Thursday, June 25, 2009

Documentary Review

Here's the Morning Call's Go Guide review of "On Joy & Sorrow: The Glass Prism Story." The documentary screens at the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival tonight (June 25) at 9 at Arbol Cafe and tomorrow (6/26) at 9:49 pm at Exit Skate Shop.

New documentary tells the story of a '60s Scranton band
By Amy Longsdorf
June 25, 2009

Even though he was too young to experience the psychedelic band the Glass Prism in its prime, Jim Thorpe resident Bob Ross has been a fan of '' Scranton's answer to the Beatles'' for decades. The Channel 13 cameraman was still in high-school when he discovered the quartet's first album, a trippy synapse-scrambler that blends progressive rock with lyrics culled from the pages of Edgar Allan Poe short stories.

''What I always loved about the Glass Prism is that, lyrically and musically, they did things differently,'' says Ross, 43. ''You don't get any more unique than recording an entire album of Poe lyrics.''

Last year when Ross noticed that Glass Prism was re-uniting for the first time in decades for an appearance at Philadelphia's Edgar Allan Poe House, he got the idea to document the band's resurrection as well as its rise and fall.Ross contacted long-time collaborators Sarah Fulton and Matt Lewis -- owners of the Allentown-based film and video production house Post Sputnik -- and the trio set off on a mission to spread awareness about the psychedelic Scrantonians.

The end result is ''On Joy & Sorrow: The Glass Prism Story,'' a terrific, hourlong documentary that uses vintage photographs and fresh interviews to tell the story of the group that signed with RCA Records in the late '60s and enjoyed considerable chart success with ''The Raven'' before imploding over a management snafu and a poorly received second album.

The documentary will screen as part of the Second Annual Philadelphia International Film Festival at 9 tonight at the Arbol Cafe, 909 N. Second St. A second screening will be 9:49 p.m. Friday at Exit Philadelphia, 825 N. Second St. For ticket info, see .

As for the band's reaction to the movie, Fulton says they were ''blown away. They seemed to be moved by it, seeing their youths played out on the screen ... I think they really appreciated the story we told."

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