Alloy Orchestra Performs Its Live Score to Douglas Fairbanks Silent Classic ‘Black Pirate’ at MASS MoCA

Black_pirate_1926_poster(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Perennial MASS MoCA favorite and preeminent silent film accompanist Alloy Orchestra will perform a live score to the Douglas Fairbanks classic, The Black Pirate, on Saturday, July 13, 2013, at 8:30pm, at the museum’s brick-lined cinema courtyard, on the largest outdoor movie screen in New England.

The Black Pirate screening will feature a live original score by the three-man musical ensemble, Alloy Orchestra. Based in Cambridge, Mass., Alloy Orchestra plays its unique music and sound effects with classic silent films. The band uses a combination of found objects, classical instruments, and state-of-the-art electronics to achieve its avant-garde sound.

Alloy Orchestra is Terry Donahue (junk, accordion, musical saw, vocals); Ken Winokur (director, junk percussion and clarinet); and Roger Miller (keyboards).

Alloy Orchestra has delighted audiences at MASS MoCA accompanying films such as Man with a Movie Camera, Last Command, Phantom of the Opera, and Lost World. The zany antics and erratic style of The Black Pirate is a perfect match for Alloy Orchestra’s inventive musical scores.

Douglas-Fairbanks-The-Black-Pirate-1926-silent-movies-24997570-920-1280In The Black Pirate, Douglas Fairbanks plays a young nobleman set out to avenge his father’s death by joining the pirate crew responsible for his untimely demise. He quickly proves his worth to the buccaneers and is launched on an adventure that includes a damsel in distress, a few bloody duels with swarthy and cut-throat pirates, and, of course, Fairbanks’ infamous move of sliding down a sail on the edge of a knife.

The Black Pirate was the first movie ever shot entirely in two-tone Technicolor and is one of the most gorgeous and cinematically breathtaking films of the silent era. The decision to produce The Black Pirate in Technicolor was groundbreaking at the time. Because Fairbanks was a visionary and also a realist, he simultaneously shot the film in black and white, mitigating the risk of potential disaster. If the Technicolor experiment proved to be a mistake, he could release the action blockbuster in the traditional tinted black and white. His risk paid off, audiences flocked, and The Black Pirate became one of the top 10 highest grossing films of 1926.

Tickets for The Black Pirate with Alloy Orchestra at MASS MoCA are $15 for general admission in advance and $19 for general admission on the day of the performance. Museum members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams. Tickets can also be purchased by phone by calling 413.662.2111 x1 during box office hours, or purchased online at

Fairbanks Sr., Douglas (Black Pirate, The)_01About MASS MoCA

MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest (and most expansive) centers for making and enjoying the best new art of our time across all media: music, art, dance, theater, film, and video. Hundreds of works of visual and performing art have been created on the museum’s renovated 19th-century factory campus during fabrication and rehearsal residencies, making MASS MoCA perhaps the most fertile site in the country for new art. MASS MoCA is an open platform that thrives on presenting art and learning experiences that are fresh, engaging, and transformative.

In July and August, MASS MoCA’s galleries are open from 10am to 6pm every day. Gallery hours are often extended on evenings featuring performing arts events.  Gallery admission is $15 for adults, $10 for students, $5 for children 6-16, and free for children 5 and under. Members are admitted free year-round. For additional information, call 413-662-2111 or visit MASS MoCA.

MASS MoCA is an independent 501(c)(3) whose operations and programming are funded primarily through admissions and commercial lease revenue, corporate and foundation grants, and individual philanthropy. Except for a construction grant from the Commonwealth, and competitive program and operations grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MASS MoCA is privately funded: 90% of MASS MoCA’s annual operating revenues come from earned revenues, membership support, and private gifts and grants.



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