Mind-splitting archive of Lou Reed's life unveiled
March 2, 2017 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Rolling Stone: Today, on what would have been Lou Reed's 75th birthday, Laurie Anderson and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center announced the latter's acquisition of Reed's complete personal archive. It includes 300 linear feet of correspondence, business papers and photographs; more than 600 hours of concert, studio, demo and interview tapes; 1,300 video recordings; and extensive personal memorabilia, including his LP collection.

Among the many highlights revealed during an exclusive preview for Rolling Stone a week before the announcement: an original cassette from Reed's last night onstage with the Velvets in August 1970 at Max's Kansas City in New York; memos from RCA Records detailing David Bowie's role – and payment – as Reed's producer on Transformer; a personal phone book with listings for Allen Ginsberg, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno and favorite restaurants on the road; and detailed itineraries and receipts from Reed's notoriously confrontational mid-and-late Seventies tours. One five-inch reel of tape from May 1965 in an unopened package, is thought to be the Velvets' earliest demo, made at Pickwick Records where Reed was then employed as a staff songwriter. The archive will be accessible to the general public as well as scholars and researchers. A selection of material is on display through March 20th at Lincoln Center and at NYPL's main building on Fifth Avenue.
posted by porn in the woods (24 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
*breathes heavily*
posted by lumpenprole at 12:37 PM on March 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


More info from Gothamist

The Lou Reed Archive measures approximately 300 linear feet of paper records, electronic records, and photographs, and approximately 3,600 audio and 1,300 video recordings. The Archive documents the history of Reed’s life as a musician, composer, poet, writer, photographer, and tai-chi student through his own extensive papers, photographs, recordings and other collections of materials. The archive spans Reed’s creative life—from his 1958 Freeport High School band, The Shades, his job as a staff songwriter for the budget music label, Pickwick Records, and his rise to prominence through The Velvet Underground and subsequent solo career, to his final performances in 2013. The collection comprises studio notes, galleys and proofs, master and unreleased recordings, business papers, personal correspondence, poster art, fan gifts, rare printed material and Reed’s substantial photography collection.
posted by porn in the woods at 12:37 PM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


OH MY GOD.

I'm pretty sure "300 linear feet" means roughly 300 of those 12"x10"x15" cardboard storage boxes. (Can the librarians among us confirm?)

This is AMAZING.

The archive will be accessible to the general public as well as scholars and researchers.

I will probably never have the opportunity to go, but as a person who loves spending time in archives, this makes me so happy.

What a tremendous gift to all of us.

Thank you for posting this, porn in the woods!
posted by kristi at 12:43 PM on March 2, 2017 [6 favorites]


fuck yeah
posted by ouke at 12:58 PM on March 2, 2017


Good! Stuff like this too often gets pieced out at estate sales or just dumped. It's nice that someone kept it together.
posted by Slinga at 1:05 PM on March 2, 2017


Only hoping for more songs like “Do the Ostrich”
posted by scruss at 1:26 PM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


linear foot

n. ~ 1. A measure of shelf space necessary to store documents. - 2. A measure of motion picture stock; film footage.

Notes:
A linear foot measures twelve inches for documents stored on edge, or twelve inches high for documents stored horizontally. For letter size documents, it is slightly less than a cubic foot. The number of leaves within a linear foot varies with the thickness of the material.
posted by howfar at 1:35 PM on March 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure "300 linear feet" means roughly 300 of those 12"x10"x15" cardboard storage boxes. (Can the librarians among us confirm?)

Linear foot, as defined by the Society of American Archivists
n. ~ 1. A measure of shelf space necessary to store documents. - 2. A measure of motion picture stock; film footage.

Notes:
A linear foot measures twelve inches for documents stored on edge, or twelve inches high for documents stored horizontally. For letter size documents, it is slightly less than a cubic foot. The number of leaves within a linear foot varies with the thickness of the material.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:36 PM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


Jinx, howfar - I owe you a Coke.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:36 PM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


Splendid! I'll look forward to it.
posted by howfar at 1:40 PM on March 2, 2017


...including his LP collection.

