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Everything and anything to do with with film and film programs at the New York Public Library.

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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The Bookshelves of Boardwalk Empire

Prohibition. Politics. Corruption. Alcohol was not illegal to drink. It was just illegal to manufacture, sell, or transport. Various organized criminal enterprises saw fit to illegally manufacture, sell, and transport alcohol to those who wanted it. 1920. Money. Politics. Corruption. This is Boardwalk Empire.

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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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Wonderfully Odd Movies

My favorite stories are the ones about the ordinary people who, while going about their daily lives, encounter strange and/or inexplicable events. How they behave in the midst of weirdness is more interesting than the phenomenon itself. I've always been a sucker for a well-told vampire tale. (Sorry!) Or an off-center ghost story or strange-baby story... Here, in no particular order, are a few of my favorite, wonderfully odd movies.   Ricky, a film by Francois Ozon based on Rose Tremain's short ... Read More ›

Harlem Library Cinema Series at George Bruce: June 2012

Calypso, the traditional carnival music of Trinidad, is so infectious with its driving beat, upbeat rhythms and colorful lyrics, that it defies you not to get up and dance or sing or both.

NBPC (National Black Programming Consortium) and The Harlem Library Cinema Series return to the George Bruce Branch this Spring with a sparkling documentary, Calypso Rose: Lioness of the Jungle, about the queen of this music: Calypso Rose. Born McArtha Sandy Lewis on the tiny 

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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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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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Billy Parrott, Meet Billy Parrott

OK readers. Some time back I did a blog post in which I firmly stated I was the real Billy Parrott. I'm writing today to formally acknowledge that I am only one Billy Parrott. I am Billy Parrott, the librarian. I'd like to introduce you to the other Billy Parrott. He's the actor.

Mistaken identity was the subject of my original post. Most cases of mistaken identity are visual in nature and I recounted various incidents in which I was 

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May 2012 DVD Releases... Reserve Your Copy Now!

In the month of May, many great DVD movies are coming to the Library. Reserve titles now using the Library's new Catalog. Highlights include big studio romantic comedies, New Years Eve, One for the Money, and

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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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Five Independent Films Worth Checking Out

Over the weekend, I had my first experience visiting the Angelika Film Center to see Robbie Pickering's film Natural Selection. Pickering, a NYU film graduate, talked about his experiences with filming the movie in over just 18 days and directing a traditionally comedic actress (the film's dazzling lead, Rachel Harris) in a much more serious role.

The film got 

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Mystery Summer

April 2012 DVD Releases... Reserve Your Copy Now!

There won't be too many new DVDs coming to the Library in April, but the ones we will get are really great! Reserve titles now using the Library's new catalog, BiblioCommons. Highlights include Academy Award Best Picture winner, The Artist; Best Picture nominee, War 

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Films of Krzysztof Kieslowski

Director Krzysztof Kieslowski, although best known for his Three Colors trilogy (Blue, White, and Red) and the French/Polish production Double Life of Véronique, produced the vast majority of his work in 

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"Chris in the Morning" Reading List

From 1990 through 1995, the television viewing public was obsessed with the goings on in Cicely, Alaska. Northern Exposure ruled the television airwaves. And while our airwaves were dominated by this quirky drama, on the show itself the airwaves were ruled by Chris Stevens and his KBHR radio show Chris in the Morning.

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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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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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The "Mad Men" Reading List

You might remember my original list, which will always be available here.   

This revised list will be easier to follow and, like my previous list, it will be updated as books appear in new episodes. Details on literary references will continue in the comments field. As mentioned in my original blog post, some of the books on the list are featured more prominently in the series than others, but all are a great way to gain insight into the episodes and the social and cultural times in which the 

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The Jefferson Market Library Free Classroom: Spring 2012

Jefferson Market Library, in an effort to offer substantive courses that teach the subjects you want to learn, is thrilled to offer its Spring Semester! Each course offers multiple sessions so students can build their knowledge as the course advances, class by class, guided by an experienced professor! And it's all free! Take a look:

Remember (just like in college) — for all courses requiring pre-registration — students are expected to attend all sessions to achieve the maximum 

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March 2012 DVD Releases... Reserve Your Copy Now!

Looking back, the DVDs that came to the Library in February were kind of crummy, but man, in the month of March, the DVD movies coming to the Library are great. Reserve titles now using the Library's new BiblioCommons catalog.

Highlights include the fun family movies 

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