I've been off my game lately.
Last week I couldn't find a film I thought I had on DVD, causing a last-minute title swap. Then I left a speaker cable at that venue, which I didn't realize until several days later when setting up for another gig.
And then I drove two hours to another gig to find I forgot to bring my speakers. Fortunately, the venue had an acoustic piano that I could use, and the show went on.
And then my car's exhaust system gave out (after only 280,000 miles—can you believe it?) necessitating an unexpected shop visit and time on a bicycle.
But that's all in the past! Time to look to the future, which holds...well, more films from the past.
Next up: 'My Best Girl' (1927), a rarely shown gem from the late silent years starring Mary Pickford and future husband Charles 'Buddy' Rogers.
Now that the film is in the public domain as of this year, I've been pleased to present and accompany it several times already.
It's silent story-telling at its very best, with vivid and colorful characters and a tale that holds up well after nearly a century.
Your next chance to see it is this week, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, when I'll accompany 'My Best Girl' at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center in Plymouth, N.H.
Showtime is 6:30 p.m. Lots more detail in the press release below.
Now, I just have to remember to get that speaker cable back...
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Contact: Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Pickford's 'My Best Girl' with live music at Flying Monkey on Wednesday, Aug. 30
PLYMOUTH, N.H.— She was known as 'America's Sweetheart,' but often played assertive take-charge characters that made her a role model to movie-goers around the world.
She was Mary Pickford, who ruled the entertainment industry as the Queen of Hollywood during the silent era.
See for yourself with a screening of 'My Best Girl' (1927), one of Pickford's landmark feature films, on Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center, 39 Main St., Plymouth, N.H.
The screening will feature live music for the movie by silent film accompanist Jeff Rapsis. General admission is $10 per person.
The show is the latest in the Flying Monkey's silent film series, which gives audiences the opportunity to experience early cinema as it was intended: on the big screen, with live music, and with an audience.
Set in a big city department store, 'My Best Girl' explores what happens when romance blossoms between a humble clerk and the wealthy store owner's son?
The result is a sparkling “rich man, poor girl” romantic comedy from 1927 starring Pickford alongside leading man Charles 'Buddy Rogers,' who would later become Pickford's real-life husband.
An industry pioneer who became Hollywood’s first movie star, Pickford enjoyed a cult-like popularity throughout the silent era that made her a national icon and an international celebrity.
Pickford also possessed a business savvy that gave her nearly total control of her creative output, with her own production company and a partnership in a major film distribution company, all before she was 30 years old.
Dubbed "America's Sweetheart" early in her screen career, the nickname was misleading, as Pickford's popularity was rooted in her portrayal of assertive women often forced to battle for justice in a male-dominated world.
After starring in hundreds of short dramas from 1910 to 1915, Pickford's popularity led to starring roles in feature films starting in the mid-1910s.
In 1919, she joined industry icons D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks Sr. in creating the United Artists studio. In 1920, she married Fairbanks, with the pair reigning as Hollywood's royal couple for the remainder of the silent era.
In the 1920s, Pickford reduced her output to one picture per year. 'My Best Girl' was her last silent feature before the industry switched to talking pictures.
Pickford made several successful talking pictures, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for the film 'Coquette' in 1929.
Pickford, however, chose to retire in 1933. She lived in semi-seclusion until her death in 1979.
Accompanist Jeff Rapsis will improvise an original musical score for 'The General' live as the movie is shown, as was done during the silent film era.
"When the score gets made up on the spot, it creates a special energy that's an important part of the silent film experience," said Rapsis, who uses a digital synthesizer to recreate the texture of a full orchestra for the accompaniment.
With the Flying Monkey's screening of 'My Best Girl,' audiences will get a chance to experience silent film as it was meant to be seen—in a high quality print, on a large screen, with live music, and with an audience.
"All those elements are important parts of the silent film experience," Rapsis said. "Recreate those conditions, and the classics of early Hollywood leap back to life in ways that can still move audiences today."
‘My Best Girl’ (1927) starring Mary Pickford and Charles 'Buddy' Rogers will be shown with live music on Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center, 39 Main St., Plymouth, N.H.
General admission tickets are $10 at door or in advance by calling the box office at (603) 536-2551 or online at www.flyingmonkeynh.com.