Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Celebrating Saul Bass

A very good doodle from Google.  Read more.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Shorts #7

Shorts or 5 Things to Know This Week is a weekly posting that features short blurbs on interesting topics related to film and theatre studies, research and resources, theatre goings on in New York City, lots of library-related news and other stuff.

1. Beginning in September, Yahoo! will be the exclusive online home for the massive archive of Saturday Night Live. Clips, comedy scenes and musical performances from the show will be available from the first season in 1975 through the current season. 

2. Lil Bub & Friendz wins Best Feature Film at online Tribeca Film Festival. She is a superstar and an inspiration!

3.  "The Lunatics are on the Loose : European Fluxus Festivals 1962 - 1977"  -- exhibition catalog edited by Petra Stegmann and published by Down with Art!

4.  The London stage adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won seven Olivier Awards. Hope this follows Matilda to Broadway.

5. NEW YORK THEATRE GOINGS ON -- Pippin is brilliant - loved everything about this production. Giulio Cesare at the Metropolitan Opera is a knockout. And, Bull at 59E59 takes a daring look into office politics and bullying.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shorts #6

Shorts or 5 Things to Know This Week is a weekly posting that features short blurbs on interesting topics related to film and theatre studies, research and resources, theatre goings on in New York City, lots of library-related news and other stuff.

1.  In honor of the runners in yesterday's Boston Marathon -- peace be with you. In the spirit of all marathon runners -- a few recommended films: Chariots of Fire (1981), Gallipoli (1981), Run Lola Run (1998), and Without Limits (1998).

2.  To Boston with love -- Good Will Hunting (1997).

3.  I recently acquired an interesting work published by McFarland -- better than their typical thematic filmographies -- Tudors on Film and Television (2013).

4.  Thank you Yoko Ono for "Imagine No Fracking" -- a poster art installation in the windows of ABC Carpet and Home.

5.  NEW YORK THEATRE GOINGS ON -- Always a treat to see Austin Pendleton -- he is currently starring in Robert Brustein's The Last Will at the Abingdon Theatre Company. The play is the last installment in Brustein's trilogy examining the life of Shakespeare. Also on stage -- Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Do yourself a favor -- stay home and read the novella.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Shorts #5

Shorts or 5 Things to Know This Week is a weekly posting that features short blurbs on interesting topics related to film and theatre studies, research and resources, theatre goings on in New York City, lots of library-related news and other stuff.

 1.  Acclaimed documentary maker Les Blank dies at 77.  Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers -- Blank was a true original.

2.  Elaine Stritch left New York City! Doesn't that sound like a bad dream? If you are already missing her -- check out the new documentary Elaine Stritch: So Shoot Me at the Tribeca Film Festival on Monday, April 22.

3.  A Late Quartet available on DVD -- members of a world-renowned string quartet learn that the cellist may soon have to retire -- news that challenges the group to get past their egos and work through long-held resentments.

4.  Journal of American Folklore is the official journal of the American Folklore Society. In publication since 1888, this quarterly journal publishes significant research findings on folklore, U.S. and the world, and related fields. In the "Notes and Queries" section from Volume 1, Issue 1 -- "the credit of originating the term 'folk-lore' belongs to a  correspondent of  'the Athenaeum,' London, 22d August, 1846, who signed his article Ambrose Merton. The object of the communication was to urge the collection, to quote the writer's words, 'of what we in England designate as Popular Antiquities, or Popular Literature (though by-the-bye, it is more a lore than a literature, and would be most aptly designated by a good Saxon compound, 'Folk-Lore,' the lore of the people)." The journal is available online through JSTOR.  For more on the man who invented the word "folklore" -- see OUPblog.

5.  NEW YORK THEATRE GOINGS ON --  Shaheed: The Dream and Death of Benazir Bhutto onstage at Culture Project. Written and performed by Anna Khaja, this one-woman play recreates the world surrounding Benazir Bhutto just minutes before her death. The play has been extended through April 21. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Shorts #4

Shorts or 5 Things to Know This Week is a weekly posting that features short blurbs on interesting topics related to film and theatre studies, research and resources, theatre goings on in New York City, lots of library-related news and other stuff.

