How To Set Up A DIY At-Home Silent Film Festival!

Good heavens, what a lot of changes there’s been since the blogathon! I’m sure many of you are either homebound or staying in as much as possible, and are probably already wondering–what shall we do for the next couple weeks (or more)? On my part I’ve got Silent-ology, other ongoing research projects, and an upcoming move to keep me busy, but even I know that the coming weeks could be pretty darn long.

Harold portrait seated

Harold would not thrive under these conditions.

So here’s an idea that’s been simmering in my head for awhile, and now seems like the opportune time to share it–since there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do, why not have some fun putting on your very own, DIY, cozy-at-home silent film festival?!

Image result for in home theater

Maybe not this fancy, but you get the drift.

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My Time At The 24th Annual Kansas Silent Film Festival!

As my final post for Soviet Silents Month went up on Saturday, I was…sitting in a concert hall in Topeka, enjoying the 24th annual Kansas Silent Film Festival! Technically I posted it between showings, since I discovered I accidentally scheduled it for 7 p.m. instead of 7 a.m…. (It only took several minutes of extreme aggravation to fix!)

If you’re a regular reader you know that I make a pilgrimage to the prestigious San Francisco Silent Film Festival every year. I’ve also gone to the Buster Keaton convention in Muskegon and seek out silent film showings here in Minnesota when they’re available. Well, my life needed more festivals, and the annual fest in Kansas fit the bill. Not only was it close enough for me to drive there (only seven 1/2 hours–did I mention I’m a Midwesterner?) but it would be a nice little weekend getaway: a program of Friday evening showings and showings all day Saturday, with some of the finest live musical accompaniment, and, it was all free!

There were 13 films in all, from very early Biograph comedies to a gangster drama to one of Doug’s epic adventure films. And, did I mention, it was all free, free, free?! Continue reading

Farewell To Fay McKenzie And A Film Fest Update

In my recent review of The Alice Howell Collection I mentioned that the 101-year-old actress Fay McKenzie, who appeared as a baby in Distilled Love (1920), got to enjoy a special screening of the short thanks to historian Stan Taffel and relative Bryan Cooper. Isn’t that just the best? Well, the news broke recently that Fay passed away peacefully in her sleep on April 16, just two weeks after I posted my review. Amazingly, she had been in films on and off throughout her whole life, starting with infant/child roles in silent films starring such luminaries as Colleen Moore, and eventually becoming known as Gene Autry’s leading lady in the 1940s.

Image result for fay mckenzie gene autry Continue reading