Thursday, April 10, 2014

Season of the Witch - The Art, Music and Recreation Center reading list

David Talbot's Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love (Free Press, 2012) is the story of a turbulent but formative period in recent San Francisco history from 1967 to 1982.  This book has stayed on San Francisco Chronicle's local best-sellers list.  Another indication of this book's popularity is that presently 195 San Francisco Public Library patrons are borrowing one of our copies of the book.

Talbot goes far beyond the social turmoil of the time to devote many pages to the City's performing arts and sports.  Each chapter of his book includes a reading list.  Naturally, the music of the Summer of Love is prominently discussed.  The story of the seminal, gender-bending performance group The Cockettes also gets told.  Finally, as a story of redemption, Talbot narrates the San Francisco 49ers path from perennial failure to the Super Bowl.

Here is a listing of the titles that Talbot cites in his book, all available to borrow from the Library.

780.2 J745d2 1991 - Piece of My Heart: A Portrait of Janis Joplin by David Dalton (Da Capo Press, 1991).

780.2 J745e 2000 - Scars of Sweet Paradise: The Life and Times of Janis Joplin by Alice Echols (Henry Holt and Co., 2000).

780.2 J745f 1992 - Buried Alive: The Biography of Janis Joplin by Myra Friedman (Harmony Books, 1992).

780.2 J745j 2005 - Love, Janis by Laura Joplin (Harper, 2005).

784.5 ZG76b - Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out by Bill Graham and Robert Greenfield (Doubleday, 1992).

784.5 ZG76g - Rage & Roll: Bill Graham and the Selling of Rock by John Glatt (Carol Pub. Group, 1993).

780.2 ZG771m - A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead by Dennis McNally (Broadway Books, 2002).

780.2 ZJ356t - Got a Revolution!: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane by Jeff Tamarkin (Atria Books, 2003).

784.5 ZSe48s - Summer of Love: The Inside Story of LSD, Rock & Roll, Free Love, and High Times in the Wild West by Joel Selvin (Dutton, 1994).

791.0922 T26m - Midnight at the Palace: My Life as a Fabulous Cockette by Pam Tent (Alyson Books, 2004).

796.33 M762a - Audibles: My Life in Football by Joe Montana and Bob Raissman (W. Morrow, 1986).

796.3326 B2336w - We Were Champions: The 49ers' Dynasty in their own Words; text by Phil Barber; photography by Michael Zagaris (Triumph Books, 2002).

796.3326 D559g - Glenn Dickey's 49ers: The Rise, fall, and Rebirth of the NFL's Greatest Dynasty by Glenn Dickey (Prima Pub., 2000).

796.3326 M9924c - The Catch: One Play, Two Dynasties, and the Game that Changed the NFL by Gary Myers (Crown Publishers, 2009).

Friday, April 4, 2014

"Art of the Walk" on Pinterest

In conjunction with “Art of the Walk: An Instagram Tour of Art by Women in San Francisco” the Art and Music Center created a Pinterest board showing the 31 photos of public art that were posted in March. Each one of these art works is displayed (in reverse order- the first photos that were posted are at the bottom of the page.) Viewed on a desktop computer these photos show up on the left side of the monitor, while a map displays in the remaining area on the right. Clicking on one of the markers on the map will locate the work on the left side by highlighting it in red. If you click on the right side, on one of the photos, you’ll bring up a larger photo with text and a small map underneath.

Here is the link for the Pinterest page:
Art of the Walk

If you're interested in discovering these art sites yourself, there’s a high concentration of "Art of the Walk" art work near the Market St. corridor. One possible itinerary could start in the Civic Center, at 8th St., 100 yards south of Market. You’ll see the mural created by Lady Mags and Amanda Lynn. Cross Market at Hyde and Grove Streets to enter the Main Library where you’ll find a work by Ann Chamberlain and Ann Hamilton covering the southeast walls of floors 3-5. Here are 50,000 library catalog cards annotated by volunteers. In City Hall there are 2 works by women available to view.  A bust of Angelo Rossi by Ruth Wakefield Cravath sits in an alcove, near the west entrance. Near the south side is one of the heart sculptures benefiting General Hospital. This heart, created by Deborah Oropallo, is entitled “LOVE + MARRIAGE,” and celebrates marriage equality by listing first names of many of the gay couples who wed in 2004.

"LOVE + MARRIAGE" by Deborah Oropallo

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Merola Goes To The Movies: The Magic Flute

Image source: The Criterion Collection website

Come join us this Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 1:00 PM for our next Merola Goes to the Movies widescreen video, a screening Trollflöjten - Ingmar Bergman's film adaptation of Mozart's The Magic Flute.

