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ArtNight Pasadena: Friday, October 9, 2009, 6:00-10:00 pm
Co-sponsored by the Baseball Reliquary and Pasadena Public Library
Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St., Pasadena, California

            The Baseball Reliquary and Pasadena Public Library present Touching All Bases: A Baseball Celebration, on Friday, October 9, 2009, from 6:00-10:00 pm, at the Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St., Pasadena, California. The programming is presented in conjunction with ArtNight Pasadena, the city’s biannual collaborative project celebrating art and culture. This multi-cultural and multi-generational evening will incorporate visual art, music, performance, literature, and moving image media to provide new insights into America’s national pastime and to explore its unparalleled creative possibilities. Admission is free.
The Baseball Reliquary is a Pasadena-based nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history. The Reliquary has presented numerous exhibitions and programs over the last ten years at the Pasadena Central Library, including its annual Shrine of the Eternals Induction Day, which has been held at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium since 1999.
The Baseball Reliquary’s ArtNight Pasadena programming is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. For further information, phone the Baseball Reliquary at (626) 791-7647; for directions and parking, phone the Pasadena Central Library at (626) 744-4066.

            A variety of visual art presentations will run throughout the evening from 6:00-10:00 pm. The library’s North Entrance display cases will feature 35 paintings by Ben Sakoguchi from his ongoing Orange Crate Label Series: The Unauthorized History of Baseball. Born in San Bernardino in 1938, Sakoguchi taught in the Art Department at Pasadena City College for many years until his 1997 retirement. In over four decades as a professional artist, Sakoguchi has shown his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions, primarily at schools, museums, and other nonprofit venues within the United States. He has been awarded two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and was a recipient of a Flintridge Foundation Award for Visual Artists in 2005-2006. In 2004, Sakoguchi began a dedicated look at how baseball has reflected American culture through a series of small paintings done in the style of orange crate labels. His Orange Crate Label Series: The Unauthorized History of Baseball currently numbers over 200 paintings.
The display cases in the Humanities Wing will feature Viva Cuba Beisbol, a compelling journey into Cuban baseball as seen through the lens of Los Angeles-based photographer Byron Motley. Granted unprecedented access to the Cuban national teams by the Castro government, Motley set out to capture the spirit of the game which thrives in this rarely seen remarkable world. His photographs document Cuba’s national obsession: how the sport of baseball transcends politics, captures the hearts of those living on the island, and weaves itself into the fabric of everyday life. Images from Viva Cuba Beisbol are currently on exhibit at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Motley’s photographic work has been shown in galleries and museums in the United States and Europe and has been featured in a variety of international publications, including Vanity Fair. A performer as well, Motley has appeared on Broadway and worked with numerous luminaries including Celine Dion, Natalie Cole, Dionne Warwick, Barry Manilow, and others. Multi-talented, Motley is also currently producing a television documentary about the historic Negro Baseball Leagues.

Baseball on the Malecon Making Contact
Viva Fidel!
Photographs from Byron Motley’s Viva Cuba Beisbol display for "Touching All Bases: A Baseball Celebration."

A display in the Main Hall will feature Tina Hoggatt’s Eight Ballplayers from the Negro Leagues, a collection of prints and drawings of legendary African-American players in the years before the integration of baseball. Utilizing the linocut printmaking technique and foundry type, Hoggatt’s extraordinary portraits date to 1987 and include Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, Ray Dandridge, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, Satchel Paige, and Willie Wells. Hoggatt’s artworks are in the collection of the Pasadena Public Library.
On view in the Technology Learning Center and projected on a screen in the Main Hall will be historic photographs and oral history excerpts from the Latino Baseball History Project: The Southern California Experience, a collaborative effort between the Baseball Reliquary and the John M. Pfau Library at California State University San Bernardino. The multi-faceted project is documenting and interpreting the central role baseball has played in the social and cultural histories of Southern California’s Latino communities. When fully implemented, the project will include an archive at the John M. Pfau Library, oral history documentation conducted by students at several universities, traveling exhibitions, a Web site, and related activities. The Latino Baseball History Project‘s ArtNight Pasadena media production is being coordinated by project committee member M. Malia Vincent-Finney, Founder, CEO, and President of the Haili Wailele Film/Arts Foundation and The Living Museum of California Indian Cultures. 

