The Friday, March 23, Column

Velvet Underground

SIFF Music movies – 2018

The Sonoma International Film Festival is back and amongst the movies about food, wine, fires, and spa destinations, there are a handful that are music related. There is also live music every day in the back-lot tent featuring many local musicians. See the Set List in todays issue for details on that. But for now, lights, camera, music!

Joe Frank – Somewhere Out There: Have you heard of Joe Frank? You’ve likely heard him. Originally born in France while his family was fleeing the Nazi’s, Frank (who’s original last name was Langermann) lost his father at five years of age, and then took on his mother’s new husbands last name. In his twenties, Frank studied at Hofstra University in New York and taught English and Russian literature and philosophy for 10 years at the Dalton School in Manhattan and later, while working as a music promoter, became interested in the power of radio. In 1977, Frank started volunteering at Pacifica Network station WBAI in New York, performing experimental radio involving monologues, improvisational actors, and live music during late-night, free-form hours.

Frank has performed in, and produced 18 dramas for the “NPR Playhouse,” which won several awards. You can hear him locally on KPFA as well. The documentary film covers Frank’s career on radio and on-line, and his highly produced radio shows can be described as innovative, abstract, underground, autobiographical, surreal, funny, disturbing, and thought-provoking meditations on the human condition.

The film features dozens of rare interviews with Joe’s friends, actors, engineers and closest associates and weaves the stories together with a wide variety of Joe’s radio shows to reveal his art, creative process, and personal life.

The film screens tonight, March 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building.

The Song of Sway Lake: The narrative film is billed as a “lush romantic drama about the vanished grace of America, and the spell cast by the melodies of the dead.”

It’s summer on Sway Lake, the most glamorous lake in the Adirondacks – former playground of the jazz-age New York aristocracy. Music collector Ollie Sway recruits his only friend, a rowdy Russian drifter, to help him steal a 78 record from his own family’s estate. Ollie believes that this mysterious piece of music, recorded at his grandparents’ wedding by Cole Porter’s lover, was hidden for him by his father before his suicide. He believes possessing the record will change his life.

The boys’ mission should be as easy as meeting a pretty girl on the water, but the arrival of the beguiling matriarch herself, Charlie Sway, changes everything. For Charlie has her own plans. And this song that hasn’t been heard in half a century may possess the answer to the deepest riddles about love and death.

The film screens today, March 23, at 9 a.m. at Burlingame Hall and Sunday, March 25, at 1:45 p.m. at the Vintage House.

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World: The documentary tells the little-known story of the role of Native Americans in popular music history. And brings to light a profound and missing chapter in the history of American music, the Indigenous influence. Featuring music icons Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Ed Davis, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson, Randy Castillo, and Taboo, and also features a who’s who of popular musicians in the soundtrack and in interviews, such as Buddy Guy, Steven Van Zandt, Tony Bennett, Taj Mahal, Cyril Neville, Ivan Neville, Martin Scorsese, Quincy Jones, John Trudell, Steven Tyler, Taboo, Derek Trucks, Corey Harris, Guy Davis, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Monk Boudreaux, George Clinton, Jackson Browne, Slash and many others.

The film screens today, March 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art and again on Saturday, March 24, at 11:45 a.m. at the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building.

The Velvet Underground Played at My High School: This animated short by Anthony Jannelli and Robert Pietri and was funded by a kickstarter campaign, tells the actual story of the legendary Velvet Underground’s first gig at Summit High School that turned out anything but good.

While on stage for merely 20 minutes, the Velvet Underground performed three songs, There She Goes, Venus in Furs, and Heroin. The Summit High School audience responded with, as one of the band recalled in 1983, a “murmur of surprise that greeted our appearance” that “increased to a roar of disbelief as we started to play” which “swelled to a mighty howl of outrage and bewilderment…” Half the audience walked out.

The film screens before both performances of Rumble, featured above.

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Codi Binkley

Set List – The Rundown

B&V Whiskey Bar and Grille, 400 First St. E. Sonoma, 938-7110
Tonight, March 23: SIFF After-Party with Loosely Covered. 9:30 p.m.

Friday Farmers Market, Depot Park, 270 First St W. Sonoma
Today, March 23: Stewart Degner. 9:30 a.m.

HopMonk Tavern, 691 Broadway Sonoma, 935-9100
Tonight, March 23: the Aqua Velvets. 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 24: Jon Gonzales String Band. 8 p.m.

Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs, 938-7587
Tonight, March 23: Ryan Tatarian and Matt Silva. 6:30 p.m.

The Reel Fish House and Grill, 401 Grove St. El Verano, 343-0044
Tonight, March 23: Train Wreck Junction. 9 p.m.
Saturday, March 24: Pulsators. 9:30 p.m.  

Sonoma International Film Festival, Back Lot, 120 First St. E.
Today, March 23: Chris Hanlin. 2 p.m. Adam Traum. 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 24: Codi Binkley and Friends. 2 p.m.
Sunday, March 25: Son of a Veach. 2 p.m. Keith Andrews. 4 p.m

Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall, 452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma, 996-1364
Tonight, March 23: Bruce Gordon and Jodie Stevens. 6:30 p.m. New Copasetics. 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 24: Wildflower Weed. 5 p.m. New Hip Replacements. 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 25: Jessie Lee Kincaid Band. 5 p.m. Sonoma Blues Jam. 8:30 p.m.

Sonoma Valley Regional Library, 755 W. Napa St. Sonoma, 996-5217
Saturday, March 24: Four Shillings Short. 2:30 p.m.

Sonoma Valley Woman’s Club, 574 First St. E., 938-8313
Saturday, March 24: Hawaiian Jam Session.  2 p.m.

If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it. jmberry@sonomamusic.com

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