Music: New York, When It Sizzled

If the purpose of art is to reflect and illuminate the spirit of its age, then New York City's avant-garde scene in the '60s and early '70s was a worthy expression of a tumultuous time. Huddled together in a few low-rent blocks of lower Manhattan, a remarkable band of visual artists, theatrical innovators, dancers and composers, loosely allied in their rejection of both traditionalism and a previous generation's idea of radicalism, supported and inspired one another in what was then a lonely pursuit. "The collaborative element of those years was crucial," remembers Composer Philip Glass. "I mean, you'd walk down the...

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