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David Drazin Accompanies Buster Keaton's Silent Film "The General" Sept. 8 at WIU

September 3, 2009

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MACOMB, IL - - Take a trip back in time Tuesday, Sept. 8, when nationally-acclaimed pianist David Drazin will accompany the silent movie screening of Buster Keaton's classic Civil War comedy "The General" in the Western Illinois University Union Sandburg Theatre. The 7 p.m. screening is open free to the public. A reception will be held in the Sandburg Lounge following the performance.

Richard Ness, film and media instructor in Western's broadcasting department, will introduce the performance.

"'The General' is widely regarded not only as Keaton's best comedy, but also as one of the greatest films of all time," Ness said. "In addition to displaying intricate comic timing that is the trademark of Keaton's work, the film has been praised for its faithful recreation of the Civil War era."

A pianist and composer, Drazin is a music and motion picture archivist who acquired a national reputation for his piano improvisations accompanying silent films. He has performed in numerous silent movie screenings, including the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, where he has been the staff accompanist since 1985; the Pordenone Silent Film Festival in Italy (guest pianist 2003, 2004); the Silent Film Society of Chicago; Argonne National Laboratory; LaSalle Bank Theatre; North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh; and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Drazin's performances combine the excitement of a concert with the entertainment of a classic film screening. His accompaniment of "Dante's Inferno" at this year's Cinevent festival in Columbus, OH, led to Classic Images magazine reviewer Michael Gebert to write Drazin "pounded the ivories like a man possessed to get the full fire and brimstone out of it."

A native of Cleveland, OH, Drazin received his Bachelor of Music in jazz studies from The Ohio State University.

"He is an accomplished performer who moves easily from dramatic classical to lively jazz styles, boogie-woogie and blues, original novelty works and Harlem stride piano. In addition to his film work Drazin accompanies ballet and modern dance classes for several major groups in the Chicago area," Ness added.

This event is sponsored by the broadcasting department and the English and journalism department. For more information, contact broadcasting at (309) 298-2888.

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