About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Intersection of Books, Music, and Art

Bryan at the piano
One lovely November day early in my blogging career I walked into the Book Nook and Java Shop in Montague, Michigan. I saw a piano in the corner and was immediately hooked on this delightful bookstore. Today nearly six years later I am still a fan of the place and once a month make a drive of more than an hour to attend the Book Nook book club hosted by store owner, Bryan Uecker, also a concert pianist. That explains the piano. Since my first visit to the shop, it has moved to a larger location and expanded to include Best Cellars wine bar as well as a small stage where musical performances are now a frequent occurrence. I recently had the opportunity not only to hear Bryan play, but also to witness what I found to be a stunning intersection of books, music, and art. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Allow me to provide some background.

A few months ago our club selection for the month was a book entitled Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan, which details the life and work of early 1900's photographer, Edward S. Curtis, who devoted his life to capturing in photographs a vanishing race of Native Americans. In the century since he began his epic quest, Curtis's now iconic images have been praised and collected and provide a lasting cultural legacy.

This past April and May Egan's book was the selected title for a community read in nearby Muskegon, and a special exhibit of his artistic genius, the complete collection of his Native American images, was put on display at the Muskegon Museum of Art from May to September.

Here is a brief video about the Curtis exhibit.

So how, you are probably wondering, does all of this involve music and Bryan at the piano? During the winter of 1911-1912, Curtis traveled the country with a “picture opera,” a collection of lectures, motion pictures, and photos accompanied by music composed for the tour by Henry Gilbert. It was some of Gilbert's music that I was privileged to hear Bryan play at the Book Nook in a moving moment also accompanied by slides of Curtis photos. Later the following week I visited the impressive Curtis exhibit at the Muskegon Art Museum. So what began with reading a book, led to hearing a musical performance, and culminated in witnessing a spectacular art display.

If you live in the Muskegon area, I highly recommend a trip to see Curtis's astounding and inspirational work. But you have to hurry. The exhibit only runs until September 10.

For more information about the Picture Opera and Henry Gilbert's music, including a link to a video recreation of a part of the slide show with accompanying piano, click the link below.

A Vanishing Race Picture Opera

1 comment:

Susan said...

I love all the art connections you made though one book!