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Blog Posts by Subject: Recorded Sound and Video

Discovering Dance Lineages Through Oral Histories

Next week (on October 24, 26 and 27, 2012) I have the honor of performing at the Museum of Modern Art's Marron Atrium in Voluntaries by choreographer Dean Moss and visual artist, Laylah Ali. These performances are part of MoMA's Some sweet day dance exhibition series. Voluntaries examines the legacy of John Brown, a white abolitionist who attempted 

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The Speaking of Dancing Project

In the interview excerpt above, New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay discusses the challenges of writing about dance, using examples of moments in the ballets Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty that made profound impressions on him.

The theme of interpretation—in essence, how movement creates meaning—goes to the heart of dance as an art form. Interpretation comes center stage in Speaking of Dancing, a new series of interviews recorded by the

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Surprises in the Jerome Robbins Audio Collection

Archival collections can harbor surprises — which makes the job of processing them fun!  The personal archives of artists not only document their careers and personal lives, but often contain material reflecting their interests and their times.

Jerome Robbins, a choreographer of prolific and complex genius whose work spanned ballet and musical theater, was a long-time supporter of the New York Public Library’s Dance Division. On 

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Greetings from the Jerome Robbins Dance Division Oral History Archive!

The Jerome Robbins Dance Division Oral History Archive is home to unique and rare dance-related audio recordings that capture the voices of dancers, choreographers, composers, lighting designers, costume designers, and dance scholars from the mid-20th Century through today. These recordings encompass a wide range of original and donated content, including Dance Division-produced oral history interviews, radio show broadcasts, 

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Columbia Records Manufacturing Process: 1946

The photographs that you see here were taken on a tour of the Bridgeport, CT Columbia Records factory in 1946. They provide a fascinating look at how music was reproduced in those days. The records we see being made, inspected, and shipped in these images are 10 inch discs that would have been played at a speed of 78 RPM. Today collectors refer to them by their speed - "78s" - but back then they were simply called records.

1946 was approaching the end of one era of record 

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Musical of the Month: The Music of the Black Crook

From The Library of Congress

 This is the second in a series of posts about the 1866 proto-musical, The Black Crook. See my first post in the series for additional background on the show

Very little is known about the music used in the original production of The Black Crook. Early advertisements feature the scenic effects (TRANSFORMATION SCENE or THE CRYSTAL CASCADE) much more prominently than the music. Spectacular dances (eg. "Pas de Demons" or "Pas de 

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"How can we know the dancer from the dance?"

In William Butler Yeats' poem "Among School Children" the poet famously asks "How can we know the dancer from the dance"?  Many interpret this line as an observation that some creative acts are so intimately connected to the artist who created them that separating the two is almost impossible.  However interesting or beautiful this idea might be, its reality makes the work of dance preservation a difficult one.  Literary or musical art can be transcribed to paper using a 

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The Talent Show @ MoMA PS1

Adrian Piper, a pioneer in conceptual art exploring race and gender, is among the artists included in the Talent Show.The permeable concepts of fame, publicity, and exhibitionism in the age of reality television and social networking are some of the themes explored in the exhibit The Talent Show—on view at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, through April 4, 2011.

The show, organized by the Walker Art Center 

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Great Albums You May Have Missed: Erik Friedlander's Block Ice & Propane (2007)

As I listen to Block Ice & Propane, I recall the other possible uniform title I considered for this blog thread: “Prone to Hyperbole”; because this collection of songs may be the most evocative set of music the universe has ever heard! It throws us in the back of a camper for a cross-country camping trip, circa 1960 or '70-something; drives us down the backroads of America; and all we have to do is just notice, every so often, our impressions along the 

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New Year’s Resolutions - Trying to Lose Weight Again?

Another year has passed and with the beginning of the New Year comes the excitement of a “fresh start” – the endless possibilities for what we can do and achieve in the 365 days that lay ahead of us.

Are you one of the people that when they hear the words “New Year’s resolution” your first reaction is to roll your eyes? Some people think of resolutions as a bad thing, as something that will not be done, a broken promise of some sort. Why not look at resolutions as guidelines to help us get to where we want? I bet you never 

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Great Albums You May Have Missed: The Temptations' Give Love at Christmas (1980)

Do you constantly find yourself humming the tune of "The Little Drummer Boy" during the holiday season as if it were a new and infectious single by the Black Eyed Peas? For some reason, the holiday season makes me long for something a little more festive playing through my mp3 player’s headphones as I walk to the Kingsbridge Branch on a blustery New York winter morning.

