Thursday, April 24, 2014

Louise Brooks in the Missouri Review

The current issue of the Missouri Review (Winter 2013) features an excellent essay by Kris Somerville on "The Logic of Dreams: The Life and Work of Ruth St. Denis". The piece is illustrated with a number of images of  Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, including a  remarkably erotic picture of St. Denis on page 130. And of course, Louise Brooks is part of the Denishawn story.

That piece follows another equally fine piece also by Kris Somerville in the Fall 2012 issue of the Missouri Review titled "The Thoroughly Modern World of Louise Brooks". Both pieces are worth checking out.

As is Robert McNamara's Summer 1983 piece in the Missouri Review, "Lulu in Rochester: Self-Portrait of an Anti-Star". 
More information on this leading literary journal can be found at www.missourireview.com   [Thanks to my friend Lisa Buchanan for pointing out this latest piece.]

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Louise Brooks and Poland: Ziyo does Lulu

Speaking of Louise Brooks and Poland . . . . Here is a video of scenes from Pandora's Box (known in Polish as Puszka Pandory) which features a song by the popular Polish band Ziyo.


Ziyo is a post-punk band formed in Tarnow (southern Poland) in 1984. After a successful set at the Jarocin Festival in 1986, they got the attention of the Polish music industry and released their eponymous debut the following year. Their sound here reminds me of Joy Division. At other times they have been compared to Ultravox and U2.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sincerely yours, Louise Brooks

"Sincerely yours, Louise Brooks"
(later 1920's fan photo of the kind distributed by Paramount)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kino Venus, a Polish thriller with a Louise Brooks-like character

Kino Venus is the name of a Polish thriller set in 1930s Lublin which may feature a Louise Brooks and/or a Marlene Dietrich inspired character. The book's author is Marcin Wroński. I was alerted to Kino Venus after coming across a reference to the actresses on a French bookseller's webpage.

Has anyone read these books? I found three different covers while searching online. They sound intriguing.

Below is biographical information on the author from his website. And here is a the author's Wikipedia page in Polish.

Marcin Wroński (b. 1972, Lublin, Poland) studied Polish literature and language at the Catholic University of Lublin. Before devoting himself wholeheartedly to becoming a writer he worked as a columnist, a radio journalist, a secondary school teacher and an editor at various Polish publishing houses.

Wroński’s debut book appeared in 1992. Since then he has published six novels. He has also written many short stories and articles, cabaret sketches, essays and plays. In his work, Wroński combines literary tradition with elements from mass culture, whereby the complex Polish-Jewish-Russian-German history of his native city of Lublin often plays a role.

In Poland he is known mainly as the author of historic crime fiction featuring Police Commissioner Zygmunt Maciejewski as the main character. So far, he has published in the series Morderstwo pod cenzurą ("Murder Under Censorship", 2007), Kino Venus ("Cinema Venus", 2008), A na imię jej będzie Aniela ("And She Shall Be Called Aniela", 2011) and Skrzydlata trumna ("The Flying Coffin", 2012). Wroński also wrote a political thriller about contemporary Poland: Officium Secretum. Pies Pański ("Officium Secretum. Domini Cane", 2010). The 5th retro crime novel featuring Maciejewski is Pogrom w przyszły wtorek ("Pogrom on the Next Tuesday")

Morderstwo pod cenzurą, Kino Venus and Officium Secretum were nominated to the ‘Great Calibre Prize’ (the most prestigious prize for authors of crime fiction in Poland). The Russian rights for these books were sold to Gesharim/Bridges of Culture Publishing in Moscow. Studio Kalejdoskop, a Polish production company, has bought the film rights.

In 2009 Marcin Wroński was awarded the honorary title of Bene Meritus Terrae Lublinensi (Meritiorious for Lublin's Region) for the way in which he managed to conjure up the history of Lublin in his novels about 'Zyggie' Maciejewski. In 2012 he was awarded the Medal of the Mayor of Lublin.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Robert Crumb and Les Primitifs Du Futur play "Chanson Pour Louise Brooks"

The song here,"Chanson Pour Louise Brooks," is performed by Les Primitifs Du Futur (featuring cartoonist Robert Crumb), from the album World Musette (2006). It is a great album. This song can be heard on RadioLulu.



RadioLulu has a Twitter account at @Radio_Lulu and a Facebook page too. Check 'em out.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Marion Harris singing "I'm A Jazz Vampire"

One of the 1920s novelty numbers heard on RadioLulu - Marion Harris singing "I'm A Jazz Vampire." Check it out as well as many others at www.live365.com/stations/radiolulu


RadioLulu is a Louise Brooks-inspired, silent film-themed station streaming music of the 1920s, 1930s, and today.

Launched in 2002, this unique station features music from six of Brooks' films - the haunting themes from Beggars of Life (1928) and Prix de Beaute (1930), as well as musical passages from The Canary Murder Case (1929), Empty Saddles (1936), and Overland Stage Raiders (1938). Other vintage tracks associated with the actress include "Somebody Loves Me" (Brooks' favorite Gershwin tune) and Xavier Cugat's "Siboney" (recommended by Brooks in her booklet "The Fundamentals of Ballroom Dancing"). There are also recordings by actors and actress who appeared in films with Brooks - Blanche Ring, W.C. Fields, Adolphe Menjou, Noah Beery, Kurt Geron, Siegfried Arno, Joan Blondell, Frank Fay, Grace Moore, and Cary Grant. There arer even vintage tracks by Sid Kay's Fellows, the German jazz combo who appear in Pandora's Box.

There are vintage recordings songs by Brooks' friends and acquaintances - like Charlie Chaplin,  Libby Holman, and Bruz Fletcher. Also featured are rare recordings by other early Hollywood figures, including Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro, Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford, Bebe Daniels, Lupe Velez, Buddy Rogers, Jean Harlow, Dolores Del Rio, Dick Powell, Tallulah Bankhead, and Dorothy Lamour. Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell can be heard singing "If I Had A Talking Picture Of You," one of a number of movie related songs on RadioLulu. Have you ever heard "Take Your Girlie to the Movies," "At the Moving Picture Ball," and "Those Charlie Chaplin Feet" ? You can on RadioLulu.

And that's not all. . . . You'll hear Maurice Chevalier's much-loved recording of "Louise," as well as the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks' recording of "Louise, You Tease." There are Jazz Age crooners, torch singers, dance bands, hotel orchestras, show tunes, novelty numbers, standards, and some real hot and some real sweet jazz!

European tracks include Pola Negri's classic "Tango Notturno," the Russian-born Ilja Livschakoff and his Tanz Orchester playing their homage to Garbo, early German-language recordings by Marlene Dietrich, the unforgettable 1930s Polish chanteuse Hanka Ordonówna, and the great British cinema organist Sidney Torch. There's the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht singing "Mack the Knife" in 1929, and contemporary cartoonist Robert Crumb playing on "Chanson por Louise Brooks". What's more, you'd be hard-pressed to find a station that plays more tracks with Lulu in their title (including the ever popular "Don't Bring Lulu") than the always eclectic, always entertaining RadioLulu!

RadioLulu has a Twitter account at @Radio_Lulu and a Facebook page. Check 'em out.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Introducing the Eskimo Pie Orchestra

If you don't know them, they're swell. . . . the Eskimo Pie Orchestra. Check out this video below, which features the tunes "What a Day" and "Junior". The band was led by Jean Goldkette.


The Eskimo Pie Orchestra's version of "Louise" can be heard on RadioLulu. Give it a listen too! RadioLulu has a Twitter account at @Radio_Lulu and a Facebook page. Check 'em out.
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