Monday, October 27, 2008

Action painting to live music to silent Dracula

In my sense of entertainment, you can't beat live music to silent film - unless maybe you add live action painting to the live music being performed to the silent film.

An ignorant and dismissive person - if that type survives in St. Louis after we rallied 100,000 people to cheer on Barack Obama! - might assume you can't get there from here. But yes, you can.

At 8 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 30 local artist Chris Sagovac will complete a live abstract expressionist painting influenced by the movements, shadows and mood of F.W. Murnau’s, Nosferatu, accompanied by The Alloy Orchestra's live score.

Murnau's film is a darling of the live music/silent film revival - I've seen three different live scores performed to it, including Alloy's - and provides the prime subtext to Werner Herzog's film of the same name. Max Schreck's epochal Dracula performance for Murnau was the major inspiration for one of Klaus Kinski's unforgettable performances for Herzog.

Carlos Garza and Rich O'Meara of Silent Orchestra, who also have scored the film, cite Murnau's "use of superimposed images, negative images, and the oddly angled castle architecture" in offering his film as a masterpiece of German Expressionism. That sounds about right.

At Thursday's screening, in addition to the presentation of the film, a smaller synchronized projection will be utilized in the creation of the painting. I take it that the artist paints around a projection of the film on the canvas.

The painting I borrowed from Sagovac's website and posted above is titled The Living Dead; my guess is it was painted around a projection of the zombie movie of that name. I'd guess the same about his painting American Psycho.

I don't know anything about this guy, but a quick scan of his blog turns up a recent trip to the San Diego comic convention and ongoing work in comics and film. He also teaches at Webster. Sounds like a cool guy with a lot on the ball.

No surprise: This is a presentation of The Webster University Film Series, which is every bit as compelling as a film series needs to be.

Admission is $6 for the general public. The screening will be held in Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University, 470 E. Lockwood, Webster Groves.


Tony Renner said...

this just makes me so jealous i could poop....

learn, artist!, the group i'm in with robin allen of the civil tones, would be perfect for playing along with a silent movie... but i've heard nothing from mike at the webster film series....

i did live action painting at off broadway on october 4 at off broadway as bunnygrunt played...

-- tony

Confluence City said...

Jealousy is no good, man! Keep making your own scene if the guy with the institutional gig doesn't get back to you!

Chris Sagovac said...

Hey everyone, thanks for passing on the info about the show. Alloy is playing on Sunday night though. I have the stage all to myself on Thursday. Working with a band and a film wold be amazing.

I would love to see a pic of the Bunnygrunt painting. I remember that band from way back.

The way it is going to work is there will be a dual projection in the theater. One will be the actual movie and the other will be on the canvas I'm painting on. If this goes well, I have hopes of doing a collaborative painting in the same vein having members of the audience randomly come up and add to the piece.

Tony, try leaving your information with James Harrison as well. They do a lot of really creative programming at the film series which is why I proposed my project to them.

The painting is from the movie Night Of The Living Dead as well as American Psycho. I find it is easy to do commissioned work this way when dealing with clients. I just ask them what their favorite movie is. Casablanca and Natural Born Killers are in the works.

Hope to see you all on Thursday night!


Confluence City said...

Thanks Chris. I'm sad the live music component is not included. Now I wonder what score will be sequenced to the film? Anyway, I'll be there w/ at least one friend.