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"Sinatra: An American Icon", in Honor of the Frank Sinatra Centennial, at The New York Public Library of the Performing Arts
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"Sinatra: An American Icon", in Honor of the Frank Sinatra Centennial, at The New York Public Library of the Performing Arts

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner: Arts and Education

Sinatra: An American Icon
(Exhibition Website)
Official Exhibition of the Frank Sinatra Centennial
Open through September 4, 2015

Curated by the Grammy Museum of Los Angeles
In Collaboration with NY Public Library of the Performing Arts
And the Sinatra Family
Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery,
Shelby Cullom David Museum,
Bruno Walter Auditorium
The New York Library of the Performing Arts
111 Amsterdam Avenue at 65th Street

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 22, 2015

(For Sinatra Bio, Click Here)

After three separate visits to the incredibly magnetic, Sinatra centennial exhibit, “Sinatra: An American Icon”, at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, at Lincoln Center, I am sharing some impressions and photos. Frank Sinatra would have been 100 this coming December 12, 2015. But, first, some credits are due to the many collaborators and contributors to the New York, Los Angeles, and other touring exhibits, seminars, musical programs, historical films, original radio broadcasts, and Sinatra’s personal and professional memorabilia. Those credits belong to the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Sinatra Family, Frank Sinatra Enterprises, the Frank Sinatra Collection, USC School of Cinematic Arts, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, New Haven.

In addition to the Plaza level exhibition, situated between the Met Opera and Lincoln Center Theater, New Yorkers and visitors have been enjoying live programs, films, and seminars, that began on March 4, 2015. Remaining events are four Sinatra films in the Bruno Walter Auditorium, “Ocean’s Eleven” (July 2, 6 PM), “The Manchurian Candidate” (July 20, 6 PM), “Tony Rome” (August 6, 6 PM), and “The Detective” (August 17, 6 PM). In the Gallery at the Plaza level, the Sinatra exhibition runs through September 4, 2015, and is divided into numerous, inviting spaces, some including interactive media and headphones. Several sections display a poster of fascinating, explanatory content, like one describing Sinatra’s respect and admiration for Billie Holiday and Bing Crosby, with Ms. Holiday’s fur stole and Mr. Crosby’s hat and pipe on view. A metal acetate, 1934 Crosby record is included in this glass cabinet, as well as a 1947 photo of Ms. Holiday and Louis Armstrong. Another display showcases Sinatra’s admiration for Ella Fitzgerald, with whom he performed, with one of Ms. Fitzgerald’s gorgeous, green, sparkly gowns.

Frank Sinatra, the twentieth century’s most famous vocalist, called “The Voice” (For Sinatra Bio, Click Here), grew up in Hoboken, New Jersey, later calling Manhattan and Palm Springs “home”. Sinatra sang Bernstein’s “New York, New York (is a Helluva Town)”, from the 1949 film, On the Town, that featured Sinatra in a lead role, as well as Kander and Ebb’s “New York, New York”, the theme from the 1977 Scorsese film. A multi-screen, video wall features Sinatra, in nightclub mode, singing these tunes. In homage to Sinatra’s love of all that is New York, the exhibition includes Sinatra’s 1961 Yankees jacket. In homage to Sinatra’s love of Palm Springs, on view are Sinatra’s golf clubs and personal paintings, from his Rancho Mirage home art studio. Expanding on Sinatra’s vocal renown is a case of his actual Grammy Awards, including one from 1995, for “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance”, for his final album, “Duets II”. Sinatra had 30 Grammy nominations, nine Grammy Awards, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, received a Lifetime Achievement Award, and also a Grammy Legend Award.

