Tag Archives: the piano jazz of marian mcpartland

On Tour: In Good Time makes its final stop at the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival

21 Nov

Driving over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is quite an experience especially on a windy day with the bay below full of white caps. After driving on the bridge high in the air above water it was a contrast to drive across the coastal plain and flat farmlands of Delaware.

Arriving in Rehoboth Beach I had a lay over day so that night I could take in some movies at my host site the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival. Joe Bilancio, Festival program director, is a man with a smile and a ‘how can I help you?’ manner. The Festival was abuzz with excitement. The movie goers were plentiful and their talk was all about film. When I got my schedule and read that I had a 10:30AM screening on Saturday morning I was skeptical on who would show up. So it was a pleasant surprise to find a near full house and my biggest audience of the tour. The Q&A was filled with many questions from the knowledgeable audience. After the screening many lined up as I signed DVDs.

Inside the tent at the Rehoboth Beach Film Festival

The screening was followed by a panel discussion hosted by Ric Edevane from the Delaware Independent Filmmakers. Filmmakers Allison Bagnell and James Diehl were my co-panelists. Again a knowledgeable crowd. How many audiences discuss the editing of the film. Afterwards I got to relax with family who live in the area and came to the show. Later I watched more movies and finally back to the motel room to pack for my trip back home to Maine.

This tour exceeded my expectations. In Good Time played well to all the audiences. As always, I enjoyed meeting the folks who came to the screenings and hearing their connections to Marian and their love of jazz and film. In Frederick, MD there was a 92 year old gentlemen who was a jazz player and from Portland, ME. He sang a verse of the Muskrat Ramble for us all.

Thanks to all who came to the screening and to all the presenters. Lastly, and not the least, thanks to Ann, Brigid and Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation for sponsoring On Screen/In Person. I wish good luck to the remaining filmmakers on the tour and I hope OSIP continues onto another year bringing independent film to audiences.

Peace, Huey

Thanks for participating in the tour, Huey!  We’re so glad you could join us.

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On Tour: In Good Time Press and Classroom visits in Maryland

18 Nov

The last few days of the tour were pretty busy. The screening on Wednesday evening was at the Weinberg Center, a historic theater in Frederick, MD.

At noon on the day of the screening Victoria Temiz gave me a ride to WHAG-TV in Hagerstown. We chatted on the drive and I found out Victoria was a trained operatic singer. At the TV station we met up with Rona Mensah from the Weinberg who was to appear on air with me. Rona is a local radio personality as well as working at the Weinberg. Erin Wolfe, the WHAG producer of our segment on the noon news, welcomed us and brought us to the studio.

Huey and Rona Mensah, just before going on the air

In a few minutes we were live being interviewed by Patricia Martellotti, the anchor for the noon news. Patricia told me off camera that she is trained classical pianist. Being a father of 3 daughters it was great to see these women in charge. And also to learn about their involvement in the arts.

It made me think about Marian in 1948 coming to America and breaking into the jazz scene. She was one of the few women instrumentalists of her day. Even though she doesn’t focus on the discrimination of the time, she had the courage to prevail over the gender prejudices of the day. In the film Diana Krall and Nnenna Freelon both comment about being women in jazz and what Marian had to do to break into the jazz world of the 1950s. But as Marian says she was the leader and if the men didn’t want to be part of her gig then she hired someone else. But she said they always showed up.

The next day I left early to drive to Annapolis. Within an hour of arriving I was in Bates Middle School giving a presentation to a class of middle school students. Bates is next to the Maryland Hall of Creative Arts, the screening site. It is a beehive of artists, dancers, musicians, and students of all ages. Later in the afternoon I met with a group of students in an after school arts program. They were making a movie for a stage presentation they were putting together involving, student artists, dancers, actors, musicians and singers.

Huey, Paige Hernandez, performer and teaching artist, and Chris Funn, jazz musician,  at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts screening

The evening screening at MHCA went well with friends from the area in the audience . I had a late supper and got ready to drive in the morning to the last site, Rehoboth Beach, DE.

