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with Brandon & Elizabeth

Today on Pop Culture Den, Brandon and Elizabeth discuss horror past, present and future. Come join us as we discuss everything from childhood terrors to what makes horror work! 

Do you have a favorite horror movie, TV show or book? Tell us in the comments!
Posted by [email protected]  On Oct 17, 2020 at 9:22 AM
Check It Out!
a movie review by Deana

Featured movie

What's the basic plot?
Tim, an orphan in London who is afraid of the dark, has just learned that his star Adhara has disappeared from the night sky. An adventure through the night takes him on a journey of strange happenings that he never knew existed. Tim learns that he has a guardian cat name Tobermory who is up through the night protecting him while he sleeps. Tim knows all about the stars, so why is his star suddenly gone. As he investigate about what happen to his star, he meets strange creatures of the night that helps him find the truth behind his most beloved night star. 

Why you might like it
Tim is a little shy and awkward around the other children at his orphanage home. They all know that he is afraid of the dark and when they do mean things to him like hide his favorite stuff animal, Tim goes to his secret place where he knows that he is loved. Soon Tim sets off through the night and meets strange creatures like Cat Sheperd, Mr. Pee, Sr. Moka, Pastor de Gatos and so many more. As he travels on an adventure through the night with Cat Shepherd, the North Star and his guardian cat Tobermory to find out who cause his star Adhara to disappear, Tim has to overcome his fears from what is causing the Nocturna creatures and Adhara his star to disappear. With daylight coming too soon, will Tim be able to save the Nocturna creatures and his star - or will they be lost forever? 
Reasons you  might not like it
You might not like this film for some children because the animation characters are a little dark (no pun intended by the title). I would not recommend this film to young children, but every child is different. It is a great film if you have a youth trying to overcome their fear of the dark.  
Who's in it?
Cat Sheperd played by Robert Paterson

Pastor de Gatos played by Imanol Arias

Moka played by Roger Carel

Sr. Moka played by Carlos Sobera

Tim played by Lloyd F. Booth Shankley

Mr. Pee played by Joshua Zamrycki
Where to watch it
Every title I recommend is available for you to watch instantly, for free, using our digital library services. 

”Nocturna” can be accessed using Kanopy , with a direct link here:

Don't have a library card? Don't worry! You can sign up for a virtual library card here. 

Posted by [email protected]  On Jul 17, 2020 at 3:27 PM

Fantastical Reimaginings

Fantastical Reimaginings: “Robin Hood”
by Elizabeth B.

I don’t know where I first encountered the legend of Robin Hood; probably in Disney’s animated film about the clever kind-hearted fox and his best friend Little John, outwitting the wicked Prince John, fighting for the good King Richard and giving money to the poor. 
Disney's Robin Hood
Image from The Verge
Of course, that’s not how the real story started at all! The first Robin Hood wasn’t kind-hearted, didn’t like any kings, and didn’t even give money to the poor. Medievalists and Robin Hood scholars have struggled for years to find the “real” Robin Hood, but one thing’s for sure: Robin Hood’s history and retellings are all worth their weight in stolen gold.

Robin Hood may have started as a drinking song! In Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales”, a monk who spends too much time drinking at the pub knows Robin Hood songs better than his Bible. Robin Hood quickly grew to be a folk hero, a commoner and thief who defied kings and outwitted sheriffs by using clever disguises. Games and songs about the clever thief were wildly popular, but he didn’t start becoming the Robin Hood we know today until a high-profile fan started dressing up as the outlaw: King Henry VIII. Robin Hood needed a virtuous makeover to fit in at a noble court, so over the centuries Robin Hood gained a love interest, a religious side, a generous nature and even a noble backstory. Eventually, Robin Hood, former drinking song thief, became the kid-friendly hero he is today. 

The Original
So which story is the *real* Robin Hood? Did he ever really exist? Maybe. “Robin” and “Hood” were both common names in medieval England, and medieval records mention several outlaws named “Robin Hood.” Were any of these noble thieves who robbed the rich to feed the poor? Who knows! In every story, Robin Hood lives in the forest with Little John and other outlaws, but unlike many other legends and fairy tales, there are *so many* versions of Robin Hood: the commoner and the noble, the lover and the loner, the rebel and the royalist. No matter which legend you love, your Robin Hood can be the “real” story.

