Boston’s Alloy Orchestra is likely to hit one out of the park when it presents a special program for the Reel2Real festival at the Vancity theatre on Friday (April 13). Percussionist Ken Winokur recalled that its last visit to Vancouver in 2010, when the three-man troupe performed its live score for a trio of silent-era films that included Josef von Sternberg’s Underworld, was “spectacular”. The Alloy’s Not Just for Kids program includes Buster Keaton’s wonderful One Week (1920), plus a bunch of oddities like Artheme Swallows his Clarinet (1912) and The Red Spectre (1907).
“A lot of them are actually taken from another show we do called Wild and Weird,” Winokur told the Straight in a call from Cambridge, Massachusetts. ”A lot of them are very experimental, a lot of them are very early, and we just thought it would work well for kids, too.” Turns out they were right. “They’re totally into it,” he said. “It’s fast-paced, it’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s weird—they get the weirdness of them, basically.”
Winokur added that juvenile audiences are “kinda riveted by the motion on the screen and the energy I think we put forth from the orchestra pit”, although you could probably say the same for the Alloy’s older fans. After Not Just for Kids, Winokur and his partners—Mission of Burma’s Roger Miller among them—are sticking around for another three days to perform their acclaimed version of Metropolis, plus the Vancouver premiere of the scandalous 1920 German Expressionist film From Morning to Midnight and the 1925 version of Phantom of the Opera.
For the latter, viewers will be treated to Winokur’s “elaborately restored” private print of the Lon Chaney classic, talk of which prompted Winokur to ask, “That reminds me, did I send it yet?” Hey, good thing we called! More information is at www.viff.org/theatre.