Tom Nazziola, Buster Keaton and the BQE Project

Tonight I saw Tom Nazziola’s BQE Project perform his brand new original score to Buster Keaton’s Battling Butler at the Walter Reade Theater. I’ve known Tom for a number of years, and while he’s come to a few of my shows, I’ve always been working when the BQE has performed. Luckily, I was unengaged this evening, and was really glad I got to hear Tom’s scoring work and his excellent 8-piece ensemble. They did a great job, and Tom’s score really did the work Battling Butler needs…it supported the energy, gags’ rhythm and the heart of the piece. BK’s BB is not one of his greatest, and is somewhat uncharacteristic, but it’s a story well-told and with a great supporting cast. If you get a chance to hear Tom and the BQE — go. The sound is traditional and is scored down to the second…meaning it’s not mood music beds that fit, it’s more like a real film score timed to each beat of the picture.

Okay…I got through my double-header on Weds of The General (10:30am!) at AMMI for a near-full house of seniors, and then Sunrise in Huntington. Never played for Sunrise before, and it went really well. Those expressionistic, lyrical films are such a blast to play for, and it was a great show. We had a real nice crowd, plus the opening short – my print of Big Business – absolutely killed. Thurs eve I hung out with Phil Carli, who is in town to play for magic lantern shows at MoMA on Fri and Sat. I will go tomorrow (Sat) for the ML show, and then have to take off for the Brooklyn Museum to play for It with Clara Bow. I watched this on a VHS that I got from the NYPL, at double-speed. Found out from Bruce Lawton that the Killiam edition was the first time the film really had been restored and put into circulation; Killiam managed to coordinate the rights from both Paramount and Elinor Glyn.

Sunday’s Silent Clowns show is Stan Laurel shorts, our last of the season. Spent a little time this afternoon repairing the focus knob on one of our two Eiki SL-O projectors. I’ve customized them to run at 21.5 fps, and the we’ll be using both machines for these Laurel one-reelers, which can zip by at 24 fps.

A tri-state area high school has contacted me about doing one of my orch scores…with their band. Now need to re-tool the score for concert band, but that shouldn’t be too complicated. Once things are a little more cemented I’ll let you know where (and when) this’ll be happening.

Still haven’t had time to deal with the orchestral cues from the ‘teens and ’20s I acquired in September; same for my idea of recording scores for purchasable download for silents. Maybe when a little dust settles later in Dec or Jan…?

Stay tuned, and see you at the silents!

Ben Model

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