5 shows performed, 2 bass strings replaced, 1 recording for Kino

July 12 – Weds and Thurs I played to Keaton’s The General, Lloyd’s The Freshman, and Keaton’s Sherlock, Jr. in the Titus 1 theater at MoMA. The Miditzer theatre organ sounded great in there (T1 is the bigger of the three theaters at MoMA). Shows were well-attended, and I saw some familiar faces who brought kids, friends, or friends of their kid’s to the shows.

Thursday morning I had an emergency call to replace a bass string at “The Fantasticks”. We had ordered a complete set of bass strings before the show opened so I was ready with a replacement. Another broke the next day and I was in this morning to replace that one, and also do my regular Sat AM tuning. [This is nothing unusual for a piano being used for a musical; my friend/teacher/mentor in piano tuning/tech tells me a piano he services for one Broadway musical running right now is breaking strings all the time.]

Friday afternoon I recorded a score for the 1909 D.W. Griffith short Edgar Allan Poe, for a DVD release by Kino; the short will be on a disc with The Avenging Conscience, which Kino put out on VHS some years ago and already has a score.

That evening Bruce Lawton and I did our NYC-themed silent film show at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle. Father Gilbert Martinez and arts director John Znidarsic were there and really enjoyed the program. Father Gil gave us a nice intro, speaking about the church and the Paulist fathers and tying it all in to the program, and John made sure the big 9 x 12 screen, the organ and A/C was all set, as well as coordinating everything else about the show with us. It’s a beautiful church, and the organ – a 4-manual 89-rank Möller, with several Nave ranks and a few midi voices – sounded amazing, and I had some fun creating moods and settings for the films we showed. We had a real nice turnout, maybe a couple hundred, and most of the faces were new to both Bruce and me as well as to John.We’ll be back at St. Paul’s on July 31 for a Chaplin program (something Father Gil requested we present).

I’m going to burn a bunch of CD’s of my altscore.com scores to bring to Slapsticon to sell. This was a suggestion by Rob Farr, and I think it’s a great idea. There are probably a lot of fans who may like the concept but are technically challenged, and the idea of downloading an MP3 and then making a CD of it is something they can’t handle. I’ve resisted offering to take orders online and then burn and mail CD’s, but it’s possible this may be a viable way of getting more orders out there. Let’s see how it goes at Slapsticon.

Monday night I play a MoMA for Safety Last and a program of comedy shorts. I’m going to introduce the shorts show, as one of the comedies being shown is a rare Langdon 2-reeler and MoMA’s print has Czech titles and is missing the film’s opening and ending. The other short is MoMA’s restoration of The Floorwalker, which has 4 mins of footage at the beginning I and a few others who’ve seen it haven’t seen anywhere else. I’ll do these two shows on piano, and then will do the repeats of the two programs on Weds on the Miditzer, and then leave for Slapsticon on an early eyeball Amtrak Thursday morning.

See you at the silents!

Ben Model
silent film accompanist/historian

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