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Posts from the Reserve Film and Video Collection

Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Season 2, Part 2 - Punk'd and Drunk'd

Did you miss CBGB? I did. Well, I should say I missed it in its heyday.

By the time I landed in New York City, the iconic establishment was just a tired bar living off the fumes of its former glories. Listen, I am certainly glad to have made the pilgrimage a handful of times and experienced it well before John Varvatos moved in, but the energy and congregation of locals that helped cultivate a movement of music that still resonates to this day was long gone. All that remained were the aromatics 

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Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Season 2, Part 1

The Lower East Side Heritage Film Series is returning to Seward Park Library for its second season. To celebrate, we will project Hester Street from 16mm reels.

This 1975 feature film, adapted from Abraham Cahan's 1896 novella Yekl: A Tale of the 

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I ♥ G-Dubs: A Love Letter to the George Washington Bridge on Its 80th Birthday

The George Washington Bridge (Photo: Jason Megraw)

Most New Yorkers when asked to name NYC landmarks will conjure up the familiar array of iconographic symbols that make up our city: the Statue Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square, the Ground Zero Memorial, etc. — but having grown up in Washington Heights, I can’t help but place the George Washington Bridge among the great monuments of Gotham pride. Ever since its completion in 1931, this stunning suspension bridge has remained a sight that never gets 

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Jeepers Creepers, It's Boris Karloff!

Boris Karloff, who will be paid tribute to in a Thursday, October 27 program at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, played Frankenstein’s Monster in three films, the first of which was released 80 years ago next month.

Karloff played the title characters in The Mummy, The Ghoul, and T

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The Star With the Violet Eyes: Elizabeth Taylor in LPA Cinema Series

Noted always for her beauty, sometimes for her acting, and equally frequently for her scandalous romances and charitable acts, Elizabeth Taylor was the epitome of a star right up to her passing earlier this year at age 79.

Over an eight-part salute in July and August, LPA Cinema Series traces Taylor's career from MGM child actress to Hollywood icon. Along the way, the 

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Pleading Planet: Review of the film Koyaanisqatsi

The first time I saw the film Koyaanisqatsi I was a college student rambling around on an aimless Saturday night. A campus hall was screening it for free, so I ducked inside, my curiosity piqued.  I remember thinking, “Koyaanisqatsi? What does that mean?” With an “oh well” shrug, I settled into one of the classroom’s half-desk chairs as the lights dimmed to black. When the film ended and the lights shone, I was changed.

Scored with the haunting music of

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Charles Kuralt and Walt Whitman on the Road

Walt Whitman filled the pages of Leaves of Grass with poetry exalting the lives of Americans. While out in the streets, he observed and recorded the beauty of daily life. Whitman's poem "I Hear America Singing" is a delightful example how common activities make up the fabric of America.  Within its lines, a boatman owns a part of America, and a mother's daily activities are considered 

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Come See the Mystery of Picasso

Black ink soaks through a transparent canvas to form an image drawn by the master, Pablo Ruiz Picasso

In Le Mystere de Picasso (1956), director Henri-Georges Clouzot creates a new type of art documentary: one which manages to capture art at the very moment of conception. The transparent canvas allows the camera to capture each stroke of the artist's brush in real-time, beginning in 

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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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Rats with Wings: A Love Story

From the film Keep ‘Em Flying by Renee Fraser and Ann Carol Grossman.© Ann Carol Grossman.

Earlier this week, the view from my kitchen window in Brooklyn yielded a peculiar sight: spread across the rooftop of the building next door were rows upon rows of neatly arranged bread chunks. As a group of pigeons descended to claim their meal, I came to realize that my dear neighbor belongs to a subset of New Yorkers who enjoy the company of pigeons. From the folks who scatter birdseed in the park to devoted

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Central Park Blogger

If you live in New York City and have the means and resources, you are probably experiencing the summer months at the seashore or mountains, far from the insulating properties of pavement and the incubatory effect of a subway platform.  Those New Yorkers who can or must withstand the heat, however, are not without certain benefits that elude us during the milder months: the stores are empty, the streets are empty and the sidewalks are positively navigable.

And yet there is one place which is not empty. Paradoxically, the more crowded it becomes, the more 

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It's a Gift: W. C. Fields in the Movies

The great W. C. Fields may have resented being buttoned up, but he had little choice in the silent film era. Without being able to show off his gift for gab, the comedian had to rely on his vaudeville-honed physical gifts, which were also prodigious.

For a rare opportunity to catch some of Fields' pre-talkie movie work, drop in to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts' Bruno Walter Auditorium (111 Amsterdam Avenue between 64th and 65th Sts.) Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 2:30pm. The latest program in the film series

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Re-Joyce: NYPL Preserves "Joyce at 34"

This spring, the Reserve Film and Video Collection is preserving Joyce Chopra and Claudia Weill’s 1973 documentary Joyce at 34.   One can question whether or not discourses on family planning, reproductive politics and gender roles have advanced since the film’s release; what is certain is that Joyce at 34 remains potent and relevant as a document of the conflict endured by working mothers.

The film’s 

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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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Dance on Film

George Balanchine's Serenade. Photo © Paul KolnikFor nearly 30 years I have had a constant and devoted relationship with the New York City Ballet. With the exception of a single dalliance with American Ballet Theatre in my early 20s (free tickets) and an occasional fling with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, I have remained steadfast and true to this singular dance company.

I began attending performances at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center as a child and then continued at the New York State Theater once I had 

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Food for Thought

Food, Inc. is the latest and one of the most successful films to investigate the politics of produce- exactly who is controlling what we consume and the consequences of unethical industries- but it is certainly not the first.

Filmic instruction and guidance on what and how to grow farm products, from cows to crops, dates back practically to the beginning of film itself. However, it wasn’t until post-WWII consumerism and the advent of artificial foods (Tang, anyone?) and the subsequent social upheaval that films began to 

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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 

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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 

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