Music & Film

Members of the Preservation All Stars perform in the hall on August 18, 2022.

 

How Preservation Hall Has Kept New Orleans' Iconic Jazz Alive

The plucky institution staged a brassy comeback for America’s signature music

The "Gifts We Carry: Sounds of Migration and Memory” concert will combine musicians from several backgrounds and cultures, including Salar Nader on the tabla and Homayoun Sakhi, a master on the Afghan stringed instrument the rubab. 

After Long Absence, the Folklife Festival Returns to the National Mall

The much-loved summer event, featuring the United Arab Emirates and Earth Optimism programs, opens with a concert hosted by Yo-Yo Ma

The Blue-Haired Fairy and the Talking Cricket try to make Pinocchio drink a medicine in an illustration for the children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi (1826-1890).

Who Was Pinocchio's Mysterious Blue-Haired Fairy?

Author Carlo Collodi may have drawn inspiration from one—or a few—female figures in his life

Still from Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018). 

The Surprisingly Long History of 'Choose-Your-Own-Adventure' Stories

From the 'I Ching' to an upcoming Netflix rom-com, interactive fiction dares us to decide what happens next

Left, luthier Reuben Forsland gazes out his studio window. Right, a close-up of the “Legacy” guitar, custom-built by Forsland, commissioned by a son to honor his father.   

Each Guitar Reuben Forsland Makes Tells a Story

The Canadian luthier builds custom instruments from unique materials that deliver impeccable sound

Left, the Chiquibul Forest in Belize, near the spot where the fabled Tree once grew. Right, a custom guitar crafted from the Tree’s distinctive mahogany.

The Legend of the Music Tree

Exotic lumber salvaged from a remote forest in Belize is the world’s most coveted tonewood

The Queen's Ball, a ticketed experience from Netflix tied to the second season of "Bridgerton," is just one example of modern audiences' enthusiasm for the Regency era.

Based on a True Story

Why Are Regency-Era Shows Like 'Bridgerton' So Popular?

An Austen expert and a period drama TV critic reflect on the enduring appeal of romance series set in turn-of-the-19th-century England

A western-style performance outfit worn by Patsy Cline and sewed by her mother. The suit features record-shaped patches stitched with the titles of some of Cline's records.


 

Women Who Shaped History

When Patsy Cline Broke Through as a Country Music Phenom

The recording star sported a homemade suit as spectacular as her voice

Marlon Brando confers with director Francis Ford Coppola during the filming on Mott Street of a scene for the movie The Godfather.

A Guide to 'The Godfather' Filming Locations in New York City

To mark the 50th anniversary of the award-winning movie, here are seven scene-setting sites worth a visit

The Godfather was named Best Motion Picture–Drama in the 1973 Golden Globe Awards and Best Picture in the Academy Awards.

Studio Executives Did Not Want Marlon Brando for the Title Role in 'The Godfather'

On the film's 50th anniversary, a Smithsonian historian reflects on the cultural phenomenon of the blockbuster hit

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This Missouri Company Still Makes Cassette Tapes, and They Are Flying Off the Factory Floor

National Audio Company is the largest manufacturer in the world for this retro sound

The International African American Museum is slated to open in late 2022 in Charleston's Gadsden's Wharf.

The Most Anticipated Museum Openings of 2022

Scheduled to open this year are new institutions dedicated to African American history, electronic music and Nordic art

Carlos Vives performed onstage during the world premiere of Walt Disney Animation Studios' Encanto at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California, in November.

Celebrating the Viral 'Encanto' Soundtrack's Colombian Roots

Grammy-winning artist Carlos Vives sings the title song, which honors the rich traditions underlying the film's music

Marchand and Meffre discovered thousands of early 20th century theaters across the U.S. and Canada, and then spent the next 15 years photographing them.

Eight Historic Movie Theaters With Interesting Second Acts

In a new book, photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre honor the remains—and the creative reuses—of North America's iconic 20th century cinemas

"There isn't a Christmas that goes by that I don't sing 'Oh Holy Night,'" says Irma Thomas (above: in 2019 at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival) "If you listen to all the verses, it tells a beautiful story."

Irma Thomas' Rendition of 'O Holy Night' Is a Marvel From Beginning to End

Soulful Christmas music is an obsession for Bill Adler, so he interviewed the singer of one of his favorite songs

“Bless whoever it was who came up with the idea,” jazz historian Dan Morgenstern says in a Smithsonian interview about Armstrong’s rendition of the holiday chestnut.

The Little-Known Recording of Louis Armstrong Reciting 'The Night Before Christmas'

Shortly before he died, the jazz legend offered his own rendition of the classic holiday poem

Scream is a surprisingly scathing critique of the way real-life trauma is laundered into news, then entertainment for the masses.

How 'Scream' Explored the Exploitative Nature of the Nightly News

Twenty-five years ago, the first installment of the horror franchise hit theaters just as a national debate about on-screen violence reached a fever pitch

The nearly century-old Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco is run by the Boy Scouts of America Northern New Jersey Council.

The 1980 Slasher Movie 'Friday the 13th' Was Filmed at This Boy Scout Camp in New Jersey

In the off-season, Camp-No-Be-Bo-Sco alumni bring in props and lead tours for freaked-out fans

Single penguins will snag mates, and couples, both new and established, will start breeding around January or February.

The South African Town Where Penguins Rule

A colony of 1,000 breeding pairs of African penguins nests on the beaches and in the gardens of Simon's Town

Few epitomized 1970s cool like Richard Roundtree in Shaft.

'Shaft,' 'Super Fly' and the Birth of Blaxploitation

In this excerpt from ‘Music Is History,’ the drummer for the Roots and all-around music ambassador looks at a year when everything changed

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