Musicians accompany silent movies; Benefit: A German percussionist will accompany a film about Berlin, and a local band will perform during a Buster Keaton classic in a program at the Charles.


German composer and percussionist Steven Garling will headline a program of screenings, sneak previews and surprises on Sunday at the Charles Theatre.

Garling will accompany "Berlin, Symphony of a Great City," the silent 1927 German Expressionist classic. In a similar vein, local musician Anne Watts will lead her band, Boister, in an accompaniment to Buster Keaton's classic comedy "Steamboat Bill, Jr."

Baltimore filmmaker Steven Yeager ("Divine Trash") will play host at the event, which will include a trailer from Joy Lusco and Scott Kecken's coming documentary about Arabbers, and new work from Martha Colburn. Yeager will also show outtakes from his films of John Waters over the years.

The program will benefit the Orpheum Cinema, the Fells Point theater that for years has provided Baltimore filmgoers with alternative, second-run and repertory films. Money from the event will go to pay outstanding bills and to free Orpheum owner George Figgs to explore making the theater a nonprofit film co-op and archive.

The show begins at 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at Margaret's Cafe, 909 Fell St., or at any Video Americain outlet. Tickets may be purchased on Sunday at the Charles box office. (Since the Orpheum is not yet nonprofit, the price of the tickets is not tax-deductible.)

'Endless Summer,' yet...

The Italian Open-Air Film Festival in Little Italy concludes this evening with a farewell screening of "The Endless Summer," Bruce Brown's 1966 cult documentary about two surfers who travel the world in search of the perfect wave -- a great way to say goodbye to the summer and to wind up the best-loved new movie tradition in town.

The screening will begin at 9 p.m. at the corner of High and Stiles streets. As always, a lawn chair makes the show easier to bear, as does a full stomach from visiting a neighborhood restaurant. Admission is free and open to the public.

African Film Festival

An African Film Festival will take place Saturday at the American Museum of Visionary Art. Sponsored by the East Coast Regional Summit on Africa, which is under way at the Baltimore Convention Center, the festival will screen four films between noon and 5 p.m.

The films to be shown are "Pieces d'Identite" ("Pieces of Identity"), a 1998 film about a legendary king, his daughter and a dragon by Congo director Mweze Ngangura; "Weti's Poem," an experimental film by Ethiopian director Lucy Gebre Egziabher; "Taafe Fanga" ("Skirt Power"), a comedy about women's roles in Mali's 1991 revolution by Adama Drabo; and "Ca twiste a Poponguine" ("Rocking Porcupine"), a coming-of-age film by Senegalese filmmaker Moussa Sene Absa.

Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, call 410-625-2220, ext. 3262, or 202-667-5636.

More screenings

The Columbia Lakefront Summer Festival continues tonight and Saturday with screenings of "The Mask of Zorro" (PG-13) and "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory," respectively. The movies (rated "G" unless otherwise noted) begin promptly at dusk on the lawn at the Columbia Town Center Lakefront (Lake Kittamaqundi). Admission is free and open to the public.

The Loews White Marsh theater will show "Runaway Bride" in closed-captioned form Monday and Tuesday, so that hearing-impaired patrons can enjoy one of the most popular hits of the summer. Call 410-933-9428 for information about show times. Advance tickets are available now.

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