A retro jukebox has 81 selections of Sinatra tunes for visitors to choose from, with dates and titles, like “All My Tomorrows” (1969) and “Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)” (1944), as the elegant songs waft through the air. Visitors can also practice audio engineering, in an interactive faux studio, playing with the song, “Teach Me Tonight”. At another spot in the exhibit, a replica of Capitol Studios, Studio A, as it was in 1953-62, where 19 albums were originally recorded, is available to visitors with headphones. You’ll also see sheet music for the Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh tune, “The Best Is Yet To Come”, a 1984 etching of Sinatra by Al Hirschfeld, Sinatra’s 1968 white boots, for a family Christmas album, Sinatra’s 1980’s tuxedo and shoes, his signature stage outfit, a lifelike, typical American living room from the 1940’s, with a large, standing radio playing from an April 24, 1947, CBS show, “Songs by Sinatra”, hosted by Sinatra, with guest vocalists including Jane Powell, and a tribute to Sammy Cahn, who co-wrote many of Sinatra’s songs, with lyricists, Jule Styne and Jimmy Van Heusen. Sinatra met Sammy Cahn, while singing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

You’ll also see a 1950’s ukulele, owned by Sinatra, used to woo and serenade a bride, a 1940’s Sinatra scrapbook, an original Capitol Records, Hi Fidelity record, “This is Sinatra!”, listing standards like “Young at Heart”. There’s even a tribute to Sinatra’s 1940’s fans, with a Bobby-Soxers outfit, photos of fans at the Paramount Theatre, and a letter to a new member of the Frank Sinatra Fan Club, with the newsletter, “Swoon Notes”. Be sure not to miss this classy and charismatic exhibition, a celebration of a classy and charismatic artist, Frank Sinatra. And, don’t forget to catch one of his films this summer, at the New York Library of Performing Arts. Kudos to Frank Sinatra..

"Sinatra, An American Icon" Exhibit:
Sinatra, Grammy and Oscar Winner,
Would Have Been 100 in 2015.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

A 1940's American, Living Room Radio
Plays 1947 "Songs by Sinatra", a CBS Show.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Billie Holiday and Bing Crosby, 1950's Memorabilia.
Ms. Holiday's Fox Stole, Mr. Crosby's Hat and Pipe.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne Memorabilia,
Sinatra's Early Songwriting Team,
Followed by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

1950's Sinatra Ukulele, Played When Wooing His Bride.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

1940's Sinatra Personal Scrapbook.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Video of 1945, Oscar-Winning, Sinatra Film,
"The House I Live In".
Sinatra Talks to Teens about Prejudice.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Sinatra's 1980's, Performance Tuxedo and Shoes.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Sinatra Won 9 Grammy Awards, 30 Nominations.
He also won Lifetime Achievement and Grammy Legend Awards.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Sheet Music, Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh,
"The Best Is Yet To Come", Written in 1959.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Original, "This Is Sinatra!", Capitol Records,
Hi Fidelity, Includes "Young-at-Heart" and "Love Is (The Tender Trap)".
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Replica of Capitol Studios, Studio A.
Sinatra Recorded Here, 1953-62, 19 Albums.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Visitor-Interactive Media, Audio Engineering.
Experience Being an Audio Engineer.
Song Is "Teach Me Tonight".
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Al Hirschfeld 1984, Sinatra Etching.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Sinatra's Original Artwork, 1985-87, All "Untitled".
2 Paintings on Right Were Christmas Gifts to Granddaughters.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Sinatra Personal Memorabilia.
1980's Pajamas, 1960's Hat, 1961 Yankees Jacket.
1968 Boots for Family Christmas Album, 1980's Notre Dame Football Cap.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Multiple Screen Video of Sinatra Concert,
Sinatra Sings "New York, New York" ("On the Town"),
and "New York, New York" ("Start Spreading the News...").
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Sinatra's 1980's Golf Clubs, Used in Palm Springs.
Sinatra's 1930's Suitcase, Originally His Mother's.
1970's-1990's Backstage Passes for Sinatra Shows.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, a Favorite Vocalist of Sinatra.
The Duo Toured and Performed, but Never Recorded.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

A Retro Jukebox, with 81 Sinatra Selections, with Dates,
Like "All My Tomorrows" (1969) and "Saturday Night" (1944).
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Poster for 1943 Film, "Higher and Higher",
with Sinatra, Jack Haley, Michele Morgan.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Teen Bobby-Soxers Memorabilia, an Homage to
the Paramount Theatre Shows, 1940's, with
a 1948, Sinatra Fan Club Letter and Questionnaire
to a New Member, Includes "Swoon Notes" Newsletter.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at