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Reflecting on 9/11: Twenty Years of Archived TV News – Special Event and Resources

On Thursday, September 9, the Internet Archive will host an online webinar, “Reflecting on 9/11: Twenty Years of Archived TV News” Learn from scholars, journalists, archivists, and data scientists about the importance of archived television for gaining insights into our evolving understanding of history and society.

Participants include the Internet Archive, The American Archive of Public Broadcasting, The Vanderbilt Television News Archive and UCLA Library’s NewsScape TV News Archive. Speakers will include Roger Macdonald (Founder, Internet Archive’s TV News Archive), Jim Duran (Director, Vanderbilt Television News Archives), Karen Cariani (David O. Ives Executive Director, GBH Archives and GBH Project Director, American Archive of Public Broadcasting), Todd Grappone (UCLA Associate University Librarian for Digital Initiatives and Information Technology), Kalev Leetaru (Founder, Global Database of Events, Language and Tone Project), and Philip Bump (Washington Post national correspondent focused largely on the numbers behind politics)

Please register in advance for the September 9 webinar (11:00 AM – 12:30 PM PDT)

Journalists and scholars: as you prepare 20th anniversary 9/11 reporting and analysis, these unique resources are available:

  • Internet Archive’s 9/11 Television News Archive – a browsable library of TV news from U.S. and international broadcasters from 19 networks, over seven days, from the morning of September 11 through September 17, 2001. Contact: Josh Baran 917-797-1799
  • The Vanderbilt Television News Archive (VTNA) – Founded in 1968, the Archive’s collection includes TV news of attacks on 9/11/2001 coverage during the following weeks broadcast by ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. Over 270 hours of footage is available for viewing and research. The VTNA records and preserves national television broadcasts of the evening news on ABC, CBS, and NBC with the addition of the primetime news program on CNN in 1995 and the Fox News Channel in 2004. In addition to these nightly recordings, the VTNA also monitors television news networks for breaking live events. Contact: Jim Duran – 615-936-4019  
  • The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by releasing a new 9/11 Special Coverage Collection of 68 public television and radio programs from stations across the country covering the events of the attacks and the aftermath. Among the featured programs are coverage of 9/11 and its anniversaries by The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, the PBS News Hour, and much more. The AAPB is a collaboration between Boston public media producer GBH and the Library of Congress to preserve and make accessible culturally significant public media programs from across the country. Contact: Emily Balk, GBH External Communications Manager – 617-300-5317
  • UCLA Library’s NewsScape TV News Archive contains digitized television news programs collected from cable and broadcast sources in the Los Angeles area from 2005 to the present, as well as a smaller number of news programs from other domestic, international, and online sources collected from 2004 to the present. The archive includes hundreds of thousands of hours of news programs, which are indexed and time-referenced via their closed captions and other associated metadata to enable full-text searching and interactive streaming playback.
Interface for browsing TV news on 19 networks – September 11, 2001 through September 17th – Internet Archive

Background:

  • 500+ archived 9/11-related websites curated by The National September 11 Memorial Museum using the Internet Archive’s Archive-It service
  • Internet Archive’s Open Library offers a list of 2,630 published works about the 9/11 attack
  • A decade ago, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, NYU’s Department of Cinema Studies hosted a conference that featured work by scholars using television news materials to help us understand how TV news presented the events of 9/11 and the international response. “Learning from Recorded Memory”
  • This fall, the Internet Archive celebrates its 25th anniversary.
  • The Internet Archive’s TV News Archive repurposes closed captioning as a search index for nearly three million hours of U.S. local and national TV news (2,239,000+ individual shows) from mid-2009 to the present. The public interest library is dedicated to facilitating journalists, scholars, and the public to compare, contrast, cite, and borrow specific portions of the collection. Advanced quantitive analysis opportunities and data visualizations are available via the collaborating GDELT Project’s Television Explorer and AI Television Explorer.
  • Roger Macdonald, founder of the Internet Archive’s TV News Archive, is available for background interviews and to help journalists access the archive.