Robin Hood Variations
Which versions of Robin Hood can you watch and read right now? Is the outlaw or the nobleman more popular? Find out more about similar tales below!
 Robin of Sherwood
Image from hoopla
Robin of Sherwood
Available through Hoopla
“They’re here with us, in Sherwood, and they always will be because they’re free.”

When Robin of Loxley, a commoner, is chosen by the mystical Herne the Hunter to become champion of the oppressed, he gathers a band of outlaws to fight against the oppressive Normans. Later in the series, Robin Hood’s mantle passes on to Robert of Huntingdon, a young noble chosen by the same mystical Herne to fight for the Saxon peasantry.
This 1980’s television show may look familiar: its aesthetic later influenced 90’s shows like “Hercules” and “Xena”. Among Robin Hood retellings, this one is unique because it has both Robin Hood figures: commoner Robin of Loxley is the hero of the first two seasons, while season three stars the noble earl’s son version of Robin Hood. Both Robin Hoods are anti-royalty, though: their loyalty is to Herne. The series added magic swords, mythological figures, and magicians to its story, creating an interesting Robin Hood remix.    

 BBC's Robin Hood
Image from hoopla
Robin Hood (BBC)
Available through Hoopla
“Will you stand for this injustice? I, for one, will not.”

Robin, Earl of Locksley, has just returned home from fighting in the Crusades with his best friend Much. When he returns to his village, though, the Sheriff of Nottingham is running Locksley and overtaxing its people, and all of his villagers are surprised to find him still alive. Robin has to choose between being a noble and sitting by while injustice continues or becoming an outlaw to fight for his people from the forest.
BBC’s “Robin Hood” follows the nobleman version of Robin’s legend. Robin Hood is a nobleman in episode one, but his inability to stay silent in the face of injustice means that he’s banished to the forest. While BBC’s Robin Hood hates war and suffers PTSD from his time with the Crusades, he’s loyal to King Richard. Finally, he’s a hopeless flirt, and his attempts to woo a no-nonsense Maid Marian makes for a compelling Season One romance.

"The Outlaws of Sherwood" by Robin McKinley 
Image from hoopla
"The Outlaws of Sherwood" by Robin McKinley
Available on Hoopla
“You don’t exactly tell Marian she may or may not do things.”

Robin Longbow, apprentice forester, isn’t a good archer: when a mis-aimed arrow turns deadly, he and his two friends Much and Marian become outlaws in Sherwood Forest. His two friends are quick to present this misfortune as an opportunity: there are plenty of Saxons discontent with Norman rule, and Robin can serve as a rallying point for many of them. The friends start to build up a merry band of outlaws, ready to take on tyranny in any form.
Robin McKinley’s “Outlaws of Sherwood” makes Robin Hood a commoner again, but more importantly, it changes a key element of Robin Hood’s legend. Robin’s not the best fighter in his band, and he’s not a defiant revolutionary. Instead, Marian goes to town disguised as a boy to win archery contests; Little John fights for equality, and each member of the band brings something new. Robin Hood is a collaborative legend in McKinley’s telling, created by the band of outlaws working all together.

So, which is your favorite Robin Hood legend? Do you have a preferred version of the legendary outlaw? Tell us in the comments!
Enjoy these retellings and TV shows, and happy reading!

“Robin Hood: A Study of the Evolution of the Legend in Britain 1400-2018 into History and Context"
Robin Hood Legend 
"Robin Hood and Other Outlaw Tales" by Stephen Knight and Thomas H. Olgren
“Wolfshead Through the Ages: The History of Robin Hood”
“Yeoman Justice: The Robin Hood Ballads and the Appropriation of Aristocratic and Clerical Justice” by Megan Elizabeth Woosley
“The Real Robin Hood,”
Dr. Mikee Delony’s medieval literature courses, Abilene Christian University

Posted by [email protected]  On Jun 12, 2020 at 2:19 PM
Check It Out!
a movie review by Kristin S.

Featured movie

Ex Machina
What's the basic plot?
A programmer wins a mysterious contest and is taken to his eccentric CEO's remote mansion to complete a challenge. The challenge? To prove whether an android is sentient or not, using whatever questions he can devise.
Ex Machina scene
Why you might like it
This visually stunning sci-fi piece is both fast-paced and introspective. Like most good science fiction, it centers on the question, "What makes us human?" However, the further down the rabbit hole the movie draws you, the more you aren't sure what to expect from its answer. There's a tension in the dynamics between the three main characters that quickly leads you to wonder if something else is happening behind the scenes. 

