May 4, 2020
Some of our staff talk about some of the great content they've been watching on the library's streaming service called Kanopy. From family drama to horror to documentary to scifi and self help, there is a little something here for everyone.
0:08 Mark: My name is Mark Richardson. I’m a librarian at the Cedar Mill and Bethany Community Libraries and we are again here to talk about some of the library services that we have to offer our patrons with your library card. Today we are going to focus on a service called Kanopy. It is a streaming service that has a ton of great content on it and we’re just going to highlight some of the things that we find interesting in Kanopy today. We’re just going to get started. I’ll ask everyone to do a brief introduction and talk about their first video.
0:47 Patrick: Hi. I’m Patrick and I’m a Circulation Assistant at both Cedar Mill and Bethany Libraries. The first thing I’d like to talk about is a documentary that went out about a month ago on Kanopy. It’s called The Worlds of Ursula K. LeGuin. It’s a documentary that aired on the American Masters part of PBS last year. It’s a little over an hour and it’s a gorgeous animated overview of her development as an author and feminist. She’s the author, a sci-fi author of The Left Hand of Darkness, the Earth Sea books, Lathe of Heaven. It’s a really great documentary. It has interviews with authors like Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Sam Delany. I kind of wish it could have been twice as long as it was. It was a really fantastic documentary.
1:37 Mark: Yes, that was one I was going to talk about, too. It was interesting to me that while I watched it that she’s a Portland author so it’s pretty cool to see Portland represented and hear about the kind of struggles she had breaking into the sci-fi author world and also to hear how important A Wizard of Earthsea was to some of those other authors. I really wasn’t really aware of how ground-breaking it was for other people. It was interesting to hear those other authors talk about that book.
2:13 Patrick: I was a little bit too young for the first Earthsea book to really have had much impact but to hear everyone talk about it, to hear Gaiman talk about it, and who was the author….. Michael Chabon and also China Mieville talk about how much it was a formative work and also the documentary talking about how much her father’s work as an anthropologist informed her development was great. It’s really, really neat.
2:40 Mark: I agree. Karen, you’ve got one?
2:45 Karen: Sure. This is Karen. I’m a Reference Librarian at Cedar Mill Library. My favorite on Kanopy is a movie that is a couple of years old. It is called Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It’s a movie that was directed by Taika Waititi. Some of you already know him from What we do in the shadows. It is a great movie. It’s one of those that at the end, I said “wow, I can’t forget this one.” It’s about a kid who is kind of on his last chance and ends up in the New Zealand bush on the run with his cranky foster uncle played by Sam Neill. It’s just a great movie. It’s categorized as an adventure and a comedy and a drama. It’s just touching and sweet and I really enjoyed it.
3:55 Mark. Excellent, sounds like a good one. Liz, do you have something for us?
3:57 Liz: I’ve been having fun with Kanopy. I don’t know about those of you that have family or other loved ones who are in different places and we used to have movie nights. So we have been doing …. We (my family) all have smart phones that allow us to have unlimited data so we have been calling each other and watching the same thing. So we’ve been co-watching so stuff and we started doing Kanopy, which was great since we all subscribe to Kanopy. The thing we watched last week was my 12 year old nephew’s suggestion. He wanted to watch a documentary called The Most Dangerous Man in America, which is about Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s’. Now my nephew, he really wanted to watch it and it turned out my brother and I had a lot to talk about it, too, because we were his age when this whole thing came down in the 70’s. We’re a quite a bit older. We had some really good conversations about it, it’s the Most Dangerous Man in America about Daniel Ellsberg. We had fun, making comments and going back and forth. If you’re curious about why my nephew got interested, he saw the movie The Post about Ben Bradlee and the Washington Post during that time and he was really interested to read and hear more about the real story. And it’s very relevant to now since there are lots of different things going on. So that’s been really great and it’s been really fun finding things that invoke conversations.
5:26 Mark: I would say that a great YA (Young Adult) non-fiction book called Most Dangerous about the same subject and I’ll recommend that to teachers who want to get a real, relevant history book that is very engaging for teenagers.
5:45 Liz: The documentary was especially interesting because it spoke a lot about his relationship with his wife and how she was there, how she was so engaged at the time. Bringing her into the documentary really added a whole new factor I hadn’t seen before and I remember reading about it.
6:06 Mark: Awesome…Marti, what have you got?
