Scott Paulson & Teeny-Tiny Pit Orchestra
Award-winning soundscape artist, musician, and entertainer extraordinaire Scott Paulson, is taking his innovative musical act, the Teeny-Tiny Pit Orchestra (TTPO), to Paris to perform at the Black France Film Festival on May 23. Paulson, who serves as UC San Diego Arts Library’s outreach coordinator and is a UCSD alumnus, has entertained thousands of fans at not-so-silent film screenings and TTPO performances at UCSD’s Geisel Library and various other venues.
At their Paris debut, Paulson and the TTPO will perform a live score composed by Paulson for Josephine Baker’s silent feature Siren of the Tropics. TTPO is adopting a French name for their Paris performance: Le Petit Orchestre du Peuple. The film will be introduced by UCSD Sociology Professor Bennetta Jules-Rosette, director of the university’s African and African-American Studies Research Project (AAASRP) and the author of “Josephine Baker in Art and Life: The Icon and Image (2007), and “Black Paris: The African Writers’ Landscape (1998), among other publications.
Paulson and TTPO’s upcoming performance at the Paris festival is the culmination of several years of collaborative work between the UCSD Arts Library and AAASRP. Over the last few years, Paulson has orchestrated and performed at several Josephine Baker silent film screenings and exhibits at UCSD’s Geisel Library (as well as with the university’s ArtPower at the Loft at UCSD. He has also curated Black History Month exhibits at the UCSD Arts Library for the past decade, many with film themes.
The live accompaniment of Josephine Baker’s silent film by Paulson's TTPO combines the sophisticated approach of a movie palace (with orchestral instruments such as harp and esoteric instruments such as Theremin) with the playfulness of a smaller-town screening (with audience participation in some of the sound & musical effects.) The screening will also provide the audience with the opportunity to learn some ritual island drumming from Afro-Caribbean percussion expert Gene Perry.
The Teeny-Tiny Pit Orchestra for Silent Films is well-known for its ability to morph back and forth from a “misbehaving” vaudeville-throwback trio to a respectable, classically-trained pit ensemble. Paulson and his group have been recognized for their historically accurate approach to silent film accompaniment and their ability to take an audience back to a time when cinema was theater.
While in Paris, Paulson will officially blog about the Black France Film Festival on KPBS radio’s Cinema Junkie Web site.
Paulson and TTPO’s Paris trip is being funded by Miriam Polcino of the Manning Trust, Dr. Robert Singer and Judith C. Harris, Karen Boudreau and Dr. Tom Jensen, and the AAASRP.
The UC San Diego Arts Library, which supports award-winning faculty research and teaching in Music, Theatre and Dance, Visual Arts, and Literature, has been a leader and early adopter in the development and delivery of digital reserves for image, audio, and moving image. As the first major contributor to ARTstor, a digital image database developed to support scholarship in the arts and other disciplines, the Arts Library was the first academic library in the nation to digitize their entire slide collection. The Arts Library is also known for its outstanding contemporary music collections, especially its holdings in experimental and 20th century music, and its lively and novel arts events, including toy piano concerts and not-so-silent film festivals.
The UC San Diego Libraries, ranked among the top 25 public academic research libraries in the nation, play an integral role in advancing and supporting the university’s research, teaching, patient care, and public service missions. The nine libraries that comprise the UCSD Library system provide access to more than 7 million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials to meet the knowledge demands of scholars, students, and members of the public. Each day, more than 7,300 people stream through one of the university’s nine libraries. The Libraries’ vast resources and services are accessed more than 87,500 times each day via the UCSD Libraries’ Web site.