The cinematography is stunning. Frequent wide shots leave the characters feeling lost in an environment that is both vast and uncertain. The movie makes use of visual language just as often as spoken to tell its story by framing shots on things like the cracked glass in the corner of Ava's room that allude to a darkness beneath the bright facade. The mansion's architecture is a mixture of futuristic and natural, with large slabs of stone and lush trees paired with glass walls and diffuse floor lighting, and this backdrop gives the film a distinct visual flavor. The CGI used to create Ava is both interesting and well executed, but it's used with a subtlety that doesn't overshadow the acting within the scenes.   

Overall, this movie does an excellent job of balancing philosophy and suspense, and keeps the viewer guessing throughout. If you're a fan of shows like "Westworld", definitely give this a shot. 
Ex Machina scene
Reasons you  might not like it
This movie can be dark and tense at times, which isn't everyone's cup of tea. It addresses sexuality and adult themes in ways that can be brash or vulgar. There is a creeping feeling of danger and distrust throughout the film. Don't go into this if you need a happy ending. 

There's also a painfully awkward dance scene. 
Ex Machina scene
Who's in it?
Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson
Where to watch it
Every title I recommend is available for you to watch instantly, for free, using our digital library services. "Ex Machina" can be accessed using our Hoopla service, with a direct link here:

Don't have a library card? Don't worry! You can sign up for a virtual library card from home by following these instructions.

Let us know what you thought of the movie in the comments below!

Posted by [email protected]  On Apr 17, 2020 at 11:51 AM
Check It Out! hoopla digital
by Kristin S. 

hoopla digital

hoopla digital is a free library service that lets you check out materials on your computer, smartphone or tablet. Hoopla has a wide range of content, including:
Digital audiobooks
Television shows

Everything on Hoopla is available instantly, meaning no hold lists. There are no fees or fines. When an item is due, it simply disappears off your device. 

Aurora Public Library patrons can check out up to 14 items each month. Your checkout limit resets to max on the first day of a new month, even if you still have items from the previous month checked out.

Watch the video or check out the steps below to get started with hoopla!

 1) If you are using a computer, visit If you are using a smartphone or tablet, search your App Store or Play Store for the Hoopla app and download it. 
Getting Started on Hoopla - Step 1

2) Choose "Get Started Today" on a computer, or "Sign Up" on a phone or tablet.
Getting Started on Hoopla - Step 2

3) Enter your email and choose a password
Getting Started on Hoopla - Step 3

4) Choose Aurora Public Library (CO) - Be sure to select Aurora, Colorado
Getting Started on Hoopla - Step 4

5) Enter your library card number
Getting Started on Hoopla - Step 5

And you're done!

To find an item, choose the category you'd like to browse from the menu. You can also search for a specific item by typing the title in the white search bar beside the word "Everything" (on a computer), or by touching the magnifying glass and typing your search there (phones or tablets).
How to use Hoopla

To check out an item, simply select it and hit "Borrow".
How to use Hoopla

It will say beneath the item how long you may borrow the item for. Books and audiobooks you will have access to for 21 days, music for seven days, and movies for three days.
How to use Hoopla

To view the items you have checked out, click "My Hoopla" then "Currently Borrowed" (on computer) or use the back arrow to return to the home screen (phone or tablet).   
How to use Hoopla

If you have any questions, please visit hoopla's help page or click here for information about how to connect with APL staff.

Tell us in the comments what your currently enjoying from hoopla!
Posted by [email protected]  On Apr 15, 2020 at 3:41 PM

Baseball diamond title photo
Post by Zach S.

With opening day over and the warm days of spring setting in, it’s time to get ready for a season filled with all things baseball! Whether you’re a lifetime fan who can name batting averages from memory or simply enjoy the foot long hot dogs at a game, we can all enjoy these fun baseball crafts, recipes and movies together.

We’ll start things off with my personal favorite – a baseball piñata! While it is a little more involved, it will certainly be the hit of your party. This craft comes from Easy Crafts For Kids.

