The Hot Club of San Francisco performs Cinema Vivant

The accomplished string ensemble combines gypsy-style jazz and vintage silent films.




7:30 pm


Phipps Auditorium, Macmillan Hall

General Info

The Wells College Arts and Lecture Series presents “Cinema Vivant,” by the Hot Club of San Francisco. The performance, which blends live gypsy swing music with screenings of vintage silent films, will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 31 in Phipps Auditorium of Macmillan Hall on the Wells College campus. This event is free and the public is cordially invited to attend.

The Hot Club of San Francisco is an ensemble of accomplished musicians celebrating the music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli’s pioneering Quintette du Hot Club de France. The ensemble borrows the all-string instrumentation of violin, bass and guitars from the original Hot Club, but its members breathe new life into the music with innovative arrangements of classic tunes and original compositions played by the group’s superb lead guitarist, Paul Mehling, the amazing violin of two-time Grammy Award-winner Evan Price and a swinging rhythm section.

Their program “Cinema Vivant” calls on a tradition born in the idyllic French countryside of the 1930’s, when gypsy caravans entertained locals with lively swing music played along to silent films projected onto the side of a barn. As the images flickered to life beneath the stars, musicians accompanied with guitars and fiddles, matching every movement on the screen with virtuosity, passion and humor.

The Hot Club of San Francisco revives this lost entertainment through the works of European filmmaker Ladislaw Starewicz, a pioneer of stop-action animation. A gifted storyteller who used stop-motion animation to illuminate his fantastic imaginings, Starewicz has become an obscure cult hero. Two Starewicz films are featured in Cinema Vivant—“The Cameraman's Revenge” (1912), a charming piece about the marital troubles of beetles, and “The Mascot” (1933), an adventure story about lost toys. The program also includes the recently rediscovered “There It Is” (1928), a whimsical comedy by American filmmaker Charley Bowers about a mysterious occurrence investigated by Scotland Yard.

The Wells College Arts & Lecture Series brings a range of artists and intellectuals to campus to perform, to speak on relevant issues, and to represent the disciplines of theatre, music and dance. A committee composed of Wells faculty, staff and students selects groups and individuals annually. The next event in the series will be a performance by the Koresh Dance Company on April 9.