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American Graffiti screening at The State

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POSTED June 2, 2012 2:21 a.m.

MODESTO — There are two concerts plus movies on tap this month at the State Theatre in downtown Modesto.

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American Graffiti: Saturday, June 2, at 3 & 7 p.m., (PG) 1 Hr. 50 Min. (35mm) In English, Admission: $.3

Ready for root beer floats, a costume parade and dancing in the aisles of The State to one of the best film soundtracks in history? It’s the annual screening of American Graffiti, a crowd-pleasing classic starring Ron Howard, Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark and many more. The State owns a 35mm archival print, stored and maintained year-round in the UCLA film vault, and it’s that pristine print of American Graffiti that was released more than 38 years ago.  The State’s frothy root beer floats will also be available for only $3 so get here early, while there’s plenty of A&W root beer and French vanilla ice cream left.

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Two-Lane Blacktop: Tuesday, June 5 at 7 p.m., (Unrated) 1 Hr. 40 Min. (Blu-ray) In English, Admission is $8

Musicians James Taylor and Dennis Wilson star in cult director Monte Hellman’s underrated, 1971 existential road movie Two-Lane Blacktop, the Modesto Film Society Cinema Club selection for June. Arguably the best road movie ever made, Two-Lane Blacktop is an existential masterpiece directed by Monte Hellman, who’d been responsible for the first West Coast production of Waiting for Godot and learned his moviemaking skills working on low-budget Roger Corman films. It centers on a driving contest across the American Southwest between two cool, laconic hipsters (Wilson and Taylor) driving a souped-up 1955 Chevrolet, and a chameleon conman (Warren Oates’ finest performance), who drives a GTO Pontiac and presents a different face to everyone he meets.”  A discussion led by a local filmmaker will follow the film.

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John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party: Friday, June 8, at 8:30 p.m. Doors at 7:30 p.m.; show at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, $25, $30 and $35

The official tribute to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper is returning to The State just in time for Modesto’s Graffiti Summer celebration, and the annual downtown Classic Car Parade sponsored by North Modesto Kiwanis. It is over two hours of unbridled, high-voltage entertainment featuring all of the hit songs of the ‘50s including That’ll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Oh, Boy, Rave on, La Bamba, Chantilly Lace, and many, many more. 

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Sing-A-Long-Grease: Saturday, June 9, at 3:30 & 7 p.m.; (PG-13) 1 Hr. 50 Min. (Blu-Ray/DVD) In English.  Admission is $5

What’s the highest-grossing musical of all time? Grease! Could it get any better than the 1978 original? The answer is a resounding “yes!” The State has the newly restored and remastered 35mm print being released to select theaters throughout the U.S., so be sure and join hundreds of other Grease fans when they sing along to the best high school musical -- ever. Dress up as your favorite character from the film, compete for prizes, and dance in the aisles while Rydell High’s most famous graduating class - including greaser Danny Zuko (John Travolta), good girl Sandy Olsen (Olivia Newton-John) , the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies - romp their way through a summer of love.

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Music From The Big House: Monday, June 18, at 7 p.m. (Documentary-unrated) 1 Hr. 30 Min. (Blu-ray) In English.  Admission: $10

In Music From The Big House, Rita Chiarelli, Canada’s Goddess of the Blues, takes a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the Blues: Louisiana State Maximum Security Penitentiary, aka Angola Prison - formerly the bloodiest prison in America. Rita’s trip turns into an unprecedented historic jailhouse performance, playing with -- rather than for -- musician inmates serving life sentences. Rather than sensational stories of convicts, we witness remarkable voices of hope as their love of music radiates humanity and redemption on their quest for forgiveness. Chiarelli, a gifted songwriter and performer, with a soaring, three-octave voice that sets her apart from her peers, will be at The State to discuss the film, and recording the soundtrack. She developed the original concept for the film, in which she organizes an historic, unprecedented jailhouse performance with inmates serving life sentences.

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Texas Tornados: Saturday, June 30,  at 8 p.m. Doors at 7 p.m.; show at 8 p.m.  Tickets are $25, $28 and $35

The Texas Tornados are some of the most famous and enduring faces of the Tex-Mex music genre. Now enjoying the band’s second incarnation, original members Flaco Jimenez (a Grammy-winning accordion player) and Augie Meyers (organ) are joined by Shawn Sahm (son of the late Doug Sahm) on guitar and vocals. The three front men, backed by the original Tornados rhythm section, have delighted audiences the past few years by delivering classic Tornados tunes with musical legitimacy, while not losing the sense of fun the original lineup was so famous for.  Whether playing “’Hey Baby, Que Paso’ or ‘Dinero’,” or a new track from their 2010 release, “...the key to the Tornados’ bouncy, catchy sound is the interplay between Jimenez’s accordion and Myer’s organ.

For online ticket sales go to To purchase your tickets by phone call The State Box Office at 209-527-4697 from noon to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. If still available, tickets may also be purchased the night of the event up to the start of the presentation.

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