Remebering bell hooks, 1952-2021

bell hooks, the trailblazing author, feminist, educator, and activist, died today at the age of 69.

hooks, whose given name was Gloria Jean Watkins, based her pen name on great-grandmother Bell Blair Hooks. She chose to style her pen name in all lowercase letter in order to highlight her message, rather than herself. hooks was a major voice in the American (and international) feminism — she pioneered what is not known as intersectional feminism, and wrote about how gender intersects with race, class, and sexuality in books such as And There They Wept and Ain’t I A Woman? Black Women and Feminism. Her formulations are now a key part of the Fourth-Wave Feminist movement.

During her life, hooks authored more than forty books, including essays, poetry, and children’s books. As a cultural critic, she turned her eye to cinema in Reel to Real, wherein she discussed how films impact individuals, especially black female viewers. She also contributed to several documentaries, including My Feminism and BaadAsssss Cinema. You can find all of these titles on or about bell hooks in the AU Library’s Media collection.

Happy Birthday Judi Dench!

by Kevin Yates

Happy Birthday to Judi Dench! 

By Caroline Bonarde Ucci, CC BY 3.0,

Happy birthday to Judi Dench! Born December 9th, 1934, Dench grew up drawn to theatre performance in small-town England. Her achievements include multiple BAFTA nominations and awards and even an Oscar win. She has been in many films and other productions, creating a long resume of theatrical performance. Most recently, her role in the infamous (for better or for worse) movie Cats has placed her back into the spotlight of modern-day Hollywood and even the front page of many memes.  

Dench has a wide variety of performances that appease those looking for a wide variety of films and other productions. She is one of the most prolific British women in Hollywood and the British acting scene. Whether it be her role in the James Bond films or more obscure productions like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, she has a long resume and is a fantastic example of talented actresses. Celebrate women in Hollywood and watch some Judi Dench films from our very own collection.

Happy Birthday Frank Marshall: A Californian Everyone Should Know

by Kevin Yates

Frank Marshall was born on September 13th, 1946 and is known as one of the greatest directors/producers of all time. He frequently collaborated with his wife Kathleen Kennedy as well as Steven Spielberg. His rise to fame started from some friendships in college that led to some volunteer positions on set. One of the first sets he volunteered on was for Bogdanovich’s film “Targets.” From there he started working with bigger names like Martin Scorsese and Walter Hill. Some of you will unanimously know one of his most recent films “Jurassic World” which was captivating and adventurous, just like some of his other hits. He is a world class director/producer/actor who is well known in the film world but can fly below the radar if you’ve never heard of him. He tends to get less attention than the Spielberg’s and Scorsese’s of the world, but his top hits are nothing short of greatness. 

  • The Color Purple (DVD 5426) 
  • Back to the Future (DVD 7840)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (DVD 3251) 
  • The Bourne Identity (DVD 4951) 
  • Seabiscuit (DVD 7265) 
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (DVD 5917)

Happy Birthday Michelle Yeoh

by Asanat Odeyale

Michelle Yeoh, a Chinese-Malaysian actress, was born on August 6, 1962. She rose to fame in the 1990s by starring in Hong Kong action films. However, she gained international recognition when she played Wai Lin the 1997 James Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies and other martial arts films,

By Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0,

such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 

Yeoh is both a literal and figurative symbol for strength and womanhood. As a former pageant queen and ballet dancer, she traded in her tiara and pointe shoes for air-kicks and became a profound martial artist for her early rolesShe countered the stereotype of women being powerless while also solidifying how women of color also have a place in Hollywood. You can read more about Yeoh’s lifetime achievements and amazing roles in her Elle interview:  

Happy Birthday Michelle Yeoh! If you want to watch Yeoh’s work, you can find these popular movies that she has starred in the AU Media Collection: 

  • Tomorrow Never Dies (DVD 6423) 
  • Crazy Rich Asians (DVD 16221) 
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (DVD 480)  
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (DVD 1898) 

