two upcoming Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular book events

Book Signing and Conversation

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

7:00 PM

Book Soup

8818 W. Sunset Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90069

Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular editors Rani Singh and Andrew Perchuk, plus special guests, will discuss the life and works of Harry Smith.


Smith on Smith

Thursday, January 28, 2010

7:00 PM

Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90024


Free; limit one ticket per person on a first come, first served basis.

Join Patti Smith and friends at the Hammer Museum for a night of film, live music, and remebrance of filmmaker, musicologist, ethnographer, bohemian, and occultist Harry Everett Smith.


posted 25 November 2009


Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular now available for pre-order!

This new, wide-ranging study of Harry Smith's life and work, published by the Getty, will be available on November 30th. It's being sold for pre-order on Amazon and at the Getty bookstore.

Filmmaker, musicologist, painter, ethnographer, graphic designer, mystic, and collector of string figures and other patterns, Harry Smith (1927-1991) was among the most original creative forces in postwar American art and culture, yet his life and work remain poorly understood. Today he is remembered primarily for his Anthology of American Folk Music (1952)--an idiosyncratic collection of early recordings that educated and inspired a generation of musicians and roots music fans--and for a body of innovative abstract and nonnarrative films. Constituting a first attempt to locate Smith and his diverse endeavors within the history of avant-garde art production in twentieth-century America, the essays in this volume reach across Smith's artistic oeuvre.

In addition to contributions by Paul Arthur, Robert Cantwell, Thomas Crow, Stephen Fredman, Stephen Hinton, Greil Marcus, Annette Michelson, William Moritz, and P. Adams Sitney, the volume contains numerous illustrations of Smith's works and a selection of his letters and other primary sources.

Andrew Perchuk is assistant director for Contemporary Programs and Research at the Getty Research Institute. Rani Singh is senior research associate in Contemporary Programs and Research at the Getty Research Institute as well as the director of the Harry Smith Archives.

posted 25 November 2009


film festival tour of The Old, Weird America

download press kit here

Naropa University

Boulder, Colorado

Sun, Jun 20, 2008 / 8 PM / The Performing Arts Center

director in person

The Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre

Los Angeles, California

Thurs, May 15, 2008 / 8:00 PM

director in person


The Ninth Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

Belfast, Ireland

May 1-12, 2008

Mon, May 5, 2008 / 8:00 PM / The John Hewitt


Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente

Buenos Aires, Argentina

April 8 - 20, 2008

Fri, Apr 11 / 7:15 PM / Alianza Francesca

Tues, Apr 15 / 1:15 PM / Abasto Salas Hoyts Sala 7

Thurs, Apr 17 / 3:45 PM / Alianza Francesca



Sheffield, UK

April 12-18, 2008

Sun, Apr 13 / 6:30 PM / Showroom

IN-EDIT Music Documentary Film Festival Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

October 25 - November 1, 2007


Stockholm International Film Festival

Stockholm, Sweden

November 15-25, 2007


Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival

New York, New York

November 9-11, 2007

Sat, Nov 10 / 8:15 PM / American Museum of Natural History

screening with Mirror Animations (1957)


BBC Electric Proms

London, UK
October 24-28, 2007

Sun, Oct 28 / 1:45 PM / FreeDM Studio, Roundhouse



Vienna, Austria

October 19-30, 2007

Mon, Oct 22 / 11:30 PM / Urania

Tues, Oct 23 / 9:00 PM / Urania


Warsaw International Film Fest

Warsaw, Poland

October 12-21, 2007

Fri, Oct 12 / 9:00 PM / PALLADIUM

Sun, Oct 14 / 4:00 PM / PALLADIUM


Calgary International Film Festival

Calgary, Alberta

September 21-30, 2007

Sun, Sept 23 / 9:15 / Uptown - Upstairs


Athens International Film Festival

Athens, Greece

September 20-30, 2007


Sound Unseen

Minneapolis, Minnesota

August 22-26, 2007

Sun, Aug 26 / 7:15 / the Ritz Theater


The Getty Center

Los Angeles, CA

August 15, 2007

Wed, Aug 15 / 7:30 / Harold M. Williams Auditorium


Melbourne Film Festival
Melbourne, Australia
July 25 - August 12, 2007

Sun, Jul 29 / 01:00 / Greater Union


San Francisco Film Festival
San Francisco, California
April 26-May 10, 2007

Fri, Apr 27 / 08:55 / PFA / OLDW27P  view details
Sat, Apr 28 / 06:15 / Kabuki / OLDW28K
Mon, Apr 30 / 08:30 / Kabuki / OLDW30K
Wed, May 2 / 03:45 / Kabuki / OLDW02K


Film Fest DC
Washington D.C.
April 19-29, 2007

Saturday April 21 6:30 PM The Greenberg Theatre
Performance by the Hoover Uprights band following the Screening

Lisbon, Portugal
April 19-29, 2007


more cities and dates to come!

