All the Way Through Evening: Film Review

Moving recollections and poignant music make for a fairly inert doc.

Rohan Spong goes behind the scenes for a concert series celebrating composers affected by HIV/AIDS.

A Manhattan music lover preserves the memories of a scene devastated by AIDS in All the Way Through Evening, Rohan Spong's intimate look at a concert series that has run for over twenty years. In keeping with the nature of the events, which focus mostly on uncelebrated New York composers who were killed by the disease, the doc is an unmistakable for-the-community effort; though its stories of loss are broadly accessible, theatrical prospects are limited to specialty bookings.

Concert pianist Mimi Stern-Wolfe is a septuagenarian who lived in NYC's East Village when it was still bohemian; having befriended some up-and-coming gay musicians shortly before the epidemic, she saw the hole it left in the creative community. Already in the habit of presenting social-issue themed classical music concerts, she launched an annual Benson AIDS Series and became its driving force.

We watch as she does the legwork for one of the events, calling old friends in to sing the work of composers Kevin Oldman, Robert Chesley, and others. This behind-the-scenes material isn't particularly enthralling, but it dovetails with more involving scenes that augment the concerts' mission: Spong visits with friends and family of the artists, giving them the chance to recall the personalities behind the music. Collaborators speak at length about the way texts were matched with music and reflect on the poetry that inspired many of these men, and all involved offer sad but specific tales of how they confronted a disease the world was just beginning to understand.

Production Company: Perseus Pictures

Director-Screenwriter-Director of photography-Editor: Rohan Spong

Producers: Rohan Spong, Adam Farrington-Williams

Executive producers: Duncan Hewitt, Brad Heard

No rating, 68 minutes