Media Arts Program

Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.

Off Beat Cinema and Hallwalls present

Steven Severin

Blood of a Poet: Film Screening & Live Score Performance

Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre 639 Main St. Buffalo, NY

Blood of a Poet Steven Severin, acclaimed solo artist and co-founding member of the legendary Siouxsie and the Banshees and collaborator with The Cure's Robert Smith in the band The Glove, will perform, live in person, a newly composed score to Jean Cocteau's 1930 surrealist masterpiece, Blood of a Poet (Le Sang d'un Poete). The score is the second in Severin's series "Music for Silents."

It makes perfect sense that one of the most innovative forces in alternative music would apply his talent to one of the most innovative forces in cinema. The film is the first in Cocteau's highly regarded Orphic trilogy, and explores the relationship between dreams and art, and the poet's tension with the pull of life against the pull of death. Cocteau said of the film: "poets … shed not only the red blood of their hearts but the white blood of their souls," and the film's dream-imagery metaphorically explores the artist's struggles.

The film uses a dreamlike tableaux of images to portray a "descent into oneself, a way of using the mechanism of the dream without sleeping; a crooked candle, often mysteriously blown out, carried about in the night of the human body." To Cocteau, the poet served as a messenger between worlds; and the film's synthesis of audio and visual elements creates an atmospheric landscape that uniquely captures the dream-life of artists, who seamlessly move between realms.

Severin's score presents a marked contrast to the original score by Georges Auric. Where Auric's score punctuates the action on the screen from a position outside of the film, Severin's narcotic score enters the film's dreamworld and provides the perfect companion to its hallucinatory visuals. Severin's score presents a mesmerizing synthesis of sound and image, heightening appreciation of the surreal and enigmatic nature of the original work. Cocteau's combination of live, drawn and sculptural elements finds its aural counterpart in Severin's suitably textured score, a synthesized, highly atmospheric soundscape drawing the viewer rhythmically into the imagery on screen.

During their reign, Siouxsie & the Banshees established themselves as one of the foremost alternative artists and the only survivors of the London punk scene to evolve, innovate and succeed until their final demise in 2002. Severin has since committed himself almost exclusively to scoring for film & TV.

Since May 2008 Severin has been performing live accompaniment to silent films, startling audiences across the globe who have now come to expect the unexpected from the man who has crossed paths with such diverse luminaries as John Cale, Alan Moore, Jarboe, Lydia Lunch, Marc Almond, Merce Cunningham, Robert Smith and the Tiger Lillies. "Le Sang d'un Poete" received its premiere at the Silent Movie Theater in Hollywood in January 2010 and a CD of the score was released by Cold Spring on 5th. October 2010.

The show will feature an opening act by local artist Moss of Ancients — an audio/visual exploration of movement and sound. Using a combination of acoustic and electronic instrumentation, sound collage, film, dance, voice and improvisational organic textural sounds, Moss of Ancients creates a trance-like sense of time distortion, opening a door to an altered reality.

The show is presented by Off Beat Cinema and Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center. Off Beat Cinema is a locally produced, nationally syndicated television show now in its 17th year featuring the best of sci-fi classics, campy creature features, foreign and classic art films.

Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center is one of the region's leading organizations dedicated to the promotion of new work in the visual, media, performing, and literary arts with an emphasis on work by artists which challenges and extends the traditional boundaries of the various art forms, and which is critically engaged with current issues in the arts and—through the arts—in society.

To purchase tickets on line, go to (active link below).