1.  NEW YORK THEATRE GOINGS ON  --  The Testament of Mary is indeed a daring play. I think seeing it during this past Easter weekend truly intensified the drama. The play was written by Colm Tóibín and stars Fiona Shaw as Mary. Her performance is riveting. 

2. Happy 50th Anniversary to General Hospital.

3. Less than one week until Mad Men returns on April 7th!

4. Check out the new DVD -- Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away.

5. The New York Times reports that the Oregon State Hospital in Salem is now the Museum of Mental Health. The movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, was filmed there. Click here for the article.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Shorts #3

Shorts or 5 Things to Know This Week is a weekly posting that features short blurbs on interesting topics related to film and theatre studies, research and resources, theatre goings on in New York City, lots of library-related news and other stuff.

1.  NEW YORK THEATRE GOINGS ON  -- I recommend Jackie at City Center. The play is scheduled to close on March 31. Tina Benko gives a powerful performance as Jackie Kennedy Onassis in this complicated telling by "Jackie" about Jackie. Written by Elfriede Jelinek.

2.  The documentary Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness by Joseph Dorman is now available in DVD format. The film uses archival footage and features enactments of excerpts from Aleichem's stories. I will be viewing it this week.

3. Youtube never ceases to amaze! I was surprised and delighted to find a radio performance of Dodsworth with Walter Huston and Bette Davis (1943). I will be posting a Feature later this week on the film Dodsworth -- which also starred Huston with Ruth Chatterton and Mary Astor -- one of my favorites.

4. It's a Bird...It's a Plane... It's Superman -- thanks to Encores! I caught this musical this past week. The first 35 minutes were amusing -- then it became tiresome. The question is -- will this musical find a stage in New York City -- I think it could attract a cult following!

5. The Bowery is one of the most interesting streets in New York City -- try to imagine several of the 2,000 seat theatres that lined the street in the 19th century -- for a time -- it was the center of popular entertainment. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Watch Lucy this Spring Break!

Lucille Ball (1911-1989) was an American actress on stage, screen and television -- she was also a brilliant comedienne and television executive. Her role in Stage Door (1937), one of her best performances on film, helped her to achieve star status however she was often miscast or put into roles that never tapped into all of her talents. She made pictures for RKO and MGM but the real turn in her career came in 1940 when she married Desi Arnaz. More than a decade later, the couple would find that their marriage would lead them to producing and starring in one of the most successful sitcoms in television history. The show -- appropriately titled I Love Lucy --  focused on the married life of Ricky and Lucy Ricardo -- played by Arnaz and Ball. Ricky Ricardo was a Cuban bandleader and Lucy played the housewife who dreamed of a career in show business. They lived in New York City. The sitcom premiered in 1951 during the early years of television -- when television was beginning to offer more varied programming. The show was a hit for CBS -- staying on the air for six more years. Ball's comedic genius was given full rein. The show also starred Vivian Vance and William Frawley as Ethel and Fred Mertz. There were frequent celebrity guest stars who played themselves on the show. One of the many famous episodes starred Harpo Marx.

Early television was performed before a live audience and generally not recorded. I Love Lucy made television history by shooting the program on film -- using three cameras -- in front of a live audience. The show enjoyed continued success in syndication decades later.

I Love Lucy: the complete series is available on DVD from the Butler Media Collection -- all 34 discs!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Opening Film at Cannes Film Festival

Baz Luhrmann's 'Great Gatsby' will open the Cannes Film Festival.

The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire, as his friend, Nick Carraway, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, and Joel Edgerton, as her husband, Tom.

For more information, see the New York Times article

Monday, March 11, 2013

Shorts or 5 Things to Know This Week!

Welcome to the second issue of Shorts.

Shorts or 5 Things to Know this Week features short blurbs on interesting topics related to film and theatre studies, research and resources, theatre goings on in New York City, lots of library-related news and other stuff.