Materials:Baseball pinata
• Bowl
• Water
• Newspaper
• White Paint
• Red Marker
• Balloon
• Pin
• Glue
• Scissors
• Candy (wrapped)

Step 1:
Blow up a balloon. Make it about the size of a softball.
Cut out strips of newspaper. You want these strips to be about an inch width and a few inches long.
Mix your paper mache mixture - 3/4 glue 1/4 water.

Step 2:
Dip a piece of newspaper in the glue mixture, coating it completely. Take off the excess with your fingers.
Cover your balloon in moistened pieces of newspaper.
Make sure to leave a small area around the balloon end. This will allow you to pop the balloon and fill it with candy.

Step 3:
Once the balloon is covered, place it in the sink to dry.
Once it is partially dry add another layer of paper. This time use white paper so it is easier to paint the ball afterwards.
This can take up to 24 hours depending on your region and temperatures.

Step 4:
Once dry fill it with candy and cover the hole up with some white paper (covered in your glue mixture). Allow to dry.
Paint the balloon white. Allow to dry.

Step 5:
Draw on stitching with a red marker. This will be one large oval around the baseball - adding V marks around it.


I think it’s time for a snack to refuel after that project. How about baseball rice-krispie treats? This recipe comes to us from Domestically Speaking.

Rice krispie baseballs
1. Make a batch of classic rice krispie treats but instead of putting them in a pan, put them in a cookie sheet with sides. This will make the rice krispie treats thinner for cutting. 

2. Let them set up for about 30 minutes before using a round cookie cutter.

3. Melt some white chocolate in a glass pie pan.

4. Dip one side into the white chocolate.

5. Use a spoon to add some more white chocolate to the dipped tops and then smooth them with an off-set spatula.

6. Once they set up (about 30 minutes) use a red gel cake decorating tube to make the baseball stitching.
Now that we’re refueled and full of sugar, let’s get one more craft in before we’re done. Fingerprint baseballs! This craft comes from Crafty Morning and is a great one for the younger kids.
Fingerprint baseball

Fingerprint baseball• White paper
• Red washable paint
• Scissors
• Red Marker

1. Start by drawing a circle onto a piece of paper and having the kids cut it out.

2. Take a red marker and draw two curved lines.

3. Have the kids dip their pointer finger in the red washable paint and make laces on the baseball. Let it dry and you’re done!

Top your busy day off with a baseball movie night! Check out this list of baseball themed movies from 3 Boys and a Dog. Stop into your Aurora Public Library to check out some of the movies below on DVD.

 "The Perfect Game"
 DVD cover  "Million Dollar Arm"   DVD cover
 "The Sandlot"
 DVD cover "A Mile in His Shoes"
 DVD cover
 "Rookie of the Year"
 DVD cover "Season of Miracles"
 DVD cover
"The Final Season"  DVD cover "Angels in the Outfield"
 DVD cover
"Everyone's Hero"

 DVD cover

Hopefully these activities help you get your baseball season off to a great start! For any baseball books, movies, or other resources, stop into your Aurora Public Library branch and chat with us!

Posted by [email protected]  On Apr 11, 2018 at 8:42 AM

Academy Awards introduction

 Post by Chris G.

Well, it's red carpet season, and the Academy Awards, the most prestigious award show for film, is in its 90th year. Whether you're looking for this year's nominees or the Best Picture from 1929, you can find an abundance of Academy Award-winning films on the shelves of your library. This post showcases Aurora Public Library's current DVD holdings of this year's nominees, as well as former Best Picture and Best Animated Feature winners. This year's nominees are organized alphabetically and include the number of awards for which they've been nominated. The Best Picture and Best Animated Feature winners are organized reverse chronologically by the year they won, so the most recent is first. The Academy didn't start giving out the Best Animated Feature award until 2001, so that is where that list ends. You can click on any of the film's titles to place a hold. Many of this year's nominees are not on video yet, but the library has placed most of them on order, and they'll start circulating as soon as they're available. You can get in line for one of those by clicking through to the catalog record, selecting "Request It" and entering your account information. And the Oscar goes to...