            A highlight of the evening will be performances and moving image media presentations in the library’s Donald R. Wright Auditorium. Dan Kwong will present his solo performances, Secrets of the Samurai Centerfielder and Dodgertown. Kwong is an award-winning multimedia performance artist and playwright who has been presenting his solo work nationally and internationally since 1989. His work combines personal stories with historical context (and a generous sense of humor) to explore the many facets of identity. The significance of his body of work is acknowledged in A History of Asian American Theatre (E. Kim, Cambridge Univ. Press), as well as his instrumental role in nurturing the next generation of Asian American solo performers through his performance workshops. His book From Inner Worlds to Outer Space: The Multimedia Performances of Dan Kwong (Univ. of Michigan Press) was published in 2004. He has performed with Great Leap since 1990 and serves as Project Director of their Collaboratory mentorship program. Kwong is a Resident Artist at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica and is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
From 6:15 to 6:45 pm, Kwong will present an excerpt from his groundbreaking solo performance, Secrets of the Samurai Centerfielder (1989), in which he reveals his eccentric passion for the game, along with tales of growing up an Asian American baseball fanatic in Los Angeles and his philosophical musings on life as viewed from the outfield.
From 7:15 to 7:45 pm, Kwong will present Dodgertown (2004), a funny yet deeply moving piece about growing up a devoted follower of the home team, including Kwong’s special technique for getting into Dodger games for free, professional sports as a substitute for Prozac, and a stunning vision at Dodger Stadium.
Both performances will be followed by a brief question-and-answer session and discussion with the audience.

On the 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking performance, Dan Kwong will present an excerpt from Secrets of  the Samurai  Centerfielder for "Touching All Bases: A Baseball Celebration." Photos courtesy of Jaimee Itagaki  (color) and Aaron Rapoport (b&w).

            From 8:00-9:00 pm in the DRW Auditorium, Dan Einstein, Television Archivist at the UCLA Film and Television Archive, will present a couple of Dodger "diamonds" from its prestigious holdings. The UCLA Film and Television Archive is one of the largest collections of moving image media materials in the world, and the largest held by any university. Its vaults hold more than 250,000 motion picture and television titles as well as 27 million feet of newsreel film that combined presents an all-encompassing documentation of the 20th century and beyond. The Archive is internationally renowned for its pioneering efforts to preserve and showcase moving image media and is dedicated to ensuring that the history of our time, captured through moving images, is explored and enjoyed for generations to come.
Einstein will introduce an excerpt from The Dinah Shore Chevy Show (NBC, April 16, 1961; 11 minutes, color), starring Dinah and the 1961 Los Angeles Dodgers. The always delightful Dinah Shore is visited onstage by Dodgers coach Leo Durocher and they joke around about Durocher’s legendary temper. They are then joined by nine players from the 1961 team: Don Demeter, Don Drysdale, Gil Hodges, Wally Moon, Johnny Podres, John Roseboro, Larry Sherry, Duke Snider, and Maury Wills. Dinah is presented with a dress decorated with the Dodgers logo after which she sings a song with Leo and the boys. (Special thanks to Research Video.)
Einstein will also show the complete This is Your Life: Roy Campanella (NBC, October 1, 1958; 30 minutes, black-and-white). Roy Campanella, recently paralyzed in an auto accident, is the honored subject on this edition of the long-running This is Your Life program. Hosted by Ralph Edwards and featuring appearances by Roy’s family and friends (including Dodger manager Walter Alston and players Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese, Don Newcombe, and Willie Mays), this program is a loving tribute to the future Hall-of-Famer at a crucial moment in his life. (Special thanks to Ralph Edwards Productions.)

