Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Press release for Lulupalooza

Here is the May 19, 2005 press release for Lulupalooza:
Lulupalooza 2005: A celebration of the cinematic life of Louise Brooks  --   She was a rocker before there was  rock – July 23-24, 2005 at the Firehouse Theater, Richmond, Viriginia – lulupalooza.org
The Firehouse Theatre Project and Yellow House  of Rich-mond, Virginia, are in collaboration presenting Lulupalooza 2005, July 23-24, with nine films and other events, celebrating the cinematic life of 1920s film star, memoirist and cultural icon, Louise Brooks (1906-1985).
A highlight of the Saturday, July 23-Sunday, July 24, 2005 festival is the presentation on Saturday at 1:30 p.m., of her best known film, Pandora’s Box, at the Byrd Theater movie palace, 2908 W. Cary St. (http://members.tripod.com/~g_cowardin/byrd/), accompanied live by Richmond’s own Los10Space (los10space.com). 
Saturday night at 7 p.m. features a staged reading of Janet Munsil’s Smoking With Lulu, presented in association with Michael White and Richard Jordan Productions Ltd. (UK).
Many people know Brooks now not necessarily by name or even her movies but as an emblem of the Jazz Age and an Art Deco symbol. A familiar image of her turned in profile, holding a string of pearls, is sold on postcards today.
She is notable for her characteristic black bobbed hair, expressive dark eyes and a natural quality in front of the camera that wasn’t seen again for decades. Brooks was from Cherryvale and Wichita, Kansas, and as a teenager left home as a member of the modern Denishawn dance troupe with Martha Graham. This led to the Ziegfield Follies and a wandering into movies.  She made only 24 films between 1925 and 1938 before quitting Hollywood, disgusted by its assembly line approach and Hollywood, for its part, was fed up with Brooks and her headstrong notions of independence.
Brooks could be a regular Kansas twister; tempestuous and exasperating at one turn, adorable and witty at another, though always smart, and often smart alecky. She hung out with Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and George Gerswhin, played tennis at William Randolph Hearst’s San Simeon estate, engaged in a passionate dalliance with Charlie Chaplin (among others), and she brought The Charleston dance to London. She did most of this, and much more, before the age of 21.
Her best films, ones in which the director knew what to do with her, are foreign and silent, though Prix de Beauté was dubbed into French. She walked away from what could’ve been a promising  career to spend almost 50 years in self-exile, drinking too much gin, smoking too many cigarettes and learning to write. Her essays were ultimately collected as Lulu In Hollywood, a classic account of Hollywood’s early days. She was “found” by theater critic Kenneth Tynan whose New Yorker profile “The Girl in the Black Helmet” returned her to the popular imagination. And she never really left.
A recent Vogue Magazine portrait series of actress Natalie Portman featured the actress dressed and styled resembling similar photographs of Brooks. The titular character of the 2001 film Amélie bore physical affinity to Brooks and her alluring on-screen impishness (though little of Brooksie’s sometime off-screen spitefulness).
Lulupalooza ’05 is presenting nine Brooks films and excerpts from several others primarily using DVD projection, although Pandora’s Box, through arrangement with Kino International, will be shown in 35 mm on the big movie palace screen of the Byrd Theater. The festival’s primary location is the Firehouse Theater, an alternative performance space housed in a century-old fire station.
Seating is limited and reservations are required. Tickets for the entire festival are $37.50 and may be purchased online through PayPal.
For further information about the festival, see lulupalooza.org and about Brooks, go to the Louise Brooks Society site, pandorasbox.com, the absolute go-to source on the Internet. For other questions, call the Firehouse Theater at (804) 355-2001. Both the Firehouse Theatre Project and Yellow House are non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organizations. See also firehousetheatre.org and yellowhouseva.org.

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