May 11, 2007
Volume 35
Issue 19
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Sunday, Jan 17, 2021



Bits & Bytes
Harold Lloyd Silent Series continues at Paramount, May March Of Divas concludes with Renee Fleming, Three free film events offer budget-stretching options
by Milton W. Hamlin - SGN A&E Writer

It's another terrific week for Seattle entertainment fans. It's the final weekend for Edward Scissorhands at the 5th Avenue Theatre, the second weekend for The Skin Of Our Teeth at Intiman, ACT is readying the delightful Souvenirs as its second production of the summer season.

The Paramount Theatre's Silent Movie Mondays is packing 'em in with its Harold Lloyd Retrospective-which includes a rare (as in very rare) Harold Lloyd talkie this Monday. An unofficial March Of The Divas-with one headliner after another marching into town week after week-ends next week with a next-to-sold out visit from soprano Renee Fleming. And-as Bits&Bytes likes to note--three free events should please budget-minded Emerald City entertainment fans. Read on:


The Paramount Theatre's Silent Movie Mondays series is proving more popular with each offering. The current Harold Lloyd Retrospective varies the series' format with two detours.

This Monday, May 14, a rare, rare Harold Lloyd "talkie" joins the line-up. 1932's Movie Crazy finds Lloyd's character, Harold Hall, desperate to break into Hollywood. (Lloyd seems to have always given his characters his own first name.) Comic situations, of course, follow. (It should go without saying that organist Dennis James will not be accompanying the rare talkie, but&.)

The second variation in the series comes on Friday, May 25, when a double bill of The Freshman, 1925, and 1926's For Heaven's Sake plays in the "Monday Night" series. Mark the variations on your calendars now.

The current series opened with a double bill of Dr. Jack and Girl Shy, a last-minute replacement for another, unavailable film. Both delighted a huge crowd of silent film fans. As usual, Dennis James, one of the most successful and respected silent film organists in the country, provided delightful (and often insightful) accompaniment on the Paramount's original Mighty Wurlitzer Organ.

In Girl Shy, Lloyd plays a character with a (now politically incorrect) comic stutter which, of course, makes him&.well, see the title. A shuttering character in a silent film seems inconceivable, but with James' clever musical "stuttering" on the keyboards, the result was hilarious.

The Harold Lloyd series continues with three more programs, two of them double bills. Tickets are readily available at the Paramount box office on the night of the screenings. Check it out.


The Seattle Theatre Group, sponsors of the Silent Movie Mondays series, offers a free, hour long demonstration and lecture by Dennis James on Monday morning, May 21, at 10 a.m. at the Paramount. James will show a segment from Harold Lloyd's 1928 Speedy, which screens in full that evening, co-billed with his 1927 The Kid Brother. The lecture/organ demonstration is billed as the Age Of The Silver Screen.

Technically, the event is designed for student groups, but "insiders" report that no one is ever turned away. Arrive early, mingle with the student groups (300 students are expected to the free program), "volunteer" to help chaperone, etc. Or, plan ahead and arrive wearing a beanie with a propeller on top and an oversized lollypop in hand (and Bits&Bytes wonders why he is always "found out" at such occasions&).


Bits&Bytes has been spending a lot of time at the Northwest Film Forum, where the spring Festival Of Fairy Tales ends with the May 18-20 screenings of the long lost 1924 Peter Pan, the first film version of the classic tale with author J.M. Barrie handpicking its unknown star.

The 1924 Paramount film was presumed lost to history when studio technicians misplaced the film the late 1920s, long after its hugely successful run was over. With the advent of talking films, few silent films were ever archived beyond a simple storage system. Found by chance and restored with love, the classic film "is once again thrilling audiences both young and old."

NWFF is hosting harpist Leslie McMichael for all 7 p.m. screenings of the silent film. She will provide an original harp score for the classic.

The Sunday 5 p.m. screening will offer two Seattle performers who will read the film's intertitles (think "title cards" with plot details and dialog) for very young audience members or sight-impaired patrons. Complete details are available at NWFF-267-5380 or toll-free at (800) 838-3006.


