The Unknown

6/17/2012 Sunday 7:33 pm

It’s been an unbelievable week.  Last Monday at midnight Randy Avers and Benoit Albert arrived at our home having flown in from Europe (Norway and France, respectively) and driven over from Houston.  Randy and I went to Oberlin together (read a series of 7 vignettes I wrote, beginning with number one, here), and he met Benoit in Paris at the conservatory about ten years ago.  So we have had a fantastic time catching up, trading stories, and gearing up for the amazing project we’re presenting this coming weekend.

I can’t say enough about it.  Randy and Benoit have knocked this out of the park.  Last December I sprung this idea on them: to compose and perform and original film score to accompany a 1927 silent film starring Lon Chaney.  They watched the movie, “The Unknown”, and fell in love with it.  It’s dark, very dark, and also very brilliant and extremely deep.  They were almost instantly enthralled with it, and told me so, and enthusiastically began the project.

What they’ve come up with is phenomenal.  I haven’t heard it all yet, but what I have heard is stunning.  They’ve got themes for each character and the music relates directly, on a second by second basis, to the action of the film.  The themes develop throughout, and they’ve brought remarkable sophistication and insight into what is a fully developed musical interpretation of the incredible cinematic work.  I’m thrilled and I can’t wait to chare it with everyone who comes out Friday night.

Big press came out this week, 2 stories in the Chronicle, one on the film and one on the music and food we’re doing – and a cover story in the Statesman’s Austin 360 about our whole summer series, along with the summer festival of the Austin Chamber Music Center.

The Alamo Drafthouse has been unbelievable to work with – inspiring really.   Josh Jacobs is the genius behind the Rolling Roadshow and so many other Alamo major events.  Josh seems to be everywhere all the time.  They just did a screening of Mad Max Road Warrior with a live demolition derby with fire-breathing cars, for example!

This week will be active.  Tuesday at 6 we’ll be live at the cactus Cafe for Views and Brews (free, at 6PM).  Me, the Alamo Drafthouse’s co-founder Tim League, and the musicians will talk about the whole project and the guys will even play the first scene of the film!  Wednesday we’re live on morning TV at 8:50 (Fox 7) and then on John Aielli’s show on KUT at 11.  Thursday at 2 we’ll be on KOOP radio.

The film show will be Friday at 9PM with grounds opening at 7:30 for 500 people.  We have Mazel Tov Kocktail Hour, That Damn Band, live hula hooping, knife throwing, full dinner, wine, and so much more – prior to the show.  Randy and Benoit will play a recital also on Saturday night for our Austin Guitar Salon series with our friends at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop and Twin Liquors.

I have no doubt that this project will measure up in terms of unbounded creative artistry, to our most bold endeavors ever.

From left to right: me, Benoit, Randy, Glenda, Dave (Justy) and Patricia. We were at madam Mam's for delicious Thai food!

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