Yup, once agin it’s time for thee ol’ rekerd roundup – news, reviews and rendezvous from 2014.
Probably the biggest thing to happen in these here parts last year was the launch of the revised website on May Day. The designers at Open retained the same color-coded concept devised for our original site, but greatly enhanced the format and accessibility. The nitty-gritty coding was done in-house by ARCster Bill Levay. Bill also created a program to crawl our web pages and automatically post graphic galleries on our various social media sites, that we offer for free to everyone. The big add is access to our catalogs. Now you can search or download metadata on our ever-growing collection of recordings and books. There are plenty of other features, so try exploring a few of the galleries, like the Space Helmet Records or our LA Punk Flyers. We think the upgrade is elegant, fun and slightly academic.
Of course this was the year that the New York Times remembered ARC was an “inspirational model.” The quote appears in the Sunday Magazine referencing the work we’ve been doing with the amazing Zero Freitas in Brazil. It all started with our Brazilian Music Day and we hope ends in a public museum featuring his great collection in Sao Paulo.
We were also tiny-mentioned in the Times through our work with the Internet Archive (IA) in San Francisco. In October ARC + IA pooled their collections and created a digital listening room where you can listen to more than one million sound recordings. It got kickstarted last summer when a crew of interns, supplemented by Caslon Kahle from IA, were hard at work here in NYC scanning covers and digitizing audio. The result is comfy chairs nestled among a forest of vinyl, an iPad, headphones and YOU in the foyer of the IA. B. George visited San Francisco for the launch and we’re thinking of creating a similar listening room in our NYC space. Maybe one day branch libraries with listening rooms all over the world? Here’s a bit more info on the project from our webthing.
The listening rooms herald ARC’s subtle and important shift to more public events and community initiatives. Our space, between our two yearly record sales, became available for meetings, workshops, exhibitions and any ol’ music related event that we find interesting.
In March artist Allen Ruppersberg took materials from The Barrie H. Thorpe/Batavia Public Library Collection here at the ARC and created a gallery exhibition in London, FOR COLLECTORS ONLY (everyone is a collector). The Thorpe Collection was donated a while back, but only arrived in 2014, This collection totals 48,000 ten-inch seventy-eight rpm popular music discs, Both the exhibition and donation was orchestrated by former ARC Board member, Tom Cvikota. Space being at a premium here in New York City, this collection will be housed in San Francisco and digitized through the generosity of the Internet Archive.
Here in New York we hosted our own, very first exhibition, One LP. This exhibition by British photographer William Ellis offered 50 portraits of musicians holding one of their favorite albums. Each portrait is accompanied by a short interview that explores the album’s meaning and value for the subject, often offering insight into influences and deep connections with the music of other artists. In some instances the record chosen sets the course of the musician’s life. Unique to this exhibit were QR codes linking selected portraits to these interviews and audio. At the opening night party Mr. Ellis created portraits of guests holding their favorite LP, donating the fees to the ARC. You can view those portraits here.
Soon after we hosted a special workshop on traditional fiddle tunes from the Western Swedish region of Västergötland led by Anna Lindblad, a young Riksspelman (Swedish tradition-bearer). Joining her was Ryan Drickey, an old-time fiddler from Colorado, who just spent a year teaching Swedes American fiddle tunes on a Fulbright grant. They shared tunes with, and delighted fiddlers from the New York Spelmanslag.
As usual in June and December we held our record sales to weed out all the extra copies that come our way from oh so many generous donors. The summer sale featured a tableful of swingin’ new releases from Norton Records + Kicks Books and copies of Eilon Paz’s fab book of the year (we’re in it) Dust & Grooves – Adventures In Record Collecting. Now, our Summer Record Sale was swell, but the Holiday Record + CD Sale was gangbusters! The remarkable quantity and numbers of this years donations, coupled with a resurgent interest in vinyl = best sale ever.
