BL!NDMAN Akenkaai 2, B-1000 Brussels +32 (0)2 201 59 47
 
 

line-up

eric sleichim > composition and concept

BL!NDMAN [sax]
koen maas > soprano saxophone
eric sleichim > alto saxophone
piet rebel > tenor saxophone
raf minten > baritone saxophone

crew
philippe van leer, xavier yerlès > special sound effects
jo thielemans > sound technician
veerle vaes > production management

STEAMBOAT BILL JR. is a BL!NDMAN production, coproduced by vooruit with the help of the royal belgian film archive.
première > november 1996

BL!NDMAN is supported by the Arts Administration of the Ministry of the Flemish Community and the Flemish Community Commission of the Brussels-Capital Region. BL!NDMAN [sax] play Selmer Paris Saxophones. BL!NDMAN [drums] is supported by Muremo, distributor of Bergerault Percusssion Instruments.

STEAMBOAT BILL JR.

silent film by Buster Keaton from 1928 with live accompaniment

BL!NDMAN once more shows its innovative side in the live accompaniment for Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill Junior. This original composition by Eric Sleichim not only gives us a refreshing new look at the film, but is a worthwhile piece in itself. Apart from the eccentric task of providing sound effects, the saxophone quartet mainly plays a firmly balanced score which, in combination with special effects, results in a tempestuous soundtrack.

the film

This partly autobiographical film was the last completely independent one this famous comedian made before he signed up to MGM.

In 1898 the three-year-old Joseph Francis ‘Buster’ Keaton was lifted out of his bed by a tornado and ended up smack on the street, though unhurt. The spectacular storm scene in Steamboat Bill Junior is only one of the references to Keaton’s youth. In this film he laments in a masterly fashion the fact that his relationship with his father went so awry. His father was a variety artist who, from a very early age, imposed on his son all kinds of acrobatics and a hellish working tempo. This is undoubtedly why the characters drawn in this film are more complex and have greater depth than in Keaton’s previous works.

The story goes like this: Bill Canfield, a forceful, authoritative man, runs an old steamboat on the Mississippi. The competition however, in the shape of a brand new boat belonging to the rich banker John King, threatens to ruin Canfield. He expects to find salvation in the arrival of his son, whom he has not seen for years. But Bill Junior turns out to be a pale, dreamy young man (Buster Keaton, of course), who, to make matters worse, is in love with the daughter of the hated competitor.
The misunderstandings between father and son at once provide the most comical situations, but soon show the sour tone of Keaton’s painful childhood memories: Bill senior wants to mould his son in his own image, against the young man’s will, who wants to remain himself.

The film, always in burlesque style, is moved along by a dramatic state of affairs: the rivalry between the two captains (and fathers), a thwarted love and Bill Junior’s absolute need to rid himself of his father’s yoke. When a devastating hurricane rises (which releases a tornado of cracks and gags), Bill Junior is given the opportunity to gain his freedom and his beloved, with all the necessary anecdotes and breakneck antics. ‘The Man Who Never Laughs’ here expresses himself to perfection. And with grandeur.

the music

BL!NDMAN probably gets more out of the saxophone than its inventor ever suspected was possible. The four members of the quartet make just as much use of the squeaking springs and tapping mechanisms as of the tonal qualities with which the instrument is blessed. They mould the sounds of the valves into full notes or let plopping and sucking sounds bubble up out of their saxophones in the form of compelling melodies… BL!NDMAN leaves no valve or vibe unturned in the search for a new life for the saxophone.
BL!NDMAN once more shows its innovative side in the live accompaniment they are providing for Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill Junior. This original composition by Eric Sleichim not only gives us a refreshing new look at the film, but is a worthwhile piece in itself. Apart from the eccentric task of providing sound effects, the saxophone quartet mainly plays a firmly balanced score which, in combination with special effects, results in a tempestuous soundtrack.

programme

buster keaton productions – 71 min
black/white – 1928

joseph schenck > production
charles f. reisner > direction
dev jennings, bert haines > photography
j. sherman kell > editor

actors
buster keaton > willie, “steamboat bill jr.”
ernest torrence > william canfield “steamboat bill”
tom lewis > tom carter, his first mate
tom mc guire > king, his rival
marion byron > mary king, his daughter
joe keaton > the hairdresser


STEAMBOAT BILL JR. played among others on the following locations:

2017
ASCIANO (IT) - Collegium Vocale Crete Senesi
ANTWERPEN - De Studio
2002
AARSCHOT- cc aarschot
HOUTHALEN - cc casino
BRUSSEL / BRUXELLES - theatre mercelis
1999
TONGEREN - cc velinx
MILAAN (I) - teatro manzoni
1998
ZONHOVEN - cc termolen
LEUVEN / LOUVAIN - stuc / aula pieter de somer
ASSE - cc den horinck
MOL - cc het getouw
TERNAT - cc de ploter
TERVUREN - cc papeblok
LOMMEL- cc adelberg
HEUSDEN-ZOLDER - cc heusden-zolder
MAASTRICHT (NL) - cc maastricht
MECHELEN - cc mechelen (chapel)
ANTWERPEN / ANVERS - het paleis / festival kunst onder 8
ROESELARE - cc de spil
TALLINN (EE) - baltoscandal (estonia)
LISSABON (P) - worldexpo - belgian pavilion
BONN (D) - bonner biennale 98
HANNOVER (D) - theaterformen festival
ANTWERPEN / ANVERS - cultuurmarkt
LISSABON (P) - worldexpo
GENT / GAND - kopergieterij
TIELT - cc tielt
SINGAPORE (SG) - the substation
1997
TURNHOUT - warande
HASSELT- zaal belgië
DEN BOSCH (NL) - festival kunst junior
BRUSSEL / BRUXELLES - kaaitheater
MALLORCA (S) - fundació aca
TER SCHELLING (NL) - oerol festival
LJUBLJANA (SLO) - kinoteka
PRAGUE (CZ) - archa theatre
SALZBURG (AU) - opening festspiele
BRUGGE / BRUGES - klinkers festival
BERGEN (NO) - internasjonale teatergarasjen
TERNEUZEN (NL) - festival Zeeuws-Vlaanderen
STROMBEEK-BEVER - cc strombeek
CHARLEROI - centre regional culturel
AALST/ALOST - cc de werf / netwerk
KORTRIJK/COURTRAI - limelight
BERLIN (D) - ufa fabrik
TORHOUT - cc brouckère
EVERGEM - cc stroming
DEURNE - cc luchtbal
BOCHOLT - cc de kroon
KNOKKE - cc scharpoord
KORTRIJK/COURTRAI - stadsschouwburg
DILBEEK - cc westrand
KRAKOW (P) - audio art festival
EEKLO - cc herbakker
LIER - cc lier
SCHOTEN - cc schoten
BRAINE L’ALLEUD - cc braine l’alleud
1996
DEN BOSCH (NL) - november music
GENT / GAND - vooruit
ANTWERPEN / ANVERS - deSingel
BERCHEM - cc berchem
PALERMO (I) - incontro azione
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BL!NDMAN       contact info

Sainctelettesquare 18-19
B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
+32 2 201 59 47

contact:

general and artistic direction:
management:   M +32 485 30 98 01
technical coordination & sound engineer:   M +32 485 53 68 16
production manager:   M +32 498 54 96 81

BL!NDMAN is supported by the Arts Administration of the Ministry of the Flemish Community and the Flemish Community Commission of the Brussels-Capital Region. BL!NDMAN [sax] play Selmer Paris Saxophones. BL!NDMAN [drums] is supported by Muremo, distributor of Bergerault Percusssion Instruments.