Thursday, August 17, 2017

Queen of the French New Wave

When we talk about one of the most enduring cinema movements, we think of the French New Wave. And when we think of the New Wave, we think of its five main directors – Chabrol, Truffaut, Godard, Rivette, and Rohmer – and of course the queen of the French New Wave, Jeanne Moreau, who passed away on July 31, 2017, at the age of 89.

Although she acted only in a handful of films directed by the New Wave Five, it was her film Les Amants by Louise Malle which critics credit with making the the French New Wave possible. Just as her role in Les Amants is a premonition of things to come with regards to the new sensibility about French women of the post-World War II, her performance in the Jules and Jim turned her into the iconic image of the wave.


In 2011, Académie Française introduced a new word into the French language, Attachiante, which refers to a woman one can't live with but also can't live without, as personified by the character Catherine, played by Jeanne Moreau, in François Truffaut's Jules et Jim. She carried the sensibility and essence of the wave beyond, to the roles in movies directed by other contemporary French directors, giving her audience countless memorable performances.


 
We have in our collection at San Francisco Public Library several books DVDs that deal with her life and performance. We recommends some of the following:

Books -

La Moreau : a biography of Jeanne Moreau / Marianne Gray
New York : Donald I. Fine Books
791.4302 M813g 1996

French cinema / by Roy Armes
New York : Oxford University Press, 1985
792.5944 Ar54f

The French cinema book / edited by Michael Temple and Michael Witt
London : BFI Pub.,
2004 791.4309 F887

French cinema since 1950 : personal histories / Emma Wilson
Lanham, Md. : Rowman and Littlefield, c1999
791.4309 W692f

Films –

The bride wore black / directed by Françoise Truffaut
DVD F BRID

La notte / directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
ITALIAN DVD F NOTT

Going places / directed by Bertrand Blier
FRENCH DVD F VALS

Jules et Jim / mise en scène, FrançoisTruffaut
FRENCH DVD F JULE

Les amants / directed by Louis Malle
FRENCH DVD F AMAN

The diary of a chambermaid / directed by Luis Bunuel
FRENCH DVD F JOUR 2001

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Emilia Musto Tojetti (1860-1920)

image source: San Francisco Call (April 6, 1910), 16.

The San Francisco Public Library established a Music Department with opening of the former Main Library building in 1917.  Emilia Musto Tojetti is credited with being a driving force behind the Department's creation.  It was Madame Tojetti (as she was often known) who first raised money to add musical scores to the Library's collection.

With the backing of the California Club, Madame Tojetti and others had  advocated for the addition of a "good musical library as an annex to the Free Library." Around 1902 the trustees of the San Francisco Public Library provided funds Madame Tojetti select $100 worth of printed music for the Library collection (this was equivalent to about $2,600 today).  Afterwards the Library appropriated $100 annually to build upon this.  Unfortunately this initial effort at building a score collection was destroyed in the Earthquake and Fire of 1906.

A September 28, 1912 article in the Pacific Coast Musical Review describes her early role:

It was in 1901 that Mme. Emilia Tojetti, of the California Club, first proposed the addition of music to the San Francisco Public Library. George T. Clark, who was then the librarian and the trustees, took up the matter with enthusiasm. Mme. Tojetti suggest the first purchase, and after that one hundred dollars a year was appropriated and Dr. Lisser was consulted in the selection of music.
Emilia Tojetti was the daughter of Joseph Musto who emigrated to San Francisco from Italy in 1851.  He was the patriarch of the family that founded Joseph Musto Sons-Keenan, a firm that imported the marble that went into many post-1906 government buildings, hotels, theatres, churches and mansions in the Bay Area.

Anne Bloomfield and Arthur Bloomfield note in Gables and Fables that "Joseph and Maria [Musto] had seven children, the first five of whom were girls."  The only one of the five to marry was Emilia who married the artist Eduardo Tojetti (1851-1930).  The match must not have been propitious because the Bloomfields also note that after marriage "she returned to the family roost."

There is a record of the marriage of Eduardo Tojetti to Emilia Musto on August 12, 1875 in the Sacramento Daily Union. She would have been 15 years old.  Also known by the first names of Edward and Edwardo, her husband was a prominent artist of that time, in part owing to fame of his father Domenico Tojetti and elder brother Virgilio Tojetti. Eduardo Tojetti is mentioned in standard art references, but it seems that his best and most representative works were interior murals that were also destroyed in the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.

