Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village

Music That Defined A Generation

DVD - 2013?
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Between 1961-1973, musicians in the Village banded together to sing about the radical social upheaval of the time, sparking everlasting political, social, and cultural changes. For the first time, the greatest singer-songwriters, authors, and performers from Greenwich Village reflect on how they collectively became the voice of a generation. Through poignant interviews, rare archival footage, and new live performances, they tell a story about community, courage, and, most importantly, music.
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] :, [Publisher not identified],, [2013?]
Edition: Widescreen
Branch Call Number: 782.42163097472 Gre
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (92 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in
video file,DVD video,region 1,rda


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Oct 26, 2015

Great for the historical commentary, the performances and the interviews with the stars and their supporters. These people were brilliant and energetic, full of ideas and creativity, would that we had similar today instead of the supercommercialized and/or manufactured pap we tend to get fed today.

Oct 14, 2015

Great documentary on the power of folk music and the singer/songwriter. Many of the videos contained in this movie were new to me and I found some of it eye opening. A very well explained story about the music I still love today.

Aug 17, 2015

Awesome documentary on the scene of the sixties and early seventies. If you lived and attended Yorkville in Toronto, The Chimney, the Gasworks, then you will enjoy this film.
Music history buffs will also enjoy the stories of those who made it possible for others to come, and seeing some of the originals was also very cool.

Aug 10, 2015

The archival footage was used well, and the film is quite inclusive (felt a bit like a laundry list at times). The interviews are, as per below, a bit self-aggrandizing - for example, yes, music and musicians brought many people to causes, that those same people might not have been attracted to on their own, and so the education and/or gathering attention function WAS important; however, the campaigns for civil rights, greater transparency re nuclear activity, etc. WOULD still have happened without the musicians' involvement. Also, British artists are pretty much ignored, and Canadian ones (Mitchell, Ian & Sylvia, et al) are treated as American-by-default. Still worth a watch, though.

Feb 13, 2015

This is an entertaining documentary, of interest to fans of the singer-songwriter music that record companies began to market in the 1960's as "Folk Music", or to anyone interested in either American social history or the history of popular music. The movie provides us with archival footage of life in "The Village", a broad sampling of singers performing, mostly on TV -- no one was filming in the coffee houses --and many veterans of the scene reminiscing about their experiences. (Bob Dylan is not among the interviewees, though he is given his due in the film.)

At particular times and places in human history, arts or other creative activities ( e,g., agricultural or technical innovation) flourish. The 1950s and 60s were dynamic times for music, and Greenwich Village was a site where musicians gathered to perform, and to challenge and encourage each other to transcend limitations. The film explores this old bohemian (since the 1850s) district of New York, from about 1950 to the early 1970s, although the lack of dates gives the impression that all these performers were interacting in the Village. While Village veterans talk a great deal about playing for love and not money, following Dylan's lucrative contract with Columbia in 1961, singers were attracted to Greenwich Village as a place where one could be noticed by record companies. Furthermore, many things besides music were happening in Greenwich Village -- Jose Feliciano mentions that gay people could be themselves there -- but the movie focuses almost entirely on music, while putting it in a broader social and political perspective.

Although the interviews are interesting, the nostalgic boasting and American myth-making become ludicrous. According to some speakers, the women's movement, the anti-war movement, and the civil rights movement all originated in the Village (never mind Martin Luther King, SCLC, NAACP, SNCC, and all those African-American students and church people, they must have been following these New York lefties). They also claim the Village as the birthplace of the singer-songwriter -- I'm not sure what Homer, and King David, of Psalms fame, were then. As well, they exaggerate the importance of Greenwich Village in the lives of many of the artists. For example, Joni Mitchell was in the Village for a year or two, after developing her singing and songwriting abilities in Saskatchewan, Toronto's Yorkville, and Detroit, and before continuing the process in California. Greenwich Village may have been important in her development, but it was hardly her alma mater as a songwriter. No doubt, the same is true of others in the film. Finally, speakers (there are many and most names appear once, so one loses track of who's who) credit Harry Chapin's use of his fame for charity work for inspiring all the great benefit concerts, including the Concert for Bangladesh, Live Aid, and Farm Aid. Truly inspirational, except that George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, neither of whom was involved with Greenwich Village, organized the Bangladesh Concert , which took place in August of 1971, before Chapin's first hit record in 1972. Live Aid was organized by Bob Geldoff, an Irishman, along with British people. Clearly, there would still be charity concerts, social activism, singing, and goodness in the world had Greenwich Village not existed.

The movie is worth seeing just to hear what protest song provokes police in St. Mark's Square. But when these people reminisce, keep in mind Dylan's autobiographical lies as Oscar Brand introduces him. Much of what is said is unadulterated nonsense. Furthermore, be warned: people with sensitivity to American self-aggrandizement may experience nausea.

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