LBS: Take us back to the beginning. How did you first come across Louise Brooks and her films?
TG: I saw Kenneth Tynan on The Dick Cavett Show and he was talking about his new book Show People. Cavett was more interested in Tynan's New Yorker profile of Louise than anything else. I was fascinated with his discussion because I did know who Louise Brooks was and about the film Pandora's Box, which I had not seen. I bought his book, read the profile, and a film society soon after brought to Memphis Pandora's Box. I was enthralled by it.
LBS: You are one of the few journalists who can claim to have met Louise Brooks. What led you to search her out?
TG: I thought she was deserving of a full biography beyond Tynan's great profile in The New Yorker. I was 28 years old and excited by the prospect of writing my first book. It took a great deal of moxie on my part to dare go to Rochester, New York in hopes of meeting her. I had contacted Betty Fussell who had written an excellent biography of Mabel Normand. Her advice to me was to go to Rochester and camp out on Louise's doorstep to get to meet her. She thought that was a paramount importance. A few years ago Betty Fussell was at the Nashville Book Festival and I was also presenting a book there and I got a chance to finally meet her and tell her that because of her advice back in 1982 that I had actually gotten to spend an afternoon with Louise.
LBS: What was your initial impression of Brooks?
TG: That she was a bit of a grouch and really wasn't used to company. Right off the bat I could tell how unusually intelligent she was. She spoke just like she wrote and she was a wonderful writer. Thankfully she warmed up to me and we had a long and incredible conversation about many, many things.
LBS: What was her apartment like?
TG: I wrote that it was as orderly as an army foot locker. Everything was in its place. The books all had bookmarks and/or paperclips marking what I assumed was references to her.
LBS: Louise was a great reader. Do you remember seeing any particular books laying about?
TG: I do. One in particular stood out; it was Ephraim Katz's Film Encyclopedia and it was bookmarked right where I deduced a reference to Louise was. I also noticed a copy of Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon and it appeared to be a foreign edition. It was released abroad before being released in the U.S. Again it had the paperclip marking it.
LBS: Do you have a favorite Louise Brooks' film?
TG: Yes, it would of course be Pandora's Box. I don't think Diary of a Lost Girl is quite as good.
LBS: Of her lost films, which would you most like to see?
TG: I always have assumed Windy Riley Goes Hollywood was lost. I'd be interested in it because it was after Pandora's Box plus it was directed by disgraced comedian Fatty Arbuckle.
LBS: Your long-form essay, "My Afternoon With Louise Brooks," has been published elsewhere. What is new with this limited edition book?
TG: The text itself is available in complete form in my book Louise Brooks, Frank Zappa, & Other Charmers & Dreamers. This book contains the best of my long-form journalism from the 80s until the present and the Louise Brooks material is the lead piece. I seldom write articles or reviews any longer but concentrate on books. I always thought it would be great if my Louise pieces could be a book unto themselves and thought how nice it would be to have an antiquarian-grade small gift book available to other Louise Brooks true fans. Its limited edition will make it an instant collectible to anyone who buys one of the 100 copies.