Full slate of events lined up for Alpena Reads program

In conjunction with its Alpena Reads 2018 program, Alpena County Library announces a full calendar of activities planned around this year’s keynote presenter, award-winning filmmaker Lynn Novick, who will speak Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Alpena High School.

Novick is co-director and producer of the PBS documentary, “The Vietnam War.” Tickets to Novick’s presentation are $10 and can be purchased at the library or online at the library’s website, alpenalibrary.org.

The related upcoming activities begin Friday and continue through Oct. 11. They will include lectures, film screenings and presentations. The schedule is as follows:

∫ Sept. 14, noon

Lecture on “Vietnam and Michigan State University” – Dr. Charles Keith of Michigan State University, a historian of modern Vietnam, presents on the special relationship between the then South Vietnam government and MSU. MSU conducted many technical assistant programs in South Vietnam in the 1950s and 1960s that came about because of some unique ties to the government of South Vietnam.

Keith is the author of the award-winning book, “Catholic Vietnam: A Church from Empire to Nation.” He is also faculty adviser of the MSU Vietnam Group Archive of materials generated by MSU’s technical assistance. He currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Vietnamese Studies. This will be a live lecture via videoconference.

∫ Sept. 16, 2 p.m.

Film screening of “Good Morning, Vietnam” – Robin Williams stars as charismatic DJ Adrian Cronauer, who broke the mold of the stereotypical, dry Armed Forces radio broadcaster, infuriating his superiors in the process. Many of the broadcasts featured in the film were improvised by Williams, who received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for the role.

The film shows that despite the ongoing carnage surrounding troops, even war can have its lighter moments. The R-rated film runs 121 minutes.

∫ Sept. 20, 7 p.m.

Presentation of “1968, The Year of the Tiger” – Jeremy Dimick, manager of collections at the Detroit Historical Society, will talk about the aftershocks of widespread social unrest, the untimely assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the mounting Vietnam War, among other iconic events that cemented 1968 as the “year that changed the nation.”

In Detroit, 1968 is often characterized as the “comeback season” for the Detroit Tigers. Against the backdrop of turbulent times – locally, nationally and internationally – the Detroit Tigers winning of the 1968 World Series signaled the “Year of the Tiger” and galvanized Detroiters to come together across their differences to celebrate this momentous occasion.

∫ Sept. 21, noon

Lecture on the history of Wurtsmith AFB – Harry McCowen, a docent at Wurtsmith Air Museum, will discuss how Wurtsmith AFB in Oscoda was one of the most important military installations in Northeast Michigan for decades until its closure in 1993. This lecture covers the history and importance of the base and its role during the Vietnam War.

∫ Sept. 23, 2 p.m.

Concert featuring songs of the 1960s – Jackie Davidson and Gary Brandt, a folk duo who combine classic and original folk songs, will provide an energetic and entertaining show. Along with their performance, they will provide personal insight and stories with their songs.

Davidson is one of the original founders of the New Christie Minstrels, one of the most influential folk bands of the 1960s. Brandt is a popular folklorist, singer and songwriter from Michigan

∫ Sept. 25, 6:30 p.m.

Presentation on “From Vietnam to the American Table” – Lucille Bray will share memories as a child of a Vietnamese immigrant during the 1960s and 1970s. Learn about the history of Vietnamese food and its evolution. The presentation will include a few popular Vietnamese dishes that are easy to create.

Bray’s mother is Vietnamese and emigrated to the United States with Bray’s father, an American serviceman. Learn some of history of her family, especially her mother’s family background, and the experiences of living in a different culture.

∫ Sept. 28, noon

Presentation on the Alpena County Department of Veterans Affairs – George Stevens, counselor and director, will share about the benefits and services Alpena County provides to its veterans and why this office is important to the community. The United States has the most comprehensive system of assistance for veterans of any nation in the world. Unfortunately, it is often complicated for veterans to access the benefits their service earned.

∫ Sept. 30, 2 p.m.

Film screening of “American Experience, Return with Honor” – This documentary tells the powerful, moving story of American pilots shot down over North Vietnam and their challenge to survive with honor as POWs. A tribute to heroism, endurance and brotherhood under duress, the film recalls the transformation from top-gun aviators to captives.

Told in their words, rich with survivor humor and complete with North Vietnamese archival footage, the film is a universal story of honor and duty. Presented by Tom Hanks, the film runs 120 minutes.

∫ Oct. 4, 7 p.m.

Community Read Book Discussion of “The Things They Carried” – Karen Magness-Eubank will lead a presentation and discussion of this book by Vietnam veteran, Tim O’Brien. “The Things They Carried” is this year’s Alpena Reads community read book choice.

Powerful and evocative, the fictional narrative dives into the hopes, dreams, fears and choices made by individual soldiers before, during and after the Vietnam War. Highly acclaimed for its literary excellence, “The Things They Carried” was a New York Times Book of the Century and a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

∫ Oct. 5, 1 p.m.

Community Read Book Discussion of “The Things They Carried” – Library Director Eric Magness-Eubank will lead a presentation and discussion of “The Things They Carried” with the Association of Lifelong Learners.

∫ Oct. 11, 7 p.m., AHS Auditorium

Lynn Novick, an award-winning film maker, is this year’s keynote program for Alpena Reads. Her latest collaboration was an 18-hour documentary film series, “The Vietnam War,” with Ken Burns and Geoffrey Ward, which aired in September 2017.

The series received widespread critical acclaim and was seen by nearly 50 million viewers in the United States as well as millions more in nearly 100 countries.

Tickets for this program are $10 and available at the library or online at alpenalibrary.org.