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Blog Posts by Subject: Popular Culture

My Heart Will Go On: Stories from the RMS Titanic, Truth and Fiction

In the late hours of April 14th, 1912 and the early morning hours of April 15th, about 85 years before a dying Leo DiCaprio urged a freezing Kate Winslet to live, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sunk into the icy waters of the North Atlantic. In a matter of hours this “unsinkable” ship was on the bottom of the ocean and only 712 out of its 2,208 passengers would survive.  Since the news of the sinking first got out up to the present day, on the100th anniversary of the tragedy, there have been hundreds of stories about those who died, those who survived 

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April in the Reader's Den: "You Know Nothing of My Work!" by Douglas Coupland, Week 2

A meme, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is defined as "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture." Memes these days spread like wildfire. Everything from celebrity gossip to socio-political movements jump from one mind to the next seemingly faster than the speed of light with the ease of electronic communications. This was Marshall McLuhan's modern vision, though his thought processes were extrapolated from historical roots.

Jenny HolzerThe subject of McLuhan's 

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Terence McKenna and the Logos

Terence Kemp McKenna, by Entropath, Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes naked Sometimes mad Now the scholar Now the fool Thus they appear on earth: The free men. — Hindu verse from Avadhoota Gita

Terence McKenna (November 16, 1946 – April 3, 2000), America's most beloved psychonaut, bard, ethnobotanist, folk hero, and freewheeling philosopher, rose to fame in the 

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Transmissions from the Timothy Leary Papers: Welcome!

Welcome to Transmissions... where I'll update the public on the processing of the Timothy Leary Papers, held by The New York Public Library.

High school portrait, front page of The Classical Recorder, 4 June 1937I look forward to sharing the experience of arranging and describing the collection of Timothy Francis Leary, an American psychologist and Harvard professor who, through his studies regarding the use of psilocybin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25), 

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When They Trod the Boards: "Star Trek" Edition

STAR TREK. The Musical! OK, not really, but even Mr. Spock would find fascinating what we dug up in the Library's Billy Rose Theatre Division about the original Star Trek actors before they went stellar. Who knew that Nichelle Nichols sizzled in the local cabaret scene before taking up her earpiece on the starship Enterprise? Or that George Takei was an activist (OK, not surprising), or that William Shatner, of Shatner's World; We Just Live in 

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Waiting for "Downton Abbey"

Updated February 2012! Do the names Lord Grantham, Mr. Carson, and Lady Violet mean anything to you? Can you discuss at length the love story of Mary and Matthew? Does the word week-end, bring to mind Maggie Smith’s impeccably-timed line delivery? If so, then you are a Downton-ite... or is it Downton-head? Whatever the case may be, it means that you are a fan of the ITV/Masterpiece Theater drama Downton Abbey. First airing on PBS in January 2011, this British series depicts 

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Dance Your Face Off!: A Party Music Playlist

So it’s been a mild winter and maybe snow has only just fallen, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still imagine ourselves in a tropical paradise: sipping fruity drinks and dancing our faces off! But what thump, thump, techno beats would we be dancing to underneath the stars? Luckily, I have just returned from Mexico where I was doing just that, and here’s what the DJs were spinning:

 Wepa — Gloria Estefan

From her dance album 

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The Future, the 1960s, and the Allen Room

Though there’s very little chance, apparently, of accurately predicting the future, it seems we’re hardwired to try.  History, reason, and desire seem to be the main tools in this quixotic venture. It helps if you don’t go too far, as The Economist does. But for longer visions, the results are often, in hindsight, hilarious.

I don’t think that will accurately describe tomorrow’s lecture,

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Horrors! Another Quiz...

[Today's guest blogger is brought to you courtesy of E. C. Comics Tales From the Crypt.]

Hello, kiddies!

Welcome to The New York Public Li-bury!

Heh-heh-heh!

Surprised to find me as your guest flogger? I suppose, if you looked hard enough, you'd find all sorts of things buried in the Library's hacks. "But can he write?" you ask. Well, I am good at de-composing!

