Thursday, December 20, 2007 bookmarks

The Art, Music & Recreation Center has two pages of bookmarks located under "Helpful links" on our blog's sidebar. is a web service that allows its users to create a list of public bookmarks that can be described by subject keywords.

AMRLibrarian ( is a listing of online reference resources that we have found useful. They are organized into the categories of Architecture, Art, Dance, Film, Music, Photography, Sports & Recreation, and Theater. There are also a number of "unbundled tags" - tags that are not specific to any of the above subject areas and may overlap with several of them. Some examples of unbundled tags include index, database, finding aid, or digital archive.

AMRLocalLinks ( is a listing of San Francisco websites relating to the subjects of art, the performing arts, and recreation. This page's bookmarks are organized by the Architecture, Art & Design, Crafts, Dance, Film & Video, Music, Performing Arts, Sports & Recreation, and Television & Radio. The unbundled tags here divide into categories like associations, cultural organizations, education, employment, grants, and youth.

We are sharing these links in the hope that they may help our readers find useful information on the internet. We will continue to updated them.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Jazz and American Pop Vocal and Dance Music from 1925-1935

Before our era of ubiquitous digital sound, there were analog recordings. During the early days of analog sound, before there was electric sound there was acoustic sound. The earliest recorded sound was created and reproduced without any electricity.

Richard Wahlberg will play 78 rpm discs from his personal archive on an historic, open-horn victrola from 1906. This instrument must be wound-up. Its sound is only amplified by the phonograph's large horn which produces an amazing volume, depth, and clarity of sound.

Mr. Wahlberg and the Art, Music and Recreation Center invite you to listen to early recordings of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, of singer Dick Powell, pianists Jelly Roll Morton and Earl Hines and bandleaders Eddy Duchin and Ted Weems, among others.

This program will be held at the Main Library's Latino/Hispanic meeting room at 6:00 PM on Thursday, December 20, 2007. The Main Library is located in San Francisco's Civic Center at the corner of Grove and Larkin. All library programs are free and open to the public.

Readers interested in learning more about the history of recorded sound can check out the following titles from the library: The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction by Jonathan Sterne, A Century of Recorded Music: Listening to Musical History by Timothy Day, From Edison to Marconi: The First Thirty Years of Recorded Music by David J. Steffen, and From Tin Foil to Stereo: Evolution of the Phonograph by Oliver Read and Walter L. Welch.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

May Your Holidays Be Filled With Music

Imagine the winter holidays... Whether you picture boisterous children spinning the dreidel, families lighting the menorah or kwanzaa candles, or carolers walking door-to-door sharing songs of goodwill, the San Francisco Public Library has materials to make your holiday soundtrack possible.

Every holiday season the librarians at the AMR reference desk pulls a selection of holiday songbooks for you to peruse. For example, The International Book of Christmas Carols offers English, German, Dutch, Scandinavian, Slavic, Italian, Spanish and Latin carols. Home For The Holidays and The Reader's Digest Merry Christmas Songbook provide holiday favorites arranged for piano, voice and guitar. A Romantic Christmas: 30 Heart-Warming Favorites has more pop-oriented winter favorites such as "Baby, It’s Cold Outside" and "I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm." "My Dreidel," and "Chanukkah Oy Chanukkah (Come Light the Menorah)" can be found in 15 Traditional Chanukkah Favorites.

For instrumentalists, we have just received Christmas Favorites Playalongs with CD accompaniments. We have versions for flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, and violin. The Christmas Guitar Collection includes 20 songs arranged for solo fingerstyle guitar.

If you are looking for recorded holiday music, please search the catalog by song or album title, or browse subject headings like "Holidays -- Songs and Music," "Christmas Music," "Hanukkah -- Songs and music," or "Kwanzaa - Songs and Music" to review the library's musical offerings.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Making of a Masterpiece: Picasso and Guernica

The Art, Music and Recreation Center will present an exhibit “The Making of a Masterpiece: Picasso” on the 4th floor of the Main Library from November 3, 2007 through January 3, 2008. This exhibit marks the 70th anniversary of one of the most powerful anti-war statements of the 20th century. We will feature the library's recent acquisition of a special limited-edition Picasso publication which offers exact facsimiles of each of the drawings rendered by Picasso in preparation of his 1937 masterpiece "Guernica." Each drawing has been reproduced precisely in the same size and on the same kind of paper as the original. Insights into the artist's creative processes will be included, along with historical accounts of the Spanish Civil War which set the works in perspective.

