Monday, December 9, 2013

First Fridays go silent ... film, that is

Posted By on Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 5:52 PM

click to enlarge Silent ... but deadly ... - ©ISTOCK.COM/KRUS
  • ©iStock.com/KRUS
  • Silent ... but deadly ...
Last week, Silent Film Fridays launched at the City Auditorium. The brand-new venture will bring a screening of a silent film with accompaniment by the Aud's Mighty Wurlitzer organ — exactly the way it used to be done.

The program kicked off with a Laurel and Hardy double-feature performance, screening Big Business and Their Purple Moment. Future films have not yet been announced, says Lara Holman Garritano of the Downtown Partnership, but they will be those of silent era stars like Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Lon Chaney, naturally. They'll occur every first Friday through next May, starting at 8 p.m. and running about an hour. A $5 donation will be collected, but those 17 and under are welcome for free.

Silent Film Fridays was organized by the Downtown Partnership with the city and the Pikes Peak Area Theater Organ Society), funded with monies from Colorado Creative Industries, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Boettcher Foundation as part of its Creative District programming. (Downtown was named a "prospective creative district" by CCI earlier this year.)

Read the press release below for more on the Mighty Wurlitzer and its reassembly in the Aud:

Silent Film Fridays launches Friday, December 6th at City Auditorium

New program pairs classic silent films with live “soundtrack” performed on historic Mighty Wurlitzer.
The film is silent. Not so, the Mighty Wurlitzer.

DOWNTOWN COLORADO SPRINGS – A new film series will launch Friday, December 6th at City Auditorium, 221 E. Kiowa Street at 8p.m. Screenings will continue monthly on the first Friday of each month through May 2014.

Experience silent films how they used to be done. Back in the day, the “pre-talkies” screened with live musical accompaniment. Huge pipe organs replicated orchestral music and movie sound effects, all against the whir of the film and projector reels. Silent Film Fridays presents a series of film classics with live music performed on downtown’s historic Mighty Wurlitzer by the Pikes Peak Area Theater Organ Society.

“Arts and culture play a central role in the health and vitality of Downtown Colorado Springs, and downtown has so many one-of-a-kind cultural experiences,” says Susan Edmondson, President and CEO for Downtown Partnership, continuing, “We’re thrilled to offer a chance to wonder at the magic of the silent film era in this way.”

Friday’s event presents a Laurel and Hardy double feature, with the holiday comedy Big Business (1929) and Their Purple Moment (1928). The movie “soundtrack” will be performed live by Las Vegas-based concert organist John Ledwon. Ledwon has performed nationally and internationally, and has served as President and Board Member for the American Theatre Organ Society. For the past 15 years, Ledwon has been an organist for Disney’s El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.

Now housed in the City Auditorium, the “Mighty Wurlitzer” was originally installed in 1927 in the Burns Opera House. When the Opera House was slated for demolition in 1973, members of the Pikes Peak Area Theater Organ Society spent thousands of hours to save the organ. After carefully dismantling and removing the organ, members then rebuilt it for installation in the City Auditorium in 1979.

Silent Film Fridays is presented as a partnership between Downtown Colorado Springs, the City of Colorado Springs City Auditorium, and the Pikes Peak Area Theater Organ Society. Support comes in part from Colorado Creative Industries, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Boettcher Foundation as part of downtown’s Creative District programming.

This month’s screening is timed to coincide with First Friday Downtown, which features free gallery openings, artist receptions, and performances from 5 to 8 p.m. at more than 20 venues on the first Friday of the month. Admission to Silent Film Fridays is a suggested donation of $5, with free admission for those 17 and under. Beer, wine, and popcorn will be available for purchase at the hour long event.

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