6:08 Marti: I’m Marty and I’m in the Circulation Department so I’m at the front desk at the library. The first thing I wanted to recommend is a movie called Eighth Grade. It is a heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time coming of age story of a 14 year-old girl and how she’s dealing with all those awkward moments in the teenage years--how to make friends and becoming interested in boys and dealing with her dad and how social media and her YouTube channel are affecting her life. I thought it was so realistic. The actress was discovered on You Tube and she had just graduated Eighth Grade when she filmed the movie. I laughed, I cried and even though I didn’t have a cell phone or much social media when I was growing up, it was so similar to my middle school experience, it makes you think about the added experience that teens and pre-teens have today. I was curious whether anyone else here had seen it and whether it resonated with you. I know you guys are a little bit older than me, so…
7:12 Mark: I watched it for a little bit. It was very difficult for me because I was thinking of my daughter and some of the rough patches she’s had. It was very real and very raw.
7:32 Marti: It is rough and raw but it’s real. At the end it just comes together beautifully and she learns so much about herself.
7:43 Mark: Maybe I should go back and finish it.
7:45 Marti: Watch the end
7:50 Shannon: A lot of us had trouble in Eighth Grade and that whole middle school time. I can’t imagine growing up in the face of social media with cameras on you all the time and phones and pictures. It’s just a different world and the struggles are so much more in your face now that there used to be than in our days when we were growing up.
8:11 Mark: Ok, Shannon, so you have one for us?
8:13 Shannon: I’m Shannon from the Circulation Department so you'll often see me at the front desk of the library. One of the shows that I enjoyed on Kanopy was a PBS NOVA show called Kilauea: Hawaii on Fire. It was about the eruption that happened on May 3, 2018, so just almost two years ago. They went back and looked at some of the video of things that were happening at the time and interviewed some residents that were displaced by the eruptions and they also showed some of the scientific experiments are going on. For example, they would take samples of the lava and grind it up into a powder and they could tell what the origin of that lava was, like a DNA footprint. The first lava that was coming out was actually from an eruption fifty years prior so it was being surfaced by these new eruptions and they could tell from those DNA footprints. Then there was another lava flow that was in there that came from an eruption even older than the first eruption happened previously fifty years before. You guys want to hear a really heartwarming story that they mentioned in there? So they were talking about the use of drones and the volcano eruptions and how they were studying it because helicopters can't get as close as the drones can and helicopters can't fly twenty four hours. They were looking at drone footage that was happening and they saw these blinking lights. They started looking closer at the blinking lights and realized it was an SOS signal. Some person was trapped basically not knowing where he could go versus where the lava flows were. They ended up finding him based on his cell phone SOS signal and using the drone to guide him safely out of all of these lava flows.
10:24 Mark: That sounds really great. My name is Mark and I’m the Teen Services librarian at Cedar Mill and Bethany and we get to do lots of things with teens. Some of the great things that are on Kanopy are all the Great Courses content. I don't know if anybody's listened to those or watched those before. Their audio and DVD’s in the library but on Kanopy there's a lot of videos from the Great Courses content. There's one I've watched recently called Practicing Mindfulness. There are 24 episodes on that so there's quite a bit of content around it. In this stressful time that we're living through, it's really nice to go in there and have some of those videos that really help you to work on focusing on being calm in the face of what is clearly a difficult situation for all of us and just trying to remind myself to stay in the moment and focus on that and maybe not focus so much on the past or the future and just kind of be in the moment that we're in. I found that to be pretty helpful and I suspect other people might as well. It's done by a PhD named Mark Muesse. In the first episode in particular, he spends a lot of time talking about the evidence that mindfulness is helpful in a lot of different areas. That was useful to hear and I would recommend that went to anybody who's struggling with stress a little bit. It was a good one. Do we have someone who wants to go again?
12:05 Patrick: The next item I have is a film that also kind of ties into our current situation. It is a New Zealand science fiction film called Quiet Earth. It's about a guy who wakes up one morning to find that nearly everyone, or everyone he thinks at first, have vanished. He soon finds out that's not entirely true. It's a slow kind of deliberate film about isolation and the importance of connecting with people and that's really apt for where we're at today. It's moody and atmospheric and from 1985 from New Zealand. That’s the second New Zealand film today along with The Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
12:53 Mark: Awesome.
12:55 Marti: I think that's been in my queue on Kanopy since we got Kanopy at the library so I really need to get on it.
