Thursday, July 14, 2005

Yesterday I went to the library

Yesterday I went to the library, where a half-dozen inter-library loans were waiting. I got some good Denishawn material (articles, reviews, and advertisements) from the Rockford Republic (from Rockford, Illinois) and St. Joseph Gazette (from St. Joseph, Missouri). I also went through a couple of months of the Daily Progress (from Charlottesville, Virginia), as I had recently come across a fleeting reference to a little known Denishawn performance which took place in the Summer of 1923. Apparently, this particular performance on the campus of the University of Virginia was occasioned by that fact that Robert Gorham, who was then a member of Denishawn, had been a student at this historic university a couple of years earlier. (While Louise Brooks was a member of Denishawn, the dancers had summers off; the company only toured during the Fall, Winter, and Spring months.)

About half way through microfilm for July, I came across a couple of articles about the performance. One article printed the program notes for the evening, and from what I could discern, Brooks did not participate. Also, she wasn't mentioned in any of the articles, as was Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Martha Graham, Lenore Scheffer, Charles Weidman and accompaniest Lois Horst. I wonder, why weren't Brooks and the other Denishawn dancers present? What was Brooks doing during the Summer of 1923?

I also went through some microfilm of the New Orleans Item, and the Spokesman Review (from Spokane, Washington), where I gathered a couple more film reviews. Then, I went through three years of microfilm of McCall's magazine. (Yes, the same McCall's our mothers and grandmothers read!) While reading A Beautiful Fairy Tale, the biography of Lois Moran, author Richard Buller (who I just recently had the pleasure to meet) mentioned that critic Robert Sherwood had written about Stella Dallas in the pages of the magazine. I was intrigued, as I didn't know McCall's covered films! As it turned out, starting in 1926, the future Pulitzer Prise winning playwright wrote about one "film of the month" every issue. His picks included Stella DallasThe Big ParadeThe Sorrows of SatanThe Circus, etc. . . . The only Brooks' film mentioned was The Show-Off,which received his "also recommended" notation in December, 1926 and January, 1927.

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