Entertainment

Music & Nightlife

Louisville activists use rap to spread message of justice

Rap music pumped through speakers in a dimly lit ballroom as performers paced in front of a crowd, microphones in hand. Audience members, the majority under age 25, held up their phones to record the rappers. The scene might have been typical of a basement concert or youth group dance, but the purpose was greater than that.

Books

Book review: 'I Am Martin Luther King, Jr.,' offers kids a wonderful introduction to King's life and legacy

Parents need to know that "I Am Martin Luther King, Jr." is the eighth book in author and History Channel host Brad Meltzer's Ordinary People Change the World picture book biography series, which includes books on Abraham Lincoln, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, and Lucille Ball. The narrative approach and at times comics-like design of each book is the same: A pint-sized, big-headed cartoon version of the person looking like his or her adult self gives a capsule first-person account of childhood through greatest accomplishments. So here's King, sporting his trademark mustache and wearing a mini-black suit and tie, as a child in segregated Georgia, then a minister, then leader of nonviolent civil disobedience actions and marches to effect change. Police beatings and the infamous water hoses turned against child protesters are referred to but not shown. Sophisticated concepts and vocabulary (" ... it was a wake-up call for the nation's conscience") make this a better bet for kids 7 and up than the 5 to 8 recommended by the publisher. In any case, parents and teachers should be ready to answer questions about this turbulent period of U.S. history.

Books

Literary prose, ancient texts and political manifestos covered in 'Eating Words'

This gift was in my holiday stocking, snuggled next to a gift certificate from the Davis Beer Shoppe and a bag of Kauai Coffee Koloa Estate beans. "Eating Words: A Norton Anthology of Food Writing" (W. W. Norton & Company; $19.95, 512 pages) compiles a millennium of literature related to one of the most universal human experiences. It includes writings from ancient Rome on the morality of eating meat as well as modern musings on Hot Dog on a Stick by the Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jonathan Gold. In between is an essay on the political manifestos of PETA, a piece of short fiction by Anton Chekhov about a boy eating oysters for the first time, and so much more. And for those who like to fly the local flag, this anthology has a Sacramento-area connection: Co-editor Sandra M. Gilbert is a professor emerita of English at UC Davis. Sink into your favorite reading chair and dig in.

Videos

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Discovery Place/Nature unveiled its new planetarium Thursday.
John D. Simmons The Charlotte Observer
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