : a Japanese tragedy with English-Italian text / Puccini

Melville, N. Y. : Belwin Mills, [196-?]     782.1026M PUCCINI 

Madam Butterfly = Madama Butterfly / Giacomo Puccini

London : J. Calder ; New York : Riverrun Press, 1984      782.10268 PUCCINI 

Madama Butterfly [sound recording] / Puccini ; [libretto, Giuseppe Giacosa, Luigi Illica]

London, England : London ; New York, NY : Manufactured and marketed by Universal Classics Group : Distributed by Universal Music and Video Distribution, [1993]    CD 782.1 PUCCINI 

Madame Butterfly [sound recording] / Giacomo Puccini

Prince Frederick, MD. : Recorded Books, p2006       CD 782.1 PUCCINI 

Madama Butterfly [videorecording] / Giacomo Puccini, [composer] ; produced for television in association with the ABC ; Opera Australia ; producer/director, Cameron Kirkpatrick

West Long Branch, NJ : Kultur, [2008], c1997      D 792.542 MADAMA

The library hosted a Valentine Making Workshop for children this afternoon in the Community Room, where kids of all ages had fun decorating valentines for their family and friends.

Dublin Library Valentine Workshop

This is just one of the fabulous programs that the Friends of the Dublin Library funds each year with profits from their annual book sales.

This year’s valentine workshop had a special, added opportunity to make a valentine card for a military serviceperson.

Valentines for Troops

The cards will be given to the Blue Star Moms, who will add them to care packages to be sent to servicepersons around the world.

Dublin Library Valentine Workshop Dublin Library Valentine Workshop

I occasionally watch animated films, but am rather unfamiliar with Japanese anime.  I recently viewed a film available through the Alameda County Library System entitled “Millennium Actress.”  This film was named the “Best Animation Film” at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal in 2003 and awarded the Grand Prize at the Japan Agency of Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival. 

“Millennium Actress,” directed by Satoshi Kon, deals with the career of a fictional actress named Chiyoko Fujiwara.  Extremely successful in romantic and action films during the 1930s through the 1950s, she disappeared from the set of a space film right after being rescued by a camera technician during an earthquake.  Decades later, she is being interviewed by a documentary filmmaker and a cameraman in her home in a mountain village. 

The action of the film shifts to different periods of Chiyoko’s life and the films she starred in.  The interviewing filmmaker and cameraman find themselves part of these different realities either as participants in the action or as onlookers.  The other constant in the film is Chiyoko’s attempt to find a political activist / artist she rescued from the police in the late 1930s. 

This film, and anime in general, shifts between realities in a way that would be expensive or next to impossible to shoot in live-action films.  Fans of typical anime films might be surprised to find they can enjoy a melodramatic love story in anime.  I would recommend this film to adults who are curious about Japanese animated films. 

Millennium actress [videorecording] = Sennen joyu / Go Fish Pictures presents a Chiyoko Committee production , Genco Inc. ; producer, Taro Maki ; writers, Satoshi Kon, Sadayaki Murai ; directed by Satoshi Kon

Universal City, CA : DreamWorks Home Entertainment, 2001    DVD Fiction MILLENNIUM 

Other selected anime films I’d recommend are:

Spirited away [videorecording] / Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Tohokushinsha Film and Mitsubishi present a Tokuma Shoten, Studio Ghibli, Nippon Television Network and Dentsu ; producer, Toshio Suzuki ; written & directed by Hayao Miyazaki

[United States] : Walt Disney Home Entertainment ; Burbank, CA : Buena vista Home Entertainment, [2003], c2001                                              DVD Fiction SPIRITED

Cowboy bebop. Session 1 [videorecording] / [directed by Shinichiro Watanabe ; a production of Sunrise, Inc. & Bandai Visual Co. Ltd  (There are 6 sessions of this series.)

[S.l.] : Bandai Entertainment, c1999         DVD Fiction COWBOY

Ghost in the shell : Stand alone complex. Vol. 01 [videorecording] / Shirow Masamune-Production I.G/Kodansha ; producers, Yuichiro Matsuka, Tsutomu Sugita, Charles McCarter, Kaoru Mfaume ; director, Kenji Kamiyama ; English adaptation produced by Bandai Entertainment, Inc    (There are 7 volumes in this series.)

[S.l.] : Bandai Entertainment : Manga Video, c2003-2004               DVD Fiction GHOST

Tokyo Godfathers [videorecording] / Mad House Ltd. ; producer, Masao Maruyama ; screenplay, Satoshi Kon, Keiko Nobumoto ; directors, Shôgo Furuya, Satoshi Kon

Culver City, Calif. : Distributed by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, [2004]    DVD Fiction TOKYO

Chef Martin Yan

It’s the start of the Chinese New Year celebrations, and who better to have visiting the Library than Yan Can Cook? We are so excited that Chef Martin Yan will be at the Dublin Library this Saturday at 2:00 p.m. for a cooking demo and book signing. We have been getting so many questions about this event, please plan to get here early: we cannot seat more than 120 people which is the capacity of the Community Room. In order to make sure we haven’t gone over capacity, we will hand out FREE TICKETS starting at 1:30 p.m. Chef Yan will do a 30-40 minute cooking demonstration, followed by question and answers and then book signing. There will be prizes and food tasting. Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Chef Yan is also appearing at other Alameda County Libraries; look for him at Newark on February 12 and Castro Valley on March 21.

To celebrate the year of the rabbit, we’ve put together two children’s booklists, one with bunnies and one with Chinese New Year. Enjoy!



Astro Bunnies by Christine Loomis

Loudmouth George by Nancy Carlson

Bunbun Sharon Pierce McCullough

book jacket book jacket

Bunnicula : a rabbit-tale of mystery by Deborah and James Howe

Dance Away by George Shannon

Dinnertime! by Sue Williams

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Max and Ruby by Rosemary Wells

Muncha Muncha Muncha by Candace Fleming

book jacket Bunny Days Book Jacket

Pearl and Wagner by Kate McMullan

Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Bunny Days by Tao Nyeu

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

book jacket book jacket

Moon rabbit by Natalie Russell

My friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann

Seven little bunnies by Julie Stiegemeyer



J394.261 Hoyt Goldsmith
Celebrating Chinese New Year

J394.261 MacMillan
Chinese New Year

JE394.261 Marx
Chinese New Year

book jacket book jacket

J394.261 Walsh
Chinese New Year

J394.261 Jango Cohen
Chinese New Year

J394.261 Robinson
Chinese New Year

J394.261 Demi
Happy New Year!

J745.5941 McGee
Paper Crafts for Chinese New Year

book jacket book jacket

JPB Chin
The year of the rabbit : tales from the Chinese zodiac

Bringing in the New Year

JPB Chen
A Gift

JPB Katz
My First Chinese New Year

JPB Compestine
The Runaway Rice Cake

book jacket book jacket

JPB Chinn
Sam and the Lucky Money

JPB Wong
This Next New Year

J Thong, R
The Wishing Tree