July 30, 2008

Musical Acts ‘Set the Tone’ at Film Fest

By Margaret Parsons, The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich.

Jul. 30--TRAVERSE CITY -- The growth of the Traverse City Film Festival extends to its musical participation.

Along with continuing musical performances before movies at the venues and at the Open Space, the festival added late-night "Jam Sessions" during festival week, each with its own theme.

"Exciting things are happening," Film Festival Entertainment Coordinator Mike Sullivan said.

The jam sessions start at 10 p.m. and the featured venues are the InsideOut Gallery in downtown's Warehouse District, the Union Street Station and the Loading Dock on Cass Street.

"This is really an example of how the film festival is going to benefit local businesses," Sullivan said.

Heavy metal band Anvil will perform Friday at Union Street Station after a screening of the documentary, "Anvil! The Story of Anvil." The bar will also host a special jam session for volunteers on Saturday.

Union Street owner David Vanocker said he wanted to host the events for festival founder Michael Moore.

"Michael Moore and I don't exactly see eye-to-eye on political issues but for what he's done for Traverse City, I really appreciate him," Vanocker said. "I can't say enough good things about what he's done for Traverse City. So, I thought it would be a great way to get involved and show him that we appreciate what he's doing."

Sullivan said while the jam sessions are new, there's been an overall expansion of participation and interest in the Film Festival from musicians.

"People from other areas want to get into the fun," Sullivan said. "We've got a great mixture of old faces and new faces this year."

One of the new faces is Charlevoix native Jetty Rae, 21, who recently produced her first album. She said the Film Festival is a great opportunity to get her name out there.

"This is going to be my best gig all summer," Rae said. "I've never played in front of an audience this big before."

Some of the musicians returning to the festival include Traverse City pianists David Chown and Tom Kaufmann.

"I think it's a great event to get involved with," said Chown, who first played at the Film Festival two years ago. "It's great for Traverse City to bring all these films and culture here. And this is a way I can be involved with that and share my talent."

Of the 137 scheduled musical performances this year, many are local performers. But there are also state and nationally known performers, such as the Archipelago Project and The Go, which has music featured in the Film Festival documentary, "The Youngest Candidate."

Available for the second year is the Traverse City Film Festival Soundtrack, which Sullivan said is expanded from the first version.

"The overall quality has gone up," Sullivan said. "Last year, we were begging folks to give us a track." This year's CD features 17 tracks from festival musicians with proceeds to the Film Festival.

Sullivan said the musical performances add something to the festival's overall experience.

"The goal of the music is to try to set a tone before the movies," Sullivan said. "This is really to help to create an atmosphere so people can feel the movie."

The jam sessions include a $10 cover charge. A complete schedule of jam sessions and Open Space performers is available at traversecityfilmfest.org.


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