Westport, CT - Bruce Springsteen calls him “phenomenal.” Lou Reed said he could watch him “play for hours.” And Jeff Buckley exclaimed, “magical guitarness.”
Gary Lucas, one of the world’s foremost rock guitarists, hits StoryFest 2023 at The Westport Library on Sunday, October 22, from 2 to 4 pm in the Trefz Forum,
accompanying George Melford’s 1931 Spanish-Language Dracula
film with a live acoustic and electric guitar score.
Just a week before the ramp-up to Halloween 2023, the timely event is open to all ages and is free with registration.
Now in its sixth year, StoryFest
is the largest literary festival in Connecticut and one of the biggest annual literary festivals in the Northeast. This year’s edition will be held October 20-22. Friday night will feature the sold-out keynote conversation
featuring legendary writer Neil Gaiman, followed Saturday with panel discussions and author conversations, capped by a special reading
of Eric LaRocca's new play, Gentle Hacksaw
In addition to Lucas's performance, Sunday will include a special children's event with Pinkalicious author Victoria Kann
and PitchFest at StoryFest,
a five-hour paid workshop (12-5 pm) from Bloom Writers' Studio that will provide aspiring authors with an opportunity to speak to literary agents about their book, as well as provide tips on how to find the right literary agent. The event, to be held in the Library's Komansky Room, will be hosted by local authors T.M. Dunn, Marcia Bradley, and Tessa Smith McGovern.
“StoryFest has always been a celebration of all forms and genres of storytelling," said StoryFest co-founder and Westport Library Associate Director of Programming and Events Alex Giannini. “In a year of impressive guests, including authors Neil Gaiman, Caroline Kepnes, and Stephen Graham Jones, I am honored to welcome guitarist Gary Lucas accompanying George Melford’s Spanish-Language Dracula, with what will undoubtedly be a jaw-dropping live guitar score for Halloween season for the StoryFest '23 finale.”
A GRAMMY-nominated songwriter, international recording artist, and (Connecticut connection) Yale graduate, Lucas is best-known for his collaborations with Captain Beefheart and later Jeff Buckley.
With avant composer/vocalist/bandleader Don Van Vilet (Captain Beefheart), Lucas realized his childhood dream of joining Beefheart’s band, recording the seminal Doc at the Radar Station (1980) and Ice Cream for Crow (1982). Esquire wrote of the song "Evening Bell”: "Gary Lucas apparently grew extra fingers in order to negotiate his way through it." These recordings put Lucas on the musical map as a force to be reckoned with and laid the groundwork for his subsequent career.
In 1989, Lucas formed his band Gods and Monsters in a nod to the film Bride of Frankenstein. In 1991, legendary music producer Hal Willner presented a Tim Buckley tribute concert at St. Anne’s Church in Brooklyn featuring the mesmerizing New York debut of Tim's son, Jeff Buckley. Lucas was among the New York music cognoscenti who helped discover Jeff Buckley and launch his career.
Buckley stayed in New York and joined Gods and Monsters. Lucas composed solo guitar instrumentals for "Rise Up to Be" and "And You Will," which later became the musical templates for "Grace" and "Mojo Pin." Lucas co-wrote these two lead-off tracks with Buckley for his widely popular, critically acclaimed, and heralded album, Grace.
Lucas’s collaborations have included Reed, Leonard Bernstein, John Cale, Patti Smith, Chris Cornell, Bryan Ferry, Nona Hendryx, Los Van Van, Bob Weir, Nick Cave, Thurston Moore, Lukas Ligeti, Martha Wainwright, and many others. Lucas has been dubbed "The Thinking Man's Guitar Hero" (The New Yorker), "The world's most popular avant-rock guitarist" (The Independent), "One of the 100 Greatest Living Guitarists" (Classic Rock), "Legendary leftfield guitarist" (The Guardian), "Guitarist of 1000 Ideas" (The New York Times), "a true axe God" (Melody Maker), and "One of the five best guitarists in the world" (by the national Czech newspaper Lidove Noviny). And British world music magazine fRoots recently described Lucas as "without question, the most innovative and challenging guitarist playing today."
Noting that he was thrilled to be pairing with the innovative Verso Studios, Lucas said, “Dracula, King of the Undead and the ne plus ultra in vampires as first immortalized by Bram Stoker in 1897, is one of the most enduring legends in all of horror history, with countless spin-offs both filmic and otherwise.
“For my money, though, no cinematic version quite beats the legendary Spanish-language Dracula, filmed in 1931 at night at Universal Studios in Hollywood on the same sets as Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, which was being filmed during the day—but with a different, all-Latin cast, and an English director. The camera moves more fluidly, the editing rhythms are faster, and the costumes are wilder. 'La Sangre es la Vida, Signor Renfield!'”