Internet Archive 9/11 Event and Resources Media Contact:  pressinfo@archive.org

Reflections as the Internet Archive turns 25

Photo by Rory Mitchell, The Mercantile, 2020 – CC by 4.0
(L-R) Brewster Kahle, Tamiko Thiel, Carl Feynman at Thinking Machines, May 1985. Photo courtesy of Tamiko Thiel.

A Library of Everything

As a young man, I wanted to help make a new medium that would be a step forward from Gutenberg’s invention hundreds of years before. 

By building a Library of Everything in the digital age, I thought the opportunity was not just to make it available to everybody in the world, but to make it better–smarter than paper. By using computers, we could make the Library not just searchable, but organizable; make it so that you could navigate your way through millions, and maybe eventually billions of web pages.

The first step was to make computers that worked for large collections of rich media. The next was to create a network that could tap into computers all over the world: the Arpanet that became the Internet. Next came augmented intelligence, which came to be called search engines. I then helped build WAIS–Wide Area Information Server–that helped publishers get online to anchor this new and open system, which came to be enveloped by the World Wide Web.  

By 1996, it was time to start building the library.

This library would have all the published works of humankind. This library would be available not only to those who could pay the $1 per minute that LexusNexus charged, or only at the most elite universities. This would be a library available to anybody, anywhere in the world. Could we take the role of a library a step further, so that everyone’s writings could be included–not only those with a New York book contract? Could we build a multimedia archive that contains not only writings, but also songs, recipes, games, and videos? Could we make it possible for anyone to learn about their grandmother in a hundred years’ time?

From the San Francisco Chronicle, Business Section, May 7, 1988. Photo by Jerry Telfer.

Not about an Exit or an IPO

From the beginning, the Internet Archive had to be a nonprofit because it contains everybody else’s things. Its motives had to be transparent. It had to last a long time.

In Silicon Valley, the goal is to find a profitable exit, either through acquisition or IPO, and go off to do your next thing. That was never my goal. The goal of the Internet Archive is to create a permanent memory for the Web that can be leveraged to make a new Global Mind. To find patterns in the data over time that would provide us with new insights, well beyond what you could do with a search engine.  To be not only a historical reference but a living part of the pulse of the Internet.

John Perry Barlow, lyricist for the Grateful Dead & founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, accepting the Internet Archive Hero Award, October 21, 2015. Photograph by Brad Shirakawa – CC by 4.0

Looking Way Back

My favorite things from the early era of the Web were the dreamers. 

In the early Web, we saw people trying to make a more democratic system work. People tried to make publishing more inclusive.

We also saw the other parts of humanity: the pornographers, the scammers, the spammers, and the trolls. They, too, saw the opportunity to realize their dreams in this new world. At the end of the day, the Internet and the World Wide Web–it’s just us. It’s just a history of humankind. And it has been an experiment in sharing and openness.

The World Wide Web at its best is a mechanism for people to share what they know, almost always for free, and to find one’s community no matter where you are in the world. 

Brewster Kahle speaking at the 2019 Charleston Library Conference. Photo by Corey SeemanCC by 4.0

Looking Way Forward

Over the next 25 years, we have a very different challenge. It’s solving some of the big problems with the Internet that we’re seeing now. Will this be our medium or will it be theirs? Will it be for a small controlling set of organizations or will it be a common good, a public resource? 

So many of us trust the Web to find recipes, how to repair your lawnmower, where to buy new shoes, who to date. Trust is perhaps the most valuable asset we have, and squandering that trust will be a global disaster. 

We may not have achieved Universal Access to All Knowledge yet, but we still can.

In another 25 years, we can have writings from not a hundred million people, but from a billion people, preserved forever. We can have compensation systems that aren’t driven by advertising models that enrich only a few. 

We can have a world with many winners, with people participating, finding communities of like-minded people they can learn from all over the world.  We can create an Internet where we feel in control. 

I believe we can build this future together. You have already helped the Internet Archive build this future. Over the last 25 years, we’ve amassed billions of pages, 70 petabytes of data to offer to the next generation. Let’s offer it to them in new and exciting ways. Let’s be the builders and dreamers of the next twenty-five years.

