PUBLIC BROADCASTING LABORATORY {PBL}: WHO'S AFRAID OF THE AVANT-GARDE? {BUFFALO ARTS FESTIVAL 1968} (TV)

Summary

One in this series of public affairs programs, created as "an experiment in public television combining elements of information, education, and entertainment." This edition features highlights from the 1968 Buffalo Arts Festival, with a focus on the avant-garde arts. The program opens with "Edward P. Morgan's Point of View," a commentary focusing on the upcoming presidential race, particularly on the campaigns or potential campaigns of Nelson Rockefeller, Robert Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan. Next, the program offers a survey of the arts festival itself, including segments on the visual arts, theater, literature, dance, film, and music. The survey begins with a visit to the Albright-Knox Gallery, including a discussion of the abstract art on exhibit, interviews with gallery patrons, and comments by exhibit director Douglas Mac Agy concerning people's preconceived notions of art and by artist Naum Gabo on the exploration of space and movement in his work. Next, composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham speak about their experimental approach to the arts; this is followed by the premiere of CunninghamÕs dance "Rainforest," featuring costumes by Jasper Johns, music by Cage, and sets by Andy Warhol. Next, filmmaker Jonas Mekas presents his abstract film shorts "The Circus" and "Cassis," comparing avant-garde film with essays and poems rather than novels and narratives. Then, after Allen Ginsberg warms up the audience with his singing of the "Hare Krishna" prayer, the poet recites two poems, "Galilee Shore" and "First Party at Ken KeseyÕs with HellÕs Angels." Cecil Taylor and his fellow band members then perform a "jazz" piece with piano, bass, percussion, and poetry, in which the traditional rhythmic and melodic elements are reduced to a minimum. Next, playwright Edward Albee presents his play "Box," which features a monologue by a disembodied womanÕs voice combined with the image of a large, dark box-like frame. After a brief "musical farce" by composer David Rosenboom, in which several percussionists alternate pantomimes of drumming with comical percussive segments, Buffalo Philharmonic conductor Lukas Foss then presents his piece "Phorion." Foss describes this work as a modern translation of Bach that uses elements from past centuries to illuminate modern times. The program concludes with comments by John Cage and Lukas Foss on the importance of audience engagement in the avant-garde arts.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 1999.

Details

  • NETWORK: PBS WNET New York, NY
  • DATE: April 21, 1968 Sunday 8:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 2:00:00
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:16984
  • GENRE: Arts documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Art festivals
  • SERIES RUN: NET (PBS) - TV series, 1967-1969
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Du Brock, Neal … Executive Producer, "Merce Cunningham Dancers"
    • David Oppenheim … Producer, Writer
    • Victoria Heller … Associate Producer
    • Kirk Browning … Director
    • Alan Schneider … Director, For "Box"
    • Gordon M. Smith … Director, For "Albright-Knox Gallery"
    • Brock McElheran … Director, For Crane Collegiate Singers
    • Edward Albee … "Box" Created by
    • John Cage … Composer
    • Lukas Foss … Composer, Conductor, Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
    • Cecil Taylor … Composer, Instrumentalist, Pianist
    • David Rosenboom … Composer
    • Merce Cunningham … Choreographer
    • Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, The … Symphony Orchestra
    • Crane Collegiate Singers, The … Choir
    • James Reichert … Music (Misc. Credits), Music Director
    • David Oppenheim … Narrator
    • Murray Roberts … Announcer
    • Edward P. Morgan … Commentator
    • Allen Ginsberg … Performer
    • Ruth White … Voice, For "Box"
    • Johann Sebastian Bach
    • Naum Gabo
    • Jasper Johns
    • Robert Kennedy
    • Mac Agy, Douglas
    • Jonah Mekas
    • Richard Nixon
    • Ronald Reagan
    • Nelson Rockefeller
    • Andy Warhol