DER Documentary

Screening Room with Alan Lomax

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From the Screening Room series
by Robert Gardner
color, 75 min, 1975/2005

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This DVD is also available as part of the Screening Room series Documentary Collection.

Alan Lomax spent over six decades working as a musicologist, author, record producer, filmmaker, concert promoter, singer, photographer, and network radio host to promote knowledge and appreciation of the world's folk music. As an anthropologist of the performing arts he produced a multimedia database called The Global Jukebox, which surveys the relationship between dance, song, and human history. He was a lifelong advocate for "cultural equity," proposing to reverse the centralization of communications and secure a valid forum for the expressive arts of all indigenous cultures.

Alan Lomax appeared on Screening Room in August 1975 to discuss the theory of Choreometrics and show the film Dance and Human History.

“[Alan Lomax is]... the world's foremost folk musicologist, whose clarion call and heroic example sparked a renaissance that rescued traditional folk cultures from being buried alive in a homogenized mudslide of 'modernity.” — Stetson Kennedy, writer & folklorist
“Mr. Lomax's programs spurred folk revivals in the United States and across Europe. Without his efforts, the world's popular music would be very different today.” — Jon Pareles, New York Times

Related Resources
Review of this DVD by Bonnie Jo Dopp, Performing Arts Library, University of Maryland

About the Screening Room series
In the early 1970s a group of idealistic artists, lawyers, doctors and teachers saw an opportunity to change commercial television in Boston and the surrounding area. It would require years of litigation up to and including the Supreme Court, but the case was won and the Channel 5 license was given to WCVB-TV. Screening Room was one of several programs offered in an effort to provide alternative television viewing. The idea behind Screening Room was to give independent filmmakers an opportunity to discuss their work and show it to a large urban audience. Nearly 100 ninety-minute programs were produced and aired between 1973 and 1980.

Screening Room was developed and hosted by filmmaker Robert Gardner, who at the time, was Director of Harvard's Visual Arts Center and Chairman of its Visual and Environmental Studies Department. His own films include Dead Birds (1964), and Forest of Bliss (1986).

Other films from the Screening Room series
Bruce Baillie
Les Blank
Robert Breer
James Broughton
Emile de Antonio
Ed Emshwiller
Hollis Frampton
Robert Fulton
George Griffin
Hillary Harris
John & Faith Hubley
Peter Hutton
Derek Lamb
Standish Lawder & Stanley Cavell
Ricky Leacock
Caroline Leaf & Mary Beams
Jan Lenica
Jonas Mekas
Suzan Pitt
Yvonne Rainer
Richard P. Rogers
Jean Rouch
Michael Snow
John Whitney Sr.

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts