The Son of the Sheik: Celebrate Brooklyn! 17 July 2015

Great music and a silent movie classic. Just another evening of free entertainment at the bandshell in Prospect Park with Celebrate Brooklyn!

Ghost Train Orchestra opened the evening with their reconstructed 1920s and 1930s jazz. Led by Brian Carpenter, who started the set playing a harmonica through a bullhorn, it’s a crazy ride. A couple of Chopin pieces were played in addition to some lesser-known jazz works. The banjo player was like a man possessed while the violinists could belong to any symphony orchestra. Each musician got a chance to show off and go off on his own improvised journey before being brought back to earth by Carpenter. The orchestra takes you to some wild places and it was a great way to start the evening.



The Son of the Sheik is a 1926 Rudolf Valentino showcase. He first appears as a close-up and the entire audience oohed and aahed. Valentino plays both father and son and the make-up is very good. rtb had warned me that the movie was rape-y, which it is, but I still enjoyed it – mostly because of the audience’s cheering and whooping during the fight scenes.

But the highlight of the film was the music, which was performed by the Alloy Orchestra, who make a career of accompanying silent films. With just three musicians and some hand drums, cymbals, pipes, a metal sheet, wind chimes, and keyboards, the orchestra fills the room with its score. It drives the emotions of the film and provides the occasional sound effect. I can’t imagine watching a silent film any other way.



By Carene Lydia Lopez