13:00 Patrick: It's a great movie.
13:03 Mark: Karen, you have another one?
13:06 Karen: Like you, Mark, I've been going through a lot of the Great Courses. I've been focusing on of the food and cooking episodes that they have. They've got a lot of these in a category they call Everyday Gourmet. They've got different things and right now I'm in the middle of a six-episode series on spices. It's the essential secrets of spices in cooking. That's been really good and then the next one that is up for me with cooking is going to be about vegetables and cooking with different vegetables. Each episode is a different type (of vegetable) and I love that with the use food lectures they actually are in the kitchen and they're cooking and so it really is like a food show and I've really been enjoying them.
13:56 Shannon: Karen, I first got started on the Great Courses after we went to the Garlic Festival last year. I looked up cooking with garlic and they’re a lot of fun. The latest one that I just got hooked on is when they were talking about different types of knives you can use and their purpose. Those are great courses.
14:21 Mark: Liz, you have another one?
14:24 Liz: This is Liz again. I didn’t introduce myself before. I work in Adult Services and I do a lot of stuff on the web and I’m the Web Services Librarian. One of the things I am enjoying about Kanopy is finding older films and trying to see them from different points of view but also trying to find something I can watch with my nephew. One that I'm recommending right now is called The Lost World from 1925. It's a restoration. The film based on an Arthur Conan Doyle story. He wrote speculative fiction as well as detective stories. The Lost World is pretty much the origin of all the other “dinosaur on a deserted plateau in the jungle” stories whether you are talking about King Kong or any of Jurassic Park. Jurassic Park actually has one of its episodes called Lost World and it's a direct reference to the Doyle story. You can also read the Doyle book online in Overdrive or from Gutenberg.org (Project Gutenberg) so you can read the novel as well. The film that is in Kanopy has been restored and it has a lot more footage than they've had around for over seventy years. It's a silent film and it doesn't have a lot of title cards. It does have a romance in it that you have to kind of tolerate while you wait for dinosaurs but hang on to the end because you end up in London and there's a lot of rampaging. I think it's a great, quiet one that I would share with family and also with kids who are really interested in and have really liked Jurassic Park but want to know more or are interested animation because it's also a landmark there, too. There's a lot of in the jungle and various conversations going from London to the jungle and back so I recommend Lost World for your curious crew who likes adventure.
16:16 Mark: Marti, do you have another one?
16:20 Marti: I do. My next one is called Coherence. It's a sci-fi thriller about a group of friends you meet for a dinner party the same night that a comet is passing nearby. The power goes out during their party so two of the people go to a house down the street that they notice it still has its lights on and they want to ask if they can use their phone. Nobody answers the door but they do find a box on the doorstep that has photos of all the party guests and numbers on each of the photos and they realize something really strange is going on. That's really all I want to say because it gets twisty-turny after that but I thought it was a unique take on the genre.
17:03 Mark: Sounds like an escape room.
17:06 Marti: Yes, you could see it that way.
17:08 Mark: Shannon, do you have another?
17:12 Shannon: I do. This is Shannon again from the Circulation Department. I am a kind of a science geek. I love science and one of the things I found on Kanopy recently was a six part series called Earth’s Furies. It is a six-episode series covering the science of avalanches, earthquakes, lightning, mega fires, tornadoes, and volcanoes. As I was watching all of the series, I kept thinking about how great these would be for parents who are at home right now and they're wanting some good quality educational materials that are well-produced and have educational value for students. It would probably be something more for late elementary, middle school, and high school. It isn’t geared toward young kids but it's got a lot of great information. They’re about an hour long each, so definitely something for parents who are looking for some great content in the science field. Again, there are six of them so it's a wonderful series called Earth’s Furies.
18:18 Mark: Patrick, you’ve got another one?
18:20 Patrick: So let's pivot away from science fiction and New Zealand and documentaries to an indie comedy that came out a couple years ago. It's called The Little Hours. It stars Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, lots of TV folks, Kate Mitcucci, Dave Franco, John C. Reilly, and Molly Shannon, too. It's set in Fourteenth Century Tuscany in a convent. It's based in part on one a couple of the stories from Boccaccio’s The Decameron. Dave Franco plays a guy who’s on the run who hides out in this convent and let's just say he awakens some urges in the nuns that we're heretofore unexplored so we'll just kind of leave it there. It's very R-rated but is a fantastic movie.
