By Brian Darr
May 19, 2022
In 2014 John Davis produced a double-album entitled Gravity Spells: Bay Area New Music and Expanded Cinema Art, which presented sound recordings made by himself as well as Maggi Payne, Tashi Wada, Ashley Beloun and Ben Bracken, paired with accompanying DVDs featuring work by local moving image artists Lawrence Jordan, Craig Baldwin, Paul Clipson and Kerry Laitala. The release was accompanied by four weekend performances at the Kala Art institute in Berkeley, and the discs quickly sold out.
Now nearly eight years later there’s a sequel release, Gravity Spells II involving an entirely new slate of Bay Area sound artists and filmmakers. This time around the performances celebrating the release will all be held May 19-22 at venerable Mission District venue The Lab. Only the artists know quite what to expect, but they’re sure to present a unique live cinema experiences.
Part Two- What I Will Be Seeing
By Meredith Brody
May 4, 2022
I learned my lesson early with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival: GO TO EVERYTHING.
The first year I attended, I cherry-picked only the movies I hadn’t seen before. The ones I went to were such a revelation – both in the presentation and the group experience – that my heart hurt as I walked away. What a MAROON I was. Even a movie I thought I knew well would be a fresh experience, featuring as it did not only live music, but one of the world’s great audiences. There’s a kind of euphoria that sets in when you commit to seeing everything on offer. Continue reading
Curated by Gary Meyer
May 4, 2022 (updated May 6)
As the 25th San Francisco Silent Film Festival starts Thursday, May 5 and plays for a full week, we have gathered a collection of trailers, clips, rare posters and other ephemera from many of the films showing at this year’s celebration. The Festival partners with archives around the world to restore films. At the Festival there will be restored prints (looking better than many of these excerpts) and all are accompanied by live music. Silents does not mean “Silence.” In fact the proper enjoyment of silent movies include great musical accompaniment. The Festival features both local and international musicians. Sound is so important that they bring in their own sound system and technicians as the Castro doesn’t have great acoustics (something being corrected by the new operators).
We are getting ready for an unforgettable week.
An excerpt from Dana Stevens’ “CAMERA MAN”
In this genre-defying work of cultural history, the chief film critic of Slate places comedy legend and acclaimed filmmaker Buster Keaton’s unique creative genius in the context of his time.
Keaton’s STEAMBOAT BILL JR. with live musical accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra will screen at the 25th San Francisco Silent Film Festival on Saturday, May 7 at 3pm at the Castro Theater. Dana Stevens will introduce the showing. Information and tickets here.
Stevens will also appear in conversation with writer David Thomson at the Bay Area Book Festival on Sunday, May 8 at 3:30. It will be both in-person and live streamed. Info here.
by Gary Meyer
Despite the silver screen temptations of a Film Festival one must get outside, take a walk, breathe the air and see some related sights. Bring your jacket because it is, after all, the unpredictable summer in San Francisco. Mark Twain may not have really said “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” but it is apt.
Part One: Not Feeling Festive
By Meredith Brody
May 3, 2022
The pandemic disrupted virtually (pun unintended, but hiya, Dr. Freud!) every aspect of my life, but none more thoroughly or dismayingly than the one that contributed most of its bliss, excitement, and travel (not to mention remuneration, once I’d written about them): attending film festivals.