Throughout April, patrons will have the opportunity to attend a variety of free programs at The New York Public Library. Highlighted programs include "Hall Overton: Out of the Shadows," a celebration of famed composer Hall Overton providing behind-the-scenes insight into Overton as a pianist, composer, arranger, and teacher. The event, held at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts on April 14 at 6:00 p.m., will feature a discussion with award-winning composer Steve Reich, and other influential composers, conductors, and pianists including Ethan Iverson, Carman Moore, and Joel Sachs, with Sam Stephenson, author and curator of The Jazz Loft Project.
Also at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts will be the premiere of the jazz documentary In My Mind, on April 19 at 5:30 p.m., introduced by Jason Moran, jazz pianist and subject of the film, and followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers Gary Hawkins and Emily LaDue. In My Mind documents the story of Moran's 50th Anniversary tribute to Thelonious Monk's legendary 1959 Town Hall concert in New York City. The Library presents more than 20,000 free public programs throughout its 88 branches in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island annually, complementing its broad collections and other services. A complete listing of events is available at www.nypl.org/events. More information on young adult programs at the Library is available at http://teenlink.nypl.org.
Highlighted Programming for The New York Public Library in April
The Figure of Orpheus in Poetry and Performance
Monday, April 5, 6:00 p.m., The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, Manhattan
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Lincoln Center, as well as the 100th anniversary of the Poetry Society of America, The New York Public Library presents an event focused on the role of the mythical character Orpheus in contemporary poetry and performance. To celebrate this influential figure, the event will feature readings and performances vital to an understanding of Orpheus throughout theater, music, and literature. Elements of the program include a musical performance of Paul Barnes's Orphée Suite for Piano, Barnes's transcriptions of the Philip Glass opera Orphée and the result of his 15-year collaboration with Glass. Pulitzer prize-winning poets John Ashbery and Mark Strand will read their own poems. Actors Maria Tucci and Chandler Williams will aid the poets in demonstrating Orpheus’s presence in poetry by performing poems by a range of contemporaries, from Czeslaw Milosz, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Jack Gilbert to Linda Gregg, Sherod Santos, and Steve Kowit. The event, being held in the Bruno Walter Auditorium, coincides with the library’s Orpheus in Film series on Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. in May, including works such as Orpheus (1949), The Black Orpheus (1959), and The Way it is or Eurydice in the Avenues (1985). For more information call (212) 870-1630.
Un-staged Reading: Playwright Anne Leighton presents The Passion of Mary
Wednesday, April 7, 6:00 p.m., Bronx Library Center, 310 East Kingsbridge Road, Bronx
Theater-goers will not want to miss the unique opportunity to foster their theatric creativity by attending the discussion and un-staged reading of The Passion of Mary, presented and written by Bronx playwright Anne Leighton. The Passion of Mary, a three-act historical play focused on the quest for religious freedom in early America, details the story of Mary Dwyer, a 17th-century Quaker dedicated to the spread of religious freedom and her struggle against the Puritans in the Boston Commonwealth. The play is riddled with other historical characters such as Anne Hutchinson, once a Bronx resident, and Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island. Leighton's active writing career has resulted in two books, Using Your Art and the Media to Comfort People and Paws for Thought: How to Understand What Your Cat Is Thinking, and various plays. Leighton’s first play, Reach for the Sun, was performed by Poets Repertory Theater of Long island in 1977. Participants interested in taking on a speaking part for the reading, alongside Stratospheerius singer/violinst Joe Deninzon and award-winning playwright Valerie Killigrew, should contact Anne Leighton at (718) 881-8183.
Hall Overton: Out of the Shadows
Wednesday, April 14, 6:00 p.m., The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, Manhattan
In collaboration with The Jazz Loft Project exhibition, The New York Public Library welcomes Steve Reich, Joel Sachs, Carman Moore, Ethan Iverson, and Sam Stephenson to an evening program on Hall Overton, celebrating and discussing his influence on the jazz world as a pianist, composer, arranger, and teacher. Hall Overton as a classical composer not only inserted elements of the jazz music style into his own work but also contributed greatly to the New York jazz scene; he was responsible for the Jazz Loft, utilizing his own loft and working alongside photographer W. Eugene Smith to create a beneficial and open environment for jazz musicians. His work with musicians such as Thelonious Monk resulted in legendary live recordings such as The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall. The program will be moderated and introduced by Sam Stephenson, author of the book The Jazz Loft Project, a historical and musical resource. Steve Reich, award-winning composer responsible for the piece “Different Trains” and composition “Double Sextet,” and Ethan Iverson, member of the postmodern piano trio The Bad Plus, will discuss Overton’s teaching methods and the role he played in multiple musicians’ developments. In addition, Joel Sachs, Juilliard professor and world-renowned composer, will be placed in conversation with composer and Jazz Loft participant Carman Moore to discuss performing Overton's work today and composing new work inspired by his pieces. “Hall Overton: Out of the Shadows” promises to be an engaging event, enabling patrons to understand the influence of Overton on incredible contemporary composers shaping the contemporary jazz music scene and tradition.
The Jazz Loft Project: Screening of In My Mind (2009)
Monday, April 19, 5:30 p.m., The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, Manhattan
As part of The Jazz Loft Project exhibition, The New York Public Library and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University present a screening of In My Mind, introduced by Jason Moran, jazz pianist and subject of the film, and followed by a Q&A session with filmmaker Gary Hawkins.