Vinyl.com, a leading distributor of reissued LPs, sponsored our Holiday sale. Another treat was the donation of spiffy custom-built record cart called Wax Rax by David Stanavich of Brooklyn Custom. As always Pam Meyer of Alchemy donated a pile of ARC 45 logo pins that she designed for us. Food and drink was again donated by Brooklyn’s Bonnie’s Grill and Two Boots Pizza. City Winery supplied an ARChive custom label Zinfandel for the December party, served by recently wed Kenny, who’s been tending our bar for ten years now! A never before thanks to John Allen from Virtual Label who helped us price things. A recurring thanks to the loyal labels who came through with boxes of new recordings: Luaka Bop, Mute, Nonesuch, Atlantic, the Beggars Group, Shout Factory and Nasty Little Man.
A true Holiday Sale story: Thanks to Saint Nicholas Music we gave every one who shopped a copy of the sheet music of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Only one person said he did not want it. A red-headed kid named Rudy. Wonder why?
Other Happened Happinings
Sukhdev Sandhu, Associate Professor of English, Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU brought down a class for an ARC visit. In November the indie-film “Jingle Bell Rocks” premiered at the NY Docs Film Festival. This is a sweetly entertaining film by Mitchell Kezin about Xmas music collectors, and of course the ARC is featured. We are also a part of photographer Eilon Paz’s Dust & Grooves – Adventures In Record Collecting book and postcard set. This is a remarkable document offering insight into the wacky and wonderful world of diggers and their digs. We did quite a few EU radio interviews last year and one up at the Red Bull Academy for Jeannie Hopper at WPS1 Art Radio, the Internet radio station of P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and the Museum of Modern Art.
An unforeseen good vibe was generated from one of our 2013 Record Sale Parties that bore fruit in 2014. Our party was a launch event for the Arctic Records Box Set via Jamie/Guyden Records. Attending the party was legendary producer Tom Moulton. The result is that Tom will be producing a new record, “Soul Singer,” featuring many of the artists he heard at our party, including folks like Kenny Hamber, Winfield Parker and John Ellison (author of Some Kind of Wonderful).
Some Collectin’ Highlights
Our massive attack on our massive collection continued into 2014, cataloging more than 20,000 recordings. Even more than last year, a record year so to speak. Again, it’s all head archivist Fred Patterson’s doings, with the help of the many interns here.
We added a great many autographed recordings to the collection last year in anticipation of that one day when we will tour the exhibition, “Signed, Sealed and Delivered.” One nice group includes a ladies LP triumphant: Taxi Driver signed by Cybill Shepherd, Bachelors’ Paradise signed by Ann Margret and Basic Instinct signed by Sharon Stone. Thanks to our man Dean Taucher, TV insider who sidles up to the stars every now and then. Another highlight is a copy of the Catch A Fire LP in the cigarette lighter cover, signed by Bob Marley, Family Man Barrett, Peter Tosh – every Wailer but Bunny (drop by anytime BW). This disc has been in our collection since 1986, a gift of our first major donor, Jeep Holland. It was about time we looked at the back cover! We also got a nice group of photos and books signed by Dizzy Gillespie. This material happily joins the more than 3,000 autographed recordings here at the ARC.
Out of the blue jazz featured prominently in our 2014 acquisitions. We give all genres equal weight, but welcome this fleshing out of our jazz holdings, now more than 36,000 recordings.
Elliot Hoffman, long time and well-respected entertainment lawyer, as well as Dizzy Gillespie’s lawyer, made a wonderful donation last year. Beyond the 800 recordings he and his wife Nancy donated there were Tony Bennett platinum record awards and many signed Dizzy Gillespie books, papers and some Dizzy mutes — one scheduled as a gift for Wynton Marsalis with a signed note (drop by anytime WM). The delightful Rev’d. Deacon Denise LaVetty donated 5,113 jazz LPs in near perfect condition. As Denise so kindly says, “My late husband Fred Dechowitz accumulated his Jazz LP collection over many years. His love of music was a huge part of his life. He was an accountant, a partner in the Eisner Amper LLP firm for many years. It was his wish that his LP collection would end up with people who would appreciate and cherish it. … I was so thrilled to find … the Archive for Contemporary Music. I feel Freddie helped me hold onto the collection until I found the most perfect place — this is surely a match made in heaven!”