Famed war correspondent George Lowther Steer wrote the following about the aftermath of the bombing by of the town by the German Luftwaffe on April 26, 1937:

“In the form of its execution and the scale of the destruction it wrought, no less than in the selection of its objective, the raid on Guernica is unparalleled in military history. Guernica was not a military objective. A factory producing war material lay outside the town and was untouched. So were two barracks some distance from the town. The town lay far behind the lines. The object of the bombardment was seemingly the demoralization of the civil population and the destruction of the cradle of the Basque race. Every fact bears out this appreciation. . .” (The London Times, 27 April 1937, p. 14.)

Art scholar Christian Zervos wrote of Picasso’s depiction of this atrocity:

In Guernica, expressed in the most striking manner, is a world of despair, where death is everywhere; everywhere is crime, chaos, and desolation; disaster more violent than lightning, flood, and hurricane, for everything there is hostile, uncontrollable, beyond understanding, whence rise the heart-rending cries of beings dying because of men’s cruelty. From Picasso’s paintbrush explode phantoms of distress, anguish, terror, insurmountable pain, massacres, and finally peace found in death. (Cahiers d’Art 12, 1937)

The library offers the follow titles for those wishing to further research Picasso’s Guernica.

Arnheim, Rudolf. The Genesis of a Painting: Picasso's Guernica. (1962/1980).

Blunt, Anthony. Picasso's 'Guernica'. (1969).

Chipp, Herschel Browning. Picasso's Guernica: History, Transformations, Meanings. (1988).

Fisch, Eberhard. Guernica by Picasso: A Study of the Picture and its Contexts. (1988).

Larrea, Juan. Guernica, Pablo Picasso. Introd. by Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Translated by Alexander H. Krappe. Edited by Walter Pach. (1969).

Martin, Russell. Picasso's War: The Destruction of Guernica and the Masterpiece that Changed the World. (2003).

Oppler, Ellen C. Picasso's Guernica: Illustrations, Introductory Essay, Documents, Poetry, Criticism, Analysis. (1988).

Puente, Joaquín de la. Guernica: The Making of a Painting. (1983).

Van Hensbergen, Gijs. Guernica: The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon. (2004).

Update: The exhibit will be taken down on January 11, 2008. There is a very simple video documentation of this exhibit consisting of five short videos uploaded to Google video.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Rock Historian Richie Unterberger

On Wednesday October 17th local rock music writer Richie Unterberger will present a follow-up to his very successful 40th Anniversary of Summer of Love program at SFPL's Park Branch. Call it a celebration of "The Indian Summer of Love" or of "The Fall of the Summer of Love,” the program will consist of more rare and classic 1967-era film clips of psychedelic rock, from San Francisco and elsewhere.

No clips will be repeated from the prior program! Footage includes: Big Brother & the Holding Company, with Janis Joplin; Donovan; the Rolling Stones; the Beatles; the Mothers of Invention; the Nice; the Spencer Davis Group; Ravi Shankar; the Youngbloods; the Moody Blues; and several others.

Park Branch
San Francisco Public Library
1833 Page Street.
Wednesday, October 17th 7-9 p.m.
Admission is free

The library has recently acquired Unterberger’s latest book - The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film. This exciting, thoroughly-researched tome aims to document thousands of hours of unreleased recorded material ranging form studio outtakes, live concerts, home tapes, television broadcasts, rehearsals and demos.

To Beatles fanatics the purpose of this book is obvious. The casual Beatles-fan might however ask, why examine unreleased works when there are so many wonderful commercial recordings available? To have a full appreciation of the band’s evolution and creative process the unreleased works are invaluable. Interested in how the Beatles sounded with Pete Best as drummer, or with Stuart Sutcliffe as bassist? Interested in their songwriting methods? Interested in how much they improved in the year between their Decca audition and the release of their first LP, or in how much they argued during the "Get Back" sessions? The unreleased works and Unterberger’s commentary on them will illuminate.

For readers thirsting for more after reading The Unreleased Beatles the library's collection has 80 titles on the band.

The library also has several other Richie Unterberger titles:

Eight Miles High: Folk-Rock's Flight From Haight-Ashbury to Woodstock (2003).

Music USA: The Rough Guide (1999).

Turn! Turn! Turn!: The '60s Folk-Rock Revolution (2002).

Unknown Legends of Rock'n'roll: Psychedelic Unknowns, Mad Geniuses, Punk Pioneers, Lo-fi Mavericks and More (1998).

Urban Spacemen And Wayfaring Strangers: Overlooked Innovators and Eccentric Visionaries Of '60s Rock (2000).