1.  NEW YORK THEATRE GOINGS ON -- Get yourself to 59E59 for All in the Timing. Written by David Ives, All in the Timing is a collection of one-acts which premiered at Primary Stages in 1993. Twenty years later, Primary Stages has brought it back featuring an excellent cast and expert direction by John Rando. The material -- smart, snappy, and hilarious. Extended through April 14.

2. FEATURED JOURNAL -- WINTERTUR PORTFOLIO -- is an outstanding journal for learning about the American past through the study of material culture.  First published in 1964, the journal is published three times a year and the complete run is available in e-format from JSTOR.

3. FEATURED DOCUMENTARY -- COLUMBIA REVOLT -- is a 50 minute documentary about the Columbia University protests in 1968. The film features interviews with students who were involved in the takeover of university buildings. Columbia affiliates can view a streaming version of the film through American History in Video -- which includes ability to make clips and provides a running transcript. It is also freely available through the Internet Archive.

4. FEATURED BOOK -- DIRECTORS CLOSE UP 2 -- published by Scarecrow Press Inc. (2013) -- this volume includes interviews with directors nominated for best film by the Directors Guild of America 2006-2012. The volume is available from Butler Library.

5. FEATURED DVD -- FLIGHT -- from director Robert Zemeckis -- the film is about an alcoholic pilot -- is that scary enough? Denzel Washington is brilliant in the role of Whip Whitaker. Washington is one of our greatest actors today -- his range is amazing. Don Cheadle and John Goodman are both excellent in supporting roles. Let's just say -- it is a long and difficult path to salvation! The DVD is available from the Butler Media Collection.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Victorian Popular Culture

Victorian Popular Culture is an essential resource for the study of popular entertainment and culture in the 19th century and the early 20th century. From Adam Matthew Digital, the database is a portal for several collections including:

  • Spiritualism, Sensation & Magic 
  • Circuses, Sideshows & Freaks 
  • Music Hall, Theatre & Popular Entertainment 
  • Moving Pictures, Optical Entertainments & the Advent of Cinema 

The database includes full-text reproductions from a variety of printed materials, still and moving images, slideshow presentations, essays, bibliographies and more. The collection of materials are drawn from an impressive list of participating libraries.

Each section can be searched by keyword or by an advanced search option. You can also choose to browse the list of entries. The content is expansive and each time I use this database -- I discover something new and sensational. I love the pictures of the kinora, reproductions of postcards, full-text of "Opportunities in the Motion Picture Industry," published in 1922, includes a wonderful entry on the role of the costume designer, and  "The Sphinx: a monthly magazine for magicians and illusionists." 

If you are interested in early popular entertainments such as vaudeville, magic, circus and the advent of cinema -- this is an essential resource.

Access to this resource through Columbia University Library is limited to current affiliates.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Shorts or 5 Things to Know this Week!

Welcome to the first issue of "Shorts" -- as in the Shorts of Features and Shorts.

Shorts or 5 Things to Know this Week will feature short blurbs on interesting topics related to film and theatre studies, research and resources, theatre goings on in New York City, lots of library-related news and other stuff.

1. MORE ABOUT ME -- I am Nancy E. Friedland, Librarian for Butler Media, Film Studies and Performing Arts at Columbia University. I know a lot about researching film and performing arts-related subjects. I was recently elected President of Theatre Library Association -- take a look at our work -- we are a dynamic organization. I also teach at Pratt's School of Information and Library Science and at LIU's Palmer School of Information and Library Science. I teach "Film and Media Collections," "Digital Humanities," and currently developing a course "Researching Local History: Cities and Towns." I love New York City and go to the theatre very often.

2. SILENT FILM ONLINE -- published by Alexander Street Press, Silent Film Online currently includes 381 videos mainly from the KINO International Catalog. Access to this database through Columbia University Library is restricted to current affiliates.

3. ON BROADWAY -- I just saw "Hands on a Hard Body" -- and loved it. This is a "new musical made in America" -- with Book by Doug Wright, Lyrics by Amanda Green and Music by Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green -- the  musical was inspired by true events surrounding 10 hard-luck Texans filled with hope and ambition. 