But we’re not done yet. Allen Lowe, a musician, cultural commentator and author (among others: American Pop from Minstrel to Mojo; That Devilin’ Tune: A Jazz History 1900-1950 and Really the Blues? A Blues History, 1893-1959 with a 36 CD set) drove a vanload down from Portland, Maine. This important collection included 893 LPs, 194 CDs, 126 seventy-eights, 275 books 41 magazines plus a VPI record-cleaning machine. Longtime ARC supporter Fred Cohen cleaned out his closet at the Jazz Record Center and made sure we got 15,000 jazz music books. Jill Cunniff’s (of Luscious Jackson) father was a big jazz collector and a producer for the Today TV show. Via Jill we got a one-of-a-kind NBC Reference Recordings, six sides, of Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald performing on the show in 1964. Last but not least Stephen Galleher donated 3,992 jazz CDs.
The Los Angeles area was also good to us, remarkable in fact. Gary Johnson at Rockaway Records, an old pal of Fred Patterson, parted with rare and wonderful acetates (375), books, videos (20 of which are homemade live Beatles concerts), lead sheets, CDs (124), transcription discs, magazines and personal letters from the likes of Joe Jones and Buddy Collette. Beyond the usual piles of LPs, singles and 78s in great condition Lynda Lawrence Salinger donated a remarkable collection of rare recordings and memorabilia including sealed Elvis LPs, signed recordings, paper discs, Beatles concert programs, white label copies, radio transcription discs by Hollywood fashion designer Irene Saltern from the 1930s and probably our rarest item of late, the original metal part/stampers for “Introducing the Beatles” the group’s first American release on Vee-Jay Records. Thanks to Jon Hafter @ Big Sounds for organizing the care and shipping of this material.
Speaking of the West Coast, another great collection that will be housed at the Internet Archive in San Francisco came from Mood Media Corporation in Seattle. Mood donated 25,327 one-inch master music video tapes, mostly 1980s material. Thanks to Seth Gerou for organizing this massive (41 pallets) gift.
Here’s a list of the tens of thousands of recordings that were loaded into the ARC last year. A “plus” indicated many other things were donated, but not a large quantity of any item. No parenthesis means a small numbers of things, usually under 10. Here’s the A-Z in 2014:
Billy Adler (45 LPs, 53 CDs, 7 seven-inch singles, 3 seventy-eights); Bruce Alexander (dribs + drabs came in all year); Fabian Alsultany (102 VHS); Jonathan Bailey (572 CDs); the Beggars Group (1,356 CDs, 143 twelve-inch singles, 85 seven-inch singles + so much more); Bill Bragin + Lincoln Center (hundreds of World Music CDs); Debbie Brewer (62 CDs, 30 DVDs); Frederic + Mary Ann Brussat (5,824 PERFECT LPs); Margery Budoff (612 LPs); Pearl Chin (51 LPs, 60 cassettes, 36 VHS, plus); Andrew Cohen (17 CDs, plus); Jill Cunniff (of Luscious Jackson, 612 LPs); Stephanie Diaz-Matos c/o DJ Hardkiss (4,442 twelve-inch singles, 362 LPs); Nate Oberstein @ Eagle Rock Entertainment (8 CDs, 18 DVDs, 23 Blu-ray); Carol Eckman (nice group of 78rpm albums + singles) Jim Eigo (472 CDs); Marcia Elliott (62 CDs, 3 DVDs, 2 books, 5 VHS); Yale Evelev @ Luaka Bop (870 CDs, 92 mini-CDs plus); Joe Flynn (a few very nice LPs); Mark Fotiadis at Mute Records (713 CDs); Jeff Friedman @ Let There Be Neon (68 LPs); Stephen Galleher (3,992 Jazz