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Posts from the Reserve Film and Video Collection

Sesame Street at LPA: About That Tomato...

I love collaborative exhibitions because I learn so much about our partners. Working with Susie Tofte, the archivist of the Sesame Workshop and curator of the exhibition, I learned about the Workshop’s outreach programs for families dealing with the challenges of military service and incarceration. Now that the exhibition is available for viewing, I see that section’s impact on visitors who expected only fun, children’s content.Read More ›

You Never Can Tell: Musical Revue Research Guide, Part 1

Visitors to the exhibition and blog channel The Great American Revue have peppered me with questions that can be summarized as: "where do you find that stuff?" Substitute artifacts for "stuff" and it becomes a request for a research guide.

The New York Public Library has been collecting performing arts content since the 1880s and online cataloging since the 1980s. Most of the material in the Revues 

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The Act I Finale

The Great American Revue is coming to the end of its run at the Vincent Astor Gallery, LPA. It employed Library for the Performing Arts treasures to represent the 15 revue series on Broadway, from the first Follies in 1907 — to the Pins & Needles series in 1939. The blog channel will continue and for the next few weeks, will focus on some of the treasures that we had to edit out of the exhibition.

For plotless revues 

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Lower East Side Heritage Film Series: the Eighties, Part 3 - The Way it Is or Eurydice in the Avenues

Pretend you’re just outside Tompkins Square Park. Enter the park on Avenue A, at 8th Street. Take the windy path through the park towards Avenue B. Okay, now sniff. What do you smell?

You smell dogs.

The Way it Is or Eurydice in the Avenues opens early morning summer in the Park. Three feckless dog walkers stand over the dead body of a girl in a polka-dot dress. Who else is going to find a dead body in Tompkins 

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Andre Charlot's Revue of 1924

Impresario Andre Charlot brought London stars and songwriters to Broadway in January 1924. That show forms a neat connection between Noel Coward and the American revue scene, so we developed a small exhibition about it for LPA's 3rd floor reading room.

The Revue, produced in New York by The Selwyns, was a compilation of new material with audience favorites from past London shows. Both Noël Coward and Ivor Novello songs were featured, as well as works by 

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Lower East Side Heritage Film Series: the Eighties, Part 2: Jarmusch's Permanent Vacation

Permanent Vacation opens with a moving crowd of New Yorkers, still dressed '70s groovy. It might be a camera trick, but no one appears to be rushing. The music is slow, diffuse horn and bells. We meet 16-year-old Aloysious Christopher Parker, already dressed '80s rockabilly cool. His body is like a marionette's — all long limbs and loose joints. His voice is like an oboe, and his delivery is like slow air out of a tire. He dances to

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Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Season 2, Part 8: Young Filmmakers and the Seward Park Neighborhood

Don't Shhhh me!.... NOT this time.

We are about to conclude the second season of our Lower East Side Heritage Film Series and for the closer we are ALL TALK.

Along with our now traditional send off (we can call it traditional after the second repetition, right?), the film that started this whole LESHFS, The Seward Park Branch and the Neighborhood It Serves will be projected in all its 16mm glory. I will be orating the original

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King of Jazz? Paul Whiteman and Hollywood's Rave Revues

Join us on Tuesday afternoon for a screening of King of Jazz (Universal, 1930) at LPA. Hollywood's Rave Revues is a film series programmed by John Calhoun in conjunction with the exhibition The Great American Revue, across the lobby in the Vincent Astor 

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Lower East Side Heritage Film Series: the Eighties - "Smithereens" (1982)

I went to high school in the EastVillage from 1983 to 1987. This might sound kind of punk rock. Unfortunately, I totally missed out on CBGB in the late Seventies (see also: Punking Out) and early Eighties. And let's face it, I didn't go inside any real club for most of the Eighties either — I was underage, and too busy studying for the SATs. But I remember how the outsides looked. The streets and 

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Color and The Great American Revue

Design by Robert Ten Eyck Stevenson for the Greenwich Village Follies

This blog channel is inspired by the current exhibition at the Library for the Performing Arts, The Great American Revue: How Florenz Ziegfeld, George White and their Rivals Remade Broadway, which is on view through July 27, 2012. The material on display is drawn from the collections of LPA’s Research Divisions.