See a timeline of Key Moments in Access to Knowledge, videos & an invitation to our 25th Anniversary Virtual Celebration at anniversary.archive.org.

Filecoin Foundation Grants 50,000 FIL to the Internet Archive

Amidst the speculative boom for NFTs and crypto-currencies, one decentralized technology foundation is taking the long view by investing in deep history and the far future. 

Today, the Filecoin Foundation announced a 50,000 FIL grant to the Internet Archive – the largest single donation in the digital library’s 25-year history. 

“Holy Crow! This is a big deal,” said Brewster Kahle, the Internet Archive’s founder. “And what are we going to do with it? We’re going to invest it in making the Internet Archive more decentralized, so that our digital history is available from thousands of computers, not just a few. The idea is to make a robust and private Internet that has a history that will persist over decades and maybe centuries.”

Filecoin is a decentralized storage system designed to preserve humanity’s most important information. The creators of Filecoin envisioned an independent foundation that would serve as the long-term governance body for the Filecoin ecosystem. In awarding the grant to the Internet Archive, Filecoin Foundation board chair, Marta Belcher, stressed the two organizations’ “common goal of preserving the web and fostering its future.”

It was back in 2015 that Protocol Labs‘ founder, Juan Benet, first visited the Internet Archive, to share his vision for an academic conference dedicated to preserving “humanity’s greatest treasures using decentralized storage.” Building on these conversations, the Internet Archive organized the  Decentralized Web Summit in 2016 in San Francisco, the first gathering of its kind. Back then, a decentralized web was mostly a concept, with little working code.

Decentralized technologists, Trent McConaghy of Ocean and Juan Benet of Protocol Labs at the 2016 Decentralized Web Summit at the Internet Archive in San Francisco.

Since 2016, the Internet Archive has worked with several decentralized tech startups to create a decentralized prototype of the digital library. And when the Filecoin main net took off in 2020, stored in Filecoin servers were public domain audiobooks and films from the Internet Archive. Together, the two organizations created the Filecoin Archives, a community-led project to curate, disseminate and preserve important open access to information often at risk of being lost.

“It’s wonderful to see Filecoin come of age. We started six years ago by putting out a call to make a Decentralized Web, a web that would serve us better than the current web–one that is now starting to be dominated by just a few tech behemoths. Can we make a game with many winners?” asked Kahle. “Filecoin has made a huge step forward by deploying decentralized storage at the exabyte level. That’s very different from AWS (Amazon Web Services). It has many participants, not just one player. And its protocols are open-source. We want to see more technologies like this. This was the original vision of the Decentralized Web that the Internet Archive was hoping for five, six years ago. And it’s starting to come to fruition and Filecoin is a leader in that area.”

Although purveyors of cryptocurrencies are often accused of being driven only by short-term gain, in this group Kahle sees a different motivation. “This donation by the Filecoin Foundation is significant financially for the Internet Archive, but I’d say it’s a more interesting one than that,” said the Internet Hall of Fame engineer. “It’s a donation by a new generation of technologists that are building interesting new technologies…bringing the Archive along with it to make it so that history is preserved –that the Internet Archive makes it into this next generation. That is an interesting thing! You don’t often see that. But the Filecoin Foundation, Filecoin and IPFS, and Juan Benet himself have always been interested in preserving history and how history can be woven into the present and the future of these technologies.”

Knocking Down the Barriers to Knowledge: Lila Bailey wins IP3 Award

Lila Bailey, Esq.—Policy Counsel for the Internet Archive

This week, Public Knowledge, the public interest policy group, announced the winners of its 17th annual IP3 Awards. IP3 awards honor those who have made significant contributions in the three areas of “IP”—intellectual property, information policy, and internet protocol. On September 24, the 2020 Intellectual Property award will be presented to Lila Bailey, Policy Counsel at the Internet Archive. 

