Although not on the level of the Golden Globes, I was pleased to receive word today that the Boston Society of Film Critics has included me in a 2017 commendation for efforts at silent film accompaniment in and around Beantown, a.k.a. the Athens of America, a.k.a. The Hub of the Universe. (All three actual nicknames for Boston.)
The honor was presented jointly to me and fellow accompanists Martin Marks and Robert Humphreville:
To Boston-based musicians and silent-film-music scholars Martin Marks, Robert Humphreville and Jeff Rapsis, whose live accompaniment at silent-film screenings have delighted Boston audiences for many years. Their artistry was particularly sublime this year during the silent component of The Harvard Film Archive’s “That Certain Feeling … The Touch of Ernst Lubitsch,” a series requiring music for broad comedies, extravagant adventures and subtle dramas.Well, thank you, Boston Society of Film Critics! What a nice way to wind up an eventful year.
I understand the Society holds an annual banquet in February. If I attend, I promise an insider's look at this glamorous event. "Sorry Academy Awards—I've already accepted an invite from the Boston Society of Film Critics! Maybe next year!"
But before we get to next year, let's finish this one. What's coming up?
• On Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m., take a break from holiday stress with Buster Keaton's 'Steamboat Bill, Jr.' (1928) at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center, 39 South Main St., Plymouth, N.H.
This is the one where Buster stands in a street during a cyclone while the front end of a building comes down around him.
Does he make it? If you haven't seen it, I don't want to spoil it for you. Admission $10 per person.
After something like seven years, this is the final installment of the Flying Monkey's silent film series.
In 2018, we're switching to a schedule of silent film screenings every three months or so.
• On Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m., it's Pola Negri and Clive Brook in 'Barbed Wire' (1927), a Paramount World War I drama with a big Christmas scene in the middle of it.
It's screening at the Rogers Center for the Arts, on the campus of Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass.
I first saw this flick just last February, at the Kansas Silent Film Festival in Topeka, Kansas.
I had never heard of 'Barbed Wire,' but it turned out to be a powerful drama with a strong story and a lot of great scenes.
So once again, I am struck with now rich the silent era is, or was—that one can explore it for years, and still uncover unknown treasures.
In the case of 'Barbed Wire,' it also has the diminutive Clyde Cook (not to be confused with leading man Clive Brook) in a nice comedy relief role.
And the big Christmas scene? Well, all I'll say is that it takes place in a prisoner-of-war camp for captured German soldiers.
So it may not be the silent era's answer to 'It's a Wonderful Life.'
But it's still a darned good flick, and I look forward to doing music for it for the first time later this week.
Admission is free and the Roger Center silent film series is usually well attended. So it's a good place to experienced the "big audience" part of early cinema.
Hope to see you there!