Monday, February 28, 2011

Kansas Silent Film Festival, 2011

I've just returned from what's turned into an annual pilgrimage to Topeka, Kansas for the latest edition of the Kansas Silent Film Festival. I've been attending this every year since 2000, making 12 years in a row, and I keep returning because it's simply one of the most pleasant and satisfying silent film experiences I know of.

For this year's festival, which ran from Friday, Feb. 25 to Sunday, Feb. 27, I got to play for three films, plus a set of intermission slides and also the opening titles on Friday night. One of the films I played was a Felix the Cat cartoon, and out of that came the weekend's most noteworthy trivia: that the familiar 'Felix the Cat' theme is a melody taken from a woodwind quintet composed in the 1810s by Czech-born composer Anton Reicha, a contemporary of Beethoven? A nice older gentleman who once played French horn took me aside during a break to tell me this.

And with that, we close the book on what's been a very busy month. No screenings until Sunday, March 27, when we'll show 'Mark of Zorro' (1921) at the Wilton (N.H.) Town Hall Theatre. Hope to see you then!

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