“She has been a tremendous advocate and leader behind the scenes on behalf of libraries and archives, ensuring both can serve the public in the digital era,” said Chris Lewis, President and CEO of Public Knowledge. “Working at the intersection between copyright and information access, Lila has been instrumental in promoting equitable access to contemporary research through Controlled Digital Lending — the library lending practice currently under threat because of a legal challenge from large commercial publishers.” 

“My whole career has been leading up to this moment,” Bailey mused, speaking about her role defending the Internet Archive against the publishers’ copyright lawsuit. “This is what I went to law school to do: to fight for the democratization of knowledge.”

Lila Bailey, center, with lawyers and librarians Michelle Wu, Lisa Weaver, Jim Michalko, Michael Blackwell and Tom Blake in 2019, during visits to Capitol Hill where they helped explain Controlled Digital Lending to key legislators.

As a law school student at Berkeley Law, Bailey was a student attorney at the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, where she laid the legal groundwork for the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive.

In private practice at Perkins Cole, Bailey won the Pro Bono Leadership award for her tireless work defending the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine against a legal challenge. 

Bailey later went on to work for Creative Commons, helping to ensure that everyone everywhere has access to high quality, open educational resources. She served as a fellow at the Electronic Freedom Foundation, and later returned to Berkeley Law as a Teaching Fellow to help train the next generation of public interest technology lawyers. 

“Now that our lives are largely online, copyright law, which is supposed to promote creativity and learning, sometimes creates barriers to these daily activities. The work I am doing is to try to clear some of those barriers away so we can realize that utopian vision of universal access to knowledge.”

–Lila Bailey

Since joining the Internet Archive as Policy Counsel in 2017, Bailey has focused on building a community of practice around Controlled Digital Lending (CDL). Although the library practice has existed for more than a decade, Bailey has been working with Michelle Wu, Kyle K. Courtney, David Hansen, Mary Minow and other legal scholars to help libraries navigate the complex legal framework that allows libraries to bring their traditional lending function online. Today, with hundreds of endorsers, Controlled Digital Lending defines a legal pathway for libraries to digitize the books they already own and lend them online in a secure way. 

“As a copyright lawyer, I find her to be an incredibly inspiring colleague, a natural leader, and great person,” said Harvard Copyright Advisor, Kyle Courtney, who works with Bailey on the CDL Task Force. “I know that her work creates a multiplier effect that can inspire others, like myself, to advocate for greater access to culture and enhance a library’s role in the modern world.”

So what drives this intellectual property warrior forward? “Access to knowledge matters to everyone. It’s the great equalizer. That is what the internet has given us—this vision of everyone having equal ability to learn and also to teach, to read and also to speak,” she explained. “Now that our lives are largely online, copyright law, which is supposed to promote creativity and learning, sometimes creates barriers to these daily activities. The work I am doing is to try to clear some of those barriers away so we can realize that utopian vision of universal access to knowledge.”

On September 24, IP3 Awards will also be presented to Matthew Rantanen (Canadian Cree), Director of Technology for the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association and Director for the Tribal Digital Village Network InitiativeGeoffrey C. Blackwell (Chickasaw, Choctaw, Omaha, Muscogee Creek), Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel for AMERIND, for their work establishing AMERIND Critical Infrastructure, focused on closing the digital divide in Indian Country. Also being honored is Stop Hate for Profit, a campaign that organized a mass boycott of Facebook advertising.

Previous IP3 Award winners include Bailey’s mentors Professor Pam Samuelson and Internet Archive founder, Brewster Kahle; along with many of her heroes including professors Peter Jaszi, Lateef Mtima, and Rebecca Tushnet. Be sure to attend the award ceremony on September 24, 6-8 PM ET,  by registering here.

SAVE THE DATE: Internet Archive’s Biggest Party of the Year

On October 23rd, you won’t have to travel to Singapore or Taipei to enjoy a night market of food, fun, and friends.
Archive staffer Mark Caranza demonstrates the latest tools to a global community of library patrons.

