Monday, October 25, 2004

The Chanteuse and the Crooner


There is a new book out called Chanteuse in the City: The Realist Singer in French Film, by Kelley Conway. This study "provides a genealogy of realist performance through analysis of the music hall careers and film roles of Mistinguett, Josephine Baker, Frehel, and Damia. Above all, Conway offers a fresh interpretation of 1930's French cinema, emphasizing its love affair with popular song and its close connections to the music hall and the cafe-concert." Fittingly, there are a handful of references to Louise Brooks and Prix de Beaute (which is depicted three times) in this new book. I have read parts of this book, and found it interesting. You may too.
On a not unrelated "note" . . . .
Did anyone catch today's installment of Fresh Air, which featured rock guitarist Lenny Kaye? He spoke about his new book, You Call it Madness: The Sensuous Song of the Croon, which chronicles the male singers of the 1920's and 1930's - such as Rudy Vallee, Bing Crosby and Russ Columbo - who were known for their suave, sophisticated and romantic interpretations of song. Kaye's book looks quite worthwhile.

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