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Media Life: Hollywood’s classic “broads” to light up Auburn film fest

By: Gus Thomson/Media Life
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Building on the success of last spring’s nearly sold out Alfred Hitchcock Film Festival, the folks at the State Theater are doing an encore. Hitchcock, however, has been replaced by a group of celluloid stars that event sponsor the Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center is collectively calling “Reel Classy Broads” – and that’s meant in a good way. The six-film lineup will hit the State’s silver screen from April 8 to the 10th and focus on some of Hollywood’s biggest stars during the Golden Age of the studio era from the 1930s to 1950s. “The Women,” a 1939 cat fight starring Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell as two of the main combatants, will be the featured film after an opening night gala Friday, April 8. Besides some of the top female actresses of times past, a ground-breaking color “fashion” vignette and some fun with the Reno setting when it was the divorce capital of the nation, the gimmick in “The Women” is that it has an all-female cast – right down to the animals appearing in the film. The April 9 three-film lineup will bring Myrna Loy and Maureen O’Sullivan together in 1934’s “The Thin Man,” Barbara Stanwyck onscreen for the 1944 noir classic “Double Indemnity,” and Bette Davis and Thelma Ritter teaming for 1950’s “All About Eve.” The Sunday finale April 10 will have Judy Garland in “A Star is Born” from 1954 and Katharine Hepburn in 1940’s “Philadelphia Story.” Individual tickets are $9 at the door. Festival passes, which guarantee admittance to all six films, are $45. The passes are available now at livefromauburn.com. Reservations are also required for the $12 opening-night gala, which includes no-host libations and music by Gypsy Standard Time. Back to the 80s Chris Crites, Auburn’s man of many faces, has made a name for himself in the world of independent fright-film scoring but that doesn’t mean he can’t get totally rad with one of his side projects – a band with a 1980s bent called Awesome 80s Boom Box. Crites and bandmates will be playing a mélange of Reagan-era favorites from the likes of Duran Duran, The Ramones, The Cars and The Go-Gos at Pace Auto on March 19. The appearance is part of the monthly Danceapalooza at the Grass Valley Highway dealership featuring live local musicians as well as a deejay. Crites will also be part of Fox Trot Mary, playing a fusion of soul music that dips into the Wilson Pickett, Tina Turner, James Brown and Blues Brothers’ gritty repertoire. Once a month, Pace Auto sets up a stage, brings in lights, food and live music, and transforms itself into “The Juke,” a place to socialize and dance while checking out some talented local musicians. The Juke gets jumping at 8 p.m. March 19 at 340 Grass Valley Highway. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with a suggested donation of $5. Onscreen tribute You never know who or what will turn up at the State Theater and “Honor in the Valley of Tears” is a classic example. It’s a documentary film about Vietnam veteran David McNerney, who earned a Medal of Honor for a 1967 battle that left 33 American soldiers dead but many more saved. New York filmmaker John Ponsoll, whose father served under McNerney, was so moved by his father’s stories that he traveled around the country interviewing the men in the Medal of Honor honoree’s unit. Ponsoll will be at the Auburn showing of the movie that came out of those interviews. A benefit for the Wounded Warriors Project, it will screen at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. March 19 at the State.