In 1980,

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Dan Smith Will Teach You Guitar

He is arguably the most recognized musician in New York City. The slight smile, patient and reassuring, that greets you every morning as you wait in line at the corner bodega for your coffee and bagel.

Regardless of socioeconomic class or race, from Bed-Stuy to The Bronx, from East Village to the Upper East Side, all New Yorkers know: Dan Smith will teach you guitar.     It is a simple and honest advertisement. Like most good advertising, it is very memorable.  Maybe it is so memorable because these ... Read More ›

On the Shadows in Abraham's Cave: Thoughts on Beryl Korot and Steve Reich's 'The Cave'

The Cave, by wife and husband team Beryl Korot (video artist) and Steve Reich (composer), is an experimental multimedia piece featuring recorded interviews set to live music. Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans are all asked about the significance of the story of Abraham and his burial place, The Cave of Machpelah, which is held sacred by Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

Interviewees are asked about the significance of Abraham to their lives, the significance of his two sons Ishmael and Isaac, and their two 

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Mean Streets to Green Streets

Thomas Jefferson Park, 1939 Photo: Max UlrichIn the smoldering heat of summer, one of my greatest pleasures has been to find reprieve in New York City’s lush and thriving community gardens. For all the grandeur of the city’s more widely celebrated green spaces like Central Park and Prospect Park, there are hundreds of small-scale urban oases nestled in formerly decrepit lots across the five boroughs.

At one community garden that I visited in Alphabet City, a woman was simmering curry over the communal grill. “I love to cook outside in the 

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"You're gonna need a bigger boat." A Movie Quiz

For over two years now, as a blogger for the New York Public Library, I’ve written about books: as entertainment, as the foundations of personal identity, as reflections of the past, as physical artifacts, even as dust-collectors in an overcrowded apartment.   Today, however, I would like to celebrate another aspect of the library’s universe: its circulating DVD collection, which any avid cinephile would have to regard as one of the city’s great free resources.

As well as being a long-term employee of the library, I am also an eager and 

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Great Albums You May Have Missed: Highway to Hassake - Omar Souleyman

Years ago, while training my mind to think about deep and important stuff at university, I used to puff up my self-importance by reading books with the word "postmodern" in the title. I still couldn't explain what the term means exactly without launching into an hour-long babble that would leave you more confused than before; but if I could sum it up in one musician, I'd pick a one Mr. Omar Souleyman.

Omar Souleyman delivers the sounds to the people in the streets of Syria; he

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What Do the Ladies of SATC Have In Common With the Patrons of NYPL?

Okay so we can't all have a wedding at the beautiful Schwarzman Building like Carrie... but, we all can access the same great works of literature, cinema and music that the awesome and trendy ladies of SATC are seen enjoying throughout their movies.

Sex and the City (TV Series)

Click on the title to request the item from NYPL. 

Love Letters of Great Men

Edited by Ursula Doyle.

SATC

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Great Albums You May Have Missed: School of the Seven Bells - Alpinisms

With the seemingly endless expansion of musical terms and genres in the postmodern world, I have acquired some favorites, not least of which is a genre called "Shoegaze" music.

As may be obvious from the name, the music involves heavy use of effects, produces a dreamlike yet philosophical state, uses washed-out yet catchy melodies, whispery or otherwise idiosyncratic reverberated vocals, and often electronic drums and synths; and though bands often wander into experimental territory, they 

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Cine.ma - Writing Screenplays & Media Plays - Using online tools wherever you are

First in a series

Each day, professional, aspiring and student film and media-makers come through the doors of the Library for the Performing Arts (LPA) seeking resources that will aid in making their creativity become a reality.

If the 16th century focused on painting, the 19th on photography and the 20th on cinema, the 21st is all about integrated media.

Better stated, it is all about integrated performing arts media, and for the casual to the academic, there is no better place then

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Great Albums You May Have Missed: The O'Jays' Ship Ahoy (1973)

For bold, nuanced arrangements, classic songwriting chops, and the richness of gospel-inflected singers working together in perfect harmony, get your ears to Philadelphia.  Well, actually you don't have to leave New York--just listen to The O'Jays, one of the classic 1970s groups that developed Philly Soul.  A stylistic precursor to disco, the Quiet Storm sound, and smooth jazz, Philly Soul is rich, layered, and really, really hard not to dance to.  ... Read More ›
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