STS / Ava Mendoza, Episode 4

Guitarist and composer, Ava Mendoza, is an essential member of the SF Bay Area creative music scene. She is part of a breed, comfortable in a wide variety of situations – playing the yearning rock of Carla Bozulich’s Evangelista, note-y guitar sparring with Nels Cline, or performing a live score to a Buster Keaton silent film with Tune-Yards. Her recent focus has been Unnatural Ways, a jazzy rock(or rock-y jazz?) ensemble with Dominique Leone on keys and Nick Tamburro on drums.

The combination of film and live music is an age-old idea in cinema. In 2011, the San Francisco Film Society commissioned her to score a silent film for their Cinema By The Bay series. She chose The Bat (1926), a strange and goofy mystery by Roland West. In this episode she shares here thoughts on why she picked that film and her approach. Her longtime cohort, Nick Tamburro, played drums with her for this project.

Thanks to the SF Film Society.  Learn more about them at  –

more about Ava:


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