For a portion of the population, "church and organ" are synonymous with "church and God." The Lord didn't compose His entrance on the kazoo, did He? Now consider, for a moment, what powerhouse emotions might be summoned if the instrument and the space were devoted to another purpose. We've entered the province of Dorothy Papadakos, the altogether remarkable organist who performs two feats of virtuoso accompaniment of silent masterworks Saturday night.
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The curtain raiser is Battleship Potemkin (7 p.m.), Sergei Eisenstein's impassioned 1925 tribute to the seeds of the revolution and the visceral power of montage. If you've never seen the brilliant (and much-parodied) Odessa Steps sequence -- two words: baby carriage -- it's hard to imagine a more rarefied opportunity. Papadakos smoothly shifts shadings for F.W. Murnau's creepy 1922 triumph of German expressionism, Nosferatu (9 p.m.), freely adapted from Bram Stoker's Dracula. The perfect pairing of film and venue, this is truly inspired programming. The crucifixes, you see, are already on hand.
Get thee behind me, Max Schreck!
An Evening of Silent Films with Dorothy Papadakos begins Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at Grace Cathedral, 1100 California, S.F. Admission is $10-$34.