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The Hardware Poets Occasional [Vol. II

The Hardware Poets Occasional [Vol. II, March 1964]

Bloedow, Jerry and Diane Wakoski [Editors] 8vo (8 1/2 x 5 1/2 pages; 217 x 140 mm), 23, [1] mimeographed stapled pages. The scarce second issue of a newsletter issued to support the activities of the Hardware Poets Theatre, an Off Off Broadway venture featuring plays, poetry readings, films, and music. The theatre was located in a drafty loft above a hardware store on West 54th Street. The founders were Peter Levin, Audrey Davis, and Jerry and Elaine Bloedow, who subsidized the running costs. (For more on this group, as well as other Off Off Broadway companies, see the invaluable "Playing Underground: A Critical History of the 1960s Off-Off-Broadway Movement," by Stephen J. Bottoms, The University of Michigan Press, 2006.) Contributors include Audrey Davis, who writes about the warm audience reaction to a recent production; Peter Levin on the theatre's goal of remaining amateur in the financial sense but professional in other senses; poems by Robert Kelly, Jerome Rothenberg, and George Brecht, among others; and a sad piece by Diane Wakoski on encountering a woman who had collapsed on the ground, her children screaming, "Daddy, make Mommy wake up!" Not surprisingly for a venture that operated on a shoestring, there are also several requests for money. This copy was mailed to the great photographer Fred McDarrah at the Village Voice; his contact details appear on the lower wrapper. A scarce bit of ephemera from an exciting time in the Off Off Broadway and New York poetry scene. There were no other copies in commerce as of September 1, 2019. SCARCE. CONDITION: Vertical crease from mailing, some soiling to wrappers, sticker and postmark to lower wrapper, internally clean, bright, and unmarked. A Very Good copy.
Les Ballets Russes de Serge de Diaghilew par Michel Georges-Michel

Les Ballets Russes de Serge de Diaghilew par Michel Georges-Michel, Waldemar George / Le Costume Théatral par Nathalie Gontcharova

Ballets Russes] Georges-Michel, Michel; Waldemar George; and Nathalie Gontcharova Small 4to (10 5/8 x 7 3/8 inches; 270 x 185 mm), 31, [1] pages, in printed wrappers. A sumptuously illustrated tribute to Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, issued in 1930, one year after his death. Diaghilev (rendered here as Diaghilew) created one of the world's most innovative ballet and opera companies and hired some of the greatest artists of the 20th century to design sets and costumes. Artists represented here include Picasso, Laurencin, Braque, Derain, de Chirico, Rouault, Bakst, and others. The book features 19 plates depicting sets and costumes, with four of the plates in color. There is also a photo of Diaghilev taken several days before his death at the young age of 57. Michel Georges-Michel and Waldemar George have written introductions, while Nathalie Gontcharova has written about costumes; the book is illustrated with several of her designs for sets and costumes. There is also a complete list of the troupe's productions and a list of all the artists who designed sets and costumes. All text is in French. This book is scarce in the market and should not be confused with a 1955 revised edition. An altogether wonderful tribute to the Ballets Russes. SCARCE. CONDITION: Light edge wear, toning to the wrappers, especially the lower wrapper. Internally, clean, bright, and unmarked. A beautiful, Near Fine copy of a scarce book.
Poslednie Dni (Pushkin) [The Last Days (Pushkin)]

Poslednie Dni (Pushkin) [The Last Days (Pushkin)]

Bulgakov, M[ikhail] Single printed sheet folded to create [4] pages, measuring 8 5/8 x 5 5/8 inches (220 x 144 mm) when folded.Rare playbill for the Mikhail Bulgakov play The Last Days (Pushkin). Bulgakov, best known for his novel The Master and Margarita, wrote the play in 1935 and hoped it would appear in 1937, the centenary of Pushkin's death. Alas, no theatre would touch it because the censors had banned Bulgakov's "Cabal of Hypocrites" in 1936. Bulgakov died in 1940, so the play was never performed during his lifetime. But the situation changed dramatically just a short time later. During World War II, Soviet theatres "sought plays that would appeal to patriotic feeling." (Lesley Milne, Mikhail Bulgakov: A Critical Biography, Cambridge University Press, 2009, page 2). And Bulgakov's Pushkin fit right in; it concerned the last days of Russia's greatest poet. The play opened at the Moscow Art Theatre (MAT) on April 10, 1943. The New York Times called it a "brilliantly mounted spectacular play." (This brief reference appeared in the April 26, 1943, obituary for Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, the co-founder of MAT.) MAT printed 5,000 copies of this playbill, since it was meant to be used throughout the 1942-43 season. But many playbills, printed on cheap wartime paper, probably did not survive in the midst of World War II. There were no other copies in commerce as of August 30, 2019. SCARCE. CONDITION: Soiling and pencil notes to cover and to first inside page, horizontal fold, heavy creasing. Fragile, owing to the poor quality of the paper (issued during World War II). Fair only.
Ivan Susanin [A Life for the Tsar]

