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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Welcome to BAM 150

By Robert Wood

Sometimes, fires result in good things. The Peter Jay Sharp Building. Photo by Jeffrey Bary

150 years is a long time to spend building something. Visionaries come and go, next waves crest, and taste change, all while something of the original has to remain. There are sometimes even fires to deal with, such as the one that claimed BAM’s original building on Montague Street in 1903. But a little fire, it turns out, is no match for the bigger desire to have a place where Fiona Shaw can finger a gun while buried to her waist in dirt, Pina Bausch’s dancers can slither over rain-pummeled rocks, or Caruso can sing to thousands and still be heard in the last row. Art—along with the desire for it—is stubborn, in other words, and we’ve been happy to provide a place to put it all these years.

BAM's original location on Montague Street in 1861
Over the next 16 months, we’ll be using this blog to look back at all that BAM has built, staged, and screened over the years, as well as what’s in store for the present—namely, our 16-month-long 150th anniversary celebrations, which begin this week. Our fantastic archivist Sharon Lehner will be writing about BAM’s storied days of yore, rummaging through our substantial closets to unearth the kinds of anecdotes, artifacts, and trivia you’d expect from an institution dating from the days of Lincoln. She’ll tell you about all sorts of interesting stuff. Like the infamous 1977 flood. Walt Whitman’s letters discussing Union meetings at BAM during the civil war. Or Isadora Duncan’s mysterious disappearance into the wings after dancing an impromptu funeral march for Sarah Bernhardt. Things like that.

As for the present, we’ll be keeping you up-to-date on all that’s planned for the coming months, like our Free Ticket+ Thursdays giveaways on Facebook, our upcoming book (and beer!) releases, behind-the-scenes looks at our ad campaign, and so much more. Check back often.

More importantly, come celebrate with us.

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