The Old, Weird America airs July 4th on OvationTV

“Old, Weird America: Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music”
Wednesday, July 4 – 9:00 PM

The idiosyncratic experimental film artist Harry Smith began  collecting one-of-a-kind folk recordings in the 1940’s. Shellac was  a war material – supplies had been cut off, and these irreplaceable early recordings were being melted down and lost to the world forever. Smith amassed a huge collection, part of which was eventually released on Folkway Records in 1952 as the now-famous Anthology of American Folk Music. This release seeded the folk
revival of the 1960’s, and has reverberated through popular music ever since. Old, Weird America tells Harry Smith’s story, complete with new performances of some of the folk songs he rescued by contemporary artists, including Beck, Elvis Costello, Lou Reed and Sonic Youth.

About Ovation TV:
Launched in 1997, Ovation TV is focused on entertaining, inspiring and engaging the artist in all of us. The 24-hour channel is the only television network devoted exclusively to art, personal creativity and making the arts more accessible to viewers in their daily lives. The network showcases the world’s greatest artists in theater, dance, opera, literature, film, visual and fine art, music, popular arts, design, photography and architecture. Ovation TV features original programming and a multi-platform content strategy that includes partnerships with leading American cultural and art institutions and educational organizations. After launching nationally on DIRECTV, Ovation TV will reach nearly 15 million subscribers, and has cable distribution in key U.S. markets and master distribution agreements in place with most major cable operators. In August 2006 Ovation TV was acquired by Hubbard Media Group and a group of other private investors which includes Arcadia Investment Partners, Corporate Partners II, Perry Capital, and The Weinstein Company.

posted June 27, 2007

World television premiere on OvationTV

As part of Ovation TV's "American Revolutionaries" series, airing July 1 -15, The Old, Weird America will make its world television premiere on DirecTV.

Details will be posted soon for the air date for The Old, Weird America.

view full article here

Ovation TV website

posted June 6, 2007

East Bay Express on the 50th San Francisco International Film Festival

"An array of musical mavens — Greil Marcus, Elvis Costello, Philip Glass, Beck, Lou Reed — line up to sing the praises of the late musicologist Harry Smith, whose Anthology of American Folk Music emerges as the Rosetta Stone of the American musical experience, a never-ending source of inspiration for roots musicians and scholars. The more you hear of filmmaker Rani Singh's exploration into Smith and the folk music he exalted, the more you want to hear."

view full article here

posted April 27, 2007

New York Times reviews The Old, Weird America

"With this film fans can not only see remarkable clips of those performances, but gain unprecedented insight into the mind of the man who never stopped working to preserve the music that spoke to his soul."

view full article here

posted April 27, 2007

indieWIRE mentions Old, Weird America in San Francisco line-up

"This year's documentary line-up includes Rani Singh's "The Old, Weird America: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music," the North American premiere of "The Key of G," by Robert Arnold and about the life of a developmentally disabled 22-year-old, and "Tierney Gearon: The Mother Project," on embattled photographer Gearon..."

view full article here

posted April 13, 2007

Variety reviews The Old, Weird America

"Harry Smith set out to preserve idiosyncratic performances of traditional songs so he could capture an alternative, rough-edged America; archivist-turned-helmer Rani Singh pays tribute to the man and his musical legacy in "The Old, Weird America...""

view full article here

posted March 3, 2007


Rotterdam's Daily Tiger reports on The Old, Weird America

"The excellent archival material used in the film contexualizes the wild and eclectic spirit of the tradition, channelled through modern day performances. Put together with an introduction by Hal Willner, interviews with performers and a smattering of frames of the outrageously eccentric man himself, this film is a comprehensive portrait of Harry Smith, his films, his art - and his devotion to collecting the music that would become his legacy."


posted February 1, 2007

The Old, Weird America at the Rotterdam Film Festival

The feature-length documentary directed by Rani Singh will have its world premiere at the 36th Rotterdam Film Festival, from January 24 - February 4, 2007. Screenings will take place on February 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

posted December 1, 2006