In addition to family histories, Books & Lives has preserved print and video records of the accomplishments of almost one hundred Bay Area music, dance, and theater artists. Much of this work was produced in conjunction with the Museum of Performance & Design’s Legacy Oral History Program, founded by Jeff Friedman, PhD. These oral histories, many funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, have been placed in public, university, museum, and special interest libraries.
Click on the photos below to learn more about each artist.
Actress, director, and writer for A Traveling Jewish Theater and other venues. Solo performer and monologue artist. Full-life oral history of a complex career in theater, psychotherapy, and hospice. Multiple interviewers. Jeff Friedman and Basya Petnick, senior editors. Museum of Performance & Design.
Flamenco dancer and teacher. Childhood performer with San Francisco Ballet. Full-life oral history. Jeff Friedman, and Basya Petnick, senior editors. Museum of Performance & Design.
The Kingston Trio--originally Nick Reynolds, Dave Guard, and Bob Shane--toured the country, entertaining new audiences with their energetic and harmonious arrangements of folk tunes. When Guard left, he was replaced by John Stewart. The Trio was rewarded with many gold albums and great success. Oral history consulting work for the production of a traveling museum exhibit created in conjunction with the Library of Congress, American Folklife Center and other experts.
Jocelyn Vollmar enjoyed a full career at San Francisco Ballet and danced continuously from childhood to retirement. Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, she appeared in a lead role in every major ballet of her time. Vollmar led world tours sponsored by the US Department of State and also danced lead roles in George Balanchine's premier season in New York. Full-life oral history. Mary Wood, interviewer. Jeff Friedman and Basya Petnick, senior editors. Museum of Performance & Design.
Artistic Director of Oakland Ballet for 40 years, Guidi nurtures a lifelong admiration for the genius of Sergei Diaghilev; he created Oakland Ballet to preserve Diaghilev's work. Full-life oral history: Sergei Diaghilev and the Original Oakland Ballet. Video: Reconstructing the Oakland Ballet. Interviews by Jeff Friedman. Producer: Basya Petnick, Books & Lives.
Evelyn Cisneros danced at the White House with San Francisco Ballet and was hailed as America's first Latina ballerina. Her beauty, strength, and technique inspired artistic director Michael Smuin to create lead roles for her in his original productions. Full-life oral history funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Interviewer and senior editor, Basya Petnick. Museum of Performance & Design.
Born and trained in India, Chitresh Das, wearing 100 bells on each leg, mesmerized American audiences with his powerful performances of katak, South Indian dance. He has trained scores of western dancers in this great art form and has led many of his students at his Chitresh Das School of Dance to acclaim. Video interviews of subject's life in India and America funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Lily Kharrazi, interviewer. Basya Petnick, producer. Museum of Performance & Design
Tom Heimberg was a man who loved music first, last, and always. His childhood days were blessed by friendships with violinist Arnold Steinhart (Guarneri String Quartet) and pianist/composer Lincoln Mayorga (The Rose). Heimberg played viola in the SF Opera Orchestra for 40 years. His interviews reveal behind-the-scenes dramas with Leontyne Price and other opera house luminaries. Full-life oral history. Basya Petnick, interviewer and senior editor. Museum of Performance & Design.
Pictured with her biographer, Stanford scholar and dance critic Janice Ross, Anna Halprin is a highly original dance innovator, performer, and teacher. Halprin (right) became famous for creating dances from simple natural movements. Video interview by Janice Ross with Halprin at her spectacular home in the woods. Funded by The National Endowment for the Arts. Produced by Basya Petnick and dance historian, Jeff Friedman.