Ivan Susanin [A Life for the Tsar]

Glinka, M.I. Single printed sheet folded to create [4] pages, measuring 6 1/2 x 4 1/8 inches (163 x 106 mm) when folded.Rare playbill for the opera Ivan Susanin, performed at the Bolshoi Theatre, on September 26, 1943. This was a notable production because it was the Bolshoi's first performance in Moscow after returning to the city in World War II. The Bolshoi company -- along with the government and many other institutions -- had been evacuated to the city of Kuybyshev (now Samara) following the German invasion in 1941. The Bolshoi Theatre itself had been damaged by a bomb in 1941, so this performance marked the theatre's reopening.The great bass Maxim Mikhailov sang the role of Susanin, while the soprano Valeria Barsova appeared as Antonida, and the tenor Nikandr S. Hanaev sang the role of Sobinin. Samuil Samosud directed. An Associated Press report appearing in the September 27, 1943, edition of The New York Times hailed the performance as the "most brilliant theatrical night of the war period."The jammed house was resplendent with generals and soldiers on leave from the front and some civilian leaders, but Premier Joseph Stalin and other leaders were not present," the AP report continued. "Tickets to the opening were restricted to the highest Soviet officials, the heads of diplomatic missions and foreign correspondents."Ivan Susanin was a Russian national hero of the early 17th century. Until the Soviet era, the opera was known as "A Life for the Tsar." But the Soviet authorities, unsurprisingly, didn't want the Tsar portrayed as the savior of the country. So the Russian poet Sergei Gorodetsky modified the libretto, making Ivan Susanin the country's savior and reviving the original title that Glinka had chosen for the opera.This playbill is rare; 1,000 copies were printed and many probably did not survive. There were no other copies in commerce as of August 30, 2019. RARE. CONDITION: Three horizontal folds, some soiling and writing in yellow to the recto and verso, general handling wear. About Good.
The Hardware Poets Occasional [Vol. 1 #1

The Hardware Poets Occasional [Vol. 1 #1, February 1964]

Bloedow, Jerry and Diane Wakoski [Editors] 8vo (8 1/2 x 5 1/2 pages; 217 x 140 mm), 16 mimeographed, unstapled pages (the four sheets laid in to one another). The scarce first issue of a newsletter issued to support the activities of the Hardware Poets Theatre, an Off Off Broadway venture featuring plays, poetry readings, films, and music. The theatre was located in a drafty loft above a hardware store on West 54th Street. The founders were Peter Levin, Audrey Davis, and Jerry and Elaine Bloedow, who subsidized the running costs. (For more on this group, as well as other Off Off Broadway companies, see the invaluable "Playing Underground: A Critical History of the 1960s Off-Off-Broadway Movement," by Stephen J. Bottoms, The University of Michigan Press, 2006.) Contributors include Audrey Davis, who tells what the theatre has been up to in recent months, as well as publicity for three plays by Susan Sherman. The poet Diane Wakoski, who is listed as "Software Editor," asks, in a rather roundabout way, for poetry contributions. There's also an article by Peter Levin on how HPP differs from Broadway. "God keep us from the pros who always come through and try nothing new," he writes. Not surprisingly for a venture that operated on a shoestring, there are requests for money. This copy was mailed to the great photographer Fred McDarrah at the Village Voice; his contact details appear on the lower wrapper. A scarce bit of ephemera from an exciting time in the Off Off Broadway and New York poetry scene. There were no other copies in commerce as of September 1, 2019. SCARCE. CONDITION: Vertical crease from mailing, some soiling to wrappers, sticker and postmark to lower wrapper, fading of the mimeographed contents of a number of pages but still readable. About Very Good.
Neither death nor Alcatraz will keep the truth hidden. I will never be forced to bear false witness.

Neither death nor Alcatraz will keep the truth hidden. I will never be forced to bear false witness.

Rosenberg Case] Single sheet folded to make [4] pages, measuring 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches (215 x 140 mm), when folded. Rare leaflet issued on behalf of Morton Sobell, who was a defendant with Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in the Cold War's biggest spy trial. In 1951, all three were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union. Sobell was sentenced to 30 years in prison and released in 1969. The Rosenbergs were executed in 1953. This leaflet features a cover portrait of Sobell by Hugo Gellert and, inside, portraits of the Rosenbergs by Pablo Picasso. Underneath the Rosenberg portraits is this quote from them: "History will record the truth and give the public a chance to right the great wrong done us." It's possible this leaflet was sent to contributors to Sobell's legal defense; it's printed on high-quality paper, unlike a lot of propaganda leaflets of this period. Sobell had always asserted his innocence -- until 2008. In a bombshell interview with The New York Times, he admitted he had indeed been a Soviet spy. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, call it that," he said. "I never thought of it as that in those terms." He died in New York on December 26, 2018, at age 101. OCLC First Search shows no institutional holdings of this leaflet. Nor were there any other copies in commerce as of August 20, 2019. RARE. Condition: Some soiling to covers and a few light creases. A Very Good copy.