Flickers of film music past

Nestled behind several storefronts in downtown Athens, the theater and bar that serves as headquarters for the Flicker Film Society provides Athenians with the luxury of viewing foreign and classic films in an intimate setting. It's the sort of art house you might find in many larger cities, with one exception: Films are frequently screened with the accompaniment of the live Flicker Orchestra, an open-membership group including some of Athens' most creative musicians.Featuring members of bands such as Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, Music Tapes and Japancakes, the orchestra includes players such as Heather MacIntosh (cello), Julien Koster (saw, percussion, yodeling) and Jeff Mangum (cartoon voices and sound effects). The group has played along with silent masterpieces such as Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr Calagari and various Charlie Chaplin films, plus some material that would be considered less than classic cinema. "Some of the stuff I found on the side of the road while I was walking — Fatty Arbuckle, Crazy Cat, home movies — that was some of my favorite stuff to play along with," says Flicker proprietor Angie Grass, who put together the orchestra and plays cello in the group.

The Flicker Orchestra performs this weekend at Flicker's "Circuses, Stars, and Cowboys" art opening and costume party, playing without the aid of a film. In the spirit of a Mardi Gras parade, orchestra members will likely lead a procession through the audience, snatching up future contributors and fans alike.

Flicker's "Circuses, Stars, and Cowboys" is held Sat., Sept. 16. The Flicker Bar and Theatre is located at 263 West Washington Street in Athens. Call 706-546-0039 for more information on upcoming films and music performances at the space.