CDs, 153 Books, 48 DVDs, plus); Patrice George (2 books); Brian Gerosa (839 CDs); Vida Ghani (537 LPs, 162 CDs, 106 VHS, 4 seven-inch singles); Will Glass, David Goldstein, David Gonzalez (453 CDs); Tom Gould of the Bosa Nova Beatniks (30 CDs); Gene Gritzan (33 LPs); Jon Hafter/ Big Sounds International (143 CDs, 20 books, 12 LPs + a big box of other stuff); C. Headlee (32 LPs); Barbara J. Hertel, Steve Holtje (73 CDs); Tom Hoover (312 LPs, 6 Books); David Hinckley (hundreds of CDs, books + assorted items); Nancy + Elliot Hoffman (424 LPs, 136 CDs, 52 books, 68 VHS, 201 cassettes, a classic Casiotone 202 keyboard, scores of signed materials and a Victrola); Cecil Hopkinson-Carter (120 LPs); Tatsuya Ito (983 LPs, 74 cassettes, 3 seven-inch singles); Fred Cohen @ Jazz Record Center (15,000 jazz music books) Gary Johnson @ Rockaway Records (124 CDs, 375 acetates, 64 books, 80 VHS, 76 magazines and a great many rare items noted above); Herb Jue; Peter Kapp (11 CDs, 8 LPs); Annette Kudrak (128 LPs,); Kevin J. Lanagan (51 sheet music); Ida Langsam /ISL Public Relations (535 Cds, 345 magazines, 250 promo buttons); Amy Larkin (48 CDs, 2 DVDs); Sarah Lazin (68 books); Rev’d. Deacon Denise LaVetty (5,113 LPs, 5 box sets); Ann Leighton (18 CDs, 32 magazines and tons of press kits); our own Bill Levay (10 books, 6 CDs, 8 LPs, 12 comics, 1 DVD box set); Ben Liemer (signed posters); Anna Lindblad (5 CDs); Julie Lipsius (169 CDs, 19 DVDs, 30 VHS, 42 songbooks); Alan Lowe (893 CDs, 194 CDs, 126 seventy-eights, 275 books, 41 magazines, VPI record-cleaning machine); Kenny Margolis; Norman Martin (219 LPs, 66 seven-inch singles); Cheryl McEnaney/ Wild Child Full of Grace/Real World, Pam Meyer (47 LPs + a dozen forty-five insert jewelry designed exclusively for ARC!); Robert Molnar + Fred Schneider (194 CDs, 127 twelve-inch singles + LPs, 28 books, plus) Nasty Little Man (279 CDs, 10 LPs, 22 DVDs); Nonesuch Records (230 CDs); North/South Consonance Recordings; Richard Nusser (151 LPs, 31 books, 78 magazines and many presskits); Michael Overn (50 LPs, plus); Fred Patterson (79 CDs, plus); Bill Pearis (448 CDs); Steve Powers (127 LPs, 33 CDs, 32 seventy-eights + some box sets); Joey Primero @ Press Here Publicity (1,045 CDs); David Rawson (213 CDs); Sheena Reiter (552 LPs, 74 seven-inch singles, 10 seventy-eights); Christine Richmond (100 LPs, 109 seven-inch singles, 4 CDs); Don Rose (139 LPs, 16 twelve-inch singles); Mary Fassino @ St. Nicholas Music (13,275 pieces of sheet music, 650 songbooks, 30 LPs, 475 seven-inch singles, 360 CDs); Lynda Lawrence Salinger (18 LPs, 37 seven-inch singles, 24 seventy-eights, plus the item listed in the story above); Marja Samsom (983 LPs, 74 cassettes); Andy Schwartz (big piles of press kits, magazines, records and books, delivered weekly); George Sempopos (388 magazines + tabloids); Fred Shapiro (960 CDs, 147 DVDs, 50 twelve-inch singles plus a great many things for our record sales); Shout Factory (62 CDs, 30 DVDs); Marcos Sueiro Bal (6 LPs, 6 CDs); Bret Sjerven @ Sunnyside Records (36 CDs); Evan Tritt (259 seven-inch singles, plus); Tom Watkiss; Larry Williams (971 LPs); Matthew Warwick (406 LPs, 125 CDs, 18 seventy-eights, plus); Dan Weingarten (179 LPs, 25 reel-to-reel tapes, 15 CD box sets); Jody Wheeler (15 LPs); Larry Williams (971 LPs); Peter Wright/Virtual Label LLC (242 CDs, 56 books, 18 twelve-inch singles, 8 LPs, 2 DVDs). Sorry if we missed anyone!
