Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Handprinted posters are colorful memories of San Francisco concerts"

photograph by Bonnie Eva Chan / image source: The

If you're a fan of rock poster art, don't neglect to come the 4th floor of the San Francisco Public Library's Main Library. High Volume: Rock Art from the Chuck Sperry Archive and Firehouse Goldenvoice Poster Series will remain on display through January 6, 2012.

For a review of the exhibit you can read Lulu Orozco's article "Handprinted posters are colorful memories of San Francisco concerts" published in the December 6, 2011 issue of the Guardsman, the newspaper of the City College of San Francisco.

Earlier blog entry:

High Volume: Rock Art From The Chuck Sperry Archive and Firehouse Goldenvoice Poster Series (October 11, 2011)

Monday, December 12, 2011

John King at the Library: Cityscapes - San Francisco and Its Buildings

Cityscapes: San Francisco and its Buildings
, is a handsome, new, pocket-size book by John King, columnist and urban critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. Cityscapes is a collection of columns in which he comments, in vivid prose, on the state of the city’s urban environment and the efforts made to update, renew and expand it.

King has been an astute observer of the Bay Area’s architecture scene for a number of years. While he may touch, in passing, on some of the City’s iconic structures, mostly he talks about regular, ordinary buildings, buildings that are so familiar that they have slipped from conscious awareness unless a special feature is pointed out or they are in the news in the context of new construction. But it is the City's unique structures, here and there, that by good fortune have been saved from the wrecker’s ball, that draw his special attention.

He reminds us of some of the small urban oases that dot the city in unexpected places. Buildings of different styles and periods, or buildings and a unique natural setting come together to create small enclaves that please the eye and nurture the spirit. Four small, connected cottages, white stucco and dark bays, that could have been plucked from Carmel and deposited on top of Russian Hill make just such a place. There, amid shrubbery and bougainvillea, they sit, through some alchemy of topography and space and light, in serene harmony with the residential tower with which they share a brick alley.

And then there is the magic of color. He observes how some dismal, depressing high rise apartments for seniors were totally changed by rectangles in soft blue and ocher that highlighted architectural details. The moody, grey monoliths were transformed into domiciles that project liveliness, energy and cheerfulness.

In some ways, Cityscapes is probably a guide book. It’s a guide that shows how a lively, energetic, modern city comes to terms with new needs through progress and renewal. It demonstrates how, in San Francisco, the past integrates with the present and allows for change in the future. And it opens our eyes and makes us appreciate the vibrant, architectural kaleidoscope that is San Francisco.

John King will talk about Cityscapes: San Francisco and its Buildings in the San Francisco Public Library’s Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room on December 14, 6:15 PM. This program is supported by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. All Library programs are free and open to the public.

Cityscapes: San Francisco and its Buildings
by John King (Heyday, 2011).

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony: Their Stories and Music

This panel discussion features members of the San Francisco Symphony who share their unique perspectives on life as a member of a world-class orchestra and perform chamber music selections. Participating musicians include: Catherine Payne, flute/piccolo; Robin Sutherland, piano; Jessica Valeri, horn and Mark Volkert, violin.

This program will take place on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 6 PM in the Koret Auditorium in the Main Library's Lower Level. All library programs are free and open to the public.

Come early to hear San Francisco Symphony Archivist Joe Evans lead a curator talk and walk-through of the related exhibition in the Jewett Gallery at 5 p.m.

For related reading see The San Francisco Symphony: Music, Maestros, and Musicians by retired Symphony violinist David Schneider.

The San Francisco Symphony: Music, Maestros, and Musicians by David Schneider; foreword by Edo de Waart (Presidio Press, 1983).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Birthday San Francisco Symphony!

Let's all hoist a glass -- metaphorical or actual, as you please -- to the San Francisco Symphony to celebrate their 100th birthday! At 3:30 PM on Friday, December 8, 1911, Henry Hadley raised his baton to conduct the Meistersinger Overture by Richard Wagner and the music continues. Today the Library celebrated the Symphony's Centennial with 146 viewers who came to the Koret Auditorium to watch the Symphony's Keeping Score video program Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.

We continue to have two Symphony-related exhibits on display through January 9, 2012. Music for a City, Music for the World in the Jewett Gallery on the Library's Lower Level was curated by the Symphony itself and features many photographs and artifacts illustrating the Symphony's history. The San Francisco Symphony in the Library’s Collections in the Steve Silver Beach Blanket Babylon Music Center on the 4th floor was created by Library staff and draws upon the Library's books and files.

Join Thomas Hampson and Michael Tilson Thomas in singing "Happy Birthday" to the Symphony!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Keeping Score: Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique

Portrait of Hector Berlioz by Émile Signol (source: Wikimedia Commons)

This Thursday's noon film will be Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique (2009) from the San Francisco Symphony's award winning documentary film series Keeping Score.

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony explore this orchestral sonic spectacular as they follow Hector Berlioz to the brink and beyond in this one-hour documentary film. This is followed by a 56 minute filmed concert performance of the work by the Symphony.

This documentary will be screened at 12 noon, Thursday, December 8 in the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library's Main Library.

All library programs are free and open to the public. This program has received support from the Friends of San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Symphony.

Further reading:

First Nights by Thomas Forrest Kelly devotes a lengthy chapter to the circumstances surrounding Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and its premiere on December 5, 1830 (181 years ago today).

The Norton Critical Score of the Fantastic Symphony, edited by Edward T. Cone, includes historical background, musical analysis, critical reception and a bibliography for the work.

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique produced and directed by David Kennard and Joan Saffa (SFS Media, 2009).

Fantastic Symphony: An Authoritative Score, Historical Background, Analysis, Views and Comments; edited by Edward T. Cone (W.W. Norton, 1971).

First Nights: Five Musical Premieres by Thomas Forrest Kelly (Yale University Press, 2000).