Britt Festivals' 2010 Movie Night Series

"Grateful Dawg," "Across the Universe" and "The Music Man" set for showings
Eddie Izzard as Mr. Kite in "Across the Universe."Photo by Abbot Genser

"Grateful Dawg" will kick off Britt's 2010 Movie Night series Saturday evening, July 24. The film is an acclaimed and intimate portrait of the musical friendship between guitarist Jerry Garcia and mandolinist David Grisman in the years before Garcia's death in August 1995.

The three-show Movie Night program is an offshoot of a successful showing last year of "Altogether Now," a film featuring Cirque du Soleil and the music of The Beatles. That show drew some 900 people to the Britt hillside in Jacksonville.

if you go

What: Movie Nights at Britt

When: Beginning Saturday, July 24

Where: The Britt Pavilion in Jacksonville

Tickets: $10 for reserved seating, $8 for lawn

Call: 541-773-6077 or see

"It went really well," says Britt marketing manager Sara King Cole. "That's why we decided to do some more."

The Ashland Independent Film Festival is co-presenting the events and will share in the proceeds.

Two other films with strong musical personalities will follow after "Grateful Dawg." "Across the Universe" is scheduled for 8 p.m. Sept. 10 and "The Music Man" for 8 p.m. Sept. 11. All films will be shown on a big screen with concert-type sound but without the lights. Admission is $10 for reserved seats and $8 for lawn seating. See or call 541-773-6077.

A fourth film, "Genghis Blues," was slated for Aug. 27. It has been cancelled. Any ticket holders should contact the Britt box office.

Tom Olbrich of AIFF says the events play to the strengths of both nonprofits.

"It combines what Britt does best — music — and what we do best — films," he says. "We asked for a show of hands last year, and many people came to Britt for the first time for that film.

"That was something we wanted to build on."

"Grateful Dawg" offers a view of Garcia outside the Grateful Dead, a band to which Grisman contributed studio tracks four decades ago, but in which he had no interest. Gillian Grisman, the director and producer, used multiple videos and home movies to document the bond between two friends and musicians.

"It's incredible music from Old and In the Way and the old bluegrass right through to their modern, acoustic things," Olbrich says.

Old and In the Way was a bluegrass supergroup of the 1970s with Garcia, Grisman and others. Their 1975 album of the same name was the largest-selling bluegrass album in history.

The film includes acoustic Grisman-Garcia performances of such roots music as "The Sweet Sunny South," "Old and in the Way," "Sitting Here in Limbo" and other oldies, as well as sea chanties and children's songs.

"Across the Universe" is a 2007 musical directed by Julie Taymor and boasting 34 compositions by members of The Beatles. The picture stars Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson and T. V. Carpio with cameos by Bono, Eddie Izzard, Joe Cocker, Salma Hayek and others.

The movie is a mix of live action and animation. It follows the 1960s love story of Lucy and Jude (get it?) as it moves from high schools and colleges to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Detroit riots, Vietnam and the dockyards of Liverpool, England. There are more than 30 Beatles songs, as well as references to Beatles films, such as "A Hard Day's Night," "Yellow Submarine" and "Magical Mystery Tour."

"The Music Man" is Meredith Wilson's classic 1962 film adapted from his 1957 Broadway hit based on a story by Wilson and Franklin Lacey. Con man Harold Hill poses as a boys' band leader and sells band instruments and uniforms to naive townsfolk while planning to skip out on River City, Iowa, with the cash. Marian the librarian sees through Harold. But when she begins to fall for him, the question is, what will he do?

The musical won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and ran for 1,375 performances. It is often revived by both professional and amateur theater companies, including a popular production last year by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Bill Varble is a retired arts and entertainment reporter from the Mail Tribune. Reach him at

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