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Nick Drake

The life and music of Nick Drake is under review in San Francisco this week. Between Remembering Nick Drake, the October 2, 2007, City Arts & Lectures presentation co-sponsored by Noise Pop, and A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake (2000), a documentary showing at the SF Doc Fest on October 3, 9, and 10, locals have had a rare opportunity to learn about this private, enigmatic artist from those who knew him best.

The City Arts and Lecture series included a discussion with local songstress Jolie Holland, Nick Drake’s sister, Gabrielle Drake, and his friend and music producer Joe Boyd (producer of Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left (1969) and Bryter Layter (1970) ). The lecture will be rebroadcast on KQED on November 25, 2007.

The Art, Music and Recreation Department also has two full-length biographies of the singer / songwriter: Darker Than The Deepest Sea: The Search For Nick Drake by Trevor Dann (2006) and Nick Drake by Patrick Humphries (1998). The A to X of Alternative Music by Steve Taylor, White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s by Joe Boyd, The Tombstone Tourist: Musicians by Scott Stanton, and Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' roll: Psychedelic Unknowns, Mad Geniuses, Punk Pioneers, Lo-fi Mavericks & More by Richie Unterberger all include sections on Nick Drake.

The Library's Audiovisual Center has several CDs of Drake's music including Bryter Layter, Five Leaves Left and, Pink Moon. Way to Blue: An Introduction to Nick Drake is a good starting off point that presents representative works off of all of Drake's albums and includes an biographical essay by Joe Boyd.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Philip Glass

(image from the San Francisco Opera)

On October 5, 2007 the San Francisco Opera will present the premiere of Appomattox by Philip Glass. At the library we always try to order scores, librettos, recordings and videorecordings for each opera season. Since none of these are available for a newly composed work, allow us to introduce some books, scores and recordings by and about Philip Glass from our collection.

The library has two books written by the composer: Music by Philip Glass, and Opera On The Beach, Philip Glass On His New World Of Music Theatre. We also own the collection Writings On Glass: Essays, Interviews, Criticism, edited by Richard Kostelanetz. Books like American Minimal Music: La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass by Wim Mertens and Four Musical Minimalists: La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass by Keith Potter place Glass within a wider context of contemporary American music.

In our LP collection (12” long playing records) we have recordings of Glass’s earlier operas Einstein on the Beach and Satyagraha. We have circulating librettos for Satyagraha and Akhnaten.

The library’s score collection includes the following compositions by Philip Glass:

Songs From Liquid Days (songs written to lyrics by Paul Simon, David Byrne, Suzanne Vega and Laurie Anderson)

Solo Piano (consisting of three works: Metamorphosis, Mad rush, and Wichita vortex sutra)

The Piano Collection (a collection of more than 20 short works for piano)

Violin Concerto (a score for violin and piano reduction)

Dance No. 4: For Organ

Melodies For Saxophone

Music in Similar Motion (originally written for three woodwinds and three organs)

Saxophone Quartet

Strung Out: For Amplified Violin

The library’s Audiovisual Center has many CDs of Glass's music. He also wrote the music for several films in our DVD and video collection including The Fog of War, The Hours, Koyaanisqatsi, Secret Window, and The Thin Blue Line.

(Philip Glass signature from "Strung Out" (1967))

Monday, October 1, 2007

Index of American Design

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt instigated programs like the Civil Works Administration (CWA) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in order create jobs for the millions of unemployed. As part of the WPA, the Federal Art Project put America’s visual artists to work. Some local examples of work created by artists of the Federal Art Project include the murals at Coit Tower and works of sculpture by Beniamino Bufano.

While there were many opportunities for “fine artists” no projects were initially devised for America’s commercial artists. Realizing that there was yet no thorough visual survey of American design Romana Javitz, head of the New York Public Library’s Picture Collection and Ruth Reeves, a textile designer and painter conceived the plan for the Index of American Design. It was begun in December 1935 ultimately employed over 300 commercial artists who created primarily watercolor reproductions of traditional American craft. This included every form of craft made from the colonial period through the end of the nineteenth century from works found in museum collections.

The artists employed for this project were taught techniques by a curator from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts who insisted upon strict objectivity, accurate drawing, clarity of construction, exact proportions of objects and faithful rendering of material, color and texture. The exception to watercolor was the use of oil technique for tobacconist’s signs and Pennsylvania German folk art. Objects include ship figureheads, tavern signs, ceramics, coverlets, quilts, glass, tinware, weathervanes, retablos, costume, circus wagons, Shaker furniture, caballero suits, fire helmets, cornhusk dolls, kitchen equipment, etc...

