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Posts by Billy Parrott

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

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Greenwich Village Landmarks: Lester William Polsfuss (aka Les Paul)

Greenwich Village has many landmarks of music history. The jazz clubs in the area saw the likes of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. The bars and clubs that line Bleecker Street and the surrounding area helped popularize folk music in the 1960s. And of course there is that famous little recording studio just south of Jefferson Market on Eighth Street where some of the most important music of the past forty years was recorded. Out of all the Village music landmarks though there is one that absolutely dwarfs them all. In 1941 guitar manufacturer Epiphone was located at

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This is Water

“To doubt everything, or, to believe everything, are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.” -Henri Poincare, Science and Hypothesis (1901) 

We are now at that time of the year when so many students are getting ready to take that next giant step into the “real world”. I’d like to think that most are prepared to meet the challenges. High schools and universities have long used the commencement speech as a way of conveying final 

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24fps@NYPL - Blue Velvet

Welcome to 24 Frames per Second, a New York Public Library blog tagline devoted to film. By following the 24fps@NYPL tag you’ll easily be able to read film reviews and suggestions from Library staff systemwide which will hopefully lead to many lively and insightful comments and discussions. You will also be able to find information here about film screenings at local branches. Hopefully the posts here will expose you to some films you may not have seen or encourage you to possibly revisit or reconsider some of those films you haven’t seen in a long time. And of course, all the films 

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This Day in History - Alan Smithee, Pseudonymous Filmmaker

Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the premiere of the first work from one of the most notorious men in the history of Hollywood. He is prolific, having had a hand in the making of over one hundred film and television projects. That hand though has been the heavy hand of disassociation through loss of creative control. This man’s name is now synonymous with bad films and bad decisions. His name is Alan Smithee.

Death of a Gunfighter was released on April 25, 1969 in West Germany. The United 

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This Day in History: Mae West and Jefferson Market

On April 19, 1927 Mae West was convicted at The Jefferson Market Courthouse on obscenity charges for her play Sex. Read More ›

The Black Maria Film + Video Festival at Jefferson Market Library

On Saturday April 25th at 2PM The Jefferson Market Branch will be one of the stops for The Black Maria Film and Video Festival. Yes, I know I know, the weather is finally nice, Spring is finally here, but we've got an incredible line up this year so you really must try and stop by.

"Since 1981, the annual Black Maria Film and Video Festival, an international juried competition and award tour, has been fulfilling its mission to advocate, exhibit and reward cutting edge works from 

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National Poetry Month - 17th Annual Poets House Showcase

In celebration of National Poetry Month the Jefferson Market Library will be hosting the 17th Annual Poets House Showcase Saturday April 4 through Saturday April 11, 2009.

The only event of its kind, the annual Poets House Showcase is a free exhibit featuring all of the new poetry books and poetry-related texts published in the United States in a single year—with more than 2,000 titles on view (including volumes by individual authors, anthologies, biographies, critical studies, CDs and DVDs) from over 500 commercial, university and independent 

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This Day in History - Anatol Josepho

The photograph above is not Anatol Josepho. It is just one of the countless anonymous Photomatic photobooth photographs out there.Today marks the 115th anniversary of the birth of Anatol Josepho (March 31, 1894 - December 1980), Siberian immigrant and inventor of the photobooth. His

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Village Landmarks: The Old Grapevine Tavern

The Jefferson Market Branch of The New York Public Library has been meeting the informational needs of the people of Greenwich Village for over forty years. But one hundred years before the library, people in the neighborhood got their information from the Old Grapevine Tavern. Read More ›

Village Landmarks - Diane Arbus and 131 1/2 Charles Street

Today marks the 86th anniversary of the birth of photographer Diane Arbus.

Diane Nemerov was born in New York City on March 14, 1923. In 1941, at the age of 18 she married Allan Arbus who worked in the advertising department of her family’s store. She received a Graflex 6x9 camera the same year. They started working in fashion, with Allan at the camera and Diane as stylist and art director.

She began to work independently in 1957 and after separating from her husband in 1959 (he later went on to become an actor) she moved to a rear carriage house at

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Movies at Jefferson Market & My Never-Ending Jazz Checklist

Film noir is the theme for Jefferson Market’s Monday night films this month. We’ll start the series with Fritz Lang’s Hangmen Also Die. Please take a look at The New York Public Library’s online calendar for our other upcoming films.

We’ll also have a special non-noir Saturday film screening of Blithe Spirit on March 21, 2009 at 2pm. Based on the play by

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There’s more to life than books, you know, but not much more…

I just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Outliers. I also recently booked (through the summer) films for Jefferson Market’s Monday night film screenings, including some great music documentaries in February. I’ve been thinking about both Outliers and music a lot recently.

On Monday February 2nd at 6PM we are showing Let’s Get Lost,

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Literary Landmarks in the Village: "Where the Wild Things Are"

This time next year, on October 16, 2009, the Spike Jonze film adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are is scheduled to open. The film, shot with real actors and a combination of live-action puppetry and CGI, was originally scheduled to be in theaters now. I’ve read that Warner Brothers apparently was not happy with the finished product, and test-screened audiences felt it was too scary for children. I’m not sure Jonze necessarily 

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literary landmarks in the village: e.e. cummings

4 patchin place, a few steps from the jefferson market library just off 10th street, is the former residence of poet e.e. cummings (october 14, 1894 – 

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100 Years Ago Today

According to Stokes Iconography of Manhattan Island, on October 8, 1908 a city ordinance was passed changing the name of Blackwell’s Island Bridge to Queensboro Bridge.

Further research into Stokes Iconography provides more history about the Queensboro Bridge.

The city began proceedings to acquire the land on April 25, 1900. On November 15 the common council passed “an ordinance to provide for the construction of a new bridge over the East River between the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens.” On 

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Literary Landmarks in the Village: Goodnight Moon

I am by no means an expert when it comes to children’s literature. I save that for the wonderful children’s librarians of The New York Public Library. In a readers advisory bind I can recommend some of the current series that the kids are reading and those classic children’s books that I’m particularly fond of now: Where the Wild Things Are, the Mo Willems Pigeon books, anything by

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The Bell at Jefferson Market Branch, Part One

I recently received an interesting telephone reference question. A gentleman was calling from a historical society in upstate New York. He was doing research on the bells cast by the Meneely Bell Foundry in the early to mid 19th century. Meneely had cast tens of thousands of bells and he wanted to know if the bell in Jefferson Market Library’s clock tower was one of them. A quick search online found many different versions of the clock tower’s history. Some sources claim that the bell currently in the tower was the one from the original previous structure, a fire watch 

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100 Shadows at Jefferson Market

I went to The Museum of Modern Art recently to check out some of the new photography exhibitions. In addition to the stark repetition the Bechers’ work and some of my favorites from Diane Arbus there was a wonderful exhibition of vernacular photography. The snapshots by anonymous photographers all depict the shadow of the photographer. The photos are hung salon style 

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Mark Your Calendars

Here is a listing of Monday night films at Jefferson Market through November. I’ll post detailed descriptions as the screening dates approach, but for now take a look and mark your calendars.

Of particular interest: On November 3rd, Werner Herzog’s Stroszek. This has to be one of my favorite movie endings of all time. America’s endless pursuit of entertainment! Herzog has called the final minute one of the best things he’s ever filmed. Bonus points for you if you happen to know the reported connection between this film and Ian Cutis of Joy Division. On November 11th, 

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