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Gold Town continues "not-so-silent" series with "Haxan" Saturday

Hunsaker, Banghart and Murphy to perform live soundtrack

Posted: April 26, 2013 - 4:46pm

The Gold Town Nickelodeon will continue its popular "not so silent" film series this Saturday with "Haxan," a 1920s era film about witchcraft that will be accompanied by live music from Bob Banghart, Dave Hunsaker and Patrick Murphy.

"Haxan," made in 1922 by Danish filmmaker Benjamin Christensen, presents a historical view of witchcraft in seven parts, stretching back to the Middle Ages. Reviewer Hal Erickson writes, "Though obviously a work of pure imagination, the film occasionally takes on the dimensions of a documentary, a byproduct of the extensive research done by Christensen before embarking on the project."

Local musicians Banghart, Hunsaker and Murphy, performing as The Dark Ages, have come up with a score based off thematic elements from music of the Middle Ages, in keeping with the historical focus of the film. 

"It should be pretty weird," Gold Town manager Collette Costa said, adding that she is really excited to hear what they've come up with. "I have no idea what they’re doing." 

Hunsaker has also edited his own cut of the film, Costa said.

Costa began the "not-so-silent" series in the fall of 2011, modeling it on similar events in theaters down south, and drawing on a personal appreciation for the silent film genre.

"I was sort of a silent movie geek when I was in film school," she said. "I've always loved them." 

Instead of using a traditional soundtrack for the Gold Town series, Costa decided to ask local musicians to come up with the music as a way to showcase Juneau talent and make the series more unique.

"What I wanted to do, since we have so many great musicians in town, is incorporate the talent we have here and offer something a little more interesting to go along with the film, to really engage people," she said, adding that silent films can be a tough sell in normal circumstances. In Juneau the series has been very successful, landing on many people's "best arts events of the year" lists in 2012 in the Empire's roundup.

The first one the theater brought in was "Nosferatu" which featured an orignial soundtrack by George and Bridget Kuhar of Playboy Spaceman (they had previously performed it at the library). Next was Buster Keaton's "The General," accompanied by local old-time band Rumblefish, which was brought back for a repeat showing a few months later.

"Haxan" will be shown at at 4, 7 and 9 p.m. this Saturday only, though Costa wasn't ruling out a repeat performance.

She's already getting ready for the next film in the series, which will showcase one of Jazz and Classics' visiting artists, pianist Richard Dowling, Dowling was encouraged to do the silent film soundtrack by a friend in San Francisco who does something similar for a theater there.

"I'm not sure if he heard about it or if Linda Rosenthal mentioned it to him, but ... she contacted me, and I was thrilled," Costa said.

Costa came up with a list of films and Dowling picked "Safety Last!" a 1923 romantic comedy silent film starring Harold Lloyd. Dowling will be performing at the Gold Town Monday, May 13. For more on this event, visit jazzandclassics.org/

Tickets to Saturday's film are available at the theater, the theater's website, and Rainy Retreat Books for $13-15, and at the door for $15-18. For more, visit the theater's website at www.goldtownnick.com/

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