4. DETROPIA -- recent addition to the Butler Media Collection -- this documentary about the city of Detroit provides a "vivid portrayal of the connections between a city and larger economic and political forces."  Timely!

5.  NEW BOOK -- I recently acquired  "The Screenplay Business: Managing Creativity and Script Development in the Film Industry" by Peter Bloore -- the book is now on the shelf in Butler Library. If you are not a Columbia affiliate -- check with your local library for holdings.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Happy Sweet 16 -- Butler Media Collection!

The Butler Media Collection celebrates 16 years!

Established in 1997, the collection is rapidly approaching a count of 30,000 DVDs. With more than 6,000 VHS titles -- this collection is highly regarded as a major research collection for film studies at Columbia University. The collection supports both a popular circulating collection of feature films and a research collection strong in American and foreign feature films, early cinema, documentaries, television programming,  and video art.  The Starr East Asian Library is adding hundreds of films from China to the Butler Media Collection - for more information -- read the press release.

MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA holds the distinctive call number -- DVD0001.

Recent feature film acquisitions -- THE MASTER, THE SESSIONS, FOOTNOTE -- and all seasons of the television program -- BREAKING BAD.

I am delighted to have helped in establishing this collection -- and continue to serve as the first and primary selector for this important resource.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Through the Camera Lens"

Moving Picture World was one of the most important of the many trade publications for the American film industry. It began publication on March 9, 1907 and appeared weekly until January 7, 1928 when it became Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World.

"Through the Camera Lens:" The Moving Picture World and the Silent cinema Era, 1907-1927 is a full-text searchable database and an essential resource for the study of the early years of American cinema. In addition to feature articles, the publication reviewed current film releases, contained news about the industry and included interviews. This database is licensed from Gale Cengage Learning and is only available to Columbia affiliates from this link.

If you are affiliated with another university or college -- please check with your library for access.

Also -- open access is available from The Media History Digital Library. They have scanned issues of Moving Picture World from 1907-1919. You can browse issues and download PDF articles from their site. 

This database is highly recommended.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Film Language Glossary

The Film Language Glossary has been made available for public use. Developed in 2005 by the Center for New Media Teaching and Learning at Columbia University, the website provides definitions of essential terms used in basic and advanced film courses. The terms are supplemented by film clips, animations, images and/or commentary to enhance the understanding of these terms.

Click here for full announcement.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Oscar Picks!

Will win: “Argo”
Should win: “Lincoln”

Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”)
Should win: Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”)

Will win: Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”)
Should win: Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour”)

Will win: Alan Arkin ("Argo")
Should win: Alan Arkin ("Argo")

Will win: Anne Hathaway (“Les Misérables”)
Should win: Helen Hunt (“The Sessions”)

Will win: Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”)
Should win: Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”)

Will win: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola (“Moonrise Kingdom”)
Should win: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola (“Moonrise Kingdom”)

Will win: Chris Terrio (“Argo”)
Should win: Tony Kushner (“Lincoln”)

See Professor Insdorf's predictions published in the Spectator. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wiley Blackwell History of American Film

This excellent volume is now available as an e-book.

From the publisher --

"The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film provides a chronological portrait of American film history from its origins to the present day. Taken as a whole, the essays in this collection represent a comprehensive and nuanced overview of American film history from the intersecting perspectives of industry, audiences, aesthetics, culture, politics, issues, and ideology."
The 90 essays are available in PDF format. The volume is illustrated with over 200 images.

The title is accessible by title search in CLIO.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pride and Prejudice

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Celebrated on February 14th each year, Valentine's Day is a holiday long associated with romantic love -- my recommendation for great viewing is the six-episode version of Pride and Prejudice. Produced by the BBC and first broadcast in 1995, this excellent adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel stars Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Set in early 19th century England, the story focuses on Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's five unmarried daughters, including Elizabeth, after the wealthy and eligible Mr. Bingley and his status-conscious friend Mr. Darcy arrive in town. Watch the sparks fly between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

There have been numerous television and film adaptations of the novel -- this made-for-television version was highly successful with audiences and received mainly positive critical response. Other Jane Austen novels adapted for the screen in 1995 and 1996 -- Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility and Emma.