This October, the Internet Archive is going global and we invite you to join us for World Night Market, Wednesday, October 23rd from 5-9 PM at our headquarters in San Francisco. This annual bash is your passport to explore the Internet Archive’s global offerings, from world news to sacred palm leaf manuscripts. Inspired by the night markets of Asia, we’ll be throwing a block party for friends, partners and our community, offering up a vibrant mix of food trucks, hands-on demo stations, music and dancing. Then, from 7-8 PM, head up to the Great Room for presentations to unveil our latest tools and biggest partnerships from around the world.

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE

Internet Archive Founder, Brewster Kahle welcoming guests at 2018’s annual bash
Bring the family! Lots of hands-on activities for the young at heart.

SAVE THE DATE:

Date: Wednesday, October 23rd
Location: Internet Archive HQ, 300 Funston Ave, San Francisco
Time: 5pm till 9pm

Tickets: available through Eventbrite in early September.

We’re looking for volunteers! Are you an artist who wants to help us build a night market? Do you love climbing ladders and hanging twinkle lights? Or do you fancy yourself an expert beer and wine server? Our events are always powered by our incredible community—we couldn’t do it without you. If you would like to get involved, please email: volunteer@archive.org.

On October 23rd, let’s celebrate the Internet Archive’s mission to preseve the world’s cultures, languages and media, while serving global communities with free access to the great works of humankind.

Open Library engineer, Mek Karpeles, demonstrates the latest features of openlibrary.org

CRYPTO CHALLENGE: 3 Donors will match any Crypto Donation this week, 3-to-1!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…

Opening line from “A Tale of Two Cities”  by Charles Dickens


For those deeply engaged in cryptocurrencies, the words of Charles Dickens, written 160 years ago, have the ring of prophecy. 2018 was the best and worst of times for those holding bitcoin, ether, OMG or XRP. And yet, for some savvy community members who donated their currencies for good, 2018 was also a “season of light.”  This year Ripple founder, Chris Larsen, donated $29 million in XRP to fulfill the wishes of every classroom teacher on DonorsChoose.org. In March, OmiseGO and Ethereum co-founder, Vitalik Buterin donated $1 million in crypto to help refugees in Uganda. The anonymous philanthropist behind the Pineapple Fund gave away 5,104 bitcoins to 60 charities, including us. Pine writes, “I consider this project a success. If you’re ever blessed with crypto fortune, consider supporting what you aspire our world to be :).”

Now, to close out the year, three generous supporters of the Internet Archive are offering to match any cryptocurrency donation up to a total of $25,000, made before the end of 2018. For the next few days, you can quadruple your impact for good. What better way to put your cryptocurrencies to work this year than by ensuring everyone will have access to world’s knowledge, for free and with complete reader privacy on archive.org?

DONATE CRYPTO NOW & QUADRUPLE YOUR IMPACT

So why should crypto communities support the Internet Archive? Well, we’ve been experimenting alongside crypto founders, developers and dreamers since 2011. Five years ago, the Internet Archive’s founder, Brewster Kahle, wrote this reflection on Dreams Reflected in Bitcoin.  Back then, Kahle wrote about early bitcoiners, “Love the dreamers– they make life worth living.”  

The first bitcoin “ATM” in the Internet Archive offices.  Honor system only. 

Who else but the Internet Archive would set up its own Bitcoin-to-cash converter box in the middle of its office? We convinced the sushi joint next door, Sake Zone, to accept bitcoin. (The owners closed down the sushi restaurant a few years ago, but when we reconnected last year the owner had hodled and said he was starting a bitcoin business!) Meanwhile, we will accept your cryptocurrencies in exchange for Internet Archive beanies and t-shirts.  And back in 2013, a reporter for Bitcoin Magazine wrote an Op-Ed about us paying our employees in BTC, urging others to donate to the Archive. His name was Vitalik Buterin.

Bitcoin Magazine Op-Ed by Vitalik Buterin from February 22, 2013

Back in 2013, Buterin wrote:

When asked why he is so interested in accepting and promoting Bitcoin, Kahle’s response is one that many people in the Bitcoin community can relate to. “I think that at the Internet Archive,” Kahle said in a phone interview, “we see ourselves as coming from the net. As an organization we exist because of the internet, and I think of Bitcoin as a creature of the net. It’s a fantastically interesting idea, and to the extent that we’re all trying to build a new future, a better future, let’s try and round it out.”

