Friday, December 16, 2022

Scorpio Rising, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, and Pariah Among 2022 Cohort Selected for the National Film Registry

Established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, the National Film Preservation Board is an advisory body for the Librarian of Congress. The Board helps shape national film preservation planning policy, and also recommends films for the National Film Registry.

Chosen for their cultural, historic, or aesthetic significance, the Board's 25 annual selections for 2022 cover a wide gamut of genres and time periods, from such early films as the Mardi Gras Carnival and Cab Calloway Home Movies to such later works as Mingus and Pariah. The full list for 2022 is as follows:

Pariah (2011)

Iron Man (2008)

House Party (1990)

When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Tongues Untied (1989)
The Little Mermaid (1989)
Hairspray (1988)
Itam Hakim, Hopiit (1984)
The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982)

Bush Mama (1979)
Word Is Out: Stories of Our Lives (1977)
Union Maids (1976)
Carrie (1976)
Attica (1974)
Super Fly (1972)
Betty Tells Her Story (1972)
Manzanar (1971)
Mingus (1968)
Titicut Follies (1967)
Behind Every Good Man (196)
Scorpio Rising (1963)
Charade (1963)

Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)

Cab Calloway Home Movies (1948-1951)
Mardi Gras Carnival (1898)
Further information on the Registry can be found on the Library of Congress' web site. All 850 films selected for the Registry since 1989 can also be browsed online. In addition, the public is encouraged to make nominations for next year's selections to the National Film Registry.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Unburnable Book

To support free expression and fight censorship, author Margaret Atwood has joined forces with Penguin Random House and others to produce an unburnable version of The Handmaid's Tale, which is now being auctioned by Sotheby's. All proceeds go to benefit PEN America. The current bid is $42,000, and the auction closes June 7, 2022. 

Here are the technical specifications for the highly engineered edition of one: 

8vo. Printed on black-and-white-coated aluminum Cinefoils, used in film production to wrap hot lights, which are stable to 660°C/1220°F, textblock hand-sewn with nickel wire, often used in electrical components, which is stable to 1400°C/2,600°F, head and tail bands are woven stainless steel, used in aerospace manufacturing, which are stable up to 1530°C/2790°F. Boards 3mm phenolic sheets, used in electronics manufacturing, which are stable to 540°F/282°C, opaque white and CMYK printing produced on an OKI five-colour digital press, with inks stable to 1200°C/2200°F. 

In the video above, Atwood is demonstrating proof of concept. Of related interest are earlier Common Curator posts on censorship, including Books Are Weapons in the War of Ideas

Sunday, May 1, 2022

War Is a Racket, 2022

Major General Smedley D. Butler [1881-1940], who at his death was the most highly decorated U.S. Marine in history, published the anti-war essay, "War Is a Racket," in 1935. Though the examples and expenditures he cites have been far surpassed in the intervening decades, his fundamental points remain salient yet today. The essay can be read online via the Internet Archive.

The broadside above was letterpress printed by the Common Curator at the Iowa City Press Co-op.

Monday, April 18, 2022

President Roosevelt, Duke Ellington, Max Roach, and Wu-Tang Clan among 25 Newest Additions to National Recording Registry

ow in its twentieth year, the National Recording Registry has grown to 600 entries with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden having just announced 25 additional sound recordings as the official entries for 2022, stating

The National Recording Registry reflects the diverse music and voices that have shaped our nation’s history and culture through recorded sound. The national library is proud to help preserve these recordings, and we welcome the public’s input. We received about 1,000 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry.”

Under the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, selected recordings must be "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and at least ten years old.

