SAA2008


Clara a Bravura, Hale scrapbook

Clara a Bravura, Hale scrapbook

The Fall 2008 issue of Performance! is now available here.

This edition’s “Reports from the Field” include two articles on some new digital byways.

Amy McCroy and Beth Kattelman of Ohio State University discuss their contributions to  a new statewide initiative that used open source software to develop an EAD finding aid creation tool and a new site, OhioLink finding aid repository, to host finding aids to be contributed by institutions of all stripes and sizes.  Included on this site are the finding aids for several collections with performing arts content (unfortunately, OSU hasn’t yet made any digital images from these collections, which include The Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance From Burlesque to Clubs, available online).

Bunyan Webb, NCSU University Archives Photograph Collection

Bunyan Webb, NCSU University Archives Photograph Collection

In another piece, North Carolina State University MLIS student (and archivist-in-training), Marcellaus Joiner, shares the unexpected challenges he confronted  in identifying individuals in performing arts-related images on a digitization project in which he participated and also weighs in on the pros and cons of going the extra mile to provide enhanced access to such images in a MPLP world.

This was the first issue of the newsletter to be distributed exclusively via the official SAA Performing Arts Roundtable listserv.  If you didn’t receive yours by e-mail, please check to see if you are one of the (currently 123!) names listed on the member/participant roster.  If not, please sign up.  It just takes a few seconds and it’s all free!

Image credits: (top) Clara a bravura, Image Z27 from the Hale Scrapbook, Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library

(bottom) Publicity photograph of Bunyan Webb, circa 1967, North Carolina State University Archive Photograph Collection

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blackcatThe title of this post is to commemorate one of the more interesting items spotted for sale in the Bellevue Community College cafeteria by one of my colleagues last week while we were attending the SAA workshop, Understanding Photos.  It also can serve as a catchall for a bunch of items of interest that have been accumulating.

The image of the menu from a New York city restaurant, Au Chat Noir, was chosen because: a) we needed another cat picture on this blog; and b) wanted something illustrative, but unusual, to grab your attention about yet another historic preservation campaign related to the performing arts.  As has been widely reported, five of the remaining buildings on West 28th Street that once constituted Tin Pan Alley are up for sale (presumably for demolition and redevelopment).  32 West 28th Street isn’t among them, but perhaps some of the songwriters and publishers dined at Au Chat Noir.

Meanwhile, over on the Archives Hub blog, the latest post talks about a recent event held to demonstrate “what archives can show us about holidays and seaside resorts” in Britain and publishes a great image of a pierrot show cast, held by the University of Exeter Library.

Finally (and this is to whet your appetite for the hopefully-not-too-stale series of upcoming posts about SAA 2008 Session 406), NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday featured a segment on Jonatha Brooke’s creative utilization of material in the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives.

Image credit: NYPL Digital Gallery Image ID: 475669

As mentioned in the previous post, the SAA Performing Arts Roundtable held its election at the last business meeting in San Francisco.  New officers are: Peggy Alexander, UCLA, as incoming co-chair and Lisa Hooper, Western Washington University, as new steering committee member. Also appointed to become the assistant newsletter editor is Mary Gallant from the California Western School of Law, shifting the balance of power decidedly to the west.  You can find the contact information for Roundtable leadership here, so get busy contacting them with your ideas for projects, conference session proposals, and the newsletter!

Congratulations to the winners and many thanks to all of those members who volunteered to serve!  It was gratifying to see a full slate of candidates for the one-year steering committee position, but I would encourage others to consider running for one of the two-year positions next year.  Speaking from experience, it may not be so onerous an obligation as you may imagine.

Herewith the first in what probably will be a (disjointed) series of posts on the 2008 SAA Annual Meeting:

In spite of the early time slot, a capacity crowd filled the recently-relocated reading room of the library at San Francisco’s Museum of Performance & Design. Following the arrival of the contingent ferried over from the Hilton by co-chairs Susan Brady and Adriana Cuervo, paper ballots were distributed for the election of the two open positions on the Performing Arts Roundtable – co-chair and steering committee member (1-year term). More about the results of the election in a separate post (I’m trying to recreate the suspense here). After introductions were made and announcements given by the representative for SAA’s 2009 Program Committee and our Council Liaison, Susan solicited input and ideas from those gathered for future Roundtable projects. As noted in the last issue of the newsletter, Susan is very interested in working on an initiative in which the Roundtable would coordinate an effort to identify and contribute form and genre terms for materials documenting costume, lighting, and scenic design (most likely to the Art & Architecture Thesaurus). If you are interested in participating, please contact Susan directly.

