Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Blog Posts by Subject: Recorded Sound and Video

Welcome to Stuff for the Teen Age!

For 80 years, New York Public Library staff shared the best titles for teens in an annual list called Books for the Teen Age. Last year, Books for the Teen Age became Stuff for the Teen Age, a multimedia, multi-format, targeted, and teen-tested list of the best of the year in teen books, music, graphic novels, movies, games, and more. This year, Stuff for the Teen Age becomes a blog.

We started with a list of the 100 best titles of last year, and we’ll be posting about our picks 

... Read More ›

Great Albums You May Have Missed: The Wailing Wailers' Simmer Down (1963)

When a teenaged Bob Marley began recording in 1963 with The Wailing Wailers, Reggae did not exist yet. Back then Kingston Town, Jamaica was bubbling over with the jump-up-and-down energy of Ska, slowly maturing into the deliberate beats of Rocksteady.

The common thread binding these genres to Reggae is that unmistakable guitar chop on the upbeat, denoted by perhaps my favorite musical term: the 'skank'. There is simply no better example of a culture internalizing external influences and making it their own than when Jamaican artists took the shuffle of ... Read More ›

Great Albums You May Have Missed: Palestrina's 'Missa Papae Marcelli'

My favorite function of air, besides perhaps its ability to keep us all alive, is its ability to move beautiful sounds from place to place. For sound to travel, each molecule in the air must internalize the vibrations and pass that energy on to its neighbors in a fraction of second, and no piece of music can remind the air of this sacred purpose more than Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's Pope Marcellus Mass. Read More ›

Great Albums You May Have Missed: Fela Kuti's 'Gentleman'

Afrobeat has been called the soundtrack to post-colonial Africa: reviving the indigenous rhythms eminating from the soil and from the blood, internalizing the best aspects of other cultures and molding them into something new, and making people dance with honest smiles on their faces even while addressing the issues of intense poverty and widespread human rights abuses at the hands of corrupt governments. Fela Kuti's 1973 release, Gentleman, is ... Read More ›

Great Albums You May Have Missed: Steve Miller Band

The Steve Miller Band's lesser known late 60's-era recordings might surprise you. In 1972, blues-rock guitarist Steve Miller broke his neck in a car accident. It put him out of commission for a full year, a time he used to write catchy blues-influenced pop songs. He emerged to become a huge success, with memorable songs like Fly Like an Eagle, and Take the Money and Run.

What many people don't realize is that the Steve Miller Band had a string of albums before Miller's more well-known era which were closer to psychedelic blues rock than the bouncy mellow pop 

... Read More ›

Where Is St. Marks? Investigating Place Names in the East Village

It is 8th Street, but from Third Avenue to Avenue A it is called St. Marks Place and is named for St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, which is not even on 8th Street, or St. Marks Place, but at the intersection of 10th Street, Second Avenue, and Stuyvesant Street. The land there has been a site of Christian worship since 1660. The history of St. Marks Place doesn’t go back that far, but a surprising amount of history has happened on these four 

... Read More ›

Django Reinhardt Centennial Celebration - Sweet and Lowdown

January 23, 2010 marks the centennial of the birth of Django Reinhardt. Reinhardt grew up in gypsy camps outside Paris and began playing violin, banjo, and guitar at a young age. A fire destroyed his caravan when he was 18 and he was badly burned. The third and forth fingers of his left hand were partially paralyzed but he amazingly relearned how to play and by the early 1930s he was recording with his Hot Club of France Quintet. All of those solos were 

... Read More ›

East Village Landmarks – 96 and 98 St Marks Place

After a number of years in an historic Greenwich Village library I’ve spent the past few weeks in an equally historic East Village library. The Ottendorfer Branch of The New York Public Library is surrounded by literary, political, and musical history. From Leon Trotsky and

... Read More ›

An Evening of Polypoetry

Sound poetry, also known as polypoetry, is a performance art, a live show, which combines many elements, such as the written word, human voice, musical instruments, electronic sounds, movement, mime and projected images.

A major proponent of this art form is Enzo Minarelli, performer and scholar from Bologna, Italy, who developed a Manifesto of Polypoetry, containing his theories of the performance of sound poetry, touching on the rhythms of language, exploitation of sounds and use of electronic media.

This 

... Read More ›

Student Reception at the NYP Library for the Performing Arts, Sept. 16, 2009

I've been on the planning committee for this year's student reception at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. It's a great opportunity to meet students who will be exploring the use of the library. Students get to meet each other from diverse schools who would not ordinarily encounter one another.

I enjoy showing off some of our unique items to students who never realized the Library had such things in its collections. It can be a great opportunity to inspire learning knowledge, while fostering a sense of community. Last year we had Thomas Kail 

... Read More ›

Sixteen[mm] and the City

Throughout these late winter and spring months, work crews have been feverishly drilling, planting, laying, grouting, irrigating, digging and welding outside of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in preparation for summer, when crowds of tourists and city dwellers will be looking for a shaded seat or a grassy knoll on which to perch with a sandwich or a friend.

The problem is, and has been, that Lincoln Center Plaza as it was conceptualized and built in the 1960s was neither shaded nor grassy and that one would be hard pressed to find a reason to 

... Read More ›

Sweet 16[mm]

If you take US Route 20 heading east from Albany, New York, you will eventually drive through the rural village of Nassau. There are three gas stations, a couple of pizza places and a trailer-cum-restaurant on the empty lot where Delson’s department store stood until it burned to the ground in the early 1980s.

Past the village’s one traffic light, on the right is a small white building with a black sign in front: Nassau Free Public Library. Most of this two-room branch of the Upper Hudson Library System is taken up 

... Read More ›

Martha Graham played basketball wearing bloomers!

Along with Sarah Ziebell and Lisa Lopez, I work on the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Project, whose mission is to program and document live music (mostly jazz), theater, and dance in connection with the 10 year anniversary of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's grant program.

In addition to the programming aspects, the grant also covers the preservation of a collection of oral history interviews conducted in the early 1970s by the dance critic, Don McDonagh, on people associated with the iconic dancer/choreographer, Martha Graham.

Lucky me, I 

... Read More ›

Top 10 reasons to attend the John Cage Monday night film screenings at the Jefferson Market Library in August

10. It is hot outside. It is cool inside. Very cool!

9. It’s FREE!

8. I’m thinking about unveiling the world premiere of my new composition 4:34, a tribute of sorts, based on Cage’s own 4:33. So show up early! My composition is one second longer, and therefore, one second better!

7. See number 4.

6. The first film on the first night features

... Read More ›

James G. Speaight, the forgotten child prodigy remembered - and his brother Joseph Speaight, the composer

Many warm greetings and thanks to Sebastian Pryke who, in a reponse to one of my previous posts, revealed himself to be the great-great grandnephew of child prodigy James G. Speaight. Sebastian and his brother Jonathan Pryke are apparently the great-great grandsons of James's brother Joseph Speaight (1868-1947) who was a British pianist, composer, and taught at Trinity College. According to Baker's biographical dictionary of musicians (7th edition), Joseph composed three symphonies, a piano concerto, and 

Read More ›

Not Long for this World

Brooklyn Museum and the near-permanent exhibit, American Identities. Tired from the walk, we loitered around the first room and looked at the disparate paintings, furniture & objets d’art. Also in this room was a television monitor showing a loop of Thomas Edison’s films of revelers at Coney Island. These films reminded one of us of another Edison film from Coney Island that hasn’t made it onto the Library of Congress’

... Read More ›
Previous Page 3 of 3

Chat with a librarian now