Monday, December 31, 2007

It's the Old Army Game screening

Word has come from Colleen Moore scholar Jeff Codori that the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum will screen the 1926 W.C. Fields - Louise Brooks film It's the Old Army Game on February 16th at 4 pm. I wasn't able to confirm this on the Niles website. But I am sure, they will update their website soon.

Jeff also wanted everyone to know that the museum - which is located in Niles, California (south of Oakland in the East Bay) - will also be screening the Colleen Moore film His Nibs on March 29th. If you live in the greater Bay Area, this museum and its active schedule of screenings is well worth checking out.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays


Happy holidays to one and all from the Louise Brooks Society (www.pandorasbox.com) and Clara Bow (below).

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Research round-up

Of late, as my research winds-down, my trips to the library are taking place only once every other week. . . . This past week's trip produced some good material. Among the items I found was a 6 page sequence in the July 1926 Pittsburgh Gazette Times (Pennsylvania) in which Louise Brooks' picture appeared on every page! The occasion was the screening of It's the Old Army Game, which was showing in two local theaters. Nevertheless, the local film critic or layout man must have had something of a crush on the silent film star to have included her on six consecutive pages

I also went through some issues of the Jewish Daily Forward. This newspaper was one of a number of ethnic, non-English language papers in New York City. I have had a chance to examine many of them, and have found articles, reviews and some unusual and interesting advertisements - including this advertisement for Love Em and Leave Em.



My recent research efforts have been concentrated on finding remaining reviews of Brooks' Denishawn performances and what ever additional film reviews I can acquire. Among the papers I managed to get Denishawn material from - including reviews, articles, miscellaneous clippings and advertisements - were the Hamilton Herald (from Hamilton, Ontario), Buffalo Courier (New York), and theLouisville Times (Kentucky). The Louisville material proved to be quite interesting as there was something of a controversy surrounding the performance. Apparently, local officials found posters placed around town promoting the performance too risque.

I also found some more film reviews and articles in papers such as Hartford Times (Connecticut), Evening Bulletin (Providence, Rhode Island),  Albany Evening News and Ithaca Journal News (New York). I also scrolled through two other newspapers further afield - the New Orleans States (Louisiana) and Eugene Guard (Oregon).

I also looked though microfilm of the Cherryvale Republican, the actress's Kansas hometown newspaper. Cherryvale is a pretty small town, and the Cherryvale Republican a pretty small newspaper. Nevertheless, I was pleased to find a few small front page advertorials (a kind of hybrid advertisement with a bit of editorial content) which proudly boasted that the current film featured "Cherryvale's own Louise Brooks."

I expect to make fewer trips to the library next year. Along with Canada, I need only finish off some requests from three states - Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New York. 

Saturday, December 22, 2007

More on the new book

Here is a French review of the new Louise Brooks book. It was originally published on Bibliobs (http://bibliobs.nouvelobs.com). Click on the image below for a six minute video clip - apparently a television review of the book.

Chère Louise Brooks
By Jérôme Garcin
Créé 19/12/2007 - 18:45


Portrait sensible de l’actrice éphémère et de la garçonne éternelle par le prince des cyniques. Il aime les bachelières à frange, le ping-pong, les fantômes de la Vienne impériale, «la teenager danoise» de Kierkegaard (Regine Olsen), les aphorismes désabusés de Cioran, les chansons bleues de Christophe, la psychanalyste Melanie Klein, «le flûtiste pessimiste de Francfort» (Schopenhauer), le Japon, les films du Coréen Kim Ki-duk, les poèmes de Yi Sang, la paresse, les suicidaires, et faire «yum-yum» dans les chambres des palaces lémaniques.

Né à Lausanne, pendant la guerre, d’un diplomate qui ressemblait à Erich von Stroheim et d’une Viennoise qui nourrissait une passion pour Alma Mahler, Roland Jaccard pratique, en expert, l’art de la désillusion, du cynisme, de l’autodénigrement et de l’oisiveté. Avec légèreté, il plaide pour la tentation nihiliste et le refuge de la solitude. Avec Clément Rosset, il tient qu’on doit éprouver la beauté du monde en ayant conscience de sa cruauté. A ce bon vivant, on doit notamment un «Manifeste pour une mort douce» et une «Topologie du pessimisme». A 65 ans, il est resté un jeune homme triste dont les livres, aussi brefs que mélancoliques, ont un charme fou.