Spanning the years 1921-2010, the selections for this year are as follows:

  1. “Harlem Strut” — James P. Johnson (1921)
  2. Franklin D. Roosevelt: Complete Presidential Speeches (1933-1945)
  3. “Walking the Floor Over You” — Ernest Tubb (1941) (single)
  4. “On a Note of Triumph” (May 8, 1945)
  5. “Jesus Gave Me Water” — The Soul Stirrers (1950) (single)
  6. “Ellington at Newport” — Duke Ellington (1956) (album)
  7. “We Insist!  Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite” — Max Roach (1960) (album)
  8. “The Christmas Song” — Nat King Cole (1961) (single)
  9. “Tonight’s the Night” — The Shirelles (1961) (album)
  10.  “Moon River” — Andy Williams (1962) (single)
  11.  “In C” — Terry Riley (1968) (album)
  12.  “It’s a Small World” — The Disneyland Boys Choir (1964) (single)
  13.  “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” — The Four Tops (1966) (single)
  14.  Hank Aaron’s 715th Career Home Run (April 8, 1974)
  15.  “Bohemian Rhapsody” — Queen (1975) (single)
  16.  “Don’t Stop Believin’” — Journey (1981) (single)
  17.  “Canciones de Mi Padre” — Linda Ronstadt (1987) (album)
  18.  “Nick of Time” — Bonnie Raitt (1989) (album)
  19.  “The Low End Theory” — A Tribe Called Quest (1991) (album)
  20.  “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” — Wu-Tang Clan (1993) (album)
  21.  “Buena Vista Social Club” (1997) (album)
  22.  “Livin’ La Vida Loca” — Ricky Martin (1999) (single)
  23.  Songs in A Minor” — Alicia Keys (2001) (album)
  24.  WNYC broadcasts for the day of 9/11 (Sept. 11, 2001)
  25.  “WTF with Marc Maron” (Guest: Robin Williams) (April 26, 2010)
The full National Recording Registry can be viewed online here. The Registry solicits nominations annually for inclusion on the registry; further information on the criteria and procedures for making nominations for 2022 is available at the Registry website. Individuals may submit up to 50 nominations per year. 

Sunday, March 6, 2022

WFMU Marathon 2022

Love freeform radio? Take the leap and consider supporting independent station WFMU during its annual fundraising Marathon that runs March 7 to March 20, 2022. WFMU first hit the airwaves over sixty years ago on April 24, 1958 at the now-defunct Upsala College and has never looked back. Currently based in Jersey City, New Jersey, WFMU broadcasts at 91.1 Mhz in New York and via a second signal at 90.1 Mhz in the Hudson Valley. WFMU has long been an Internet pioneer, and has multiple online streams, as well as an extensive archive of past shows.

What is freeform radio you might ask? WFMU describes itself as follows: 
WFMU's programming ranges from flat-out uncategorizable strangeness to rock and roll, experimental music, 78 RPM Records, jazz, psychedelia, hip-hop, electronica, hand-cranked wax cylinders, punk rock, gospel, exotica, R&B, radio improvisation, cooking instructions, classic radio airchecks, found sound, dopey call-in shows, interviews with obscure radio personalities and notable science-world luminaries, spoken word collages, Andrew Lloyd Webber soundtracks in languages other than English as well as country and western music. 
And because the station is listener-supported, WFMU DJs have for years maintained complete autonomy and control over their own programming, which is extraordinarily eclectic. Check out the current WFMU audio smorgasbord, and see for yourself. Apps available for both iOS & Android. 

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Random Generator: The 2022 PS1 Art Auction

Random Generator is the non-thematic theme for this year's Public Space One Art Auction. Held annually to help support the extensive programming of the artist-led community arts organization, this year's fundraiser will feature over 75 artists. Bidding will be entirely online, and will commence on Thursday, March 3, concluding with a reception at Close House (Iowa City), 7-8pm, Saturday, March 12, 2022. Further details are available at the PS1 website

The Common Curator is offering "Protopseudocryptoplasm" in this year's auction, and also designed the image above for the use of PS1 in a series of promotional materials. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Year of the Tiger

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Cross-Hatching: the fearsome beast pictured above is a four-color print made from woodcuts created circa 1960 by the artist John Kerner of the Enquirer Printing Company (with text added digitally to mark the lunar new year). The print measures 26" x 40" and the design employs extensive cross-hatching to simulate full-color printing, with the resulting poster once used to promote the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus. The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum acquired the Enquirer's collection of printing materials in 2015, and now offers prints newly produced from the original woodcuts. The Digital Commonwealth of Massachusetts also contains a high-resolution scan of one of the early posters as used by the circus. 

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Slidin' into Twenty-Twenty-Two