The question begged, “Why not just photograph these objects?” Apart from the intent to employ commercial artists, another reason for not using photography was that the camera, except in the hands of its greatest masters, could not reveal the essential character and quality of objects as well as an artist. At that time color photography was an expensive process and perishable while watercolor remains one of the most durable of artistic mediums.Photography presented problems in distortion and lighting. As Holger Cahill wrote in the book's introduction: "The camera cannot search out the forms of objects deeply undercut or modeled in high relief, match color as closely as the artist, or render the subtle interplay of form, color and texture which creates the characteristic beauty of so many products of early American craftsmen."

The Index of American Design and subsequent expanded edition The Treasury of American Design remain the most thorough visual record of the rich, vast body of traditional American crafts. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC has a webpage for the Index of American Design which includes an online tour.

Dress, rendered by Julie C. Brush, watercolor, graphite, and pen and ink on paperboard, 53 x 36.9 cm (20 13/16 x 14 1/2 in.) from the Index of American Design

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Phil Frank, 1943-2007

On September 13, 2007 San Francisco lost a treasure, and the library lost a true friend. Phil Frank had long supported the San Francisco Public Library including the library and its employees in his comic strip and creating illustrations for library events and commemorations.

Here are a pair of images that Frank created for the Library’s 125th anniversary and for a Library amnesty for overdue material.

Our website has also reprinted the daily cartoon strips that he published in the San Francisco Chronicle celebrating the Library’s 125 anniversary.

The library has a number of works that Phil Frank wrote or illustrated. These include his beloved Farley strips:

Going Local with Farley. (Ten Speed Press, 1991).

I'm Ink Therefore I Am: Farley's San Francisco Chronicles. (Pomegranate Press, 1997) - this collections includes Farley's "other woman," Marian the librarian from his neighborhood San Francisco Public Library branch.

Don't Parade on My Reign: The "Farley" Comic Strip Appearances of "His Williness," San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. (P. Frank, 2003).

Our department also has a file about Phil Frank in our Artists File.

Phil Frank's name was also placed at the upper-most right corner of Nayland Blake's sculpture "Constellation" that runs the length of the Main Library's staircase. It can be viewed from the library's 5th floor

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Get Your Knit Together! Second Session

The summer session of Get Your Knit Together! is ending this month on Saturday, September 15. The Art, Music and Recreation Center will present another session on the third Saturday of each month beginning November 17, 2007 through May 17, 2008.

Get Your Knit Together! is a free 2 hour program that has been meeting once a month since July and has provided basic knitting instruction and supplies to use during class. In addition to new students, this program has also been attended by knitters wanting a place to work on their own projects and share ideas. Many people have brought their own knitting needles so that they could work on their samples between classes.

There will be no class in October. Beginning November 17, the class will move to Latino/Hispanic Room A on the lower level of the Main Library to accommodate more people who want to explore the joys of knitting. Every participant receives a handout which lists knitting websites, library books on knitting and local knitting stores.

Sign up for the next session at the Art & Music Reference desk on the 4th floor. For more information, please check under “Classes” on the Library’s home page.

Check out some of the new library books on knitting:

Wendy Knits: My Never-Ending Adventures in Yarn by Wendy D. Johnson (746.432 J6394w) – A perfect book for every knitter, offering tips for avoiding errors, thoughts for knitting gifts for others, and so much more.

Knitting for Peace by Betty Christiansen (746.432 C4629k) – Read about knitters who knit for the needy worldwide. Includes 15 patterns for socks, hats, afghans and more.

Speed Knitting: 24 Quick and Easy Projects by Kris Percival (746.432 P4123s) – Speed knit your way through any of these projects in a few hours or a weekend.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Visual Dictionary

Merriam-Webster's Visual Dictionary is a noteworthy new reference book at the Art, Music and Recreation Center desk. It is a wide-ranging work that displays and demonstrates the components of all kinds of objects, familiar and unfamiliar.

In the area of costume and clothing this dictionary labels and defines the parts of a shoe, differentiates between various kinds of men’s coats and jackets, and even enumerates the varieties of pockets that may appear on a women’s blouses.

Another section illustrates the architectural styles of the ancient Greeks, enumerates the components of the interior and façade of a cathedral, and gives examples of various kinds of roofs.

Other images include diagrams of a SLR (single-lens reflex) camera, a reflex camera, and a digital reflex camera.

This books also includes several pages illustrating musical instruments from around the world.

Almost 150 pages of this 952 page book are devoted to sports and games. It names all of the components of the uniforms for various sorts of sports and recreational activities, illustrates a number of different kinds of playing fields, and even explains the roulette table.