For all you skullers and hackademics out there, I would like to present another quivering collection of 

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Ghost Light: Illuminating Our City's Theaters: RKO Coliseum

A thing of beauty is a joy forever... — Keats

(quoted in opening night program, B. S. Moss' Coliseum Theatre, 1920)

The end of 2011 also brought the quiet demise of the last movie theater in WashingtonHeights, Coliseum Cinemas. Known to most residents as the RKO Coliseum, the large theater, occupying the entire corner of 181st and Broadway, has been a fixture of the neighborhood for over 90 years. As the community now debates the future of the Coliseum 

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Music: Express Yourself @ NYPL

Music is the language that we all understand. Whether it be rock, opera, jazz or hip-hop, it's all music if it causes you to tap your foot, sing along, or makes you feel emotions you can't explain. I don't really know of anyone who doesn't enjoy some type of music. Lately, I must confess, I've been listening to corny Christmas tunes like Dominck The Donkey and Alvin and the Chipmunk's "Christmas Hula Hoop" song. But now that "Auld Lang Syne" and "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" have been put away until next December 31, it's time to reflect on the best 

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The Times We Had: Old Hollywood Memoirs

Hollywood, 1923, Library of Congress PAN US GEOG - California no. 272

In the late 1800s Harvey Wilcox and his wife Daeida purchased 160 acres in the rolling California hills for a housing subdivision. They called it Hollywood. In 1911 the first filmmakers arrived from New Jersey; in Hollywood they could shoot outdoors without electrical lighting for over 100 days each year. Others from the east coast soon followed, coming not only for the sunny climate but to escape the clutches of the Motion Pictures Patents 

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Weddings and Marriages at NYPL: A Research Guide

Courtesy of New Line Cinemas/HBO Productions: Sex and the City at NYPLIn Sex and the City: The Movie, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) ascends the iconic marble steps of The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street wearing a stunning Vivienne 

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It's Just a Blog to the Left! A Rocky Horror Interview

Action!

Cameras are rolling.....

Damn it! Jenn-it!

Oh! Hello! I'm here in the famous New Dorp Library Community Room Theater discussing the Rocky Horror Picture Show with my good friend Bobby Pins. You all know this... so let's get right down to the mission.

Wasn't it great when it all began?

Yeah, I was a regular

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Woman of the year… J. Lo

This has been the come back year for mega superstar Jennifer Lopez. Not only has she graced the pages of some of the top-selling magazines such as Vogue, People and Glamour to name a few, she has also become a judge in the award winning reality television show 

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I'm With the Band: Muses, Groupies, and the Go-To Guys

When I was a child in the 1960s and 70s, I was convinced that everybody was having a good time but me... As it turns out, I was right!

This was rock's Golden Age, a hedonistic time of "sex and drugs and rock and roll" (when no one knew any better), a time that produced some of the most amazing popular music of the 20th century.

Here are a few of the best books by people who hobnobbed with rock and roll royalty — the wives and girlfriends, the groupies, and the go-to guys, those indispensable fellows (and gals) who "managed" things, 

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Being Spirited Away on Halloween: A Review

In the spirit of Halloween, I decided to avoid the typical horror films of vampires, zombies, ghosts,

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The Fause Knight Upon the Road: A Little Bit About British Folk Music

Until the advent of recorded sound, the indigenous music of England, Scotland, and Wales was passed down through the generations by word of mouth.

The most well known forms are sea shanties, which are mostly call and response songs (a type of work song often sung acapella, used to coordinate movement during tasks like sailing, harvesting crops, or waulking wool); 

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Comics at NYPL: A Research Guide

This week the New York Comic Con is in town! From October 13 through 16, the New York Comic Con will be held in the Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan. This annual convention is dedicated to comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, toys, video games, movies, and television!

At NYPL, we also celebrate comics and comic books. From the first issue of Captain America to

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