Northwest Film Forum and ITVS Community Cinema team together for a free screening of a new documentary on the history and influence of Jehovah's Witnesses and how the group "has helped shape the history of human rights" with major wins in a record number of court cases "expanding freedom for everyone."

The hour-long documentary, cleverly titled Knocking, screens Saturday, May 19, at 4 p.m. Admission is free with an RSVP at (800) 930-6060.

(GLBT historians will recall that Jehovah Witnesses were persecuted in Nazi Germany and sent to concentration camps along with Jews, homosexuals, political dissidents, gypsies, etc. Given a choice between fighting for Hitler or certain death in the concentration camps, members of the group chose the camps.)

Mark your calendar and call today for tickets.

MAY'S MARCH OF DIVAS ENDS WITH CONCERT BY SOPRANO RENEE FLEMING The past weeks have seen one major female star after another march into town for a concert or weekend stay. These high powered, high profile entertainers have given Seattle an unofficial March Of The Divas series-many of them sponsored by the always busy Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

It's been the busiest unofficial series of vocal concerts in recent memory, at least for Bits&Bytes. Decades ago, if memory serves correctly, Seattle hosted Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross and Lena Horne (with her Broadway triumph, The Lady And The Music) within weeks of each other. Budgets were broken, bank cards were overspent, but memories were made that remain today.

The May March Of The Divas started with Deborah Voight in recital at Benaroya Hall. The world famous opera diva, weighing nearly 150 pounds less than on his last visit to the Emerald City, captivated a respectable audience (but, strangely, no where near a sell out). In one of her three encores, she literally stopped with show with a vocal and keyboard outing on Irving Berlin's "I Love A Piano." Talk about a memorable finish&.

Next came Broadway's Betty Buckley for a Seattle Symphony series of Pops Concerts, A Cabaret Evening With Betty Buckley. The Tony Award winner (for introducing the immortal "Memories" in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats on Broadway) was, alas, not in good voice. Either she is inching toward retirement by touring on the pops circuit, or her voice is simply too frayed for a Broadway show at his point in her career.

The concerts showcased her in several outstanding moments, including a hushed "Amazing Grace" that served as her final encore.

Coming up on Thursday, in another SSO event, is the next-to-sold out concert with soprano Renee Fleming. At SGN's press deadline, "a few sight impaired" balcony and box seats were the only available tickets for sale. These "restricted view" seats should be fine since Fleming will obviously be center stage but they are in the (gasp!) $110 and $120 price range.

Procrastinators-like this scribe-will stand in a long, long line and hope for patron-to-patron sales, last minute ticket turn ins or last minute ticket releases from tour groups. (Bits&Bytes has long maintained there is no such thing as a sold out concert-at least 90-miutes before curtain time. This Thursday will test his theory&.) Show up early, bring cash in small bills, hope for the best, and say hello to Bits&Bytes who, untypically, did not plan ahead.

FREE EVENT NO. 3: FEMME FATALES IN FILMS AT FRYE Local film critic (the best kind) Robert Horton offers a free illustrated lecture on Sunday, May 20, in the Films At The Frye film series at the Frye Art Museum. Dark Angels--Hollywood's Femme Fatales will focus on silent screen vamps, notably Theda Bara ("whose very name means death in Arabic," or so the PR flacks of the era proclaimed), and "vixens of film noir," especially Rita Hayworth, Joan Bennett and Jane Greer, all 1940s film sirens.

The 2 p.m. lecture is free but tickets, available at 1 p.m. at the museum's front desk, are required. Admission is always free at the Frye, the parking is always free and the lecture is-well, you get the picture. Like many, Bits&Bytes will park free, pick up his free ticket at 1 p.m., make a quick tour of favorite works or new exhibits at the museum, grab a bite to eat in the handsome coffee shop and settle down for a free afternoon with screen sirens of yesteryear. See you there&

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