Sunday, July 29, 2007

Reel Baseball at the MCNY

Presented and accompanied a program of films from the Kino Reel Baseball DVD set at the Museum of the City of New York this afternoon. We showed The Busher, plus Hearts and Diamonds and Felix Saves the Day. We had a great crowd, biggest one so far in the five years I've been doing silents at the MCNY. Well, maybe biggest crowd was when we showed The Cameraman with Buster Keaton as part of the Silent Clowns' season a year ago. The films played really well, and it was great to hear kids' laughter during the John Bunny short (!).

Have already lined up another date there to do a part 2 show of stuff from Reel Baseball in December. The MCNY has an exhibit about baseball's glory days (1947-57) running currently through December. Am already working on some ideas for 2008 for them. Can't believe this is the fifth year I've been doing silents at the MCNY -- showed It with Clara Bow in April of 2003, and that started it all. Since then we've shown Speedy, an Arbuckle shorts progam (made in NYC), The Early Bird with Johnny Hines, Poor Little Rich Girl, The Cameraman, and Orchids and Ermine with Colleen Moore.

Am getting ready to head out of town for a few weeks of R&R, during which I have a Keaton show (Sherlock Jr + 2 shorts, in 35mm) in Hamilton NY, and a Lloyd show (Grandma's Boy + 2 shorts, in 16mm) in Manchester VT.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Slapsticon days 1 & 2

Have now slid through the first two days of Slapsticon, and am having a blast. Have seen a load of great comedy shorts, and am enjoying the Harry Langdon and Larry Semon entries. Tonight UCLA Film & TV's new restoration of the Semon feature Spuds (1928) was screened (with yours truly at the piano) on the same bill with two othe Semon shorts, Babes and Boobs (yes you read that right) which was very good and looked amazing, and The Grocery Clerk which I'd seen (did I play for it, too?) at the Cinesation last September.

Phil Carli and I are holding up quite well, and have found the formula of "checker-boarding" the shorts accompaniments -- he'll play one, then I'll take the next, etc etc -- to be helpful for both stamina and sanity.

Am having fun seeing people I've not seen since last year and meeting people I only knew via e-mail.

Tomorrow morning at 9am there is a program of cartoons from the 1930s, as usual, and while I'm a little wiped, I plan to make this show. Where else can you see these films in a theatrical setting? That's followed by a program of Roach rarities, which will include the very first Our Gang short. Also on the slate for the day is, in the afternoon are Mabel Normand and Charley Chase programs (which I'll be playing) and in the evening is a Max Davidson program. I'll try to get some photos tomorrow and postum here.

Details for Stumfilm Dagere in Tromsø are coming together, and a number of school shows are being scheduled for me to do along with the regular programs. I have requested a few shorts to be asked for by the fest from the Danish Film Institute, so we're not just showing The Cook at these. Will post the titles of these when I have confirmation of them.

Looking forward to the show of Waxworks on Sunday at the National Gallery. Still haven't looked at the DVD of it I got a month or so ago. I've brought it with me and will probably make myself look at it (maybe on 2x or 4x speed) on my laptop sometime tomorrow, although there's so much good stuff programmed I can't figure out what I'd miss to come back to the hotel and watch it.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Slapsticon on WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi show

Here we all are, kibitzing before going on-air for our segment, which lasted about 25 minutes.

You can listen to our interview right here.

Slapsticon "pre-glow" weds 7/18

Steve Massa and I arrived in DC bright and early, completely missing the big storm in NYC that delayed a number of peoples' flight etc. Here I am outside the LOC building, right near the Capitol bldg, where Steve and I spent the day screening comedy shorts. At left you see the interior of the DC metro. This is not the "F" train in NYC by any means. Steve and I saw a lot of great stuff, including the Arbuckle short Zip, the Dodger, a Billy West short directed by Charles Parrott ("Chase"), a Snub Pollard short that co-starred Sunshine Sammy (his father was in the film as well), a Mr. & Mrs. Sydney Drew comedy called Number One, and several others.

Steve saw way more film than I did, as I had to hop the train to meet Rob Farr and Richard Roberts for a radio interview at WAMU-FM. Seen at left are Mr. Roberts and Mr. Farr, and on right is me and the show's host, Kojo Nnamdi. One of the fun things we did was Richard narrated a fictional silent film while I improvised moods and transitions. I'll post a link to the segment shortly.

Today everything starts, and it's all very exciting. There are a lot more people coming than there have ever been in prior years, plus the radio piece and publicity in the Washington Post will hopefully add to the number of "walk-ins" we usually have.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

on the road to Slapsticon 5

Well, I'm off (via Amtrak) this morning to Arlington, VA for the fifth annual Slapsticon where I'll spend 4 fun-filled glorious days and nights watfching -- and playing for -- classic comedy shorts and features from the '10s, '20s and '30s. I've been one of their accompanists every year since the fest started, along with Philip Carli. It's pig-heaven for a silent comedy fan like myself and this year's line-up of rarities should be pretty exciting.

The fest starts on Thursday, but I'm travelling a day earlier with Steve Massa (silent comedy film historian), because we've set up a day's worth of screening time at the Library of Congress to watch rarities from their collection there. In the middle of the day, I'm going to have to duck out and run over to WAMU, which is D.C.'s NPR affiliate, to appear on the Kojo Nnamdi show. Our segment airs at 12:32pm and will be available later in the day as a podcast. I'll be on with Slapsticon founder Rob Farr and Slapsticon programmer and event coordinator. We're schlepping in a digital keyboard so I can talk and play during the segment.

I plan to post reports on Slapsticon daily here, along with photos (if I can get some), so stay tuned!