While this is an excellent all-in-one source, patrons with more in-depth visual information should consult more specialized picture dictionaries like the following:

A Visual Dictionary of Architecture by Francis D. K. Ching

Handtools of Arts and Crafts: The Encyclopedia of the Fine, Decorative, and Applied Arts by The Diagram Group

Musical Instruments of the World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia by The Diagram Group

Rules Of The Game: The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia Of All Sports Of The World by The Diagram Group

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Luciano Pavarotti, 1935-2007

from San Francisco Opera Programs, November 1967

The opera world lost a legendary performer today. Though Luciano Pavarotti was beloved by opera-lovers everywhere, he had a special relationship with San Francisco. He made his San Francisco Opera debut on November 11, 1967 in the role of Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème and appeared regularly throughout the 1970s.

Martin Mayer, in Grandissimo Pavarotti has written:

“The most significant debut for Pavarotti in the rest of the 1960s was in San Francisco, a Bohème with Freni in 1967. Starting in 1972, it would be in San Francisco that Pavarotti would first perform new roles, and a long succession of them, too: Un Ballo in Maschera, La Favorita, Luisa Miller, Il Trovatore, Turandot (“the first and the only time,” Pavarotti notes dreamily), La Giaconda, and Aïda.”

In the same book, Pavarotti told of his love of San Francisco and the San Francisco Opera.

“Adler [Kurt Adler, the San Francisco Opera's musical director] offered me good conductors, good casts, good productions. The city is beautiful, the opera is first-class, first-class.”

The library’s Audio-Visual Center and many library branches have DVDs, VHS tapes, CDs featuring Pavarotti. In the Art, Music and Recreation Center, we also have long playing records.

The library has a number of biographies of Luciano Pavarotti including two books by the artist himself: Pavarotti: My World (from 1981) and Pavarotti: My Own Story (from 1995).

In our score collection we also have The Pavarotti Collection: Fourteen of the Most Famous Arias and Songs and Popular Italian Songs as performed by Luciano Pavarotti.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Art, Music and Recreation Center Poster Collection

The Art, Music and Recreation Center has long encouraged local arts organizations to send us copies of their brochures, fliers, and posters which we display and make available to the public. Once the advertised events are finished, we add these materials to our vertical files. We also have built up a collection of local posters. Because we have not yet been able to catalog these items, we have set up a display case where we rotate a selection of these posters for the public to view.

This month we are featuring theatre posters. Anyone needing visual resources on the Bay Area performing and visual arts can make an appointment at our reference desk to arrange to see more of the collection.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Frank Koci: San Francisco Beat Era Painter

Image from a 1976 gallery announcement in the Artists File

Join us in celebrating the dynamic life and art of San Francisco painter, Frank Koci (1904-1983) on Saturday, August 25, 2007 from 2-4 p.m. in the Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room located in the Lower Level of the San Francisco Public Library’s Main Library. This event will be an opportunity for immersion into Koci’s art and thought. The program consists of a slide presentation of his art, a short documentary film including interview with the artist, and readings from his personal journal.

Koci, an active painter in San Francisco from the 1950s until his death in 1983, is known for his painterly-synthesis of Expressionist influences from artists such as Beckmann, Nolde, Kirchner, Soutine and Grosz. He was a close observer of the North Beach Beat scene and his paintings were sold by Henri Lenoir from within his now-famous bar Vesuvio. Thomas Albright, in Art in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945-1980, has written that Koci’s “strongest work represented a remarkable union of naïveté and canny sophistication.”

The details of his life are as fascinating as his artwork. Koci worked as a cowboy, farmhand, silent film extra, theater actor, and merchant seaman, in addition to being and outsider artist and self-taught painter. In his obituary from the April 8, 1983 edition of the San Francisco Examiner (found in the Library’s Artists File) he was described as “a kind of peoples’ artist, a very unusual man.”

All programs at the Library are free and open to the public. For further information contact

This program is supported by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

San Francisco Opera Season Preview

Every year the Library presents a series of lectures and film screenings for the upcoming San Francisco Opera Season. This month we will present abridged performances of four operas preceded by commentary provided by members of the San Francisco Opera Guild. Each screening will be approximately 60 minutes in length and will be shown in the Koret Auditorium on the Lower Level of the Library at 12 noon.

August 2 – Tannhäuser by Richard Wagner. A 2004 Oper Zurich production conducted by Franz Welser-Most starring Peter Seiffer (who will sing this role with the SF Opera) as Tannhäuser, Solveig Kringelborn as Elizabeth and Roman Trekel as Wolfram von Eschenbach.

