Hot Club of San Francisco, by Lenny Gonzalez


(editor’s note: TIO was in Paris in October. A highlight was a visit to a Django Reinhart exhibit and a mostly coincidental Django tribute concert the same evening. Here is our take of that day.

Live music and “Cinema Vivant,” a winning combination for music and film lovers

Hot Club of San Francisco, by Lenny Gonzalez

Hot Club of San Francisco, by Lenny Gonzalez

Some like it hot.

Legendary gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt first heard recordings of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong in 1930. Four years later, now swinging like Tarzan, he formed The Quintet Hot Club de France with virtuosic violinist Stephan Grapelli, brother Joseph, R. Chaput on guitar and L.Vola on bass and there was nothing hotter. The Hot Club of San Francisco is part of Django’s evolving legacy.

Live at the Palm presents the Hot Club of San Francisco. Showtime is Sunday, February 17, 7 p.m.. Palm Theatre.

"Revenge of the Cameraman," (1912). Directed by Wladislaw Starewicz

“Revenge of the Cameraman,” (1912). Directed by Wladislaw Starewicz

Imagine yourself in the idyllic French countryside in the 1930’s. Sometime before dark, a gypsy caravan sets up camp in a field outside of town, luring the locals out for an evening’s fun. The wanderers travel with a film projector, pointing it at the side of a barn. As the images flicker to life beneath the stars, gypsy musicians play their guitars and fiddles, matching every movement on the screen with characteristic virtuosity, passion and humor. Reviving this lost entertainment, The Hot Club of San Francisco presents Cinema Vivant, an evening of vintage silent films accompanied by live gypsy swing, featuring original compositions by lead guitarist Paul Mehling, the blazing violin of two-time Grammy Award winner Evan Price and a swinging rhythm section.

Cinema Vivant is a celebration of imagination and innovation.

Before World War I, European filmmaker Ladislaw Starewicz pioneered stop-action animation, creating a never-before-seen movie experience. A gifted storyteller who used the new medium of animation to illuminate his fantastic imaginings of the secret lives of ordinary objects, Starewicz has become an obscure cult hero. Two Starewicz films are featured in Cinema Vivant—The Cameraman’s Revenge, a charming piece about the marital troubles of beetles and The Mascot, an adventure story about lost toys. On the other side of the Atlantic, American Charley Bowers revolutionized the industry in the 1920’s by combining animation with live action. There It Is, a recently rediscovered film by Bowers, is a whimsical comedy about a mysterious occurrence investigated by Scotland Yard.

To hear the ensemble live, or on any of their 11 albums, is to be carried back to the 1930s and the small, smoky jazz clubs of Paris and the refined lounges of the famous Hotel Ritz. Often called gypsy jazz, the music of The Hot Club of San Francisco has entranced audiences around the globe for over 20 years.the music of The Hot Club of San Francisco has entranced audiences around the globe for over 20 years.

“Intricate, scorching and often brilliant,” raved Acoustic Guitar.

For a preview of the fun in store with the contemporary version of the Hot Club, watch this video.

Reserved seating tickets for the Hot Club of San Francisco:Cinema Vivant: $28 for adults; $20 for students and children. Available at or by calling 970.369.5669.

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