It’s in Queens
#PickoftheWeek | Enjoy classic silents with modern music
Two classic silent films from the 1920s will screen – accompanied by live music – in Astoria this weekend.
First, the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra will make its New York City debut alongside the 1925 comedy The Freshman at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts on Saturday, May 20, at 7 pm.
Then, local musicians High Water and Eliot Krimsky will improvise to the 1920 German Expressionist thriller The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari at the Museum of the Moving Image on Sunday, May 21, at 4 pm.
One of the first 50 motion pictures that the Library of Congress chose for preservation in the National Film Registry, The Freshman stars funnyman Harold Lloyd as a first-year college student who tries out for the football team in an attempt to gain popularity. He doesn’t make the cut, but he’s used as a tackle dummy and water boy. He also becomes the butt of many jokes, acquiring the nickname “Speedy,” but due to his delusions of grandeur, he doesn’t notice. During the Big Game, a series of injuries leads the coach with no option but to let Speedy play. Unusual blunders ensue, and Speedy actually wins the game in the last seconds, becoming the hero.
Tickets are $25, and The Freshman will screen in the school’s Tony Bennett Concert Hall at 35-12 35th Ave. Plus, the Berklee ensemble will hold a rehearsal that is open to the public at 4 pm.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari follows a hypnotist (the government), who turns a patient (common man) into a sleepwalking murderer. Inspired by World War I, the film argues that Germans have a subconscious need for a dictator. It came out less than a decade before Adolph Hitler’s rise to power.
High Water, who also goes by Will Epstein, is a New York-based multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who specializes in saxophone and electric piano. He will perform with Eliot Krimsky, a keyboardist, media artist, composer, songwriter, and co-founder and lead singer of the band Glass Ghost.
The event will include a post-screening discussion with Carl Bazil, a neurologist who specializes in sleep disorders, and Javier Téllez, a Venezuelan artist who worked with patients in a German psychiatric institution to make Caligari and the Sleepwalker, a short that looks at how humans interpret reality.
Tickets are $15, and the movie will show in the museum’s Redstone Theater at 36-01 35th Ave.
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Top image: Berklee Silent Film Orchestra; bottom image: Museum of the Moving Image