August 9 – La Rondine by Giacamo Puccini. This 1958 production at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples stars Rosanna Carteri, Ornella Rovero, Giuseppe Gismondo and Giuseppe Vladengo.

August 16 – Macbeth by Giuseppe Verdi. Carlos Alvarez as Macbeth, Roberto Scandiuzzi as Banquo, and Mario Guleghina as Lady Macbeth. Bruno Campanella conducts the Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu in this 2004 recording.

August 23 – Ariodante by Georg Frideric Handel. This 1996 co-production of the English and Welsh National Operas stars Ann Murray, Joan Rodgers, Gwynne Howell and Christopher Robinson.

Note – there is no program on August 30.

These programs are co-sponsored by the Art, Music and Recreation Center and Audiovisual Center of the San Francisco Public Library and are supported by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. All programs at the Library at free.

Wolfram's "Song to the Evening Star" from Tannhäuser
from Das Buch der Motive aus Opern und Musikdramen Richard Wagner's

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Fake Book Collection and Index

The San Francisco Public Library has a large collection of fake books. Because of this we have created an online index to some of our holdings.

Fake books are collections of songs or instrumental works that include only the melody, chord changes, and song lyrics. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz defines a fake book as “[A]n informal collection of scores used by performing musicians and as a tool for learning. A fake book presents (either in loose-leaf or bound form) the music to standards and popular tunes, and the contents may range in number from a few dozen pieces to well over a thousand.” (The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz is available to San Francisco Public Library card holders as part of Grove Music Online from our Articles and Databases page).

Fakebooks have had a complex history (detailed in the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz). Originally many were written out by musicians from recorded performances as a teaching tool. Because these performances were protected by copyright, these transcriptions were frequently illegal and therefore only circulated informally. In more recent years music publishers have created “legitimate” fake books that have full copyright clearance (but lack some of the romance).

Many musicians prefer fake book arrangements because they are usually briefer than piano vocal scores and thus easier to keep track of. Fake books can also help users who only need to know the lyrics to a song. Most fake books contain jazz, pop, or rock music, but there are also specialized fake books for blues music, classical music, and folk music. There are also fake books for bass clef instruments as well as for Eb instruments (like the alto saxophone) or Bb instruments (like the trumpet and tenor saxophone).

Our Fake Book Index contains nearly 20,000 entries and continues to grow. You can search by song title or the last name of the composer or songwriter. It can be helpful to truncate your search to see a greater selection of songs. Once your result page appears, you can also follow the link to the fakebook’s title to view the full contents of that fakebook.

Where's That Tune?: An Index to Songs in Fakebooks by William D. Goodfellow, Musikey (a music in-print resource kept at our reference desk) and an online Fakebook Index by Seven String Software are other tools for locating music in fakebooks. We also have a binder of table of contents pages for many of our not-yet-indexed fakebooks located above our Song Index card file.

Page update: We now have an AMRLibrarian bookmark page with a listing of other fakebook indexes on the web.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Multi-Cultural Music Instruction Books

The Bay Area is a musical melting pot with a wide range of musicians and styles. At the Library we try to reflect this musical diversity in the instructional material we buy for our musical score collection. Here are some titles for the globe-trotting musician:

Balalaika playing technique: scales and exercises,method for all levels compiled by I. Inshakov, A. Gorbachev. The balalaika is a Russian three stringed lute.

An introduction to the gu-zheng by Angela Jui Lee and Mark Gresham. The zheng is a 16 to 21 string zither from China.

Introduction to sitar by Harihar Rao. Learning the tabla by David Courtney. The sitar and tabla are both instruments of Indian classical music.

You can teach yourself pan flute by Costel Puscoiu. Sukay workbook and how to make and play the flutes of the Andes, Kena & Zampoña. Both of these works teach the panpipes - the former according to Eastern European tradition and the latter according to South American tradition.

Didgeridoo: ritual origins and playing techniques by Dirk Schellberg. The didjeridu is a blown hollow tube played by the Aborigines of Australia.

Logan's complete tutor for the Highland bagpipe. This book provides instruction in Scottish bagpiping.

Reggae drumming by Peter Epting. Tito Puente's drumming with the Mambo King by Tito Puente and Jim Payne. These books explain drumming techniques in the Jamaican and Cuban popular styles respectively.

