March 30, 2000
Vol. 19 No. 13

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    WHPK, Doc Films collaboration will bring live music to Max Palevsky for screenings of several films

    By Jennifer Leovy
    News Office

    Members of Doc Films and WHPK radio [dutch harbor]station have combined their efforts this quarter to offer a performance series that couples film screenings with live music.

    “We want to provide our audiences with a different experience of both film and live music,” said third-year Alona Lerman of WHPK. “They will get to hear a soundtrack performed live for one of the films, and then later in the quarter, we’ve scheduled a band to improvise an original score to a silent film from the 1920s.” The radio station also is currently scheduling musicians for “Pictures and Sounds,” a performance featuring several bands that will accompany short, experimental films.

    Jazz musicians from the Boxhead Ensemble, a rotating line-up of nationally recognized Chicago artists, will kick off the series at 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, at Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall.

    The Boxhead Ensemble musicians will play live during a screening of Dutch Harbor: Where the Sea Breaks its Back, a documentary film by Braden King and Laura Moya.

    The two filmmakers created Dutch Harbor in 1995 when they traveled to Unalaska Island, a remote fishing town in the Aleutian Island chain off the coast of Alaska. The town’s inhabitants historically have avoided mainstream society, and King and Moya captured the drama of the isolated community’s confrontation with encroaching commercialization.

    Boxhead Ensemble members composed the film’s soundtrack and have toured the United States and Europe, performing it at each showing of the film. The performance at Max Palevsky Cinema is the culmination of the two-year tour.

    Under the direction of composer Michael Krassner, the Boxhead Ensemble created the soundtrack during a series of improvisational sessions.

    The Chicago screening will feature Krassner (guitar and pump organ), Ryan Hembrey (acoustic bass), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello, nickel harp), Steve Dorocke (pedal steel guitar, bandoneon), Gerald Dowd (percussion) and Glen Kotche (percussion).

    “Pictures and Sounds,” the second performance of the series, will take place at 8:30 p.m. Monday, May 1. Currently, three bands––Vertonen, Salomé and Currituck County––have been scheduled to accompany the program of experimental films.

    The third film in the series is the 1928 silent movie The Wind, starring Lillian Gish. Letty, played by Gish, is an outsider living in the harsh environment of East Texas, where the wind is nearly her only companion.

    The Chicago band Pinetop Seven will perform an original score for the movie. Band members Charles Kim, Darren Richard and Hembrey, also a member of the Boxhead Ensemble, describe their music as “cinematic in scope, yet intimate and sincere in its awkward beauty.” The screening will take place at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 23.

    Tickets for Dutch Harbor and The Wind are $8 general, $5 with a University I.D. and $3 for Doc Films pass holders. Tickets for “Pictures and Sounds” are $3. Tickets for all films will be available at the door. For further information, contact WHPK at (773) 702-8289 or Doc Films at (773) 702-8574.