Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt & PAUL BUTTERFIELD STORY's Director To Be Guests On Tom Needham's THE SOUNDS OF FILM
Stephin Merritt (of the Magnetic Fields) is premiering his original new songs and score in a live film screening of Tod Browning's 1925 film 'The Unholy Three,' starring Lon Chaney, at The Town Hall in New York City on Saturday, May 18 at 8 p.m. Merritt will be joined by accordionist and novelist Daniel Handler ("A Series of Unfortunate Events") and viola player and multi-instrumentalist Pinky Weitzman. For Merritt, this is the third installment in a trilogy of silent film scores and the first to debut in New York. Prior scores for '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' (1916) and Tod Browning's 'The Unknown' (1927) both debuted on the West Coast.
'The Unholy Three' made its theatrical debut at the New York Capitol Theater where it was an immediate hit, heralded by Life magazine's R.E. Sherwood as "the best picture of its kind since The Miracle Man," the 1919 silent that also featured Chaney in the lead. It turned out to be Chaney's first and only talkie. Director Tod Browning, perhaps best known for two later films, 'Dracula' (1931) and 'Freaks' (1932), is on identifiably strange ground with 'The Unholy Three.'
Stephin Merritt releases albums under the band names the Magnetic Fields, the 6ths, the Gothic Archies, and Future Bible Heroes. Merritt has written and recorded eleven Magnetic Fields albums, including his popular 1999 album, "69 Love Songs." Merritt and the Magnetic Fields performed as part of Lincoln Center's 'American Songwriters' series and at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music's 'Next Wave of Song'. Merritt composed original music and lyrics for three music theater pieces directed by Chen Shi-Zheng. In 2008, Merritt composed music for the Off Broadway stage musical of Neil Gaiman's 'Coraline,' for which he won an Obie Award. Merritt composed the score for the Academy award-nominated film 'Pieces of April' (dir. Peter Hedges). He composed incidental music for the HarperCollins' audio books of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler's pen name), and for Neil Gaiman's "Coraline," and released albums for each. Merritt created and performed a live score for the 1916 silent version of '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,' and for Tod Browning's 1927 film 'The Unknown,' both at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. In 2014, Merritt released a book of poems, "101 Two Letter Words," about the tiniest words in the Scrabble dictionary, illustrated by Roz Chast. In 2017, Merritt released his latest Magnetic Fields album, "50 Song Memoir," on Nonesuch Records.
Grammy-nominated filmmaker John Anderson's HORN FROM THE HEART: THE PAUL BUTTERFIELD STORY is the complex story of a man many call the greatest harmonica player of all time. A white teenager from Chicago's South Side, Paul Butterfield learned the blues from the original black masters, like Muddy Waters, performing nightly in his own backyard. The interracial Paul Butterfield Blues Band added a rock edge to the Chicago blues, bringing an authenticity to its sound that struck a chord with the vast white rock audience and rejuvenated worldwide interest in the blues. The film features Butterfield's music and words, along with first-hand accounts from his family, his band mates and those closest to him, with appearances by David Sanborn, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, Paul Shaffer, Michael Bloomfield, Todd Rundgren and Bob Dylan. The Paul Butterfield Band was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.
John Anderson is a Director, Editor, and Executive Producer whose work has aired on PBS, A&E, MTV, VH1, Showtime, Cinemax, HBO, FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, the BBC and elsewhere around the world. Besides an Emmy and nine Emmy nominations, John was nominated for a Grammy for "Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE", the platinum-selling DVD release from Warner Brothers/Rhino Home Video. The live performance DVD, which Brian Wilson hails as "a masterpiece", marked Anderson's fifth DVD collaboration with The Beach Boys leader, including the PBS documentary "The Beach Boys: Doin' It Again", which he directed, edited and co-wrote. He produced the big-screen video content that was part of The Beach Boys' 73-date 2012 reunion tour, and directed and filmed Brian's performance of the title song in the 2014 biopic Love & Mercy.
HORN FROM THE HEART: THE PAUL BUTTERFIELD STORY is screening at the Port Jefferson Documentary Series on Monday, May 20 at 7:15 PM Theatre Three located at 412 Main Street, Port Jefferson, New York, 11777. After the film there will be a Q & A with Sandra Warren, Executive Producer/Producer, moderated by Tom Needham, Host of THE SOUNDS OF FILM. Ticket holders are also invited to attend a Pre-film Blues Concert at 6 pm with Long Island's Kerry Kearney.
About the SOUNDS OF FILM
Tom Needham's THE SOUNDS OF FILM is the nation's longest running film and music themed radio show. For the past 30 years, the program has delivered a popular mix of interviews and music to listeners all over Long Island, parts of Connecticut and streaming worldwide live on the internet at wusb.fm. Past people interviewed for the show include Laurie Anderson, Kronos Quartet, Vince Giordano, Howard Shore, Chris Hedges, Alexander Payne, Mike Leigh, Chuck D, Wanda Jackson, Dean Wareham, Faith No More's Mike Patton, Morris Day and Scott Adams.