How the Met Ball became NYC’s Biggest Night

The Met Ball began in 1948 as a glorified costume party for New York’s fashion industry, but has since evolved into an exclusive extravaganza where top celebrities mingle with high society and the fashion world. The Ball is now famously hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour and she personally approves every one of the 600 invites. Nearly every woman describes the experience as her “Cinderella” moment (and so does Adrien Brody!). The Hollywood Reporter recalls the history and glamour of a unique event.

Met Ball and the “Circus of Ambition”: Nicole Kidman, Michael Kors, Cher Tell All in THR’s Oral History, 4.8.16

The Birth of NYC Punk Rock

Cuepoint provides fascinating excerpts from New York Rock, a book about the punk rock/counterculture explosion in 70’s New York City. Included are anecdotes from Joey Ramone, Lester Bangs, and Glenn Danzig about the origins and oddballs as well as legendary venues such as CBGB, the Paladium, and the Lone Star.

New York Rock: The Birth of Punk, an Oral History, 10.11.16

“Taxi Driver” (1976)

Taxi Driver began shooting in New York City in the sweltering summer of 1975 with the lowlifes running wild as the city teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. Robert De Niro’s iconic Travis Bickle, a deeply unstable cab driver, often alone in his “metal coffin,” seethes against the open depravity: “Someday a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets.” Called the first modern horror film, Taxi Driver used a $1.5M budget to create an American classic, grossing $28.8M domestically, and winning the Palme D’Or in Cannes. Hollywood Reporter brings together the now-legendary star power of Martin Scorcese, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Paul Schrader, and De Niro to discuss the fascinating origins and production of Taxi Driver.

‘Taxi Driver’ Oral History: De Niro, Scorsese, Foster, Schrader Spill All on 40th Anniversary, 4.7.16

Mike Nichols: Man of Many Talents

Often called the Emperor of the New York arts scene, Mike Nichols lived the life of 100 men and was rewarded with the ultimate artistic distinction: EGOT. Vanity Fair gathers many of the luminaries that he worked with for a remembrance.

Mike Nichols’s Life and Career: The Definitive Oral History, 9.11.15

“Rent”: The Beautiful Struggle

Rent opened on Broadway in the spring of 1996, months after the tragic death of composer Jonathon Larson, and was an instant pop-culture smash, the likes of which weren’t seen again until Hamilton. The play fundamentally changed contemporary musical theater by organically incorporating pop music (including grunge) into the production. The inspiring “live for today” message, presented so accessibly, spoke to young people in a way that the stale Broadway classics often failed to. The show launched many careers (including Idina Menzel and Jesse L. Martin), and this oral history brings them back to when it all came together.

Rent: The Oral History, 5.1.16

Freestyle: 80s Beats From NYC and Miami

Much of 80s club music falls into the freestyle genre, with artists such as Lisa Lisa, Debbie Deb, and Expose topping the charts. The following piece describes the genre thusly: “Written, produced and vocalled largely by second-generation Latinos, freestyle captured the imagination of young clubgoers who could finally see and hear themselves reflected in the music.” Let the music play.

Freestyle: An Oral History, 9.21.15

Public Enemy Plays Rikers Island

Rikers is a notorious New York City jail and in 1988 they had a periodic music series. They booked NYC’s own Public Enemy without knowing much about them or rap. It could have been a powder keg but ended up being more of a dialogue about injustice and hope.

Public Enemy at Rikers: An Oral History, 4.29.13

The Rebirth of the Electric Lady Studio

New York’s Electric Lady Studio became famous in late 60s and early 70s as it hosted luminaries like Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, and Stevie Wonder. Its fortunes sagged until the turn of the millennium when hip-hop legends Questlove, D’Angelo, Common, and Erykah Badu (among others) poured their heart and soul into revitalizing the place while also creating some of the era’s defining music.

The Soulquarians at Electric Lady: An Oral History, 6.1.15