In My Mind is a high-energy performance-based documentary telling the story of rising jazz pianist Jason Moran's 50th anniversary tribute to Thelonious Monk's legendary 1959 Town Hall concert. Featuring Moran and his Big Bandwagon, collaborating visual artists Glenn Ligon and David Dempewolf, Monk's original French horn player Robert "Brother Ah" Northern, and photographer and audiophile Eugene Smith's recently discovered images and recordings of Monk's rehearsals from the Jazz Loft in NYC, In My Mind reveals the layered personalities of the music and the artists in two of the finest jazz shows, half a century apart.
The February 2009 performance of In My Mind was documented by the Center for Documentary Studies instructors Gary Hawkins and Emily LaDue, with students from their Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking course. The film carries on Moran’s intentions of documenting an eclectic jazz story spanning 50 years, through a combination of concert footage, behind-the-scenes action, interviews, improvisation, and historical content while still upholding the integrity of Thelonious Monk’s original music. In My Mind, through the combination of Moran’s stellar performance and interviews with Moran and members of The Big Bandwagon, provides valuable insight into the process of artistic and musical collaboration for jazz aficionados and documentary-lovers alike.
Show Your Love: Fan-Fiction Contest
Friday, April 19, 5:00 p.m., Macomb’s Bridge, 2650 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard, Manhattan
Devoted fans of literary works and popular series, such as Harry Potter, Twilight, Naruto, Lord of the Rings, and many others, will not want to miss ?Show Your Love: Fan-Fiction Contest," hosted by the Macomb’s Bridge Branch. Fan-Fiction, originating from unofficial Don Quixote sequels in the 17th century, developed as a modern fad shortly after the premiere of the Star Trek television series and produced multiple “fanzines” like Spockanalia. Today the popular forum has grown as access to the Internet has increased, leading to the introduction of widely used sharing sites such as FanFiction.net and LiveJournal.com. Attendees will be able to experiment with this literary fan’s phenomenon that has swept Internet sites, blogs, and online discussion boards, making reading a more participatory activity that encourages the expansion of creative writing and literary discussion throughout a young adult population. Participants will be able to share their favorite works of fan-fiction and compete for the title of Best Fan-Fiction writer.
Highlighted Movie Screenings for The New York Public Library in April
National Poetry Month Film Series: Have You Heard the Word? (1994)
Thursday, April 1, 6:00 p.m., Battery Park City Library, 175 North End Avenue, Manhattan
As part of National Poetry Month, The New York Public Library presents a series of documentary films following the role of poetry throughout the literary world. The documentary Have You Heard the Word? captures the development of the “spoken word” phenomenon, which redefined and rejuvenated the presence of poetry through performance styles in everyday society. The film, hosted by dub poet Clifton Joseph, incorporates performances and interviews with popular spoken word artists and with influential Beat Generation predecessors such as Allen Ginsberg. This film screening will take place in the Community Room.
Animals in Film: Babe (1995)
Friday, April 2, 2:00 p.m., 58th Street Library, 127 East 58th Street, Manhattan
Babe, the film adaptation of a book by Dick King-Smith, continues to delight families and children with the unusual tale of a pig, determined to become revered as the greatest pig sheep-herder of all time. Supported by the sheep, the dog Fly, Farmer Hoggett, and his best-duck-friend Ferdinand, the character Babe realizes his potential and acts toward his alarming but entertaining goal.
HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes
Thursday, April 8, 6:00 p.m., Countee Cullen Library, 104 West 136th Street, Manhattan
HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes takes an in-depth look at representations of manhood, sexism, and homophobia in hip-hop culture. This riveting piece serves as a critique of disturbing elements of rap music culture from the point of view of a fan who challenges the musical style’s views of masculinity. Leading rap and hip-hop artists including Mos Def, Busta Rhymes, and Russell Simmons are featured, commenting on the violent and sexually explicit content present in contemporary hip-hop songs and videos.
Reel Classics: Daughter in the Dust (1991)
Friday, April 16, 2:00 p.m., Ottendorfer Library, 135 Second Avenue, Manhattan
The critically acclaimed Daughter in the Dust focuses on the struggle of a large African-American family preparing for a journey North at the turn of the 20th century. The film, directed and written by Julie Dash, captures the Gullah culture of the islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia.
Staff Picks Movie Night: American Splendor (2003)
Monday, April 20, 6:00 p.m., Ottendorfer Library, 135 Second Avenue, Manhattan
Directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, American Splendor is a biographical film based on Harvey Pekar (played by Paul Giamatti) and his experience writing the American Splendor comic book series. This award-winning film, a mixture of fiction and reality, provides humorous insight into the times of an everyday-man comic book hero, wrestling with the monotony of Cleveland life as a file clerk.
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. Its renowned research collections are located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; and the Science, Industry and Business Library at 34th Street and Madison Avenue. Eighty-eight branch libraries provide access to circulating collections and a wide range of other services in neighborhoods throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English for speakers of other languages. All in all The New York Public Library serves more than 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org.
Contact: Jon Pace | 212.592.7710 | Jonathan_Pace@nypl.org