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Dead Men's Hollow will perform traditional bluegrass before a screening of
Dead Men's Hollow will perform traditional bluegrass before a screening of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (By Rebecca D'angelo)
Thursday, April 12, 2007

Live music, a meal and George Clooney -- sounds like a dream date. Alas, the politico hunk will be present on celluloid only tonight when the Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse presents the Coen brothers' 2000 cult classic, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" But the meal and the music will complement the film, because the 1930s art deco theater is hosting a pre-movie set by one of the area's most popular acts, Dead Men's Hollow.

The sextet's traditional bluegrass and country blues, accented with touches of gospel and jazz, should make a great companion to the film, which follows the somewhat surreal adventures of Everett Ulysses McGill (Clooney) and two companions in 1930s Mississippi. After the three men escape from a chain gang, their efforts to recover the buried loot of a bank job bring them into contact with a series of unusual characters, including a cyclops, bank robber Babyface Nelson, combative politicians and a KKK lynch mob. It's all set to rousing roots music by artists such as Alison Krauss and Ralph Stanley in a soundtrack that became a sales sensation after the film's release.

Mike Clayberg, Dead Men's Hollow guitarist, said the music-and-a-movie concept is one the band has done before, having been paired with showings of "Grateful Dawg," a documentary about Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia and his roots-music collaborations with David Grisman. "Our name was on the marquee as well, but Jerry Garcia has a little bit more name recognition," he said. Whether cineastes get caught up in the music or music lovers discover the charms of the film, Clayberg said, it's a great gig. "For a performing artist, it's a terrific good time because you play for a short set and then you get to sit and eat dinner and watch a movie and drink a beer."

He said that he and other band members -- Amy Nazarov, Belinda Hardesty, Caryn Fox, Marcy Cochran and new bass player Jared Creason -- love the film and its music, although he wasn't sure whether they would include soundtrack songs in their set. "If we do, we'll probably do 'Down in the Valley,' since we can do six-part harmony on that. . . . We might let those songs in the movie stand alone and then do songs by artists whose music is in the movie, but do different songs."

-- MARIANNE MEYER

The Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse is at 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Dead Man's Hollow will begin playing at 7 p.m.; the film starts at 8:30. General admission is $8. For tickets and information, visithttp://www.arlingtondrafthouse.comor call 703-486-2345.

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