By Tara Bennett
Dust off your picnic baskets and unfold your lawn chairs, because outdoor movie season is upon us once again. This summer, music and movie fans can flock to the Baton Rouge Gallery, a BREC facility (BRG), to catch performances from a variety of musicians while watching select silent films during the gallery’s annual Movies & Music on the Lawn series. This innovative combination of classic film and contemporary sound will kick off on Saturday, May 30 with Show People, featuring a score performed by the jazz/funk blend of Café au Lait.
Sponsored by Whole Foods Market, John G. Turner & Jerry G. Fischer and Forum 35, the films will be shown on a towering inflatable screen on the lawn behind the BRG located inside BREC’s historic City Park. The screenings begin at 8 p.m. or when the sun sets (whichever happens first). Admission price has gone up to $7 due to purchasing the rights of the films, but rest assured, it still includes free bottomless popcorn.
The selected genres for this year’s series will try something a bit new this year to keep things fresh by including three silent films made in the past 10 years (Dr. Plonk, Blancanieves and La Antena), one from the ‘70s (Silent Movie) and another about silent film, made right at the end of the silent-era of film (Show People). The music has a lot of diversity this year with stylings of reggae, Cajun/Louisiana grass roots, jazz/funk, indie rock and melodic folk music. All the bands will produce a new score that has never been heard before.
“We introduced a lot of new this year,” said Andreasen. “All five of the bands that are slated to perform during this series are new to this program, they’ve never done it before. So every time people will come this year, they will get a new experience, musically speaking, that they’ve never gotten at the series before.”
This year’s films include:
May 30 – Show People, with music written by Café au Lait. Made in 1928, this film focuses on a woman who pursues her dream to be a star in Hollywood. Lovers of the film The Artist will also enjoy this silent movie about silent movies.
June 27 – Dr. Plonk, with music written by Onion Loaf. This slapstick comedy from Australia is a time-traveling satire about a scientist who believes the world will end in 101 days. Ridiculed by the public, he invents a time machine to prove he is right.
July 24 – Silent Movie, with music written by Trailer Hounds. Mel Brooks stars in this 1976 flick about a comedy director who wishes to regain his fame by making the first silent film in 40 years. Now he just has to recruit Hollywood’s biggest stars for the project.
August 28 – Blancanieves with music written by Lost Bayou Ramblers—the program’s first Grammy-nominated band. A Spanish film, which reimagines the fairy tale of Snow White to give the story new life. The catch? Snow White and her seven dwarves are bull fighters.
Friday, September 25 – La Antena with music written by Ship of Fools. An Argentian film with a focus on how we consume media. The film tells the tale of a small family who fight against the evil “Mr. TV” who stole the voices from everyone in the city.
“We always want to keep it fresh and exciting as possible,” said Andreasen, who researched the modern silent films being made and found a number made outside of America. “The films that we selected show how artists are using silent film to kind of push film as an art form forward.”
Attendees are encouraged to bring their picnic blankets, lawn chairs and blankets for the series. For more information on Movies & Music on the Lawn visit batonrougegallery.org.