August 20, 2012: Issaquah, WA - The City of Issaquah’s Arts Commission will proudly present the First Annual Issaquah Film Festival – called “A History of Musicals” – from Sept. 14-16 in downtown Issaquah at First Stage Theatre, 120 Front St. N.
Reminiscent of the era when Hollywood was really Hollywood, this weekend full of musicals includes everything from Busby Berkeley’s “Footlight Parade” to the ‘70s disco/comedy “Can’t Stop the Music” (a pseudo-biography of the Village People). The festival ends with Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock”.
Friday, Sept. 14
4 p.m. – “Footlight Parade”
7:30 p.m. – “Ziegfeld Follies”
Saturday, Sept. 15
4 p.m. – “American in Paris”
7:30 p.m. – “Can’t Stop the Music”
Sunday, Sept. 16
4 p.m. – Festival VIP reception
6 p.m. – “Jailhouse Rock”
Tickets are $10 per night or $25 for all three nights. For tickets and information, visit www.issaquahfilmfestival.com. Advance tickets are available online or at the door the night of event (subject to availability).
The VIP reception will include wine available for purchase from local winery Twin Cedars, guest speaker Howard A. Dewitt and music by Undercover. The VIP reception on Sunday is open to anyone with a ticket to Jailhouse Rock.
Howard A. DeWitt is Professor Emeritus at Ohlone College in Fremont, CA. He has written 21 books about ‘50s & ‘60s rock’n’roll stars, including biographies of Chuck Berry; The Beatles; Del Shannon; Van Morrison; and Elvis Presley. His book on Presley is “Elvis: The Sun Years, Elvis Presley in the Fifties.” Local band, Undercover, will play classic ‘50s & ‘60s tunes (for all you hep cats and dungaree dolls) - starting at 4 p.m. Howard will then give a brief lecture on Elvis at 6 p.m., followed by the movie “Jailhouse Rock!”
“Footlight Parade” (1933) spotlights James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell. It was choreographed by the infamous American director/choreographer Busby Berkeley, and features two of the greatest and most spectacular dance scenes in movie history — “Shanghai ‘Lil” and “The Waterfall.” Berkeley was the first choreographer to realize that music for movies should be pre-recorded, thus allowing several cameras at once to be placed above, below and all over the set. He also pioneered the use of hundreds of dancers and chorus girls in every dance scene (in addition to brilliantly lighted sets and floats), giving a sense of splendor and majesty never seen in musicals before — or since! In the film, Jimmy Cagney struggles against time, romance and a rival's spy to produce spectacular live "prologues" for movie houses — but this movie is really about the biggest, grandest musical dance scenes you will ever see on screen!
“Ziegfeld Follies” (1946), stars Fred Astaire; Judy Garland; William Powell; Lucille Ball; and Lena Horne in a music-filled extravaganza about legendary Broadway showman, Flo Ziegfeld, looking down from heaven and trying to put together one last gala Musical, with the help of just about half the movie stars in Hollywood. “Follies” features sparkling 1940’s era Technicolor photography and a non-stop array of dazzling musical and comedy acts from a Vaudeville era which was rapidly disappearing.
“An American in Paris” is a 1951 MGM musical film inspired by the 1928 orchestral composition by George Gershwin. Starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, the film is set in Paris, and was directed by Vincente Minnelli from a script by Alan Jay Lerner. The music is by George Gershwin, with lyrics by his brother Ira, and Gershwin's music is interspersed with the greatest dance numbers ever filmed. Songs include "I Got Rhythm", "I'll Build A Stairway to Paradise"," 'S Wonderful", and "Our Love is Here to Stay". The climax of the film is "The American in Paris" ballet, a 16 minute dance featuring Kelly and Caron set to Gershwin's An American in Paris. The ballet alone cost more than $500,000 (and that was 61 years ago!).
“Can't Stop the Music” is a 1980 musical comedy film directed by TV comedienne, Nancy Walker. It is a pseudo-biography of disco's Village People (“YMCA;” “Macho Man”) who rose to worldwide fame and notoriety in the late 1970s. It bears only a vague resemblance to the actual story of the group's formation (whatever that story really was!). Besides The Village People putatively playing themselves (“The Cowboy;” “The Construction Worker;” etc.), Can't Stop the Music features the one of the most delightfully outlandish and oddball casts of all-time, including: Valerie Perrine; Olympic Decathlon winner, Bruce Jenner; Tammy Grimes; and June Havoc (sister of Seattle’s own Gypsy Rose Lee). The film is also notorious for being the first winner of the Worst Picture “Razzie,” as it was a double feature of this and Xanadu that inspired John J.B. Wilson to start the Razzies. Sadly, by the time of the release of “Can’t Stop The Music,” The Village People were already history! It’s still great fun, and really, you can’t stop the music! Get out your bell-bottoms and leisure suits for an evening of campy disco fun!
“Jailhouse Rock” (1957) Star: Elvis Presley; Judy Tyler; Dean Jones. Elvis, riding high on his musical success ("Heartbreak Hotel"), and film superstardom ("Love Me Tender;" "Loving You"), plays rebellious and violent Vince Everett, just out of the slammer after serving a year for manslaughter. Vince can play guitar and sing and his star rises rapidly--maybe too rapidly when he starts to forget the "little people" who helped him on the way up. Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock" dance scene is one of the most famous musical numbers in film history and it's still as exciting and amazing as when it was made. Sadly, Elvis, himself, never saw "Jailhouse Rock." His co-star, Judy Tyler, died in a car accident three weeks after filming concluded. Out of respect for her, Elvis could not bring himself to watch what most critics consider his finest film.
The Downtown Issaquah Film Festival is presented by the City of Issaquah Arts Commission with support from 4Culture.
The City of Issaquah Arts Commission enhances the quality of life for Issaquah citizens and visitors by supporting and encouraging visual and performing arts in and for the community. The Issaquah Arts Commission was created in 1988 as an advisory board to provide guidance and direction in meeting the arts and cultural needs of the City. All members are appointed by the Mayor and subject to confirmation by the City Council.
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City of Issaquah