Wednesday, October 30, 2013

2013 SLIFF schedule includes music documentaries, live performances

The 2013 St. Louis International Film Festival has released its complete schedule for this year, and once again it includes several programs of potential interest to jazz fans.

Now in its 22nd year and billed as "one of the largest international film festivals in the Midwest," SLIFF this year will present more than 350 films from November 14 through November 24 at venues including the Tivoli Theatre, Plaza Frontenac Cinema, Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium, Washington University's Brown Hall Auditorium, the Wildey Theatre, and the new KDHX headquarters in Grand Center.

As part of the festival, New Music Circle will present composer Olivia Block and filmmakers Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder (pictured) in a performance at 8:00 p.m. Friday, November 15 at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. The event will include "Dissolution," a solo piece for 4-channel sound by Block, and "Untitled," a collaborative work of "live cinema" for dual 16mm film projectors and electronic sound.

Tickets are $20 for regular admission. $10 for CAM members, students, and "struggling music lovers," and can be purchased in advance from Brown Paper Tickets or at the door.

Block, Gibson and Recoder also will present a free workshop and talk at 1:00 p.m. the next day, Saturday November 16, at CAM, at which they'll demonstrate their extended techniques and approaches to film and sound. This event is free and open to the public.

Other offerings of potential interest to jazz fans include:

* Bayou Maharaja: The Tragic Genius of James Booker, a biography of New Orleans pianist James Booker, will be screened at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, November 16 at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium. Tickets are $12.

Booker, who seems inevitably described as an eccentric genius, was a virtuoso performer who was widely respected on the New Orleans music scene during the 1960s and 70s. The film, lauded by the Hollywood Reporter as "a must-see for aficionados of New Orleans jazz," explores the his life and the reasons why he never achieved breakout stardom.

Director Lily Keber will participate in a post-film Q&A, and the screening also will include an hour-long, Booker-inspired performance by pianist and St. Louis native Tom McDermott, who's become known as something of a New Orleans music scholar since moving there in the mid-1980s.

* The Pleasures of Being Out of Step, which looks at the life and work of journalist, author and critic Nat Hentoff, will play at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, November 17 and again at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, November 24, both times at KDHX, 3524 Washington Blvd. Tickets are $12.

Hentoff has written prolifically over the past 60 years about jazz, civil liberties, and other subjects for the Village Voice, the New Yorker, DownBeat, Jazz Times and many other publications, and has authored many books, both non-fiction and novels. He also has a St. Louis connection, as his daughter Jessica Hentoff lives here and runs the Circus Harmony foundation and school. She will in attendance at both screenings, and the film's director David L. Lewid also will be on hand on November 24.

Other music-related films showing during the festival include Harlem Street Singer, about the late blues and gospel performer Rev. Gary Davis; Something in the Water, a locally produced documentary recounting the "Real Rock Radio" glory days of St. Louis mainstay KSHE (94.7 FM); and more. You can see a listing of all the festival's music-related films here.

Tickets are now on sale for all shows, with direct links to buy tickets on each film page. For more about purchasing tickets and all-access passes, see the site's "venues and tickets" page.

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