Conferences and Meetings

I’m still on Amtrak 181 en route to SAA 2010 in Washington, D.C.  We experienced signal trouble, which delayed our departure from New York and movement all the way down to Trenton.

Hopefully I will still make the 1:00 Performing Arts Roundtable meeting.

I wouldn’t mind so much, but I could have used that three hours to sleep instead.

Wow, this is practically a tweet for me.


Nationaltheater München

The 28th SIBMAS conference takes place next week in Munich, Germany.  The theme of this meeting is: “Connecting points: Performing Arts Collections uniting past and future.”  For a full listing of the papers being presented, go here.

Image credit: NYPL Digital Gallery Image ID: TH-56046

Just a reminder that more Performing Arts Roundtable goodness awaits you tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM with the program, Saving De Niro’s Boxing Trunks: Sustaining Performing Arts Archives Collaboratively. The featured panelists, Helen Adair (Harry Ransom Center), Karen Nickeson (New York Public Library), and Libby Smigel (Dance Heritage Coalition) will discuss recent projects that have addressed 21st-century cataloging, preservation, and fair use.

Those of you who attended Wednesday’s PAR meeting had a chance to get up close and personal with said boxing trunks.  For another glimpse of the De Niro collection, you can watch this YouTube video partly narrated by Helen:

Stay tuned for more!

Window into Meeting Room at HRC

Window into Meeting Room at HRC

Apologies for the picture.  I remembered I had my camera with me this time around, but, unfortunately, due to understandable security issues, we all had to relinquish our personal belongings before entering the meeting room at the Harry Ransom Center.  So I had to be content with taking a shot of the window of the room upon exiting (and if you were here you would understand why I wouldn’t want to take the time to snap a picture out of doors in the midday sun).    But at least you can catch a glimpse of one of the scepters used in the Robert De Niro film, The Score.  At least I think it was that film, although the plot synopsis does not make a scepter seem a necessary accessory — please correct me if I’m wrong.  At any rate, it was from a De Niro movie I’m sure I have never seen.

Reproduction of Walter Plunkett burgundy ball gown for "Gone with the Wind," David O. Selznick Archive, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin

Reproduction of Walter Plunkett burgundy ball gown for "Gone with the Wind," David O. Selznick Archive, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin

This curiosity was just one of the many treasures from the HRC collections brought out by our host, associate curator in charge of performing arts collections, Helen Adair.  Other items included a Shakespeare first folio, one of Marlon Brando’s address books, an early draft of  Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, a Gershwin score, and, perhaps most thrillingly one of Walter Plunkett’s Scarlett O’Hara costumes designed for actress Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind. Unfortunately, the famous “curtain dress” was being viewed by another visiting group, but we got to see the no less dramatic “scarlet woman” gown up close.

At the business meeting proper, the new Performing Arts Roundtable leaders were announced: Andrew Wentink will be the new co-chair and Leilani Dawson joins the steering committee.  Many thanks to them for their willingness to serve and a special thanks must go to outgoing co-chair Susan Brady for all her hard work in organizing the Austin program.

The annual business meeting of the SAA Performing Arts Roundtable occurs this afternoon from 1:00-3:00 at the Harry Ransom Center on the campus of the University of Texas, Austin.

As it’s going to be even hotter today, taking the bus or a cab over to the Ransom is a definite must.  In addition to conducting business (bring your ideas!), attendees will be treated to a special tour of the collection by curator Helen Adair.

Drink lots of water, slather on that sunscreen, and consider a hat…

I didn’t see many bats tonight (and I wasn’t the only one), but there’s always tomorrow.  With Big and Carrie gracing my television screen, now seems an opportune to continue the recapitulation of last year’s meeting.

Don’t let Archival Outlook fool you.  For those in the know, the tango lesson during the second half of the session, Getting to the Heart of Performance was far from “unexpected.”  Andrew Wentink was on hand to introduce Stanford dance scholar, Richard Powers, who discussed the early history of the Argentine tango and its adoption/adaptation in various countries.  Richard then demonstrated a 1916 version (I believe, no notes at hand) with his frequent partner, Joan Walton and invited meeting attendees to participate.  Which they did.  We have a sampling of photographs on the aforementioned Flickr site, but you should also check out a brief moment on Youtube:

What better way to prepare for the extravaganza that is the 2009 SAA Annual Meeting than to look fondly back at last year’s program?  OK, there are probably better ways to prepare, but since I hadn’t gotten around to it until now and am taking refuge from the heat until it’s time for the bats, here goes.

For those of you who were in San Francisco and in Austin today, try to summon the memories of  those brisk San Francisco evenings and sit back and relax.  For those of you who weren’t in San Francisco and aren’t here in Austin, I guess you can just picnic and dream.

Chinese hammered dulcimer or yangqin

Chinese hammered dulcimer or yangqin

Session 406 of SAA2008, you may recall, was a program organized by the Performing Arts  Roundtable entitled, “Getting to the Heart of Performance: Archivists as Creative Collaborators.”   Its main purpose was to encourage archivists to work with performers, practitioners, and, yes, even amateurs, to utilize those performing arts materials in your collections through live performance; to bring them to life.

The first part of the session, introduced by Scott Schwartz, featured a brief talk by Anthony Brown, director of San Francisco’s own Asian American Orchestra explaining how he had used archival material to inform his own innovative musical arrangements.  Brown’s discussion was followed by a performance by ensemble member, Zhao Yangqin on her instrument, the Chinese hammered dulcimer or yangqin.  You can see a few more (admittedly not very good) pictures on our Flickr site or you can watch a clip of the Asian American Orchestra at an anniversary celebration that took place just a few weeks later:

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