Tuesday, March 30, 2010

the complete "Metropolis" on May 7th

Have just gotten the "OK" to announce my performance on Fri May 7 accompanying "The Complete 'Metropolis'" at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntingotn, NY (that's on Long Island, folks). This is the new restoration with 25 minutes of lost footage restored.

The C.A.C. is doing a one-week run of the picture, and I'll be accompanying the film with a new score of my own on opening night; all other performances will have the recorded track (the 1927 original Gottfried Huppertz orchestral score, as I understand...I'll re-post or revise if I hear different). I'll be accompanying the film on the mighty Miditzer virtual theatre organ.


I had a great time at Cinefest last weekend, got to meet in person a whole lotta fans, many of whom are also now FB fns/friends. Will post again with details, but I'd have to say one of the highlights was getting to play the Möller 3/10 theatre pipe organ at the Capitol Theatre in Rome NY for the 35mm show.

There's plenty of other news percolating, and I'll post when any of these items are set and solid.

See you at the silents!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cinefest 30 - day 1

Day one of Cinefest 30 has gone well. Played for a pair of features from the late 'teens this morning – Life's Harmony (dir Frank Borzage) and The Wild Girl (with Eva Tanguay) – and just played for Charley Chase in The Sting of Stings. I'd played for it (same print) last month at the Silent Clowns Film Series, so it was fresh in my mind. It's a fun short, and doesn't circulate, even among the die-hard collectors at Cinefest, so it was fun for everyone to get to see it.

Here's a clip of the first 4 mins or so of the performance (no extra charge for the audible laughter). Enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

silent film music at "Meet Me At The Corner"

A new episode of "Meet Me At The Corner" was posted today on meetmeatthecorner.org, a well-traveled educational website of virtual field trips. The episode is about silent film and its music, and I was the guest in the piece. We shot this last fall, when the Colorado-based producer, Donna Guthrie, contacted me in advance of her coming to NYC to shoot several episodes. She literally googled "silent films" and "New York" and found me.

It was impossible to find a theater to shoot in that wasn't going to charge us a couple hundred bucks, so we wound up doing the shoot in a rehearsal studio at Ripley-Grier. The video crew were a couple of communications students from Rider College in NJ. The interviewers for the segments are usually local home-schoolers, and it turned out the young woman who did my segment was someone who is in my daughter's modern dance class.

We did some Q&A and then I accompanied a scene from a Sennett comedy with Billy Bevan and Andy Clyde that Donna had found. I watched it on a laptop while they shot me playing, and then they synched the film up in editing, and did a nice effect, showing my hands in close-up, with the clip running in the upper right corner (see frame-grab below).

I hope this reaches a lot of kids and helps get them hooked on, or at least interested in, silent films. You never know who you're going to reach...! Thanks, Donna!

To watch the whole segment (it's only about 4 mins), click here.

See you at the silents!

Ben


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

interim post: Lee Erwin-scored short

I know, I know, I haven't posted any video here in a few weeks. To keep you happy, here is a 1929 Mack Sennett short co-starring Carole Lombard that I just uploaded to YouTube. It has a score by Lee Erwin, which he performed and recorded on his ersatz theatre organ, comprised of three early digital keyboards stacked on a rack -- Roland Juno, Yamaha DX77, Emu Emax sampling keyboard -- plus a full organ pedalboard custom-wired to an old Moog. He plays it like a theater organ, but doesn't necessarily try to duplicate theatre organ sounds. There is so little of Lee's playing for comedy shorts available, I thought this was worthy uploading and posting. Enjoy!