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.