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Sat, Sep 18


Epsilon Spires

SIDEWALK STORIES: With Live Musical Score by Dan DeWalt!

A moving and funny homage to Chaplin’s classic The Kid (which turns 100 this year!) Charles Lane’s gorgeous black and white comedy balances charming visual gags with an earnest social realism to deliver a timeless message of generosity and love. Premiere musical interpretation by Dan DeWalt!

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SIDEWALK STORIES: With Live Musical Score by Dan DeWalt!
SIDEWALK STORIES: With Live Musical Score by Dan DeWalt!

Time & Location

Sep 18, 2021, 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM

Epsilon Spires, 190 Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301, USA

About the event

SIDEWALK STORIES (1989) is Charles Lane's brilliantly inventive homage to Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid, the silent-film classic which turns 100 years old this year, and the modern human experiences of homelessness on the streets of New York. Awarded the Guggenheim Special Prize as “The Best Source of Inspiration for Children,” this restoration is a timely rediscovery of a significant work from 1980s New African-American cinema. Starring the director as a homeless artist scraping by in New York City, a modern-day little tramp who gets whisked up into a comic and heartrending adventure when he winds up caring for an orphaned toddler. Shot on the the streets of 1980s Greenwich Village, this DIY gem is both witty and tender while accurately capturing the daily life of the homeless population of New York with a cinéma vérité approach that undoubtedly reminds of Lionel Rogosin’s On the Bowery


The Live Musical Score:

Dan DeWalt will premiere a new musical interpretation of the film with performances on both the Estey pipe organ and piano. DeWalt has played professionally throughout the northeast for the last forty years, performing and composing in the latin, jazz, reggae, and musical theater genres. In the past decade, he has performed silent film accompaniment for several classic films, including Hard Times, Joan d'Arc, The Patchwork Girl from Oz, and A Man with a Movie Camera, among others. The music created for this unique screening draws elements from classical tropes to poly-rhythms to amorphous free-floating soundscapes.

Critical Acclaim:

"Let's get this part right up front, SIDEWALK STORIES, the first feature-length movie by Charles Lane, is a flat-out brilliant piece of work."- NY Times

"SIDEWALK STORIES weaves a spell as powerful as it is entertaining."- Roger Ebert

"The quietly radical nature of Sidewalk Stories lies in the dialectical tension between its whimsically nostalgic formal approach and its bold representation of pressing contemporary issues. Lane engages with the issue of discrimination on the basis of race, and frequently populates the frame with political messages and sly satire about the intersection of art and commerce." -Film Comment

"Shot in 1989, Sidewalk Stories is a modern silent feature film that has an impressive progeny: Michael Hazanavicius, the director of the Oscar-winning behemoth The Artist credits this neglected classic as the direct inspiration for his indie smash. Yet if this might lead you to expect a nostalgic recreation of cinema pre-1928, guess again. Lane’s setting and attitude is more Spike Lee than FW Murnau. Made the same year as Do the Right Thing, Sidewalk Stories is cut from the same cloth as other grimy pre-Giuliani New York city films like Taxi Driver, Serpico and The French Connection. After the initial rave reviews and the Cannes applause, it was quietly forgotten about by its distributor and never had a home video release in the States. Disney fancied remaking it with sound, and colour, and a young Tom Hanks, but never quite got around to it – for which we should probably be thankful." -Silent London


"Sidewalk Stories was conceived on the night of November 6th, 1988 on a subway somewhere in the Bronx after the Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Don Lalonde boxing championship bout. I was heading home after the match on the graveyard shift, sharing a subway car with a collection of misfits from the fringes of society with nowhere else to go. A homeless black man slid over to me, presumably to ask for money. But no! He asked completely out of the blue, almost as if he was a mind reader, who had won the fight. I felt my heart melting. I excitedly described the details of another courageous victory for Sugar Ray. We continued to talk on the ride to Times Square, and as we parted, I gave this homeless boxing fan all the pocket money I had - one dollar and one token. My previous thoughts and emotions about the homeless "problem" crystallized around the plain truth that every homeless person is an individual, not just a faceless part of the undifferentiated mass of society's rejects. As I rushed down the cold sidewalk to my warm house and sleeping family, I saw a pair of feet sticking out of a cardboard box. Two months later in the dead of winter, Sidewalk Stories went into production."


  • SIDEWALK STORIES w/Live Music!

    Admission for one to SIDEWALK STORIES with live soundtrack by Dan DeWalt! Please choose your seating with respect for others and let us know if you require special arrangements. $2 from every ticket goes directly towards the historic preservation of the venue. Thank you for your support! Enjoy the program!

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