Sunday, May 28, 2017

Next Weekend: San Francisco Bay Area Events & Film Festivals

A host of cool events, including the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, shall hit the San Francisco Bay Area in the month of June, some just a few days from now.

This Friday, Jeff Sanford’s Cartoon Jazz Orchestra will perform two memorable sets of "tunes from the toons" at Angelica’s in Redwood City.

The performance will include the quirky, idiosyncratic and highly entertaining compositions of Raymond Scott, including "Powerhouse." Scott's musical handiwork is instantly recognizable as the soundtrack music to Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies.

For more info, see:
Angelica's website
Cartoon Jazz Orchestra official website
Cartoon Jazz Orchestra Facebook page

The always epic San Francisco Silent Film Festival returns to the Castro Theatre for its 22nd year.

The festival begins on June 1 with Harold Lloyd in The Freshman. Such iconic stars as Douglas Fairbanks, the aforementioned Harold Lloyd, Paul Robeson, Clara Bow, Lon Chaney Sr. and ballet legend Anna Pavlova will bring their incandescent presence to the silver screen once again.<

There shall also be big screen thrills courtesy of rampaging dinosaurs (animated by stop-motion genius Willis O'Brien) in The Lost World, which inspired artists from Ray Harryhausen to Bob Clampett to become animators.

The 2017 festival includes A Tribute To David Shepard, the dean of film preservation who passed earlier this year and was personally responsible for numerous restorations that played at the festival. In addition, the 2017 San Francisco Silent Film Festival Award will be presented to the EYE Filmmuseum for its commitment to the preservation and presentation of silent cinema.

New restorations commissioned by SFSFF for this year's program include Silence (Cinémathèque Française), The Three Musketeers (MoMA), and a fragment of the lost Wallace Beery- Louise Brooks film Now We’re in the Air (Czech National Archive).

It's worth getting up early to attend the free Amazing Tales Of The Archives programs, which are indeed nothing short of amazing for those fascinated by history, how silent film technology developed and where archivists around the world are making discoveries.

To shamelessly quote the official San Francisco Silent Film Festival press release:

Sharing their amazing preservation tales are Library of Congress’s George Willeman, who has managed to sync cylinders from Edison National Historical Park with eight films from LOC’s collection for his presentation on Edison Kinetophones from 1912–13; Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi from EYE Filmmuseum, whose presentation will reveal the wonders of EYE’s UNESCO-inscribed Jean Desmet collection; and Heather Linville from the Academy Film Archive, sharing rarely seen footage of globetrotting filmmaker adventuress Aloha Wanderwell..

As movie and TV soundtrack expert Robert Emmett of KFJC's Norman Bates Memorial Soundtrack Show has pointed out, "silent films are never silent", so the festival is also tantamount to a 4-day concert. Live accompaniment will be courtesy of a range of solo pianists and groups: Alloy Orchestra, Berklee Silent Film Orchestra, Frank Bockius, Guenter Buchwald, Stephen Horne, Sascha Jacobsen, Matti Bye Ensemble, Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, Donald Sosin and, making his San Francisco Silent Film Festival debut with a new score for Body & Soul, the Oscar Micheaux program, "one man, one turntable, much history, many genres of music" DJ Spooky.

Besides the Micheaux feature starring Paul Robeson, making his screen debut in a dual role, arguably the most intriguing film in the festival's lineup is Filibus, a futuristic 1915 opus, directed by Marco Roncoroni, revolving around the glamorous zeppelin-flying daredevil Baroness de Troixmonde.

Again quoting the SFSFF press release: the "masked sky-pirate flies around in her technologically advanced zeppelin—manned by black-suited, masked, obedient male acolytes—committing crimes and toying with the police. When a reward is offered for information leading to the capture of the notorious criminal, the Baroness visits the police station to declare her intention to prove that Filibus is no other than the detective assigned to the case!"

Check out the festival schedule and enjoy the big screen fun. Movies were meant to be seen with an audience in an actual theatre - not on some crappy smart phone all by yourself!

Three weeks later, on June 23-25, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum will present the 20th Annual Broncho Billy Film Festival, which shall pay tribute to David Shepard, director Frank Borzage, movies shot in 1917 and northern California filmmaking.

We strongly encourage our readers to support these excellent organizations - time, job (or jobs), family situation and pocketbook willing.

This blogmeister will write further about this festival later in June; until then, will be involved in two family events which are seven days, two coasts and 3300 miles apart - and happening soon. It is highly unlikely there will be any time to write new posts (or even recycle very old ones) for Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog between now and June 15.

Fully expect to bear a strong resemblance to the exhausted scribe pictured above!

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