Catching Up…

Once again, it’s time for me to offer links to movie-related articles and activities, like this article about the discovery of notes Charlie Chaplin wrote for what might have been his first talking picture. The Chaplin family archives continue to yield wonderful discoveries and this is no exception. Read more HERE.

Marlene Dietrich, beautifully captured by Al Kilgore. His concepts were as clever as his drawings.

If you love caricatures, as I do, you ought to be reading the regular blog posts by one of this generation’s great practitioners of the art, Drew Friedman. He recently paid tribute to one of my heroes, a man who was very dear to me named Al Kilgore, rightly dubbing him “King of the Caricaturists.” Take a look at his work HERE and you’ll see why. Drew continually finds wonderful artwork by his favorites and discusses them from his unique vantage point as one of their equals. His tribute to—

Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen, as visualized by Sam Berman in a spectacular folio that was distributed by NBC in 1947.

—the unsung Sam Berman features a host of great material HERE.

I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to commemorate the centenary of film composer Bernard Herrmann (although I did get to add my two cents to a piece that aired on CBS radio). Fortunately, the Minnesota Opera is streaming a two-and-a-half hour audio documentary prepared a while back by one of the world’s foremost Herrmann aficionados, Bruce Crawford, HERE.

Speaking of music, I recently attended the Old Town Music Hall’s 36th annual Ragtime Festival in El Segundo, where I had the pleasure of hearing four exceptional—and quite individual—pianists: Kathy Craig, Alex Hassan, Frederick Hodges, and 19-year-old Adam Swanson. Alex has been making incredible discoveries on the Library of Congress’ music database, including previously unheard pieces by great composers like Jerome Kern, which he interpolated into a fantastic Kern medley. You can find some of his CDs HERE. Adam also has a handful of enjoyable CDs, which you’ll find HERE.

What’s more, Frederick and Adam have recently recorded a delightful twin-piano album, which you can find on Frederick’s website HERE along with another great new CD called Racing Down the Black and Whites which includes wonderful piano solos and suites by George Gershwin, Billy Mayerl, Dana Suesse, and Adam Carroll.

And while we’re on the subject of festivals, it’s just a few weeks till the San Francisco Silent Film Festival unfolds, and I can hardly wait. If you haven’t attended this glorious event before, don’t miss another year. No one does a better job of presenting silent films, and the beautiful Castro Theater is a perfect setting. For more information, click HERE. I’ll see you there!

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June 2024