This winter, escape the winter chill and cozy up to the big screen at Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts on Sundays during the Sag Harbor-based theater’s East End Music Film Series hosted by Suzy Elmiger.
“John Shaka, an active member of the Bay Street Theater and Sag Harbor Center for the Arts Community Connections Council, suggested I think up a short series of films to screen,” explained Suzy Elmiger, an accomplished editor whose resume includes Robert Altman: Short Cuts and Ready to Wear and Alan Rudolph’s Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle and Afterglow. “My favorite docs remain music films, so I thought it would be great to have one on East End filmmakers who made music films.”
The viewings will begin on Sunday, January 31st with A.K.A. Doc Pomus, which will include a discussion with filmmaker Sharyn Felder. A.K.A. Doc Pomus follows the life of Brooklyn-born Jerome Felder, who was paralyzed with polio as a child, yet managed to find a way to reinvent himself as a blues singer, going by the name of Doc Pomus. He was also responsible for penning dozens of hits like Save the Last Dance for Me, This Magic Moment, A Teenager in Love, Viva Las Vegas, and more. “If the music industry had a heart, it would be Doc Pomus,” record producer Jerry Wexler recalled. The film features rare archival imagery, interviews with the musician’s collaborators and friends, including Dr. John, Ben E. King, Joan Osborne, Shawn Colvin, Dion, Leiber and Stoller, and B.B. King, and readings from Doc’s private journals by Lou Reed, one of his close friends.
On Sunday, February 7th, enjoy a screening of D.A. Pennebaker and a discussion with the film’s subject, Donn Alan (D.A.) Pennebaker. Considered one of the pioneers of cinema verite filmmaking, Pennebaker received the Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 2013. He and his colleague Richard Leacock created one of the original completely mobile 16mm synchronized camera and sound recording systems, a product that revolutionized filmmaking and helped to establish the instantaneous style of shooting that is so popular nowadays. Throughout his career, Pennebaker’s films ranged from the Broadway debut of Jane Fonda (Jane), to President Kennedy’s presidential primary run against Hubert Humphrey (Primary), to the desegregation of the University of Alabama (Crisis). He also directed Don’t Look Back, which followed Bob Dylan’s last acoustic concert tour in England. It was a movie that broke box office records and is considered a classic of both documentary and rock filmmaking. The Bay Street film series will include viewings of Daybreak Express, Audition at RCA, Company – The Original Cast Album.
The series will conclude on Sunday, February 28th with Voices of Sarafina! by Nigel Nobel. The 1988 American documentary covers the anti-apartheid musical stage play Sarafina! The film follows a troupe of South African teenagers who, under the guidance of writer-lyricist Mbongeni Ngema, produce the Broadway play.
Screenings will start at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 per film.
Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.