Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Simon's Rock, in Massachusetts - et al

Have gone over my itinerary for Boise ID (Feb 5-9), of performances, school/university talks/shows and appearances on local TV and radio...and it's going to be pretty hectic. Doubt if I'll get to see much of Boise etc, but am really looking forward to this. I'll be playing at the city's original 1927 Egyptian-style movie theatre, which has its original installation Robert-Morton theatre organ. Was interviewed last week by a reporter from the Idaho Statesman for a piece which will run in the paper this weekend.

Preparing my talk for students at Bard College at Simon's Rock which will be on Thurs. Need to finalize which shorts/clips to use. The course is about the relationship between music and film, so I'm not doing my usual talk/demo on the history and tradition of silent film music. Should be fun. Was at the college two years ago to do a show of Nosferatu. They've got a real nice auditorium and the Miditzer organ sounds great on their sound system.

Played for two shows of The Immigrant out at the Museum of the Moving Image this morning. The Roland keyboard they have in the theater (no acoustic there for many years) is starting to misbehave a little, and a few of the notes in the center of the keyboard "trigger" (sound full force regardless of how hard or soft you're playing them). Hopefully this will get fixed; am hoping the museum's multi-million dollar expansion and renovation that will start in the next couple of months will include the purchase of acoustic pianos for their new theaters.

Played for Safety Last at the Riverdale YMHA on Saturday. The piano, a nice Samick (whose D above middle C stopped working during the show) had a nice feel and sound to it. It's a real nice Y, and the theater is really nice as well. It's been newly renovated and they are really dong some great programming there. Found it interesting that Swank sent them a VHS of the film when they licensed it, and not the DVD. The show went really well and hopefully there will be another silent show there in the fall.

Am introducing a showing of City Lights in a couple weeks (Mon Feb 11, at the Greenwich Classic Film Series), and realized I better take another look at the film (it's been a while). The NYPL is an amazing resource for someone like me who has never bought a silent film DVD; the various branches have just about everything (including a few dozen Grapevine Video releases) and so I put in a hold on whatever I need to screen for a show. Which reminds me...that DVD of City Lights has come in to my local branch and I need to go pick it up.

The next two weeks are going to be rather busy...stay tuned...

Ben Model
silent film accompanist

Friday, January 25, 2008

2008 update

Too much to go into, and am sorry I've not posted in a while. Lots of things going on and lots to catch up on...and not enough time to get it all in right now. I will try to update you in drips and drabs in the next couple of weeks as time pops up. So here goes, in no particular order...

A couple weeks ago a commercial for Dunkin Donuts' new hot chocolate grabbed my attention...because one of the actresses in it is a dead ringer for Mabel Normand. See for yourself:



Thanks to the magic of YouTube and the internet...the actress in the commercial (Marina Squerciati) has gotten in touch with me. Will she be at the Feb 10 Silent Clowns Chaplin program (which includes His Trysting Place, co-starring Mabel Normand)?

Was interviewed today by a writer from the Idaho Statesman for my appearance(s) in Boise Feb 6-8. The article will appear in the paper on Sat Feb 2. Feb 6 I will be appearing at Boise area schools/universities and Feb 7 the Boise Philharmonic's "Treasure Valley Youth Symphony" will perform my score for Keaton's One Week and a premiere of my score for the Nell Shipman short The Light on Lookout, both commisioned by the Boise Phil. On Feb 8 I will accompany the Shipman The Grub Stake as part of a day-long series of events saluting Ms. Shipman called "Maid in Idaho". Both shows will be at the Egyptian Theatre in Boise; I will be accompanying the Shipman featuer on the theatre's Robert-Morton theatre organ (original installation). I will also be on local radio and TV. If I can I'll blog from Boise and post these media pieces.

Have just scored the Fairbanks The Americano for Reelclassic DVD (on piano); this should come out next month or so, as should the Unknown Video release of Wm. S. Hart in Sand which I scored on Miditzer.

I hear Kino's Houdini set will be out this spring; I have a digital orch score on it, for Haldane of the Secret Service. I chose this instrumentation because the transfer speed was way slow and thought an orchestral sound would help give some added/needed emotion and suspense that I wouldn't be able to achieve with piano or organ. We'll see...

Was at a press screening today at MoMA for a Feb 2 showing of newly restored/preserved Bert Williams films. Great to see these in beautiful 35mm prints from nitrate material -- Natural Born Gambler and Fish. MoMA has created new titles for these.

Tomorrow I will accompany Safety Last (DVD projection) at the Riverdale YMHA in their newly renovated theater. I've been trying to get a show going there for a few years now, and the planets have recently aligned to make this happen.

Very excited about this spring's Silent Clowns season. Bruce Lawton has put together a great lineup of programs.

Okay. I'm out of energy/time for now. Will continue to write about shows that happened in Dec and Jan and of things coming up.

See you at the silents!

Ben Model
silent film accompanist