I've always enjoyed borrowing library records.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:43 PM on March 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


New Yorker:
It’s much more than toll-booth receipts. A few days before, I’d gone to Long Island City to explore the archive for myself. Jonathan Hiam, the curator of the American-music division and the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, had pulled a sampling of the various types of materials, in boxes spread across a big table, and I delved in. Among other things, I discovered: a small fan-made Velvet Underground kaleidoscope, with pictures of the band inside and out; a manila folder marked “florida arrest” in pencil, full of documents pertaining to a 1973 onstage-obscenity charge; a photo of Reed with John Cale, looking rather blockheaded, Moe Tucker, and Sterling Morrison, with a Post-it note on the back that said “John doesn’t like”; a letter from Martin Scorsese urging Reed to meet with Johnny Depp, whom he wanted to star in a planned film of “Dirty Boulevard”; a note from Mick Rock, with a huge handwritten P.S.: “For your record, Victor Bockris will get nothing from me”; a fax from Anderson, from New York to Italy: “Hello Darlin’! Hope your flight was super smooth & that you’ve been out for a plate of pasta”; a handwritten note from Václav Havel that begins “Dear Lou, Welcome in Prague!” and ends “PS: Strangely enough, I am still president of this interesting country.”
posted by porn in the woods at 3:01 PM on March 2, 2017 [5 favorites]


oh this is joy!
posted by PinkMoose at 3:03 PM on March 2, 2017


Fantastic!
posted by ezust at 3:10 PM on March 2, 2017


Today is still my birthday (you better believe I've made hay of this coincidence) and this a wonderful gift.
posted by invitapriore at 3:46 PM on March 2, 2017


I work RIGHT BY The NYPL Performing Arts Library. I am totally going to blow a lunch hour in there some time soon.
posted by SansPoint at 4:43 PM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


LOOOUUUU
posted by vrakatar at 5:50 PM on March 2, 2017


See, wonders like this is why I just can't leave New York Fuckin' City. Damn right, I'm gonna go check this out—in some cases, literally!
posted by droplet at 7:46 PM on March 2, 2017


I'm pretty sure "300 linear feet" means roughly 300 of those 12"x10"x15" cardboard storage boxes. (Can the librarians among us confirm?)
Linear foot, as defined by the Society of American Archivists
n. ~ 1. A measure of shelf space necessary to store documents. - 2. A measure of motion picture stock; film footage.
Notes:
A linear foot measures twelve inches for documents stored on edge, or twelve inches high for documents stored horizontally. For letter size documents, it is slightly less than a cubic foot. The number of leaves within a linear foot varies with the thickness of the material.


Also, the number of boxes in that 300 linear feet depends on whether the documents are stored in letter-sized or legal-sized folders (acid-free, of course). If letter (12"), each box will hold 15" of documents; if legal (15"), then each box will hold 12". So you can fit more letter-sized folders/documents in the same box.

It also depends on whether NYPL uses the cubic-foot archival boxes and not the smaller (ca. 4" wide) gray Hollinger boxes.

DORKS (Drunken Overworked Records Keepers) represent!
posted by e-man at 8:14 PM on March 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


Maybe we'll get the chance to hear the 64-minute Berlin. My guess is, editing the album down to 49 minutes was an improvement, but I wanna hear it anyway.
posted by in278s at 9:07 PM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


Well this is great. Once again celebrating the life work of a wife abuser. But that's the music industry in a nutshell- untidy details like that get swept under the rug.
posted by happyroach at 12:31 AM on March 3, 2017


The references to abuse coming up on Google are from the 70s. Maybe he got his shit together? Can't see Laurie Anderson putting up with that shit.
posted by kokaku at 12:59 AM on March 3, 2017 [3 favorites]


My new life goal: Visiting the archive and playing one album -- just one! -- from Lou Reed's personal collection.
posted by Gelatin at 5:21 AM on March 3, 2017


Maybe we'll get the chance to hear the 64-minute Berlin. My guess is, editing the album down to 49 minutes was an improvement, but I wanna hear it anyway.

About which, Lester Bangs once wrote, if I recall correctly, Who else but Lou Reed could puke up such a gargantuan slab of maggoty rancor like Berlin ?
posted by y2karl at 8:15 AM on March 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


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