Saturday, April 15, 2006

The San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum

We visited the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum last week to see the "Harlem of the West" exhibit (More about that in the next post) and discovered this little known resource. The name of the library says it all. It archives information on the history of the performing arts of San Francisco, from circuses to opera, a portion of which is online. You will find performance recordings, photographs and information on individuals, theatres and companies.

They display their collections in a series of galleries using the halls of the 4th floor surrounding the Herbst Theatre. Currently, one hall displays a history of theatre, which I know nothing about. The second hall is dedicated to an exhibition of photographs by Tom Zimberoff of 50 world renowned conductors. These dynamic black and white portraits capture the personalities of both the conductors and the photographer.

Another gallery documents the history of San Francisco in song, displaying original sheet music of any song that uses the city as a theme. The artwork of this old sheet music is captivating.

Gallery I is dedicated to the "Harlem of the West" exhibit (on view until June 10th) and features pictures from the book of the same name, a video and background music documenting the life and times of the people, the architecture and especially the jazz clubs of the post war Fillmore district. See my next post for more on this.

The Library and Museum are well hidden on the 4th floor of the Veteran's building at 401 Van Ness Ave in San Francisco. This is the same building that houses the Herbst Theatre, is next to the Opera House and across the street from City Hall. The old site of Kimball's is a block away (Lori and I had our first date there) as is Max's Opera Cafe and A Clean Well Lighted Place for Books, all favorite places to hang.

Open hours are limited, Wednesday to Friday from 11am to 5pm and Saturday from 1pm to 5pm. Check the web site for scheduled closures. If the lobby guard tells you the Library is closed, ignore them and look for yourself. The elevators are the only access to the 4th floor and only one of them may be unlocked to go that high. Try them both.

The Library is non profit and you can leave a donation if you like, but what they appreciate most is if you can contribute something real, from artifacts to identifying the many unknown people and places in their collection of photographs. Check it out, you will be glad you did and while you are there, stick your head in the Green Room on the second floor for a little eye candy. Maybe you've played a wedding there before.

SFPALM web site
Harlem of the West exhibit

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Barry Wood's NAMM 06 Oddities

Unusual instruments seen at the 2006 NAMM show are chronicled at Barry Wood's NAMM '06 Oddities.

A bit of history...
After attending the Winter NAMM show for a number of years I've noticed that the exhibitors seem to fall into two categories: the established company showing their new (and sometimes vaporous) products; and the independent start-up company looking to be noticed by distributors, music stores, potential investors and the music press.

It seems that every year I spent more of my NAMM cruising time checking out the various small companies that all get stashed off in some side room. Many of the products from these companies are never seen the by the mainstream either because their potential market is too small, or most people simply can't figure out what the hell to do with it.

That isn't to say that these products are ill-conceived or poorly executed, it's just that sometimes they're, well, a little odd. This situation made me think that there ought to be a place for people to come marvel and wonder at all of these products, thus, the NAMM Oddities was born. -Barry


NAMM '06 Oddities

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Jazz Camp West 2006

It is time to sign up for the Jazz Camps again (here is last year's roundup). I just received the brochure for Jazz Camp West 2006 scheduled for June 24 - July 1 and wanted to mention that enrollment is limited. This camp is total immersion, living in cabins in the redwoods for the week with other musicians doing nothing but talking, listening and playing music.

I'll try and gather all the Bay Area camps together in one post again shortly.

Rhythmic Concepts proudly presents the 23rd annual Jazz CampWESTJazz CampWEST is an eight-day jazz immersion program for instrumentalists, vocalists, drummers and dancers held in the beautiful redwoods of La Honda in Northern California. The combination of workshops, personalized instruction, student performances, faculty concerts, late night jams, and beautiful surroundings with new friends and mentors creates an inspiring and memorable week.At Jazz Camp, 45 all-star faculty members and 250 participants of all ages, backgrounds and levels come together for a creative experience that is profoundly rewarding. The majestic setting mixed with musical immersion, inspiration, encouragement and support set the stage for magic at Jazz CampWEST.


Jazz Camp West 2006 web site