The Daily Alta California of January 18, 1889 shows Emilia Tojetti filing for divorce "on the grounds of violation of marital obligations." A month later, her divorce was granted on "grounds of adultery." ("Millie's Column" in about article about the Tojetti family in the  Chronicle of March 6, 1963 also mentioned her marriage to Eduardo Tojetti. The 1900 Census lists her as Amelia [sic] Tojetti and widowed).

Nevertheless, Emilia Tojetti had embarked on her concert career already by 1885.  In June of that year she presented lecture performance at her house at 807 Pine Street in a concert series for the Impromptu Club with her husband "Prof. E. Tojetti" among those in attendance.  The Club's March 9, 1886 event at their home was presented to "a very select number of friends [who] listened with delight to the brilliant execution of many talented young amateurs."

Madame Tojetti first achieved an independent listing in the 1889 Langley Directory as Emilia Tojetti, residing a 1236 Hyde Street - the Musto family home of that time.  The San Francisco Chronicle of March 4, 1889 concurrently noted that "Mrs. Emilia Tojetti is now residing at the home of her parents where she will receive her friends."  Soon she was active as a concert and performer and as the Secretary of the San Francisco Girls' Union.


She was later a force in the local branch of the California Federation of Women's Clubs, an organization formed in 1900 and devoted to such causes as child labor laws, conservation of redwood forests, earthquake relief and women's suffrage. She became their Chairman of Music and performed and gave lectures.  A history of the organization applauded a speech she gave at their 1914 convention were she gave "an able-bodied assault on ragtime as 'music'."  She told members of the club that they must work to "abolish this pernicious rhythm and melody which is having such a demoralizing effect not only upon children but upon the musicality and ethos of the entire nation."

On December 9, 1915 she joined a group of panelists as a representative of the Pacific Musical Society at a luncheon sponsored by the Recreation League of San Francisco on the topic "Music: Its Place In The Community Life."  She also became a patron of the League's San Francisco People's Orchestra, an organization that aimed to present "the best music at the lowest price" for the working people of the City.

Portrait of Emilia Tojetti from the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection


In addition to her work for music and social uplift, Emilia Tojetti was a member of the Vittoria Colonna Club, an Italian-American women's organization in San Francisco, and the Laurel Hall Club.  Both of these organizations offered musical tributes to her after her passing on December 21, 1920.  Her obituary described her as a graduate of San Francisco's Girls High School who learned her musical skills in the City.  She was praised "both as a concert singer and a promoter of good music."

Her will, found in Ancestry.com, directly bequeaths a sum of $500 (the equivalent of more than $6,000 today).

To the Public Library I give five hundred dollars to be used for music for the Music library.
Signed
Emilia Musto Tojetti

Emilia Tojetti's advocacy for a music collection in the San Francisco Public Library was a part of her wider belief in the power of music, specifically European art music, to be a force for the betterment of society.  If ordinary San Franciscans were given the benefit of studying the finest music of the world they would lose interest in the frivolous and harmful musical life then prevalent in the City's bars, theatres and dance halls.  Madame Tojetti would probably be scandalized to learn that today a search for the subject heading Ragtime Music brings up more than 200 results in the San Francisco Public Library catalog. But we are grateful that her vision helped establish an innovation in library service that could serve the musical needs of all.


Bibliography

Anthony, Walter, "La Boheme Will Start Repertoire," San Francisco Call (September 22, 1912), 29.

Anthony, Walter, "La Scala Artists Will Give Brief Season at Cort," San Francisco Chronicle (April 16, 1916), 24.

Anthony, Walter, "Music's Place in Community Life," San Francisco Chronicle (December 5, 1915), 24.

Beals, Elena, "San Francisco's Musical Life Thrives In Spite of the War," Musical America (October 19, 1918), 150-1.

"California Club in Throes of Triangular Fight for President," San Francisco Call (April 6, 1910), 16.

"Divorce Proceedings," Daily Alta California (February 22, 1889), 4.

"The Divorce Record," Daily Alta California (January 18, 1889), 4.

Bloomfield, Anne and Arthur, Gables and Fables: A Portrait of San Francisco's Pacific Heights (Heyday Books, 2007).

Falk, Peter Hastings, Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America / Audrey Lewis, head of research (Sound View Press, 1999).

Gibbs, Jason, "'The Best Music at the Lowest Price': People's Music in San Francisco," MLA Northern California Chapter Newsletter Vol. 17, no. 1 (Fall 2002).