Illustrations from Lavignac’s Encyclopédie de la musique et dictionnaire du Conservatoire and the Lyon & Healy Complete musical merchandise catalogue.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

All-Stars: Baseball by the Bay

In celebration of San Francisco hosting the 78th Annual All-Star Game, the Art, Music and Recreation Center presents a display showcasing the Library’s collection of baseball material with images from books, the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection, and the Dorothy Starr Sheet Music Collection, with a focus on the all-stars.

Since 1933, the stars of the American and National Leagues have competed against each other in the All-Star Game. With the exception of 1959-1962, when two games were held yearly, and 1945, when no game was played due to wartime restrictions, the game has been an annual event that features the best talent from both leagues. This mid-season exhibition game used to just be for fun and to promote the sport, but since 2003 it has also been used to determine home field advantage for the upcoming World Series.

2007 is the third time the All-Star Game has been played in San Francisco and the first time at AT&T Park: it was held at Candlestick Park in 1961 and 1984. In celebration of San Francisco hosting the 78th Annual All-Star Game, this display showcases the Library’s collection of baseball material with images from books, the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection and the Dorothy Starr Sheet Music Collection, with a focus on local stars from 1961 and 1984. Play Ball!

Exhibition: July 9 – October 4, 2007
Main Library, Fourth Floor, Wall Case outside Page Desk

100 Larkin Street (at Grove)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Bénézit in English? C’est vrai!

Bénézit’s Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs de tous les temps et de tous les pays [Critical and Documentary Dictionary of Painters, Sculptors, Designers, and Engravers of All Times and All Places] has long been a standard art reference work. It provides birth and death information, a biographical narrative, as well as listings of works held by museum collections and historical auction information. Many entries also include artist’s signatures and monograms.

Despite the esteem in which art researchers and collectors have had for this reference work, it was long only available for readers of French. This was until the 2006 publication of a fourteen volume English translation entitled Dictionary of Artists.

The Bénézit first appeared in print in 1911 with the publication of the first of three volumes which were completed in 1923. This first edition established the format that subsequent editions have followed. Emmanuel Bénézit was the editor for this original set that was written by “a group French and foreign specialist authors” [un groupe d'écrivains spécialistes français et étrangers]. An eight volume second edition was published between 1948 and 1955, followed by a third edition in 1976, both under the direction of Bénézit’s heirs.

In 1999 a fourth edition in fourteen volumes was published under the direction of Jacques Busse. The English language edition is based on this edition and actually has expanded coverage. However, do note that although biographical coverage of each subsequent edition supercedes the previous ones, the older historic auction results do not always make it into newer editions.

The Bénézit Dictionary of Artists can be found on open reference shelves at the Art, Music and Recreation Center reference desk.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Get Your Knit Together!

On Saturday July 21 at 10:00 am the Art, Music and Recreation Center will launch a free 2 hour program called “Get your knit together!” The purpose of this program is to provide knitting instruction and offer a place for knitters work on projects and share ideas.

Thanks to a gift from the Friends of the Library and generous yarn donations from Sonoma Yarn and members of the Redwood Empire Handweaver’s Guild, there will be plenty of yarn and knitting needles to use during class. People who wish to take their projects home should bring their own knitting needles.

A wonderful volunteer and expert knitter who has been teaching the Teen Knitting Club at the library will teach this new class as well. Library books will be on display during class and available for check out, so attendees should be sure to have their library cards.

For more information check the Main Library’s classes and programs at our website or stop by the Art and Music Reference desk on the 4th floor. Class size limited to 15.

Here are a few good knitting books that capture the joys of knitting:

Hip to Knit: 18 Contemporary Projects for Today's Knitter by Judith L. Swartz (746.432 Sw26h) – Many good and easy patterns, including a stylish purse and the world’s greatest hat.

How to Knit
by Debbie Bliss (746.432 B619s) – One of the best how to knit books ever written, with very clear instructions and great illustrations.

Yummy Yarns: Learn to Knit in 20+ Easy Projects Featuring Fun Novelty Yarns
by Kathleen & Nick Greco (746.432 G799y) – Reader beware! The colors and textures of the yarns in these projects are very tempting!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Leo Lentelli: A Sculptor of the City Beautiful

Though Italian-American sculptor Leo Lentelli lived in San Francisco a relatively short time (from 1914 to 1918), he was an active participant in the artistic renewal taking place in the City at that time. As San Francisco rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake and fire, the City Beautiful movement was reaching its zenith. Noted architectural historian Banister Fletcher in A History of Architecture has written that proponents of the movement sought to “give form and direction to the rapid development of urban areas, to make them more efficient and more attractive areas.” In the new Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, James Stevens Curl also notes that this beautification was part of a civic desire to “enhance prestige and attract wealth” for cities.

