The Block’s ‘Movies + Music’ series returns to downtown Muskegon for second season

The Block, located in the Russell Block building in downtown Muskegon, will kick off its “Movies + Music” series on Jan. 15. Photo by Anna Gustafson

Movie buffs, music lovers, and those who just want some inspiration to get out of the house on these cold winter nights will have another reason to head to downtown Muskegon: “Movies + Music,” a Wednesday night film series, is set to return for its second season at The Block.

The series will explore the relationship between movies and music through three acclaimed films: “Allegro non Troppo” on Jan. 15, “Waking Life” on Feb. 19, and “Pink Floyd: The Wall” on March 18. Held at The Block, an intimate performance space in a restored building from the late 19th century at 360 W. Western Ave., the series’ theme will focus on music from around the world being integrated into films that explore the art of animation.

Each of the three film screenings will include discussion from film scholars and music experts to introduce the movies and lead follow-up discussions. Doors and a cash bar will open at 6:30pm for each event, and the films will begin at 7pm.

“Join us again at The Block as we explore the creative marriage of movies and music,” The Block board member Kerri VanderHoff, who conceived and developed the series, said in a press release.

“Just when you need it, get out midweek for a reprieve from cabin fever,” continued VanderHoff, an adjunct professor of film and video at Grand Valley State University and the executive director of the  Coalition for Community Development in Muskegon Heights.

The screenings and panel discussions will be as follows:

“Allegro non Troppo,” an Italian animated film, will kick off the series on Jan. 15.

Allegro non Troppo | January 15

Directed by Italian animator Bruno Bozzetto, this 1976 parody of Disney’s “Fantasia” features six animated shorts synchronized with six iconic classical music works, including Debussy’s “Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun,” Ravel’s “Bolero,” and music by Tchaikovsky, Dvóřak, Sibelius, Stravinsky, and Vivaldi. A colorful dive into studies of loneliness, loss and social absurdity, “Allegro non Troppo” is filled with trippy and witty stream-of-consciousness vignettes that maneuver from surreal and joyful to downright devastating.

The “Allegro non Troppo” panelists will be Andy Buelow, the executive director of the West Michigan Symphony, and Julie Goldstein, an assistant professor and animation emphasis coordinator, at Grand Valley State University.

“Waking Life” will be shown Feb. 19.

Waking Life | February 19

“The ongoing wow is happening right now,” a character says in “Waking Life,” the 2001 animated film from Richard Linklater, whose other works include “Dazed and Confused,” “Before Sunrise,” “Boyhood,” and “School of Rock.” It’s that statement that seems to manifest itself time and again in this visually stunning film that features a lush soundtrack of nuevo tango music. Starring Ethan Hawke, the film is something of a cinematic Russian doll that’s a meditation on dreams and reality. Diving into both the meaning and the banality of modern-day life, the film traverses a landscape in which reality and existence are questioned.

The panelist for “Waking Life”  will be David J. Ruck, the president and producer at Great Lakes Outreach Media.

“The Wall” will play on March 18.

Pink Floyd: The Wall | March 18

Based on Pink Floyd’s 1979 album of the same name, “The Wall,” is an animated musical fantasy thriller in which a troubled rockstar descends into madness in the midst of his physical and social isolation from everyone. Described as “the best of all serious fiction films devoted to rock” by film critic Roger Ebert, this film from director Alan Parker includes animations from political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe and navigates themes of sex, nuclear disarmament, warfare, and much more.

The panelists for “The Wall” will be Kerri Vanderhoff, an adjunct film professor at Grand Valley State University and Bill Marshall of Muskegon’s 100.9 FM.

All of these films contain adult themes and are intended for mature audiences. General admission tickets are priced at $8. To order tickets, call 231.726.3231 or visit www.TheBlockWestMichigan.org.

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