19:10 Liz: I remember hearing about that and I saw the trailer and I went “Oh. nothing could possibly go wrong.”
19:18 Patrick: It is ridiculous but it's all contemporary dialogue so they act like it's last year but it's set in the Fourteenth Century. The sets are like completely historically accurate so it's really good.
19:30 Mark: Marti, I think you have another one.
19:34 Marti: Yes. So again, going in a totally different direction, I am a big horror movie fan and one of my favorite horror movies from 2018 is on Kanopy. It’s called Summer of Eighty-Four. It’s about a small town where some young boys have been disappearing. The main character, Davey, is a big conspiracy theory buff who likes urban legends. He starts becoming suspicious of the activities of his neighbor who is also a local cop so he convinces his friends, a rag-tag group, to spend the summer spying on and following the cop trying to solve the mystery and prove that he is the serial killer plaguing the town. It has that Eighties nostalgia feel that's really popular with Stranger Things and all that lately so I highly recommend it.
20:22 Shannon: I have it on my list and I'm watching it this weekend. I am so excited to watch that and glad you brought it up because you reminded me that I have that on my list.
20:29 Marti: Yes, I think you'll like it.
20:34 Mark: Did anybody have anything else they wanted to bring up from Kanopy?
20:40 Shannon: I can add one more, Mark. I think we’ve seen this so we can talk about it. One of the things I was surprised to find a Kanopy was the series Super Size Me, where Morgan Spurlock eats McDonald's for a month straight. They tracked his both physical and psychological changes as he went through this. It's on Kanopy now -- Super Size Me, plus Super Size Me 2, where he came back and did the sequel to that. Did anybody else remember watching that, watching his body change and his mental health.
21:25 Mark and Liz: Yeah, it was insane.
21:28 Shannon: He had to stop because it was getting too terrible. I remember they were tracking his liver and tracking some of the things and the doctor basically said “No more. You can't do this.”
He had to go through like a detox period to get back to a healthy state.
21:48 Mark: I just want to point out right now that I know people on the podcast can't see this but Marti reached over and took a giant drink from what looks like a Super Size cup right as Shannon was talking about that. Yes, I'm sure it is water and healthy. (laughing)
22:06 Liz: You know, it's crazy but there are a lot of interesting people posting a lot about “darn, I'm gonna be so healthy after this, you know, being stuck at home and not being able to eat all the favorite things I have.” It's a sub-genre of blogging right now.
22:22 Mark: I don't think that's true but we'll see. (laughing)
22:30 Shannon: But I have to say if we look to Morgan Spurlock for what happened to him as we think about all things we’re eating during this time period, I think I may have a salad tonight.
22:43 Liz: I have one more to mention on a really upbeat note that I have on my Kanopy watch list right now that just got added only a couple weeks ago. It’s The Farewell. This is a movie that Awkwafina and the film got mentioned a lot at the Oscars last year and got a Golden Globe for Awkwafina, the actress.
It's such a lovely story, a family-related story happening in Asia. I've really been kind of saving it up for a time when I wanted to connect and think about the issues of saying goodbye and we how we spend time with family. So I think The Farewell would be great.
23:20 Mark: I noticed that was on there and it's on my list as well. Alright, I appreciate everybody listening and all of you guys coming in giving us good recommendations. And Shannon has one more thing.
23:27 Shannon: We just wanted to remind you that during the next few months Kanopy is giving you twenty view credits per month versus the ten that you normally get so go ahead and get on there and try it out. Also, on Kid’s Kanopy, they have a lot of things they’re not charging credits for. And for the Great Courses that Karen was talking about, they charge you just once for the whole course –oh, Karen is saying no they might have changed that.
24:08 Karen: Actually, they don't charge you any credits for courses.
24:10 Shannon: Right, they're not charging any credits right now. Thank you for pointing that out so we can get out there and take advantage of the extra bonuses Kanopy is giving all of us right now.
24:25 Mark: Yes, that's an excellent point. Again, with your Washington County library card you have access to the service. Just go to WCCLS.org and click on the digital resources and Kanopy is one of the tabs down there. We are checking our email and listening on our phones so if you need to contact us, please do so and we'll be back in the library pretty soon.
24:51 Liz: Find us online at library.cedarmill.org. Check the contact page and we will be happy to hear from you.