So as we wind down our 2018 fundraising campaign, we ask our friends in the crypto community to help the Internet Archive “round it out.”  We’re about $460,000 from reaching our year-end goal. And right now your crypto donation will be matched 3-to-1. We accept dozens of altcoins now, thanks to a partnership with Changelly. Your support will go to building a new and better future on the net. We promise you, it will be crypto well spent.


How the Internet Archive is hacking the election

There are thirteen days until Election Day — not that we’re counting.

In this most bizarre, unruly, terrifying, fascinating election year, the Internet Archive has been in the thick of it. We’re using technology to give journalists, researchers and the public the power to take the political junk food that’s typically spoon fed to all of us—the political ads, the presidential debates, the TV news broadcasts—and help us to scrutinize the labels, dig into the content, and turn that meal into something more nutritious.

political ad archivePolitical ads. We’ve archived more than 2,600 different ads over at the Political TV Ad Archive and used the open source Duplitron created by senior technologist Dan Schultz to count nearly 300,000 airings of the TV ads across 26 media markets. We’ve linked the ads to OpenSecrets.org information on the sponsors—whether it’s a super PAC, a candidate committee, or a nonprofit “dark money” group.

Journalists have used the underlying metadata to visualize this information creatively, whether it’s the moment when anti-Trump ads started popping up in Florida (FiveThirtyEight.com), revealing how Ted Cruz favors “The Sound of Music”  (Time.com), or turning the experience of being an Iowa voter deluged with campaign ads into an 8-bit arcade-style video game (The Atlantic).

Meanwhile, our fact checking partners at FactCheck.org, PolitiFact, and The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, have fact checked 116 archived ads and counting, not just for the presidential candidates but for U.S. Senate, House, and local campaigns as well. Of the 70 ads fact check by PolitiFact reporters, nearly half have earned ratings ranging from “Mostly false” to “Pants on Fire!”

Example: this “Pants on Fire!” ad played nearly 300 times in Cleveland, Ohio, in August, where Democrat Ted Strickland is facing incumbent Senate Rob Portman, a Republican, in a competitive race.  The claim: that as governor, Democrat Ted Strickland proposed deep budget cuts and then “wasted over $250,000 remodeling his bathrooms at the governor’s mansion.” While it’s true Strickland proposed budget cuts in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the money used to renovate the governor’s mansion didn’t come from that pool of money. What’s more, the bathrooms in question were not for the governor’s personal use, but rather for tourists who come to visit the mansion.

Presidential debates. In the recent presidential debates, the Internet Archive opened up the TV News Archive to offer near real-time broadcasts while the candidates were still on the stage. Journalists and fact checkers used this online resource to share clips of key points in the debate.

Example: during the third presidential debate, Farai Chideya, a reporter for FiveThirtyEight.com, linked to this clip in a live blog about the debate, noting that abortion is a key issue for Trump’s core supporters.

Twenty-five hours after the debate, we learned that the public made 85 quotes from our TV News Archive debate footage, and that viewers played these more than one million times—a healthy response to this brand new experiment.

TV News. When the debates were over, we used the Duplitron on TV news to tally which debate clips were shared on such networks as CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC and shows such as “Good Morning America” and the “Today show.” Journalists used our downloadable data to create visualizations to show how TV News shows present the debates to viewers.

nytExample: this interactive visualization in The New York Times shows readers how the different cable news networks presented the first debates, and highlights the differences between them.

The Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Fusion and The Atlantic all have used the data to visualize how the debates were portrayed for viewers. In addition, we’re keeping our eyes open and Duplitron turned on for tracking how TV news shows cover other key video. For example, we have data on how TV news shows used clips from the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump bragged about groping women, and his subsequent apology.

In the thirteen days remaining before the election, we’ll continue to track airings of political ads in key battleground state markets, work with fact checking and journalist partners, and stay on the TV news beat with attention to breaking news.

And when it’s all over, we’re looking forward to working with our partners to figure out what just happened, what we’ve learned, and how we can help in the future.

