A Glass less than half full

Sacramento area residents should be ashamed. It’s not as if renowned minimalist composer Philip Glass makes it to these parts often. A less-than-stellar turnout—the Mondavi Center’s Jackson Hall was just one-third full on a Saturday night—makes one wonder if Sacramento really does care about the arts. It couldn’t have been the ticket price; $24-$36 for tickets, and half that for students and kids, was reasonable.

Glass’ two-day engagement featured short films with Glass’ works on Friday. On Saturday, Glass’ works accompanied Francis Ford Coppola’s film Koyaanisqatsi, a telling yet silent tribute to the Hopi people’s warning of the United States’ attempts at modernization. Backed by a fabulous ensemble replete with two live vocalists, keyboards, horn, flute and a large projector screen filled with cinematographer Ron Fricke’s picture-perfect scenarios and landscapes, Glass’ composition Koyaanisqatsi came to life like a virtual IMAX theater, albeit far more magnificent in scope and depth. The time-lapse photography coupled with a patient and able ensemble made for an audio-visual exercise that was as overwhelming as it was scintillating. While the silent film battled the ensemble for attention, neither detracted from the other. The focus would shift to one of Glass’ female singers during a large choral section and then would morph into a gorgeous natural landscape onscreen. That image would be juxtaposed with a human contribution: precious resources destroyed and large infrastructures and unnecessary means of commerce created.

Speaking of precious resources, the Sacramento Film and Music Festival is this Friday and Saturday, October 25 and 26, at the Colonial Theatre, 3522 Stockton Boulevard. For a schedule of events, go to www.sactofilmfest.com/ 2002schedule.html. The festival has a number of fine short films, including one featuring Sacto hard-pop band the Willknots.

One big draw could be a screening of Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election, a 46-minute documentary by filmmakers Richard Ray Pérez and Joan Sekler that focuses on what happened in Florida that fateful November. From African-Americans being turned away from the polls to GOP Congressional aides staging what’s come to be called the Brooks Brothers riot, this looks like a must-see. It goes on at 10 a.m. The cost is $5 a screening and $20 for a weekend pass.