            From 9:00-10:00 pm in the DRW Auditorium, Jon Leonoudakis, a native San Franciscan, baseball fan, and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, will introduce a screening of his new 30-minute documentary, 5:04 p.m.: A First Person Account of the 1989 World Series Earthquake Game. What if you were a baseball fan whose dream was to see his team play in a World Series game? And after 30 years of waiting, you finally got to that game, only to have it interrupted by a 7.1 earthquake? This is the story of the 1989 World Series Earthquake Game, a first-hand account from Jon Leonoudakis, a die-hard fan of the San Francisco Giants who set out to document his once-in-a-lifetime experience at the World Series with a VHS camcorder and a still camera. The tale evolves from a provincial experience involving two local baseball teams (the Giants and Oakland A’s) in the sport’s penultimate contest, as Leonoudakis interviews fans in the parking lot before the game. Then, in fifteen seconds, the story takes a radical left turn into chaos and tragedy, and explodes into an historic and international event. And standing in the middle of it all is a baseball fan with a camera. Twenty years later, Leonoudakis revisits the story, featuring his original video footage, photographs, and perspective as one who participated in the entire experience. The documentary is flecked with encounters of the human spirit and reunites the filmmaker with a stranded fan he helped rescue in the tension-filled aftermath of the quake in Candlestick Park’s parking lot.
A graduate of Loyola Marymount University’s Film and TV Production program, Leonoudakis has covered work across a wide spectrum in his 30 years in the entertainment field, from the crazy days of early ’80s music videos, big budget national TV car commercials, and special film and bleeding-edge interactive projects for museums and theme parks. 5:04 p.m.: A First Person Account of the 1989 World Series Earthquake Film is his first outing as producer, director, writer, and editor in the documentary genre.

            Los Angeles folk singer and baseball balladeer Ross Altman, best known for writing songs that comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable, has carried on the tradition of protest songs popularized by Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Peter, Paul and Mary. He will present two performances of his original baseball songs in the Humanities Wing from 7:15-7:45 pm, and again from 9:15-9:45 pm.
Ross Altman is left-handed, like his childhood baseball hero Lou Gehrig, and that’s pretty much where the resemblance ends. He learned early on that the only position in life for which left-handedness was an advantage is first base, so he started practicing. Guitar, that is. Now L.A.’s most sought-after activist folk singer, Altman, with just a guitar and a harmonica, brings his childhood heroes to life in songs that evoke both laughter and tears — like the national pastime itself. He writes songs about the pre-steroid era in baseball, highlighted by Babe Ruth’s training regimen of 12 hot dogs washed down with cold beer. Altman overlooks Ted Williams’ cryogenic burial, Pete Rose’s gambling, and Mickey Mantle’s drinking, and pays tribute to their heroism on and off the field. And he pulls a song about Jackie Robinson out of his hat that places Jackie at the forefront of the civil rights movement. But his first hero remains his most long-lasting — Altman began his baseball songwriting period with a moving tribute to the Pride of the Yankees, Lou Gehrig. In addition to the songs, Ross’ show is filled with anecdotes about these sports immortals, such as what advice Mickey Mantle’s father gave him when he left Oklahoma for the Big Apple, and the best advice on umpiring you have never heard — until now. Play ball! 

            Poets Michael C Ford and Holly Prado will present two readings of their baseball poems and memoirs in the Humanities Wing from 6:15-6:45 pm, and again from 8:15-8:45 pm.
A legendary voice in the Los Angeles poetry scene, Michael C Ford was instrumental in organizing a baseball poetry reading at the Pasadena Public Library in 2002, which was chronicled in a CD, The Los Angeles Bards Live in Pasadena, produced by the Baseball Reliquary and Hen House Studios. Ford has produced a steady stream of print and recorded product since 1970. He received a Pulitzer Prize nomination for Emergency Exits (1998), his volume of selected works from 1970 through 1995, and a Grammy nomination for his 1986 debut vinyl LP, Language Commando. A baseball fan whose plays have been staged internationally, including Termite Palace, a one-act homage to the last wooden stadium in the Pacific Coast League, Ford often draws from history and politics in his witty and intelligent writings. Among the works he will read for this event is "From Flatbush to George Bush," his acclaimed narrative poem about the ramifications of the Dodgers’ move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles over fifty years ago.
Nebraska-born Holly Prado moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s, where she has been an active and influential member of the Southern California literary community as a poet, educator, and participant in live poetry readings and literary events for over four decades. Her many published poetry collections include Nothing Breaks Off at the Edge (1976), Losses (1977), These Mirrors Prove It (1984), Specific Mysteries (1990), and Esperanza: Poems for Orpheus (1998). Her poetry has also appeared in various anthologies, poetry journals, and magazines such as Ms. and Rolling Stone. In addition to poetry, Prado has contributed essays and reviews to several periodicals, notably the Los Angeles Times Book Review, and published two books of prose, Feasts (1976) and Gardens (1985). She became a founding member of the Cahuenga Press Poets Publishing Cooperative in 1989 with James Cushing, Phoebe MacAdams, and her husband, fellow poet and baseball fan Harry Northup.

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