On This Day: May 17 | Los Angeles Public Library

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On This Day: May 17

Keith Chaffee, Librarian, Collection Development,
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In the mood for a good movie? Some toe-tapping music? A thrilling book? ON THIS DAY will lead you to new possibilities every day, tied to interesting moments from history and popular culture. Whether it’s streamable and downloadable music and film, e-books and e-audio, or physical books and DVDs, we hope you’ll find something to enjoy as you pick up a few bits of history each day.

Ritorna Vincitor! The Legendary Birgit Nilsson On this day in 1918, Birgit Nilsson was born. For thirty years, Nilsson was among the world's finest operatic sopranos. She had a wide repertoire of roles, but the power and clarity of her voice made her particularly well suited to the operas of Richard Wagner. Offstage, she was known for being a smart businesswoman, and for her sharp sense of humor. Since October 2016, Nilsson's portrait has appeared on the Swedish 500-kronor (about $50 US) bill. A variety of Nilsson's operatic roles and other recordings is available for streaming at Hoopla.
Carnival (original Broadway cast recording) On this day in 1921, Bob Merrill was born. Merrill wrote pop songs ("Mambo Italiano," "How Much Is That Doggy in the Window," "Honeycomb") and Broadway musicals (Take Me Along, Funny Girl) in the 1950s and 1960s. His 1961 musical Carnival is based on the movie Lili; it's a romantic drama set among the performers in a traveling carnival. Anna Maria Alberghetti, Kaye Ballard, and Jerry Orbach star in the original cast recording, available for streaming at Hoopla.
Investigation of a Flame And on this day in 1968, nine Catholic activists carried out an anti-war protest in Catonsville, Maryland. They took 378 files from the offices of the local draft board and burned them in the parking lot, using homemade napalm. They were found guilty of destruction of government property, and sentenced to a total of eighteen years in prison; they argued at the trial that they were responsible to a higher moral authority -- to God's law -- than the United States government. The documentary Investigation of a Flame looks at the background of the Catonsville Nine and the aftermath of their protest and conviction; it's available for streaming at Kanopy.