 

Peter Schumann and his critically acclaimed Bread and Puppet Theater to Tour the West Coast

BPT_15_stills_Fire_Keene_Mar_26_0001_Marker_36-S

FIRE will be performed by the Bread and Puppet Theater in the Bay Area on Oct 7 and 9th. Photo Credit: ©Mark Dannenhauer

For the first time in fourteen years, artist Peter Schumann and the Bread and Puppet Theater will tour the West Coast, from Los Angeles to Seattle, with a series of performances, workshops, lectures, exhibits and parades. In the Bay Area from October 7-13th, Bread and Puppet Theater will be performing its original play, FIRE, which catapulted the company to international acclaim 50 years ago.

Founded by Peter Schumann in the early 1960’s, Bread and Puppet was enmeshed in the radical counterculture and earliest demonstrations against the U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia, becoming a familiar presence in the protest movement. Meanwhile, the puppets grew bigger and bigger—some up to 18 feet high—leading processions that spanned blocks and mobilized hundreds of people. Bread and Puppet became a seminal part of the avant-garde movement that included companies such as the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Living Theater and Robert Wilson.

©2012. Mark Dannenhauer. No commercial use without license. 16 Wilson Road, Shutesbury, MA 01072 413-259-1096.

©2012. Mark Dannenhauer

At a time when an economic divide threatens to tear San Francisco into the haves and the have-nots, Bread and Puppet brings its art and philosophy to everyone—from children to the elderly, artists to tech workers. Not only will members of the troupe lead a hands-on participatory workshop with local teachers and arts coordinators in the SF public schools, interact with theatre students at SF State, but they will also create free community events in San Francisco’s Dolores Park and the Tenderloin.

Bay Area supporters of the troupe’s accessible, radical art making can partake in a feast of events this October: 

  • FIRE Performance, followed by a Bread Reception at Omni Commons, 4799 Shattuck Ave, Oakland Tuesday, October 6th, 7pm.  Tickets $10 or donation. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.  (This show may not be appropriate for young children.)  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with music by the Brass Liberation Orchestra.
  • Pop-Up Exhibition:  JINGLES & GIANTS–Bread and Puppet Books at the San Francisco Center for the Book375 Rhode Island St, SFOpening reception with Peter and Elka Schumann, Oct 7, 6-8 p.m.  Pop Up exhibit runs Oct 7-12. Free to the Public.
  • FIRE Performance, followed by a Bread Reception at Sebastopol Grange, 6000 Sebastopol Ave, Hwy 12, Sebastopol.  Wednesday, October 7th, 7pm.  Tickets $20 or donation. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.  (This show may not be appropriate for young children.)
  • FIRE Performance, preceded by a Fiddle Talk by Peter Schumann, and followed by a Bread Reception at the Internet Archive, 300 Funston Ave, SF.  Friday, Oct 9, 7pm.  (Pre-show reception begins at 6 p.m.) We will also celebrate the dedication of the  Bread & Puppet Archive with filmmaker Dee Dee Halleck.  Tickets $20 or donation. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.  (This show may not be appropriate for young children.)
  • We are All in the Same BoatParade at Dolores Park, San Francisco, Saturday, Oct 10, 2pm. (Parade participants are welcome–wear white and meet at 10 a.m.., look for the big banners and boat!) Bread and Puppet will lead the We are All in the Same Boat parade with volunteers, musicians and community members, asking a provocative question for the Bay Area in 2015:  “What if we could all swim together?”
  • Bread and Puppet: Play in The Tenderloin, Luggage Store Annex/Tenderloin National Forest, 511 Ellis Street (between Hyde & Leavenworth) on Sunday, October 11, 1-4 p.m.  Bread and Puppet Cantastoria performances in the Tenderloin National Forest with bread and aioli; stew made “Fresh from the Oven” by Amara Tabor Smith; sewing with The Mending Library. In the Luggage Store Annex Gallery: Bread and Puppet’s “Cheap Art” Sale and art activities for children with ArtsEd4All. Free and open to all.