"Girls' Union: Annual Meeting Yesterday at the Home," San Francisco Chronicle (September 17, 1891), 7

Hughes, Edan Milton, Artists in California, 1786-1940 (Crocker Art Museum, 2002).

"The Impromptu Club," Daily Alta California (June 15, 1885), 7.

"The Impromptu Club," San Francisco Chronicle (March 9, 1886), 6.

Langley's San Francisco directory for the year commencing 1889 (Francis, Valentine & Co., 1880- ).

"Married," Sacramento Daily Union (August 17, 1875), 2.

"Miscellaneous," San Francisco Chronicle (March 4, 1889), 4.

"Mme. Tojetti, Art Patron and Singer Dies in Her Home," San Francisco Chronicle (December 22, 1920), 9.

Murray, Elizabeth, "California Women's Clubs," Sunset vol. 10, no. 4 (February 1903), 343-350.

"The Music Division in the Public Library," Argonaut (September 28, 1912), 207.

"Music in a Library," San Francisco Call (August 2, 1895), 14.

"Music in Public Library," Pacific Coast Musical Review vol. 22, no. 26 (September 28, 1912), 4.

A Record of Twenty-Five Years of the California Federation of Women's Clubs, 1900-1925, Volume 1, Handbook for Clubwomen, compiled by Mary S. Gibson (California Federation of Women's Clubs,|c1927).

Robbins, Millie, "The Boys Followed in Papa's Footsteps," San Francisco Chronicle (March 6, 1963), 20.

Robbins, Millie, "Building with Musto Gusto," San Francisco Chronicle (July 30, 1967), 19.

"Want a Music Library," San Francisco Chronicle (December 13, 1902), 14.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Monet, Renoir, Pissarro and the Impressionist Movement: A slide show and lecture by Marlene Aron


Event detail
It's Paris, 1874 and the world of art is about to change forever. View over eighty works of art by Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Cezanne, Lautrec, Morisot, Sisley, Degas, Van Gogh and Gauguin. Artists who experienced and expressed the world about them each in their own unique and personal way.

These artists gathered together in studios, cafes, bars, and on the streets to talk and argue about art, its meaning, and how and what to paint. Together they shaped the avant-garde world of Impressionism, and in turn opened the doors to the Modern Art Movement of the 20th Century and beyond.
Join Marlene Aron as she presents an in-depth slide lecture on the lives and art of the new, avant-garde artists of the 1800's.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Koret Auditorium, Main Library


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hit Parade: Inspired by the Musical Archives of the San Francisco Public Library



Public Knowledge is an ongoing project of the The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  It is an effort to bring art to the community and the community to art and to the museum.  Public Knowledge involves collaborations with scholars, artists and community members.  The current project is a collaboration with the San Francisco Public Library called Hit Parade.

This is our second time working with the Museum of Modern Art. During the summer of 2014 we hosted the Chimerenga Library in collaboration with them and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

The current project includes many components, including public rehearsals and performances - Mission Branch on July 11, 2017, Bayview / Linda Brooks Burton Library on July 12 and Western Additional Branch on July 13.  These same branches had "storytelling" sessions where members of the community spoke of the musical memories.


Another aspect of the project has been researching the library's archival resources for histories and sheet music.  They have created a lively blog that presents some of the treasures they have unearthed from the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection and the Art, Music and Recreation Center of the Library.


Keep returning to visit the Hit Parade blog to see what else the researchers turn up!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Black Cedar Trio returns

The Art, Music and Recreation Center is pleased to again present the Black Cedar Trio on Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 3:00 PM in the Koret Auditorium.

Black Cedar is the winner of a 2014 Musical Grant from San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music and an affiliate ensemble with San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.  It is the only ensemble entirely devoted to creating, discovering, and re-imagining chamber music for guitar, cello, and wood flute or alto flute. With this unique mix of sonorities, Black Cedar brings to life Renaissance lute songs and dances, Baroque trio sonatas, Classical and Romantic-era salon pieces, Appalachian folk music, and modern works from living composers.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television


Gale Research is familiar today as a database provider, but originally they were a publisher of many series of reference works.  In the past these sources were indispensable to librarians and researchers, but over the past few decades much of the information they held has become available online.  Over the intervening years, Gale Research mined many of their print reference books to create very useful and in-depth databases.

One of Gale's reliable research tools was the reference set Contemporary Theatre, Film & Television.  Subtitled "A biographical guide featuring performers, directors, writers, producers, designers, managers, choreographers, technicians, composers, executives, dancers, and critics in the United States, Canada and the world," the first volume of this set was published in 1984.  The print edition of the series ended with the 123rd volume in 2013.