“Color,” our key image, is one of a 

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Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Season 2, Part 7: Regeneration (1915)

Shhhh.... this one is silent.

One of the great things about silent film is the fact that it is, well, silent.

While this attribute certainly draws attention to body language and visual storytelling, it also provides a blank canvas. As someone who composes and arranges music, this proves a great opportunity to sharpen my skills and have a bit of fun, dropping different types of music into a set of scenes. The fun happens when music intended for one purpose magically enhances another. It is proved to be a much more laborious a task, as I am not able to rely on the timings 

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Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Season 2, Part 6: Happy 90th Birthday Mingus!

Happy birthday to Charles Mingus, who would have officially become a nonagenarian this coming April 22, 2012 — a word I am certain he could have cleverly crafted into a title. And to celebrate one of the most unique and gifted voices in not just the jazz world, but, in my opinion, the whole of 20th century music, we are projecting on 16mm this wonderfully insightful film capturing Mingus at a very specific period in his life. A must see for all fans of Charles 

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Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Season 2, Part 5: Scorsese & the City

Martin Scorsese has had a quite a run these past two months, with 11 Oscar nominations (four wins) for his film Hugo and a Golden Globe win for the Best Director category, to name just a few. So let's raise another toast (in the spirit of the Bridesmaids' SAG award presentation) to the man who gave us so much great Lower East Side imagery by screening one of his earliest films,

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Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Season 2, Part 4: Bubbies & Beats

Well, Yudie is not exactly a Bubbie, but I simply could not resist the alliteration. (Although, Tante and the Beats would make an excellent band name, don't you think?)

This month's Lower East Side Heritage Film Series (LESHFS) pairs the seemingly improvised storytelling of the Beat Generation with the candid and (seemingly) unrehearsed historytelling of a first generation American to Russian-Jewish parents that landed in the Lower East Side.

We are pleased to offer the following films on Tuesday evening (in the universe), 

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Films of Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog's singular, uncompromising career in filmmaking spans over four decades and has included feature films, documentaries, and even two works (Little Dieter Needs to Fly and Rescue Dawn) that offer, respectively, a nonfiction and fictional retelling of the same event.

Regardless of genre, each of his films seems preoccupied with the 

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Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Season 2, Part 3 — Mascot Flats

It is the beginning of a new calendar year. A time for reflection. A time for resolution. A time for hope.

In this next installment of the Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, we celebrate and reflect on the rebirth of a derelict East Sixth Street tenement building in Alphabet City. Producer and director Josephine Hayes Dean documents the toils and tribulations of its future residents into something that would become a home for their hopes and dreams.

We are pleased to offer the following film on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.

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Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Season 2, Part 2 - Punk'd and Drunk'd

Did you miss CBGB? I did. Well, I should say I missed it in its heyday.

By the time I landed in New York City, the iconic establishment was just a tired bar living off the fumes of its former glories. Listen, I am certainly glad to have made the pilgrimage a handful of times and experienced it well before John Varvatos moved in, but the energy and congregation of locals that helped cultivate a movement of music that still resonates to this day was long gone. All that remained were the 

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Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Season 2, Part 1

The Lower East Side Heritage Film Series is returning to Seward Park Library for its second season. To celebrate, we will project Hester Street from 16mm reels.

This 1975 feature film, adapted from Abraham Cahan's 1896 novella

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I ♥ G-Dubs: A Love Letter to the George Washington Bridge on Its 80th Birthday

The George Washington Bridge (Photo: Jason Megraw)

Most New Yorkers, when asked to name NYC landmarks, will conjure up the familiar array of iconographic symbols that make up our city: the Statue Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square, the Ground Zero Memorial, etc. — but having grown up in Washington Heights, I can’t help but place the George Washington Bridge among the great monuments of Gotham pride. Ever since its completion in 1931, this stunning suspension bridge has remained a sight that never gets old, one which 

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Jeepers Creepers, It's Boris Karloff!

Boris Karloff, who will be paid tribute to in a Thursday, October 27 program at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, played Frankenstein’s Monster in three films, the first of which was released 80 years ago next month.

Karloff played the title characters in

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