At the Internet Archive on Friday, Oct 9, come early for reception and sale of the company’s “Cheap art” from 6:00 p.m.  At 7 p.m. we will be dedicating the  Bread & Puppet Archive with Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle and filmmaker Dee Dee Halleck.  Thanks to Halleck’s generosity, the Internet Archive is preserving 150 hours of video of circuses, pageants, passion plays, 250 puppeteers, and making it available to the public.  You can stream Halleck’s documentary, compiled over many years, Ah! The Hopeful Pageantry of Bread and Puppet.  Then Peter Schumann, 81, will perform one of his famous Fiddle Talks, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience the philosophy of this visionary artist.  All this is leads up to a performance of FIRE.

ABOUT FIRE:

“Humans wage war against each other and their own mother: Nature.  Essentially war is the ferocious stupidity that insists on the application of brutality for problem solution, whether the brutality is directed at humans or mountaintops.  “FIRE” is a chapel against war, where you sit down to witness the effects of war while contemplating its opposite.”           

                                         –Peter Schumann

BPT_15_stills_Fire_Keene_Mar_26_0008_Marker_7

Photo Credit: ©Mark Dannenhauer

In 1965, Schumann and his troupe presented FIRE, a hard-hitting piece about the Vietnam War, to critical acclaim at the Nancy Theater Festival in France.  FIRE shows six days in a Vietnamese community, followed by a bombing raid and ending with a self-immolation. Dedicated to three Americans who immolated themselves in protest against the Vietnam War, FIRE is performed with life-size puppets that resemble their masked manipulators. 

MORE ON BREAD AND PUPPET THEATER:

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Photo Credit: ©Mark Dannenhauer

“We believe in puppet theater as a wholesome and powerful language that can touch men, women and children alike,” says Bread and Puppet Founder, Peter Schumann. “We hope that our plays are true and are saying what has to be said.” In 1963, Schumann started performing on New York’s Lower East Side with simple rod and hand puppet shows for children. The concerns of the first productions were rents, rats, police and the other pressing problems of the neighborhood. A dancer, sculptor and baker, Schumann starting baking and serving bread to his audiences.  As he notes in his Cheap Art Manifesto, “Art is food. You can’t eat it, but it feeds you.” Peter and his wife Elka called their work Bread and Puppet Theater. The name stuck.  

Since 1974, Bread and Puppet has spun its magic from a farm in Vermont, with hundreds of apprentices guided by a philosophy of living and working within available means, making “cheap art” that is easily accessible to the people. This frugal ethos permeates Bread and Puppet’s aesthetic, inextricable from the paper-mache, burlap, twine and cardboard that literally hold the puppets and shows together.

Internet Archive founder, Brewster Kahle, and his wife Mary K. Austin experienced Bread and Puppet parades in the ’80s and 90s, and ten years ago they brought their family to Glover, VT to experience the artmaking in person.  The Austin-Kahles milked cows and created paper mache puppets.  They paraded as chickens in Bread and Puppet pageants.  “I’ve never seen anything like it:  tremendous art created in a communal way.  Bread and Puppet forged a practice grounded in New England thrift that permeates everything they do,” explained Kahle. “ I’ve been a supporter ever since.  When I heard they were coming West,  I saw it as a chance to plant the seeds for a new era of  radical theater and creativity in San Francisco.”

Follow Bread and Puppet Theater’s Facebook Page.

CHECK BACK AT THIS SITE AS WE ADD MORE BREAD & PUPPET EVENTS! 

Celebrating 100 million tasks (uploading and modifying archive.org content)

Just over 8-1/2 years ago, I wrote a multi-process daemon in PHP that we refer to as “catalogd”.  It runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no rest!

It is in charge of uploading all content to our archive.org servers, and all changes to uploaded files.

We recently passed the 100 millionth “task” (upload or edit to an archive “item”).

After starting with a modest 100 or so tasks/day, we currently run nearly 100,000 tasks/day.  We’ve done some minor scaling, but of the most part, the little daemon has become our little daemon that could!

Here’s to the next 100 million tasks at archive.org!

-tracey