The Irvington Town Hall Theater (ITHT) Commission, which oversees the historic 115-year-old, 432-seat theater in Town Hall of Irvington, New York has announced the launch of a two-date winter film series — Rock the Winter Blues — at the theater, with screenings on Friday, January 12, 2018, and Friday, February 2, 2018, each starting at 7:30pm.
Both screenings will be followed by live music performances selected to correspond with the themes of the films.
“We are so proud to bring quality feature films back to our theater so that visitors from inside and outside the village can have a New York City experience without leaving the Lower Hudson Valley,” Mitchell Bard, the ITHT commissioner heading up the film series, said. “These are two films that, in different ways, are enhanced by a communal viewing experience on the big screen.”
The first in the series on January 12 is “Let’s Play Two,” a concert film/documentary that chronicles Pearl Jam’s legendary performances at Wrigley Field during the Chicago Cubs historic 2016 season. With Chicago being a hometown to Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam has forged a relationship with the city, the Chicago Cubs, and Wrigley Field that is unparalleled in the world of sports and music. From Ten to Lightning Bolt, the concert film shuffles through Pearl Jam’s ever-growing catalog of originals and covers — spanning the band’s 25-year career. Through the eyes of renowned director/photographer Danny Clinch and the voice of Pearl Jam, the film showcases the journey of this special relationship.
The series’ second film, on February 2, is “Long Train Runnin’,” a fascinating documentary about the seemingly improbable story of two trios of music fans — one from the Northeast, the other from California — who, in the middle of the Freedom Summer of 1964, drove to Mississippi in search of early blues musicians who had been out of the public spotlight for decades. Narrated by Oscar-winner Common, featuring music from, among others, Gary Clark Jr. and Lucinda Williams, and directed by Sam Pollard, viewers watch as the naïve blues enthusiasts, oblivious to each other’s presence and the civil rights-related protests and violence — including the murder of three civil rights workers nearby — follow the thinnest of leads in search of early blues legends Son House and Skip James with the intention of introducing them to a new generation of blues fans, all within a few miles of each other.
“These films are quite different from each other, but they both demonstrate the positive power music wields over us as people,” Bard said. “Watching Pearl Jam play its powerful brand of rock to tens of thousands of fans in Chicago as the Cubs seemed to be rolling toward a long-dreamed-of World Series title gives an audience one kind of thrill, while listening to nearly 100-year-old country blues songs while listening to a range of people talk about what it was like to be in Mississippi in 1964 will also move audiences in a more serious way. Once the story starts, you get sucked in, and the time flies by. ‘Long Train Runnin” is that engaging.”
The screenings will also include musical acts appropriate to the themes of the films. After the January 12 event, local Hastings-on-the-Hudson band Blank Citation will perform. For the February 2 screening, Irvington blues singer, guitarist, songwriter and historian Jim Koeppel will perform, followed by a Q&A with the audience.
Tickets for the screenings are $10 each (plus box office fees) and can be purchased in advance via the theater’s website: http://www.irvingtontheater.
ITHT has been known for film screenings having presented foreign films, academy award winners, and documentaries in the “The Best of Film Series” started in 2007 and named Best of Westchester award winner for new film series in 2010 as well as the All Shorts Irvington Film Festival (As iFF) which is in its third season of presenting short films from around the world. The “Rock the Winter Blues” series combines film and music and will also offer live music at each event.
The Irvington Town Hall Theater, located at 85 Main Street in downtown Irvington, N.Y. on the entire third floor of Town Hall, was built in 1902 and hosts film, theater and music events between September and May.
The ITHT Commission was established in 1980 by the Village of Irvington to operate and manage the theater. The seven members of the Commission were appointed by the Mayor and Trustees.