The Block

New series explores the connection of music and film

Muskegon, MI, November 16, 2018—Music has inspired filmmakers for generations, from the first “talkie” in 1927’s The Jazz Singer to the iconic 1970 rockumentary Woodstock—and more recently, the Academy Award darling La La Land featuring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.

Movies+Music, a Wednesday night series at The Block debuting this winter, will explore the relationship between movies and music through a series of three acclaimed films.  These will include I’m Not There, in which six actors depict the public persona of Bob Dylan from different perspectives; Once, a poignant “guy meets girl” story of a budding Dublin songwriter; and Searching for Sugar Man, a documentary about Detroit folksinger Sixto Rodriguez.

“Join us at The Block as we explore the creative marriage of movies and music,” said Block board member Kerri VanderHoff, who conceived and helped develop the series. “At each event, we’ll feature a notable panel of film scholars and music experts to introduce the films and lead follow-up discussions. Offered on one Wednesday each month January through March, the series will be a great excuse to get out midweek for a reprieve from cabin fever.”  VanderHoff is an adjunct professor of film and video at GVSU and Executive Director of the Coalition for Community Development.

The selection of films offers a broad range of styles and subject matter, and each panelist brings a wealth of knowledge to the conversation. The audience is encouraged to ask questions and participate fully in the 15-minute discussion that immediately follows the film viewing.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the panel line-up, each one perfectly suited to help explore the themes and share insight on these intriguing films,” said VanderHoff. “Foley Schuler, from Blue Lake Public Radio and the Muskegon Arts and Humanities Festival, can speak with authority on both music and film; I will enjoy sharing the panel with him for I’m Not There.   The panelists for Once will include Michigan Irish Music Festival Cultural Director Andrew Zahrt and GVSU Professor Toni Perrine, who also serves as president of the Chiaroscuro International Film Series. For Searching for Sugar Man, who better than GVSU Professor John Schmit, a documentary filmmaker—along with the area’s expert on all things vinyl and historical in the music industry, Black Circle Radio’s Mitch Anderson.”

Films start at 7:00pm, with doors and bar opening at 6:30pm. Arrive early to mingle, grab a drink, and settle in for a good movie and good conversation. Films are intended for mature audiences, please note the MPAA ratings for each. For more information on films and ticket prices, see below.

I’m Not There (2007, Haynes) 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 9
Directed by Todd Haynes and co-written with Oren Moverman, this film presents six incarnations of Bob Dylan: actor, folk singer, electrified troubadour, Rimbaud, Billy the Kid, and Woody Guthrie. Each incarnation is played by a different actor: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger and Ben Whishaw; with narration by Kris Kristofferson.  Kerri VanderHoff and Blue Lake Public Radio’s Foley Schuler will be the featured panelists.

Rated R for language, some sexuality and nudity

Once (2007, Carney) 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 13
This romantic drama was written and directed by John Carney and stars Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová.  The film takes place within the backdrop of working-class Dublin; the unnamed lead male is Irish and the lead female is Czech, offering a glimpse into the Eastern European immigrant population in Ireland.  She helps him put together a music demo disc that he can take to London in hopes of landing a recording contract.  Andrew Zahrt, Cultural Director of the Michigan Irish Music Festival, and Dr. Toni Perrine, GVSU Professor of Film and Video Production, will lead the panel.

Rated R for language

Searching for Sugar Man (2012, Bendjelloul) 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 13
Sixto Rodriguez was a Detroit folksinger who had a short-lived recording career with only two well-received but non-selling albums. Unknown to Rodriguez, his musical story continued in South Africa where he became a pop music icon and inspiration for generations, though long rumored to be dead through suicide. Directed and written by Malik Bendjelloul, this film documents the efforts of two obsessed fans who set out to learn the man’s true fate.  Black Circle Radio’s Mitch Anderson and John Schmit, GVSU Associate Professor of Film and Video Production, will be the panelists.

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some drug reference.

General admission tickets are priced at $8. To order, call 231.726.3231 or visit

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