More than movies: M.V. Film Society offers standup comedy, jazz, and theater

Comedian Will Noonan performs at the Strand Theater in Oak Bluffs on Wednesday, August 12. Photo courtesy M.V. Film Society

Films are far from the only events scheduled this month at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center.

“We have always tried to have an eclectic program,” says Film Center Director Richard Paradise. “People are not necessarily going to come to the Film Center two nights a week for films. Including other types of events helps diversify our audience.” Once its first annual Documentary Week finishes up over the weekend, the Film Center will sponsor a Filmmaking on Your Smartphone camp Monday, August 10 through Wednesday, August 12. And in addition to the variety of live events scheduled at the Film Center, both the recently renovated Strand and Capawock Theaters have been designed to accommodate live performances as well as films.

Standup comedy comes to the Strand Theater in Oak Bluffs on Wednesday, August 12. Showtime’s Best Comic, Tom Hayes will join Will Noonan of the Oddball Comedy Festival to entertain audiences. Both comics perform at Boston’s Headliners Comedy Club.

Jazz will be in the air at the Strand on Thursday, August 13, when vocalist Vivian Male brings her musical talents to the stage. A native Bostonian, Ms. Male has been inducted into “Steppin’ Out’s” Hall of Fame. Her CD, “Our Day Will Come,” is considered a classic. Ms. Male has sung for the New England Emmy Awards, and performs regularly at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston. Accompanying Ms. Male will be her music director Rollins Ross on keyboards, Lakecia Benjamin on saxophone, Daniel Day on bass, and David Fuller on drums.

The following week brings a variety of special events to the Film Center in Vineyard Haven. A New York Film Critics premiere of “Digging for Fire” screens Wednesday, August 19. Director Joe Swanberg’s domestic comedy features Rosemarie DeWitt and Jake M. Johnson playing parents of a toddler who find themselves on the verge of nervous breakdowns. The director and members of the cast will participate in simulcast interviews after the screening.

Vineyard summer visitor, theater and film director Julie Taymor will discuss her movie version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in a postscreening interview at the Film Center, conducted by Robert Brustein, Island summer resident and founder of the Yale Repertory Theatre as well as Boston’s American Repertory Theatre. This live event takes place on Thursday, August 20. The documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” follows on Tuesday, August 25, with director Liz Garbus attending for a post-screening Q & A. This film includes never-before-heard recordings, archival footage, and signature songs by the singer, known as the “High Priestess of Soul.” Playing Wednesday, August 26 at the Film Center and Thursday, August 27, at the Strand is Aviva Kempner’s new film, “Rosenwald.” This documentary relates the story of the late Jewish philanthropist and Sears president Julius Rosenwald, who helped build over 5,300 schools for African-American children in the Jim Crow South during the early 20th century. A frequent Vineyard summer visitor, Ms. Kempner is also the director of “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg,” about the Jewish baseball player, and “Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg,” about ’50s TV star and broadcasting pioneer Gertrude Berg.

Live theatre comes to the Film Center for the first time on Monday, August 31, with “Wild and Precious,” a monologue by Steve Cadwell. A Boston psychotherapist, Dr. Cadwell will bring to the Vineyard stage issues of gender, sexuality, and shame, using poetry, storytelling, costumes, song, photos, and dance. He has performed in Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Provincetown, and Woods Hole.

For tickets to and information on these special events, see