Summer Shorts: New York Essence
Where: New York Public Library—Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
476 Fifth Ave.
917-275-6975 Price: Free
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Relics and Forgotten Gems Curated from the Reserve Film and Video Collection
Wednesdays in August we’re bringing some of New York’s finest film experts to the Steven A Schwarzman Building, where they’ll present one-time-only movie nights that they’ve curated from the Library for the Performing Arts’ 60-plus-year-old collection of 16mm films. Get out of the heat and watch wonderful and strange docs, shorts, tv movies, and features selected and presented in-person by curators from the Library for the Performing Arts, Alamo Drafthouse, Maysles Documentary Center, and the Criterion Collection.
August 9th’s program is curated and presented in-person by Elena Rossi-Snook, archivist for the Library for the Performing Arts. “New York Essence” showcases independently produced short films from the 1960s and 1970s that explore the conceptual and physical spaces which New Yorkers inhabit. The lineup features:
- “Roaches’ Lullaby” (1973, dir. Eliot Noyes, Claudia Weill)
- “How to Look at a City” (1964, dir. George C. Stoney; narrator, Eugene Raskin)
- “Life in New York” (1969, Film Club)
- “Bowery Men’s Shelter” (1972, Eccentric Cinema Circle Workshop)
- “Flaming Creatures” (1963, dir. Jack Smith)
Full descriptions below
Independently produced short films from the 1960s and 1970s which represent the essence of New York. Exploring the conceptual and physical spaces that New Yorkers inhabit and the institutions and infrastructure that shape its life.
“Roaches’ Lullaby” (1973)
A humorous film which features interviews with three zealous New York City roach-haters who demonstrate their own extermination techniques and recount – in hilarious detail – their own personal experiences with cockroaches. Includes an original musical composition lamenting the presence of this pesty insect in urban life.
“How to Look at a City” (1964)
Eugene Raskin paints a word portrait of New York, as seen by lovers, adventurers, and the star-struck, against a background of jazz. He contrasts old neighborhoods with the bustle of the business world and discusses three fundamental standards used by architects and planners to judge the quality of a neighborhood – human scale, density, and variety.
“Life in New York” (1969)
Made by teenagers, this film is an exhortation to the people of the Lower East Side in New York City to unite and improve their neighborhoods. Shots of fashionable Park Avenue are intercut with shots of garbage-filled empty lots and drug abuse on the Lower East Side throughout this strong indictment of socio-economic disparity.
“Bowery Men’s Shelter” (1972)
A portrait of the Men’s Shelter on East 3rd Street in New York City. It is the only home for many alcoholics, drug addicts and ex-mental patients.
“Flaming Creatures” (1963)
Sensual underground classic film which pushed the limits of its day while surviving attempts to censor its content. Banned in 22 U.S. states and four countries.
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