Bergman's film was created for Swedish television who first broadcast it on New Year's Day in 1975.  It received its theatrical release on January 2, 1975. The Magic Flute held great meaning for the director.  In a May 5, 1962 interview for Opera News May 5, 1962, he remarked:
To me the most alluring and difficult opera ever written is Mozart's Magic Flute.  Nothing interests me more than this work; it offers a director more hurdles than any other opera.
In setting this work, Bergman tried to recreate the atmosphere of Mozart's time.  He chose Stockholm's 18th century Drottningholm Court Theater as a model, which he reconstructed in the Swedish Film Institute's studios.

In a memoir Bergman wrote:
In my imagination I have always seen The Magic Flute living inside that old theater, in that keenly acoustical wooden box, with its slanted stage floor, its backdrops and wings.  Here lies the noble, magical illusion of theater.  Nothing is; everything represents.  The moment the curtain is raised, an agreement between stage and audience manifests itself.  And now. together, we'll create!
He also recalled the cinematic effect he was aiming to create:
My main goal was to portray as intimately as possible the characters in the fairy tale.  The magic and the scenic details happening as if only in passing: Suddenly they're in a palace courtyard; suddenly it is snowing; suddenly there is a prison wall; suddenly it's spring.
In Magill's Survey of Cinema, Rick Shale wrote that:
The result is a romantic and comic masterpiece full of naïve charm and theatrical nostalgia, a film entertaining to both Mozart purists and filmgoers unfamiliar with opera. At the time of its release in 1975, critics generally regarded it as the most successful adaptation of opera yet filmed.
Vincent Canby, in his ecstatic New York Times review of November 16, 1975, wrote:
Bergman's love for "The Magic Flute" is both protective and illuminating. ... [H]e persuades us to appreciate the opera the way he does.  Not only do we see it, but we hear it, and we come out of the theater feeling years younger for it.
As you can see you will be in for a musical and a visual treat.  Join the us and the Merola Opera Program this Saturday a screening of Ingmar Bergman's The Magic Flute at 1:00 PM in the Koret Auditorium.  The film lasts 135 minutes and will be preceded by a short talk.  All programs at the Library are free and open to the public.

Reading list:

Images: My Life in Film by Ingmar Bergman (Arcade Pub., 1994).

Magill's Survey of Cinema, Foreign Language Films (Salem Press, 1985).

The New York Times Film Reviews (New York Times, 1975-6).

Ingmar Bergman: Film and Stage by Robert Emmet Long (H.N. Abrams, 1994).

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013

We are please to present Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013 in the Art, Music and Recreation Center of the Main Library.  This display is curated by Trina Robbins, a comics artist and historian, and consists of original art work and other ephemera relating to her book by the same title.

The display includes work by early comic artists such as Grace Drayton, who created Dolly Dingle and other roly-poly tots, Nell Brinkley, famous for the Brinkley Girls, Edwina Dumm, who wrote the comic strip Cap Stubbs and Tippie which ran for over 6 decades, and Dale Messick, creator of dashing journalist Brenda Starr. There is also a display case devoted to the “fighting women of World War II” which presents the work of Tape Mills, Lily Renee, Fran Hopper and Marcia Snyder, who drew comics about competent action heroines who were not looking to be rescued but did the rescuing themselves!

Here is a reading list of Trina Robbin's writings on comics art.

Image for Pretty in Ink : Women Cartoonists 1896-2013

 Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013, by Trina Robbins (Fantagraphics, 2013).

Image for Pretty in Ink : Women Cartoonists 1896-2013

The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley's Cartoons from 1913-1940, edited by Trina Robbins (Fantagraphics Books, 2009).

Image for Pretty in Ink : Women Cartoonists 1896-2013

 The Great Women Cartoonists by Trina Robbins (Watson-Guptill, 2001).

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Art in Action: Celebrating Women Artists of San Francisco Past and Present

Event detail
In celebration of Women’s History month, the Art and Music Center has a panoply of events, exhibits and social media happening in March. To celebrate the contribution of women artists, both past and present, we will host a different local street artist creating her art every Friday in March from 1-3 pm. All of the artists participate in the San Francisco Art Commission Street Artist Licensing Program.

This Friday, March 7, Kathy Hallinan will present her leathercraft.  On March 14, Mara Murray present her hand-made fabric crafts. Jenifer Martinez and her partner Stan Chiao will present their t-shirt art. On March 28, Simone Guimaraes will present her multimedia work which uses upcycled material.

Each of these presentations will be held in the Steve Silver Beach Blanket Babylon Center on the 4th floor of the Main Library.

