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Monkey Town Presents: Silent Films + Unique Instruments Festival

  • Location:
    New York

Bradford Reed (pencilina) and Jane Scarpantoni (cello)
2000 Leagues Under The Sea (1916)

7:30 and 10:00

The prototype of the special effects spectacular, 2000 Leagues Under The Sea is a groundbreaking production of location photography, massive sets, exotic costumes, sailing ships, and a full-size navigable submarine Nautilus. The extensive underwater photography and model animation must have amazed audiences in 1916.

Navigating us through this screening is Bradford Reed, performing on the pencilina, an original instrument of his own design and construction. The pencilina is an electric ten stringed collision of the hammer dulcimer, slide guitar, koto and fretless bass that is struck with sticks, plucked and bowed, producing an incredibly wide sonic palette:

"The instrument, as you may guess, is completely idiosyncratic - and yet within its idiosyncrasy lies a world of possibilities. Bradford’s phrase is “I haven’t hit a wall with it yet” - meaning that in all the years he’s been playing, he hasn’t exhausted any facet of its potential. “It's been my primary focus for a long time, and I’m still learning gnd trying to improve on it. I’ve grown to really like what the pencilina can do.”
Bradford currently uses a pair of shortened timbale sticks to strike the strings. But yes - when he first began to play the instrument, he used a pair of pencils as his strikers."
- Bart Hopkin, Orbitones, Spoon Harps and Bellowphones, Ellipsis Arts, 1998

For this performance Bradford is joined by cellist Jane Scarpantoni, an institution in the New York music scene.

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Curated by Sam Zimmerman