Post by Huey, OSIP Touring Filmmaker

On Tour: Huey contemplates the subjects of his films on a visit to New Jersey

11 Nov

Monmouth University is in West Long Branch, NJ along the Jersey Shore. It was nice to a get a little closer to nature as I walked along the town’s boardwalk. The shore here is flat and sandy with man made rock jetties ever 100 yards or so. Donna Dolphin, my host at MU, said they are there to help with beach erosion.

On my walk I thought about our connection to nature, which is a major reason I live in Maine–so I can be closer to nature. One of my films, Wilderness and Spirit, A Mountain Called Katahdin, is about Maine’s tallest mountain and northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. It was this film that helped connect me with Marian McPartland.

When I first contacted Marian about making a film on her career I sent her a copy of Wilderness and Spirit and another film for her to preview. It wasn’t until a year later when I was filming Marian’s concert piece, A Portrait of Rachel Carson, that I found out that she was an advocate for environmental causes. It was nice to learn that both Marian and I have a passion about the natural world.

Katahdin is a Penobscot word meaning Great Mountain. My connection to the Penobscot people started while doing an artist-in-residency in animating Penobscot stories with the students at Indian Island School. Indian Island, the Penobscot Reservation, is in the Penobscot River. Katahdin is the source of the Penobscot River and is then the source of the people and their culture.

In Wilderness and Spirit, I document the annual Katahdin 100 Run. As Barry Dana, Penobscot chief, explains, it is not a race but a way to renew their connection to their culture by retracing the ancient route of a 100 miles from Indian Island to the base of Katahdin. When the runners enter the camp at Katahdin they are greeted by drummers and singers who sing a song in their honor, an honor song.

A section in In Good Time is on Marian’s improvisations and has a similarity to the Penobscot honor song. Marian does musical portraits of her guests and friends. I think Marian would agree that her musical portraits are a way of honoring a person. So that ancient tradition lives on in all types of music. Music brings us closer to ourselves and others. There is something in music that reaches us on a deeper spiritual level and playing a song to honor someone is a powerful thing to do. In Penobscot music and in Marian’s A Portrait of Rachel Carson the music also reminds us of our connection to nature and to Mother Earth.

Post by Huey, OSIP Touring Filmmaker

On Tour: In Good Time Heads to New Jersey

8 Nov

After leaving Allentown High School I was off driving to Newark, NJ and a screening that night at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Ronaldo Hertz, Associate Director Office of University-Community Partnerships, Rutgers-Newark is a man with a calm demeanor and is a well organized dynamo of energy. He and Diane Hill have a great program integrating their student staff fully into the presentation process. They had planned quite an evening. It started at 6PM with tours of the Institute of Jazz Studies at on campus, just across the courtyard from the Paul Robeson Center where the screening was held.

Next at 6:30PM Leo Johnson a local long time jazz sax player played an hour long set with a piano player and 15 year old bass player. The Robeson Center function room was set up like a jazz club with tables and chairs. There was a buffet that disappeared pretty quickly. At 7:30PM Cephas Bowles, CEO, WBGO-FM, and the evening’s co-sponsor spoke to the crowd,. WBGO had given a big promotion to the screening. Dan Morganstern, director of the Institute of Jazz Studies, spoke next about Marian McPartland. This part of the program ended with Michael Bourne a WBGO DJ interviewing me about the film. At 8PM In Good Time was screened. The 130 people enjoyed the film and I had a chance to speak with many afterwards.

Saturday morning I gave a presentation at Newark Reads, a gathering for youth sponsored by area organizations in partnership with Office of University-Community Partnerships. In one of my presentations I met a very curious 5th grader named Derek, we had a great discussion about filmmaking and learning in general. An art teacher left intrigued by how I use animation with students. I gave him a few hints on how to get started. I hope he tries it with his students.

Oh, you can rest assured that Newark is a safe city. A half block from my hotel in Military Park I saw the Gotham Police Department in action.

It really was filming for the new Batman movie. It was interesting to see the Newark Police Department keeping the crowd of onlookers at bay while Gotham’s finest ran down a subway entrance arriving by Gotham police cars and even the Gotham SWAT team was there.

But Batman was nowhere to be seen. I guess he was resting in his trailer.