The Steve Silver Room will also display an exhibit of photographs from the San Francisco History Room's Historical Photograph Collection featuring women artists working at the 1940 Golden Gate international Exposition.

Also, the Art and Music Center will be posting Art of the Walk: An Instagram Tour of Art by Women in San Francisco, featuring a different artist and work every day in March. To open an Instagram account you must download an App to your smart phone or tablet. You must create a user account and then follow sfpubliclibrary. Once you followed these steps, in addition to accessing your account through a mobile device you can also view your feed on a laptop or desk top computer. See you on Instagram.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Streaming video from Alexander Street Press

The recent (January 9, 2014) blog post on the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music ebook highlighted just one of the many exciting content enhancements to our electronic database subscription of Alexander Street Press.

Also new and noteworthy to Alexander is the inclusion of video content. This film content is located from the homepage → Elibrary → Videos

When you have opened this link you will find the three titles Classical Music in Video, Dance in Video and Opera in Video at the bottom of the page.

The content of these databases can also be found in our library catalog.  By limiting by "material type" you can specify that you only wish to view eVideo content.

When you view the results of a search, you can identify this content by its "eVideo" icon.
Each of the three databases contains approximately 500 hours of video each totaling 1500 hours combined.  While the scope is limited when compared to the infinite offerings of user-generated sites like Youtube, the Music Online database does have strong advantages:

The digital video content has been handled in a consistent manner by Alexander Street, offering a uniformity in quality. The streaming video, which typically looks great on small devices and good on larger computer and television devices, has been compressed for fast delivery without compromising the excellent sound quality. The content itself has been carefully curated to offer the best of the best.

These databases are excellent musical discovery and learning tools for individuals, interest groups and classroom teachers. They include not only performances but also interviews with practitioners and technical instruction (Dance in Video).  For instance, here is a link to instructional videos:

By establishing your own login and account, you can create playlists and embed links to all manner of specific musical content, including for example, an exact 28 second excerpt of a performance.

The San Francisco Symphony will be performing Mahler’s Third Symphony in this weekend. Using the Classical Music in Video database, one could watch the entire performance or could quickly share a prepared clip of the fifth movement by linking to

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Who Owns (or Owned) This Painting?

Finding the ownership of a famous artwork, while a common query, is not always easily accomplished.  Some works are owned by public institutions, others by private entities and individuals.  Even when a work is publicly owned, there is not always indexing or documentation for its whereabouts.

An individual’s reasons for wanting to know, who owns a given artwork can vary from simply wanting to visit and view the artwork in-person to wanting to establish the copyright for the purpose of reproducing the work. In both of these instances the individual is interested in who or what institution owns the artwork now.

A much more complicated form of ownership research goes into the work of provenance.  This aims to not only document who owns the work now, but who are all the past owners of a particular artwork, ideally tracing a direct line from the artist’s hands to each consecutive owner, therefore proving that the work is an original. In the case of the most renowned artists, this task is often accomplished detailed in a catalogue raisonné.

Tracing such ownership can be a complicated process as artworks transfer between private hands and public institutions, but the following library resources, websites and research strategies may serve as a guide:

Strategy 1-- Locate the work in the permanent collection of a museum or gallery using resources such as the free website or the library’s online subscription database CAMIO, Catalog of Art Museum Images Online. You will need your library card and PIN to sign in.

Strategy 2 -- Consult reputable research institutions known for their provenance resources such as The Frick Collection and The Getty Research Institute.

Strategy 3 -- The Benezit Dictionary of Artists also includes information about holdings in museum collections and historical auction results.

Strategy 4 -- Consult our library’s collection of cumulative auction listings such as Davenport's Art Reference and Price Guide and Art Sales Index, to find possible sale date and auction house.  Buyers will not be listed but might be obtained by contacting the auction house. Also visiting the individual auction houses such as Christie's, Sotheby's, and Bonhams online, one can usually access at least a decade’s worth of auction results. Many list a painting’s full provenance up until the date of the sale.

Strategy 5 -- Find an image of the artwork in a printed book. Usually the book's text or description of the image plate will include the artwork’s copyright holder at the time of the printing. To find such printed works consult Havlice’s World Painting Index or a catalogue raisonne of the artist.

Finally, internet searches and use of the library’s online subscription databases (such as JSTOR and Wilson Art Full Text) should also be consulted.

Earlier blog entry:

Benezit in English? C'est Vrai! - July 3, 2007.

A reproduction of "Banks of a River" by Jacob Ruysdael, in A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters by John Smith.  Owned by National Galleries Scotland.