Silent Film Music and other Sounding Off

Talking about music, consciousness, silent film, Italian food, travel, good books, married life, kids, and more

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Catching up

Wow, I can't believe it's two months since I wrote. I have been coughing most of that time, having caught the throat thing. It's finally leaving, I think. When not otherwise hacking, I have been working on various things: a Shimizu film for Criterion, JAPANESE GIRLS AT THE HARBOR, which I finally finished in the wee hours of this morning and delivered through the magic of ftp, saving 5 hours in the car, untold gallons of gas, and enabling me to sleep off the mostly all-nighter.

Other film events of this time period included two performances of DOCKS OF NEW YORK, both with Joanna singing songs from the period such as "LUCKY DAY," which meshed nicely with many of the title cards and themes of the film. The first show was at the Walter Reade for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and a week later we drove to Washington to perform for a capacity audience at the National Gallery.

In December I returned to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in NY, bringing my Roland keyboard for THIEF OF BAGDAD, which we decided to show at sound speed, the only alternative to 18fps they could provide. It was fine that way; some of the scenes work better a tad slower, but as Ben Model wrote about Robin Hood in a recent blog, it creates a different feeling of excitement to boost the tempo a bit. I will be playing for WHEN THE CLOUDS ROLL BY in Seattle next week and I have a feeling we will face the same situation there.

Last week I spent a delightful four days at Bailey Elementary School with Paul Reisler, the director of Kid Pan Alley, writing songs with about 200 2nd and 3rd graders, who performed their works for a packed house of their parents and classmates at the end of the week. Paul has posted some wonderful photos of this at

Now that the Japanese girls are safely aboard ship (well, one of them, anyway), I am turning my attention to some live shows in NY: JEWISH LUCK on Sunday at the Walter Reade, a repeat from last year, but this time part of the Jewish Film Festival. Then the Seattle shows, one of which is a ragtime concert with Larry Karp talking about his two ragtime-themed novels.

February brings a wave of Oscar Micheaux films to Lincoln Center, and at the first of them, BODY AND SOUL, I'll be joined by the astounding bass Kevin Maynor, singing spirituals. Check out his recordings on Youtube and try to make the show, it should be a great event.

In March it's a Dreyer series at BAM, more about that soon. I have to go practice my ragtime, as well as the two shows I'm music directing up here in Connecticut: MUSIC MAN at the Salisbury School, and ALICE IN WONDERLAND, JR. for the terrific children's theater company in Falls Village.

But first, a long rest......

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