Friday, November 3, 2017

California, here I come—to do music for a show at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum

This Saturday night (Nov. 4) I'm at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Niles, Calif., just across the bay from San Francisco.

Featured attraction is 'The Border Sheriff' (1926), a Jack Hoxie Western from Universal. It's one of those obscure titles that Niles sometimes programs because, after all, they run a different silent film program every week.

There's also 'Ice Cold Cocos' (1926), a Sennett two-reeler with Billy Bevan hauling ice up the same long flight of steps that would later bedevil piano movers Laurel & Hardy in 'The Music Box' (1932). And a Koko the Clown 'Out of the Inkwell' cartoon as well.

The visit to Niles is a nice change of pace (and scenery) from the recent marathon of Halloween screenings around New England, which saw a dozen programs in 14 days in venues across four states.

By Halloween night, when I accompanied 'Nosferatu' (1922) for an enthusiastic crowd at Red River Theatres in Concord, N.H., I felt just about spooked out.

Things will quiet down now, in part because the pace of screenings slows somewhat as we enter the holiday season.

But it'll also be by design. Things will stay slow in 2018 because I have a number of longer-term projects in the works. So fewer screenings means more time (finally!) for significant progress, I hope.

I'm in Phoenix right now, where I plan to do a longish run first thing Friday morning. Later in the day I'll fly to San Francisco, where I'll attend a San Francisco Symphony concert that night and then make my own music on Saturday night in Niles.

If you're in the Bay area, please drop by! Besides the film screenings, the Niles Essanay museum houses an extensive collection of early movie memorabilia, a store, and many other interesting things. Really worth checking out!

The front door of the Niles museum.

One claim to fame is that Niles is where a certain British-born comedian began experimenting with pathos in his short comedies, especially in one from 1915 called 'The Tramp.'

It's the first one of his that ends with a scene of him ambling off down the road to further adventures:

And if you want to, you can still see the spot where this scene was filmed, not far from the Niles museum.

One of the things about Niles that's a hoot is that because of this connection, the whole town has embraced its inner Charlie Chaplin. You'll see his image all over: on stores, on sidewalks, on murals, and more.

And then on Sunday it's back to New Hampshire, where I'll start hunkering down for the holidays.

No comments:

Post a Comment