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Micah Salkind

“Spring of ‘17”

http://ripeyams.com/springof1917/

“Spring of ’17” is a Providence vaudeville data mashup. The primary component of the site is an online archive of theatre advertisements from the Providence Journal Sunday editions that ran March through June of 1917.  In addition to the ads, which are housed with metadeta and tags on Flickr with Creative Commons licenses and embedded in the html of the “Spring of 17” website, I have also created transhistorical soundwalks of the vaudeville streetscape that incorporate various historical texts as well as my own memories. The mp3 audio files are downloadable from website itself while maps and transcripts of the soundwalks are hosted by Google maps. These are also linked and embedded on the pages for each of the six walks.  The aesthetic of the site was based on the Songs of Five Points sub-site of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the map used to create the central image for the project was created from a 1918 Sanborn Fire Insurance map.

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  1. Susan Smulyan / Jun 9 2010 7:57 am

    This fabulous website has a lot going on. In some ways, its three sites in one and maybe that makes it a true mash-up. I like the variety and I’m amused at the differences among “walking tours” created by class members (see Sara Emenecker’s “Recent Past Providence” and Krystal Appiah’s “African American Providence” for other examples).

    The sound walks are well organized and well produced. Why isn’t this one, longer tour, rather than 6 short ones? One longer walk might work better as an actual tour, rather than a listening experience. I recognize the work represented by the maps, especially the use of the Sanborn maps, and think they add a lot to the visual appeal of the site.

    The historical aspect of the site could be strengthened by presenting the written materials in an easier to read format, maybe on the entry page to the walk, as well as on the map. Would it be possible to use different type faces to show Micah’s contemporary memories and feelings about the sites and the historical material he’s unearthed? This would be a way of re-purposing the same script to be read, as well as listened to. And could the music play while we are reading? Readers of the site, who don’t take the sound walk, could thus benefit and the site could better serve different users.

    The Spring 1917 advertisements are great, and the moment is well chosen, but I’d love to know what Micah learned, what we expect viewers to know, after looking at these. Spring 1917 was an important moment in vaudeville history (I believe after looking at these ads) and you can see movies replacing vaudeville, or running simultaneously, in most of these theaters. That’s an interesting historical change and it would be fun to learn more about it through the experience of these Providence theaters. So – there’s another research project!

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