This Year's Nominees and Winners

 "Abacus: Small Enough to Jail" - 1 nomination
 "All the Money in the World" - 1 nomination
 "Baby Driver" - 3 nominations
 "Beauty and the Beast" - 2 nominations
 "The Big Sick" - 1 nomination
 "Blade Runner 2049" - 5 nominations
 "The Boss Baby" - 1 nomination
 "The Breadwinner" - 1 nomination
  "Call Me By Your Name" - 4 nominations
 "Coco" - 2 nominations
 "Darkest Hour" - 6 nominations
  "The Disaster Artist" - 1 nomination
 "Dunkirk" - 8 nominations
 "Ferdinand" - 1 nomination
 "The Florida Project" - 1 nomination
 "Get Out" - 4 nominations
 "The Greatest Showman" - 1 nomination
"Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2" - 1 nomination
 "I, Tonya" - 3 nominations
 "Kong: Skull Island" - 1 nomination
  "Lady Bird" - 5 nominations
  "Logan" - 1 nomination
  "Loving Vincent" - 1 nomination
 "Marshall" - 1 nomination
 "Molly's Game" - 1 nomination
 "Phantom Thread" - 6 nominations
  "The Post" - 2 nominations
  "Roman J. Israel, Esq." - 1 nomination
 "The Shape of Water" - 13 nominations and 2018 Best Picture
 "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" - 4 nominations
  "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" - 7 nominations
  "Victoria & Abdul" - 2 nominations

 "War for the Planet of the Apes" - 1 nomination
 "Wonder" - 1 nomination

Best Picture Winners

 "Moonlight" (2016)
  "Spotlight" (2015)
  "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" (2014)

 "12 Years a Slave" (2013)
 "Argo" (2012)
 "The Artist" (2011)
 "The King's Speech" (2010)
 "The Hurt Locker" (2009)
  "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008)

  "No Country for Old Men" (2007)

"The Departed" (2006)
 "Crash" (2005)
 "Million Dollar Baby" (2004)
 "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003)
 "Gladiator" (2000)
  "American Beauty" (1999)
 "Shakespeare in Love" (1998)
 "Titanic" (1997)
 "The English Patient" (1996)
  "Braveheart" (1995)
  "Forrest Gump" (1994)
 "Schindler's List" (1993)

 "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991)
  "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989)
 "Rain Man" (1988)
 "The Last Emperor" (1987)
 "Out of Africa" (1985)
  "Terms of Endearment" (1983)
  "Gandhi" (1982)
 "Chariots of Fire" (1981)
 "Ordinary People" (1980)
 "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979)
 "Annie Hall" (1977)
 "Rocky" (1976)
  "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975)
 "The Godfather, Part II" (1974)
"The Sting" (1973)
 "The Godfather" (1972)
 "The French Connection" (1971)
  "Patton" (1970)
 "A Man for All Seasons" (1966)
  "The Sound of Music" (1965)
 "Tom Jones" (1963)
  "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962)
 "West Side Story" (1961)
 "Ben-Hur" (1959)
 "Gigi" (1958)
"The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957)
 "On the Waterfront" (1954)

 "From Here to Eternity" (1953)
  "An American in Paris" (1951)
  "All About Eve" (1950)
 "All the King's Men" (1949)
 "Hamlet" (1948)
 "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947)
  "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946)
 "The Lost Weekend" (1945)
 "Going My Way" (1944)
 "Casablanca" (1943)
"Mrs. Miniver" (1942)
 "How Green Was My Valley" (1941)
 "Rebecca" (1940)
 "Gone with the Wind" (1939)
 "The Life of Emile Zola" (1937)
 "The Great Ziegfeld" (1936)
 "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935)
  "It Happened One Night" (1934)
  "Cimarron" (1930-31)
 "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1929-30)
 "The Broadway Melody" (1928-29)

Best Animated Feature Film Winners

 "Zootopia" (2016)
 "Inside Out" (2015)
 "Big Hero 6" (2014)
 "Frozen" (2013)

 "Brave" (2012)
  "Rango" (2011)
  "Toy Story 3" (2010)
 "Up" (2009)
  "WALL-E" (2008)
  "Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (2005)

  "The Incredibles" (2004)
 "Finding Nemo" (2003)
 "Spirited Away" (2002)

 "Shrek" (2001)

With so many movies on this list, you ought to keep busy until next year's Oscars! This year's winners were announced on Sunday, March 4th and the selected titles will be available in the coming months as they are released. 

Posted by [email protected]  On Mar 05, 2018 at 12:50 PM