Post by Huey, OSIP Touring Filmmaker

On Tour: Huey visits Allentown, PA

8 Nov

The view from Huey’s Allentown Hotel Room

Part of the fun of the tour is getting to interact with audiences and to hear their responses to the film I’ve just spent five years making. Another plus to the tour is getting to meet the presenters at each site. At historic Allentown Symphony Hall that person is Robin Flores. I arrived early at Symphony Hall and saw a woman setting up a display table. It was Robin and after phone calls and e-mails we get to meet. She then shows me the Hall’s screen. It is big, very big. I think something like 30 feet by 18 feet. It’s the largest screen I have shown any of my films on. The projection looked fabulous and the sound matched it in amplitude and crispness.

We had a good crowd of 70-80 people. But for just a few they all stayed to talk about the film. It was gratifying to hear their positive feelings about the film. We talked for quite a bit and then many of them lined up while I signed DVDs. Several in the audience told me about their associations with Marian. One woman’s father had played with Marian, some had met her through friends and some related seeing Marian at concerts and how memorable it was.

The filmmaker visits Mr. Seckler’s Class

The next morning Robin picked me up in time take me to Allentown High School, her alma mater, for an 8:15AM class. Going through the tight security at the high school reminded me I wasn’t in Maine. We were escorted by a student to the basement room of Mr Seckler’s Theater class. They were a good group of students. I showed them some clips from In Good Time and they really liked Marian. I think they were fascinated by seeing what to them is an old lady full of spunk, giving energetic performances, and coming up with funny one liners. Next I showed them examples of student made movies done in residencies I have done with K-12 students. They perked right up for these movies and we ended with a great discussion about filmmaking and creativity.

Post by Huey, OSIP Touring Filmmaker

In Good Time, The Piano Jazz of Marian McPartland hits the road in Erie, PA

3 Nov

Leaving my home in Portland, ME and landing in Erie, Pa I discovered there’s one surprising connection between the two cities. The restaurants feature seafood emblazoned in big letters across their marquees. Of course living on the coast of Maine it seemed a bit odd to fly 600 miles inland to see big seafood signs. But then as someone said travel broadens the mind.

Mercyhurst College is home to the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center the first stop on my tour is about a 15 minute drive from the Sheraton Bayfront Hotel where I am staying. The D’Angelo Center is large, at least from a filmmaker’s perspective, 800 plus seats. Its director, Michael Fuhrman is an enthusiastic supporter of the arts, a knowledgeable presenter, and affable host.

I did two screenings today at 2:30PM and 7:30PM. It was, for me, a good turnout, a combined audience of 170 I would guess. Many were the Center’s loyal following who show up to every film or event. They were very positive about In Good Time and stayed to ask questions after the film. I continued the discussion with individual audience members in the hall after that.

One woman told me how 25 years ago when Marian McPartland performed in Erie, she was then a teenager and went to the concert. She made sure she had a front row seat. Marian’s performance was a transformative experience for her. She decided to be a musician and she still performs today. Marian is not only a pioneering musician but also a pioneering educator. She started doing visiting artist presentations for youth in the 1950s. There is a scene in In Good Time of Marian in a master class working with a college student who musters up her courage and comes on stage to improvise with Marian in a two piano duet. It makes for a lovely moment in the film.

Marian McPartland and the filmmaker at a prior screening of the film.

The next screening is tomorrow night at Allentown Symphony Hall, Allentown, PA.

Post by Huey, OSIP touring filmmaker

OSIP Podcast #4: An Interview with Huey, Director of In Good Time, The Piano Jazz of Marian McPartland

28 Oct

Prior to On Screen/In Person, I crossed virtual paths with Huey when we invited him to potentially serve as a panelist for one of our grant programs here at the Foundation. We haven’t had a chance to bring him in for a media arts panel yet, but I was very glad to see him apply for the On Screen/In Person program.

We recently spoke about  his ongoing series of works focusing on elder artists,  his experiences with the wonderful Marian McPartland during the production process, and the interesting new projects he has coming up. Huey goes on tour next week with his film.

Click here to listen.

Podcast music: Finding the Balance by Keven MacLeod at incomptech.com

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