This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.
We often imagine the arrival of cinema as a clean break with the traditions of popular, live performance; as though (popular) film arrived as the ham-fisted alienation it is today. Yet for the many decades of domination by silent films, their soundtracks were performed live by in-house musicians. Perhaps inhabiting the same sort of quasi-creative space occupied today by DJ's, silent-film musicians found themselves fired by the thousands when The Jazz Singer premiered, which, in addition to contributing to the historic coincidence of cinematic turning points with gratuitous racism, also heralded the arrival of the talkie.
Recently however, there has been a resumed interest in silent film musicianship, though not quite of the kind available at Smack Mellon tonight. Inspired by the possibilities of a collaboration between contemporary musicians and silent films from a previous era, cuator Molly Surno has paired New York 'art punk power trio' Lycaon Pictus with Pitor Kamler's Chronopolis and Joel Schlemowitz's Bagatelle. Doors are at 7, show is at 8. Come early for a free beer tasting. Suggested donation is five dollars.