Let’s not forget that a great many recordings were donated by one of our biggest fans: Anonymous. Thanks to about 40 folks who left about 1,600 lonely discs on the stoop this year.
We Did a Lot Last Year, But We Didn’t Do It Alone
Folks who worked on projects and dreams: Allan Bastos in France; Henry Beer; Columbia University Libraries; Zero Freitas in Brazil; Patrice George; Steve Gritzan; Gene Gritzan @ Iris Records; Jon Hafter @ Big Sounds International; Craig Kallman @ Atlantic Records; Quinn MacRorie; Open people Scott Stowell, Cat Kirk and Jason Jude Chan; Keith Streng and Brook Wentz @ the Rights Workshop.
2014 Interns + volunteers: Imani Banks (UArts); Sarah Bond; Christopher Centeno (SUNY Oneonta); Darlene Crudup (Kean U.); Alex Curtin (Queens College); Lynette Ford; Joe Flynn; Morris Germansky (Brandeis); Michelle Giove (Washington University); Todd Goings; Yuxin Gong (Purdue); Natasha Gross; Sarah Hamerman (Pratt SILS); Andrea Hansen (Pratt SILS); Emma Hart (Marymount Manhattan); Sarah Hatoum (Pratt SILS); Victoria Henley (FSU); Ariel Hong (NYU); Liana Katz; Margie Liang (LIU Palmer); Alex Locke; Ciaran Lucey (St. Bonaventure); Gina Meola (SUNY Fredonia); Luis Misiara (Brazil); Gabe Mizrachi (Bates College); Ben Neuburger (Bennington); Kyle Olmon (Pratt SILS); Steve Paggioli; Katharine Pigliacelli (University of Pittsburgh); Bruce Rayvid & Karyn Margolis; Jordan Ross; John Scelzo; Wanqi Shen (Seton Hall); Dana Simendinger (Muhlenberg); Rachel Smiley (Pratt SILS); Eunice Sandoval (University of the Philippines); Mark Toepfer (Queens College) and Waichi Yeung. How about volunteering in 2015?
Members who joined the ARC last year included: Brad Adams; Michael Alzo; Charles Beihl; Gustavo Bernal; Jacqueline Bosnjak; Tom Burgess; Choya Chiu; Andrew Cohen; Robert L. Cohen; Helen Dames; Michael Devins; Bill Douglass; Austin Eschenbach; Joe Flynn; Justin Frohwirth; Edward Gaudino; Eric W. Goldstein; Tom Gould; Stephen Gritzan; Brian Hecht; Peter Hirsch; Michael Hornburg; Herbert Jue; Robert Klimek; Arthur Levy; Karyn Margolis; Gordon Minette; Michael Overn; Albert Padilla; Mark Rechler; Marco Reina; Jason St. Germain; Sandy Sawotka; John Schwab Jr; Greg Shatan; Michael K. Sheehan; Michael E Shepley; Sigurd Sorenson; David Stanavich and Dan Weingarten
Institutional, charitable and corporate support was provided by: Avon Foundation; Columbia University Libraries; The Internet Archive; Jaharis Family Foundation; Kahle/Austin Foundation; Leiber/Stoller Songs; The Tisch Foundation; Virtual Label LLC; The Zukowski Diamond Foundation.
We may be moving! Rents may go above our budgets, so do get in touch if anyone has ideas or space. No choice but to leave Manhattan? Maybe move to San Francisco? You never know.
On the upside ARC will celebrate its 30th Anniversary 2015. About time we had a party! All next year we will be prepping for Cuban Music Week that will take place in May of 2016. Check the your local papers to see if B. made it into Cuba by boat this April!
Please join the ARC and keep all the great donations coming.
B. + Fred + Bill