This entire reference set is available as a component of Gale's Biography in Context database.  This database covers many resources, including magazine and newspaper articles, so that the information from Contemporary Theatre, Film & Television can easily lost inside within the search results.  When looking up an individual in this database, you can find the information from this reference set beneath the "Biographies" tab.

This reference set grew out of earlier reference resources, Who's Who In The Theatre and Who Was Who in the Theatre.  The former also included biographies and credits for the London and New York stage.  The text of some of its volumes are also included in the Biography in Context database.

Contemporary Theatre, Film & Television presents much of its information like a resume - film, television and stage credits, awards, guest appearances, etc... Online resources like the Internet Movie Database and Wikipedia can provide much of this same information.  But the listings on these websites can be limited or too sprawling to be easily scanned.  The reference database also includes contact information and a bibliography.  The information cannot be as up-to-date as internet sources, but it is clearly and accurately presented.

While our reflexes often suggest that we should go to search engines to find information about every personality that we are searching for, the Library's subscription databases are very solid resources that should not be overlooked.  The vast Biography in Context database can also bring a wide range of additional information to our attention.

Biography In Context [database]

Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television (Gale Research Co., 1984-2013).

Who's Who in the Theatre (Pitman; Gale Research, 1912-1981).

Who Was Who in the Theatre, 1912-1976: A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Directors, Playwrights, and Producers of the English-Speaking Theatre / compiled from Who's Who in the Theatre, volumes 1-15 (1912-1972) (Gale Research Co., 1978).

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Vintage Talking Books

Cover art from The Black Cat, read by Arthur Luce Klein

Today we are very familiar with audio eBooks - digital sound files of literary works that can either be streamed or downloaded.  Until recently spoken work compact discs were another popular form of talking book.  And, of course, audio cassettes were the format that was responsible for making the talking book such a popular medium.

These three formats all had the virtue of being portable -- they could be listened to through a car stereo, walkman or mp3 player.  The very first books on tape (audio cassette format) were introduced in 1969 and could have up to an hour of continuous recitation on a side.  Spoken books on compact disc began to appear during the 1990s and could contain up to 74 minutes per side (and had a higher audio quality).  Streaming audio appeared not long afterward and could present a continuous narration of any duration.

There is a pre-history to this consumer-friendly, portable form of enjoying talking books.  The earliest talking books were manufactured on vinyl records that played at the slower speed of 16 2/3 rotations per minute.  For a period of time, many record players had settings for 16 2/3 rpm, 33 1/3 rpm (the long playing record), 45 rpm (the single) and 78 rpm (the much earlier shellac record).

The rule of thumb with audio recording is faster speeds mean better sound.  This slower speed worked because the spoken word does not need to have the same rich audio spectrum as music.  A 12 inch disc played at 16 2/3 rpm could have an hour of music per side, whereas a 33 rpm record could own contain a half hour.  The Library of Congress began issuing records at the speed in 1962 to serve the blind community and later even issued recordings the slower 8 1/3 rpm speed.

A blurb on the back of The Pit And The Pendulum (1972)

We do not have any of these slower recordings in our collection, but we do have sizeable collection of 12 inch vinyl spoken word records played at 33 1/3.  These include plays, poetry, legends, speeches and stories.

You can browse our holdings of literature on vinyl by searching for the call number LIT PD (Literature Phonodisc).

Because of their relative brevity, the stories of Edgar Allan Poe could provide a fulfilling vintage audio book experience.  Below is a listing of Poe stories on vinyl in our collection.


The Black Cat; read by Arthur Luce Klein (Spoken Arts, s.d.).

A Descent Into The Maelström; read by Paul Hecht (Spoken Arts, s.d.).

The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar; read by Arthur Luce Klein (Spoken Arts, s.d.).

The Murders In The Rue Morgue; read by Arthur Luce Klein (Spoken Arts, 1970?).

The Pit And The Pendulum; read by Edward Blake (Listening Library, 1972).

The Pit And The Pendulum; read by Alexander Scourby (Spoken Arts, 1962).

The Purloined Letter; read by Arthur Luce Klein (Spoken Arts, s.d.).


Bibliography:

Dicecco, Mike, "A History of 16-RPM Records, Part Two: Audio Books,"  Antique Phonograph News
Canadian Antique Phonograph Society
(May-June 2010).

Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound, Frank Hoffmann, editor (Routledge, 2005).