Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Elephants and Harold Lloyd: thoughts on
visiting Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and China

Promoting the Kansas Silent Film Festival at Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

Just back from roaming the back roads of Southeast Asia since mid-July.

The trip wasn't about silent film music. But I did get chances to promote the Kansas Silent Film Festival (every February in Topeka, Kansas!) via t-shirt, as seen above at the Bayon Temple of Angkor Tom.

These spectacular ruins are part of the sprawling Khmer-era complex in Cambodia known collectively as "Angkor Wat."

Another place I plugged the Kansas festival was in Tianenanman Square, with Chairman Mao himself looking over my shoulder.

Not sure what effect this will have. But I'll tell the folks in Topeka to keep an eye out for inquiries from China or Cambodia. You never know!

I did find one historical antecedent to a famous silent film image. Doesn't this 12th century temple carving of an elephant under attack remind you of the "guns pointing at Harold Lloyd" still from the Lloyd short 'An Eastern Westerner'?



Okay, I start right back up with shows this Thursday (a private screening for a vintage dance group in Nahant, Mass.) and then back-to-back Laurel & Hardy screenings this weekend.

On Saturday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m., it's Stan and Ollie in silent short subjects (and a few surprises!) at Brandon Town Hall in Brandon, Vt.

And then on Sunday, Aug. 12 at 2 p.m., it's an all-35mm silent Laurel & Hardy program at the Somerville Theatre, Davis Square, Somerville, Mass.

For more information, I've pasted in both press releases below. Hope to see you at a show real soon!

* * *

Laurel & Hardy demonstrate salesmanship in 'Big Business' (1929).

TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2018 / FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 • jeffrapsis@gmail.com

Laurel & Hardy silent comedies with live music in Brandon, Vt. on Saturday, Aug. 11


Program featuring 'Stan & Ollie' promises another fine mess, plus fun and laughter for the whole family

BRANDON, Vt.—Laughter for the whole family is on tap at Brandon Town Hall, where classic silent comedies starring Laurel & Hardy will be screened with live music on Saturday, Aug. 11. The show starts at 7 p.m.; admission is free, donations are encouraged.

The program, the latest in the Brandon Town Hall's summer silent film series, will feature short comedies made by the iconic comedy team prior to the advent talkies, where their popularity continued.

Music will be provided by Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based composer who specializes in improvising live accompaniment for silent films.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were already successful comic actors when they were teamed in 1927 during the twilight years of the silent film era.

The pair, sporting derby hats and a unique gift for slapstick incompetence, began starring in a series of short comedies that quickly rocketed them to worldwide fame.

Four of the duo's best early films are on the Aug. 11 program in Brandon, which will be highlighted by 'Big Business' (1929), recognized as one of the best short comedies ever produced.

In 'Big Business', while selling Christmas trees door to door in sunny California, Stan and Ollie do battle with an irate customer, producing mayhem that's quite the opposite of 'Peace on Earth.'

"The Laurel and Hardy silent comedies are fun to revive because they're so simple and basic," said Rapsis, who will accompany the films. "Audiences still love them, and it's refreshing, because their style of comedy is so timeless, and also so different from what's on television and in today's movies."

The Aug. 11 comedy program is the latest in the Brandon Town Hall's Summer Silent Film Series, which features monthly screenings of classic silent films with live music. All proceeds of the series will be used to support the historic town hall's ongoing renovations.

"All of these films were designed to be seen in theaters by large audiences, not on a small television screen by people sitting at home," Rapsis said. "In showing silent films at Brandon Town Hall, we aim to recreate the lost magic of early cinema comedy by bringing together crucial elements for its success—the best available prints, projection on the big screen, a live audience, and, in the case of silent films, live music."

Laurel & Hardy short comedies will be shown on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. at Brandon Town Hall and Community Center, Route 7, in Brandon, Vt. Admission is free; donations are encouraged, with proceeds to support ongoing renovation of the town hall. For more information, visit www.brandontownhall.org.

* * *

Would you buy a Christmas tree from these guys?

TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2018 / FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 • jeffrapsis@gmail.com

Laurel & Hardy silent comedies with live music at Somerville Theatre on Sunday, Aug. 12


Program featuring misadventures of 'Stan & Ollie' in 35mm promises multiple fine messes, but also fun and laughter

SOMERVILLE, Mass.—Laughter for the whole family is on tap at the Somerville Theatre, where classic silent comedies starring Laurel & Hardy will be screened with live music on Sunday, Aug. 12 at 2 p.m.

Live music will be provided by silent film accompanist Jeff Rapsis. Admission is $15 per person, $12 students/seniors.

The program includes four of the iconic duo's classic silent comedies, made before the transition to talkies: 'Call of the Cuckoos' (1927), 'You're Darn Tootin' (1928), 'The Finishing Touch' (1928), and 'Big Business' (1929).

All titles will be shown using 35mm prints on loan from the U.S. Library of Congress.

It's the latest installment of the Somerville's 'Silents, Please!' series, which gives movie-goers a chance to experience great pictures of the silent era as originally presented.

"Seeing these great pictures on actual 35mm film and in a theater with live music is an opportunity that's increasingly rare," said Ian Judge, manager of the Somerville Theatre.

Music will be provided by Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based composer who specializes in improvising live accompaniment for silent films.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were already successful comic actors when they were teamed in 1927 during the twilight years of the silent film era.

The pair, sporting derby hats and a unique gift for slapstick incompetence, began starring in a series of short comedies that quickly rocketed them to worldwide fame.

The Somerville program will be highlighted by 'Big Business' (1929), recognized as one of the best short comedies ever produced.

Selling Christmas trees door to door in sunny California, Stan and Ollie battle an irate customer, resulting in mayhem that's anything but 'Peace on Earth.'

"The Laurel and Hardy silent comedies are fun to revive because they're so simple and basic," said Rapsis, who will accompany the films. "Audiences still love them, and it's refreshing, because their style of comedy is so timeless, and also so different from what's on television and in today's movies."

Laurel & Hardy short comedies will be shown on Sunday, Aug. 12 at 2 p.m. at the Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville, Mass. Tickets are $15 adults, $12 students/seniors. For more information, visit www.somervilletheatre.com or call (617) 625-4088.