Lentelli's "Water Sprites" in the Court of Abundance at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (Image from the Bancroft Library, through the Online Archive of California)

San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts and Civic Center are the two principal testaments to the influence of the City Beautiful Movement. The Exposition was a temporary city within the city that emulated the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago that gave birth to the entire City Beautiful movement. The Palace of Fine Arts is the sole remaining structure from the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The Exposition grounds were one large indoor and outdoor art exhibition full of sculptures. Many structures also featured mural painting or inlayed sculpture. One of the striking features of art of this event in hindsight was its transitoriness. A. Stirling Calder (the father of Alexander Calder), the Exposition’s Chief of Sculpture, wrote that the sculpture of the Exposition “a passing matter. In a few years, interesting and beautiful as it is, it will be a memory ...”

"Aspiration" Above an Entrance to the Palace of Fine Arts (Image from the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection)

Leo Lentelli, an assistant to Calder, was one of the contributors to this visual memory with sculptures that today we can view through the Library’s San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection and the Online Archive of California. He did a series of equestrian statues that were part of the Court of the Universe and his sculptures of Water Sprites for the Court of Abundance was well-received. His sculpture “Aspiration” then placed above the door to a gallery of the Palace of Fine Arts caused a stir because of its seemingly precarious position.

"Five Symbolic Figures" Above the Larkin Street Entrance to the Old Main Library (Photograph from the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection)

The other major City Beautiful project that San Francisco undertook at this time was its Beaux-Arts style Civic Center. Lentelli created “Five Symbolic Figures,” a series of five statues representing Art, Literature, Philosophy, Science and Law, that were placed between the pillars above the entrance to the Old Main Library at Larkin Street. These works, made of cast stone (a cement-like substance) were installed in 1918, the year after the Library opened, and were not intended to be permanent. Sadakichi Hartmann, writing for the Architecture and Engineer in 1918, praised these works for “their sturdiness of conception and attitude, their decorative expression, and a certain swing and freedom of handling.” Unfortunately, by the time the Asian Art Museum renovated the Library these works had deteriorated so much that no attempt was made to retain or restore them.

Perhaps Lentelli’s most significant contribution to San Francisco was to the design of the "Path of Gold" Light Standards that line Market Street from the Ferry Building to Castro Street. The conception of these standards originated with Willis Polk, the sculpture at the base of the lights was created by Arthur Putnam. Lentelli was responsible for the design of the lighting itself.

"Two Decorative Figures" at the Mission Branch Library, 24th Street and Bartlett

There are still a few examples of Lentelli’s work in San Francisco. Visitors to the Mission Branch of the Library will recognize the “Two Decorative Figures” – an image of a boy and a girl holding a book between them - above the 24th Street entrance. Additionally at 111 Post Street (originally the Hunter-Dulin Building) there is a figure of Mercury at the entrance as well as relief medallions representing “The Seasons.”

"Mercury" at 111 Sutter Street, San Francisco

Library Resources consulted:

Our department has a very helpful and extensive Vertical File that includes photocopies of several articles and documents about Lentelli. This file includes a copy of Sadakichi Hartmann’s article “An Expression of Decorative Sculpture – Leo Lentelli,” published in The Architect and Engineer volume 52, number 3 (March 1918).

On the sculpture of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, see Sculpture of the Exposition Palaces and Courts; Descriptive Notes on the Art of the Statuary at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco by Juliet James, and The City of Domes; a Walk With an Architect about the Courts and Palaces of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition by John D. Barry. The A. Stirling Calder quote may be found in “Fine Arts at the Exposition,” the Transactions of the Commonwealth Club of California (Nov. 1915).

The Historic Structure Report, Old Main Library created by Page & Turnbull for the San Francisco Planning Dept. and the Asian Art Museum provides the most detailed information about Lentelli’s “Five Symbolic Figures.”

For the Market Street Light Standards see Splendid Survivors: San Francisco's Downtown Architectural Heritage by Michael R. Corbett. Information about Lentelli’s other public art can be found in A Survey of Art Work in the City and County of San Francisco prepared by Martin Snipper for the Art Commission, City and County of San Francisco.

A footnote:

Some research in the library’s New York Times Historical Database led to the discovery that Lentelli created the sculpted lunette above the entrance to Steinway Hall in New York City at 111 West 57th Street. A December 9, 1990 article describes how this work had been covered by the Manhattan Life company in 1958 and later revealed and restored by new owners in 1990. (Search the database using the terms “lentelli” and “steinway”).