I finished out my weekend listening to the dulcet tones of Liza Kate, providing the musical accompaniment to two silent films at the Silent Music Revival at Gallery 5. The first was 1967's OffOn by Scott Bartlett, the earliest American work combining film and video; the film cells were hand-tinted with food coloring.
The second was a collaboration between Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali, both of whom wanted to put their dreams into a film. Un Chien Andalou is from 1929 and was full of graphic and sexual references that would never have been acceptable in the U.S. at such an early date, like, say, eyeball slitting and bare breast fondling.
Liza's beautiful voice was a haunting soundtrack to the avant garde films, pulling the audience in when the visuals didn't. I've seen her perform many times before, but my favorite memory is a Gallery 5 show she did a couple years ago. She took the stage after the previous performer and the audience paid her no mind, continuing to talk away. She addressed the crowd loudly and directly, saying that she was just a girl with an acoustic guitar, so it was going to be necessary for the crowd to shut the fuck up if they expected to hear her. You never heard a room go so quiet so quickly.
And that's the beauty of the Silent Music Revival, besides it being a free event, of course. The audience comes for the pleasure of a vintage silent film and an outstanding local musician or band. Who'd want to talk through either of those?