Session proposals for next’s year’s conference were briefly discussed. Susan mentioned that she already has had preliminary conversations with Helen Adair, Associate Curator of the Performing Arts at the Harry Ransom Center, UT Austin about some possibilities. With the extra-early October 8 deadline looming, your ideas for proposals for Roundtable-sponsored programs or requests for PAR endorsement of sessions from other groups are actively sought. Read the formal call for session proposals here. Look for more discussion via the listserv (and possibly this blog) on this topic in the coming weeks. As always, feel free to contact anyone in a PAR leadership role directly with your suggestions or concerns. The business segment of the meeting came to a close as those PAR members in attendance were given time to fill out their ballots, which then were collected to be tallied.

The program portion of the meeting began with a presentation by our generous host, Kirsten Tanaka, Head Librarian / Archivist of the Museum of Performance & Design. Kirsten provided us with an informative history of the development of the museum — which has involved many shifts in location, name, and mission over the years — and its current plans for the future. Also on the bill was Joe Evans, archivist of the San Francisco Symphony, who shared with us the special challenges of setting up a brand new archives program. Records formerly held by the Museum of Performance & Design were transferred back to the Symphony recently and Joe has been hard at work trying to collect other relevant materials. At this stage, the collection better documents special events and educational programs of the Symphony, rather than its performances. Still without an actual facility, Joe came up with a uniquely Californian solution to his storage situation — records are being kept temporarily in wine storage vaults!

Following the talks, Kirsten led a tour through the museum galleries, which also included a sampling of treasures specially selected for our group, which fellow librarian, Samantha Cairo-Toby, had guarded assiduously during our meeting. The special exhibition that was running at the time, Art & Artifice: 75 Years of Design at San Francisco Ballet (which may get its own post) also was available for viewing.

Many thanks must go to our hosts and presenters, as well as to our organizers, for this wonderful opportunity to have our meeting in one of the premier performing arts collections in this country.

The last notes have sounded and the 2008 Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting in San Francisco officially came to its conclusion. Rest assured that the Performing Arts Roundtable played its part. Presentations were presented, candidates elected, and other business duly conducted. Watch this space in the coming days (weeks?) for all the news as soon as I get my notes, etc. together.

Image credit: The city of San Francisco, California seen from the first street ramp of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge. Nitrate negative of photograph by Dorothea Lange, April 1939. Library of Congress P&P Online Catalog Digital ID (intermediary roll film) fsa 8b33314 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8b33314.

I just registered.  There are no ribbons to identify bloggers, although they do have a “SAA Cyber Cafe” with a few laptops available (and hardly anyone’s around to use them yet), hence this unexpected blog post.  A notice by the computer mentions that there will be “an informal focus group aimed at measuring user satisfaction with SAA’s website navigation” on Friday, between 1:00-2:00.  Also, one is invited to drop by SAA’s Website Working Group (didn’t know there was one) “to share your questions and feedback,” although apparently only between 3:00-4:00 on Friday in the Exhibit Hall.

Well, it’s a beautiful day.  My plane arrived on time and I was able to check in early.  Now I must get something to eat.  See you kids later!

At the very beginning of his quest to discover the “truth” in Alfred Hitchcock’s film, Vertigo, the main character, Scottie, asks his friend Midge’s advice:

Scottie: Not that kind of history. The small stuff! About people you never heard of!

Midge: Oh! You mean the Gay Old Bohemian Days of Gay Old San Francisco. The juicy stories? Like who shot who in the Embarcadero August, 1879?

She directs him to Pop Leibel, the owner of the mythical Argosy Book Shop, where he receives an answer that may be helpful or not.

While I can’t guarantee that all of your burning questions will be answered, I do predict you will have a good time if you come to the SAA Performing Arts Roundtable meeting this Wednesday at 1:00 at San Francisco’s Museum of Performance and Design.

For now, this blog takes a brief nap. But all too soon we shall return with fresh reports from the 2008 SAA Annual Meeting.

And if I don’t run into you at the meeting, you probably can find me lurking by the Shubert Theater.

Image credit: Book Harbor exterior, San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection, San Francisco Library, Photo ID# AAC-6432.

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