SUNRISE is simply one of the best movies ever made: period! Silent or not, if you have not seen this F.W. Murnau classic you're no movie fan. This powerful story of lust, betrayal, hatred, love and redemption had both me and my wife weeping with joy when we saw it screened at the Lawrence Arts Center several years ago, accompanied by the live music of the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.
Well, last night in Topeka, at the 19th annual Kansas Silent Film Festival I saw two fabulously funny and entertaining comedy 5-reelers. The first was Harold Lloyd's 1922 "Grandma's Boy," and the second was Buster Keaton's 1927 "College." While there was no Mont Alto this year, the great Californian polymath, protean genius (I'm really not exaggerating) and Renaissance man Dr. Jon Mirsalis (scientist, researcher, patent holder, Lon Chaney Sr. expert, silent film expert, composer, musician, and accompanist extraordinaire) played piano and keyboards to the Keaton masterpiece. And I WAS THERE! I would have gone up and gotten his autograph, but with limited funds (i.e. no money) I was unable to purchase any of his scored DVD silents that were for sale.
While not Prog in the sense of Rick Wakeman or Keith Emmerson, Dr. Jon Mirsalis' playing last night was truly progressive in expressing ideas, emotions, and a wealth of other plot devices and manifestations.
If you ever have a chance to hear Mirsalis play--TAKE IT!