Happy Birthday Cary Joji Fukunaga

By Patrick L. – Maniac (Netflix) x Première Portraits Ltd, CC BY-SA 2.0,

by Asanat Odeyale

Cary Joji Fukunaga, an American filmmaker, director, and writer, was born on July 10, 1977. He first gained notoriety for writing and directing the 2009 film, Sin Nombre and then for the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre. He even became the first director of Asian descent to win a Primetime Emmy award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for the HBO series, True Detective 

Fukunaga was chosen to direct the 25th installment of the James Bond film, No Time to Diemarking Daniel Craig’s final time playing the British secret service agent, 007. Fukunaga has vowed to stay consistent with the Bond tradition, but still make this film extraordinary—unlike the others. Take a look at Fukunaga giving us his take on directing the film:  

Happy Birthday Cary Joji Fukunaga! If you want to watch Fukunaga’s work, you can find these popular movies and shows that he has directed and written in the AU Media Collection: 

  • Sin Nombre (DVD 6188) 
  • Jane Eyre (DVD 11799) 
  • It (DVD 15321)  
  • True Detective (DVD 12429) 

Happy Birthday Mindy Kaling!

by Jason Wieder

Mindy Kaling was born on June 25, 1979. She is a comedian and actress.

By Claire Leahy – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

While Kaling has acted in several movies and television shows, she is most known for her character in The Office. Along with her role as Kelly Kapoor in the show, she also was a writer, producer, and executive director of this sitcom 

Recently, Kaling created a Netflix series titled “Never Have I Ever.” Kaling wrote and produced this series, which is based on her own childhood and young adult life. “Never Have I Ever” details the life of a teen named Devi as she comes of age as a first-generation Indian American. This show, important for its representation of Indian Americans and first-generation immigrantsquickly became popular and was Netflix’s #1 Show of the Day in several countries within a few days of its debut. Kailing celebrated this accomplishment on her social media through an Instagram post capturing the show’s stats on Netflix, and even dressed up as Devi this Halloween.  

Here are some films we have with Mindy Kaling in our collection: 

2021 Made in Hong Kong Festival

One of the great things about living in DC is that so many of our cultural institutions are free to the public. This includes some of the Smithsonian’s special events, like the annual Made in Hong Kong film festival hosted by the National Museum of Asian Art. The festival is virtual this year due to the pandemic, but admission is still free! You can sign up for tickets to virtual screenings here. Some of the films are simulcast, but most will become available on various dates in July. After you purchase passes, you’ll have anywhere from three to seven days to watch each film for free!

This year the festival is celebrating the filmography of Ann Hui. Her forty-five year career spans mediums, genres, and eras, and three of her films — The Golden Era, Keep Rolling, and A Simple Life — will be available for free through the virtual festival starting July 9.

Happy Birthday Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson

by Jason Wieder

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was born on May 2nd, 1972. Johnson originally began his career as a professional wrestler, but soon became known for his acting career. Johnson generally acts in action or thriller movies; however, one notable exception to this is his performance as Maui in Disney’s Moana 

Outside of his wresting and acting careers, “The Rock” is also known for being part of several popular memes. Whether it be related to his nickname, the very specific genre of movies he acts in, or the iconic 1990’s-era photo pictured below, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has become celebrated within pop culture and has created a persona that last for decades to come. 

Here are some of Johnson’s films that we have in our collection: 

  • The Tooth Fairy
  • Fast Five: HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10105 
  • Rock and a Hard Place 
  • Furious 6: HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10106 
  • Furious 7: HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 12574 

New Media/Tech Services Podcast!

This spring, three of Media/Tech Services student assistants created a podcast devoted to the goings on of the department, and of the broader worlds of film and technology! You can watch (or listen) to the first two episodes of the visual podcast What’s On Hold here! We’ll be posting more episodes in the coming days.

What’s On Hold Episode 1 – Emily and Sophie’s Favorites

What’s On Hold Episode 2 – Wonder “Women” in Media and Tech