By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Warning: May Contain Bad Films
The only orphans associated with silent movies tend to be Little Rascals, or Jackie Coogan in Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid. This weekend, however, is all about orphaned films at the Orphans West Symposium. These are films that have no clear origin or ownership status, films that are experimental in nature, or home movies — basically, terminally unsexy corners of cinema that involve industry or banal slices of contemporary life appreciated practically everywhere else in the world but here. And yet there are fascinating flashes of brilliance over two days of screenings — a 1928 dedication of a new writers’ building on the Fox lot at which both Tom Mix and Leon Trotsky configure; the building of the Hollywood(land) sign in 1923; Linda Feferman’s 1974 Film on Menstruation, with on-the-street interviews on the subject with women — and men. There’s also a fairly startling screening of the inconsolably rare 1965 episode of the TV series Insight, titled “The Locusts Have No King” and starring William Shatner as a man who stands up against gangsters in his town, even over the levelheaded objections of wife Geraldine Brooks. Shatner had just come off making the Esperanto-language horror masterpiece Incubus, so you know his head was in an impressively weird place back then. There’s also 1920s footage from locales as far flung as Jerusalem, Cairo and Baghdad — if anything, these films unveil a world that once was, orphaned, as the years pass, only by the fading of memory, not of film. Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A.; Sat.-Sun., May 2-3; $13 per screening; $65 festival pass. (323) 655 2510 or www.cinefamily.org/calendar/orphans.html.
SUNDAY, MAY 3
Ziggy Plays Guitar
As we’re fond of saying, most children’s music makes us want to throw ourselves under the wheels of the bus. Not Ziggy Marley’s sweet and uplifting reggae-ish tunes. Your kids may not care that Willie Nelson, Paul Simon and Jamie Lee Curtis sing on his latest children’s disc, Family Time, but this is definitely music that will get your whole clan to act like happy goofballs. Ziggy Marley has five children, and his famous father, Bob, counted 12 offspring, so those Marley men must know a thing or two about how to be a Fun Dad. Marley headlines Concert by the Canyon, an outdoor family music event that also features Latin and blues sounds by True Rhythm & Soul, Afro-Cuban group Locura Oscura, a petting zoo, arts and crafts and a bake sale. Cowan Avenue Elementary, 7615 Cowan Ave., Westchester; Sun., May 3, noon; $8, $5 in advance; under 12 free with an adult. (323) 296-9694.
America! What a Country!
The Santa Cecilia Orchestra’s final concert of the season, Coming to America, celebrates Czech composer Antonin Dvorak’s infatuation with this country with a performance of — what else — his Symphony No. 9, a.k.a. “From the New World.” This work has been so done to death that it ought to be called “From the Over the Hill World.” But it’s also so rich with lush themes, Afro-American and Native American folk melodies and other Dvorakian enticements that ever since its 1893 premiere, it continues to go straight to the heart. The rest of the program, however, is even more interesting. It includes Carlos Chavez’s flavorful, powerful orchestration of baroque organ master Dietrich Buxtehude’s gorgeous Chaconne, and Rachmaninoff’s big endurance test, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, performed by International Prokofiev Competition Gold Medalist Robert Thies, a truly wonderful pianist with boundless energy and technique. These 28 variations (or is it 30? Scholars still debate the number) range from Bachian intricacy to soaring romantics, challenging the virtuoso on every level. Occidental College, Thorne Hall, 1600 Campus Rd., Eagle Rock; Sun., May 3, 4 p.m.; $20 & $26, $7 17 & under. (323) 259-3011 or www.scorchestra.org.
Warning: The Vessel May Get Spiccato
Oh, I’ll take the highway and you take the freeway and I’ll get to Long Beach afore ye. ... It’s time once again for a ChamberMusic in Historic Sites concert aboard the RMS Queen Mary, the vessel King George V once called “the stateliest ship now in being.” Well, that was back in, what, the 1930s? But time can’t alter His Majesty’s gracious observation — the grand old dame of the ocean still reigns supreme in Long Beach Harbor, and this weekend the acclaimed American String Quartet performs its Beethoven Cycle No. 3 concert in the luxurious Queen’s Salon, a 4,600-square-foot monstrosity of a room reeking with Art Deco elegance, from its three golden-onyx fireplaces and its magnificent light fixtures to the rich parquet floors and priceless original art. Who wouldn’t brave the 405 on a Sunday to listen to an afternoon of Beethoven quartets, surrounded by such grace and grandeur? And of course, you can come early and tour the world’s most famous ocean liner, too, the perfect classical-music getaway. RMS Queen Mary, Queen’s Salon, Long Beach Harbor, Long Beach; Sun., May 3, 4 p.m.; $41-$49. (213) 477-2929 or www.dacamera.org.
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