About the Film
"Elaine and Susan Say Goodnight to Mishegas" is a short playful documentary that tells the story of a song, explores how a significant local klezmer tradition is extended (and remains relevant), and meditates on the craziness of the world. The piece explores a traditional song performed by klezmer trumpeter Susan Lankin Watts, her mother, the great klezmer percussionist Elaine Hoffman Watts, and others. The melody was in Lankin Watts' grandfather's repertoire: a treasure trove of musical traditions in Eastern Europe at the turn of the century. Lankin Watts put new English/Yiddish words to the tune. In the documentary, audience members sing along with the song, reflect on what "mishegas" or craziness means to them, and share their hopes for the future. "Goodnight to Mishegas" explores how new generations of Philadelphians find their own meanings in a century-old tradition.
The film includes the following musicians and contributors: Elaine Watts, Susan Lankin Watts, Jay Krush, Rachel Lemisch, Jason Rosenblatt, Audrey Welber. Speakers in order of appearance are: Susan Lankin Watts, Ariel Ben Amos, Casey Cook, Alan Zemel, Susan Schewel, Lori Keammerer, Eileen Siegel, Ernie Watts, Bradley Siegel, Sarah Kodish-Eskind, Douglas Siegel, Kevin Schott, Carmen Valentino, Rakluniel Pelz, Elaine Watts, Hannah Kliger