Celui qu’il consacre à Louise Brooks, trente ans après sa biographie de

[1] l’«anti-star», tient de l’autoportrait fragmenté. Car l’héroïne de «Loulou» et du «Journal d’une fille perdue», dont la photo trône au milieu de sa bibliothèque, incarne son idéal amoureux, l’idée qu’il se fait des beautés ravageuses. Jaccard en a toujours piqué pour les garçonnes, les adolescentes minces et arrogantes, les «flappers», comme les appelait Scott Fitzgerald, «jolies, effrontées, dotées d’une superbe assurance, court vêtues et dures à cuire», frappant le trottoir de leurs talons, flap, flap, avec une détermination qui n’a d’égale que leur vocation à l’autodestruction.


Louise Brooks, alias «Brooksie», était douée pour réussir, mais sa carrière, interrompue en 1938, fut un immense gâchis. Après avoir aimé les hommes à la gueule d’escroc, abusé de son image de «petite garce odieuse qui ne pensait qu’au sexe», et enfin été boudée par Hollywood, elle est morte en 1985. Jaccard était allé la voir à Rochester, elle l’avait supplié de lui apporter une arme, elle voulait en finir. Allongée sur son lit dans une robe de chambre, elle lui avait raconté son aventure avec Charlie Chaplin, autre amateur de lolitas, lequel l’avait initié à Schopenhauer, ainsi que ses rencontres avec le couple Fitzgerald. Elle prétendait relire, une fois l’an, «A la recherche du temps perdu». Le dernier film qu’elle avait vu était «Fedora», de Billy Wilder, «sur le vieillissement à Hollywood, où il est interdit de vieillir sous peine de mort».

Cette ode désirante à Louise Brooks, à toutes les Louise Brooks, écrite au fusain par Roland Jaccard après qu’un institut lausannois pour jeunes filles lui eut demandé de donner une conférence sur l’ombrageuse «flapper», est une merveille de tendresse, de provocation et d’insolent chagrin.
J. G.

«Portrait d’une flapper», par Roland Jaccard, PUF, 96 p., 15 euros.
A lire aussi, illustré par Romain Slocombe, «Retour à Vienne» (Melville-Léo Scheer, 15 euros), où Roland Jaccard se souvient de ses parents.

Source: «Le Nouvel Observateur» du 20 décembre 2007.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A new book

Word comes from France of a new book by Rolland Jaccard, the long-time Louise Brooks devotee, author, and editor ofLouise Brooks: Portrait of an Anti-Star. Jaccard's new 86-page book is called Portrait d'une flapper, and it features Louise Brooks on the cover. I don't know much else about it besides what can be found on this amazon.fr page. I have just ordered a copy for myself!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ross Berkal

I recently received a copy of the Dahlia Project, Ross Berkal's 2003 CD of songs. Berkal is a composer / pianist / bassist (and Louise Brooks fan) whose underground alternative rock project, known as Dahlia, performed during the 1990's around New York City - including the legendary club, CBGBs.

Among other pieces on the disc (including a song about one of my favorite writers, Bruno Schulz), Dahlia Project contains "MLB" - a song dedicated to Louise Brooks. According to the liner notes, "MLB" (which I assume stands for Mary Louise Brooks), is a "portrait of American film actress, author, and icon Louise Brooks, whom I had the privilege of knowing during the final year of her life."

Copies of Dahlia Project occasionally show up on eBay. Or better yet, check out Ross Berkal's website for more about this artist and his music.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

David Thomson speaks on Louise Brooks

The great film historian, biographer and novelist David Thomson recently gave a talk at the Kansas City Public Library. Thomson's talk was on "How Hollywood Views Middle America." If you don't know his work - especially the Biographical Dictionary of Film - it is well worth checking out. He is smart. He is a fine writer, and an equally fine raconteur. I have had the pleasure of hosting him a handful of times at the bookstore where I work. (I also know that he is something of an admirer of Louise Brooks. He has written a number of articles either about or mentioning the actress.)

Well, his talk was on the Midwest, the idea of the Midwest, the way the Midwest is depicted in films. It is interesting, at times provocative, and at the end, Thomson breaks into a short riff on Louise Brooks. Check it out here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wichita Eagle article

There is an article in today's Wichita Eagle newspaper about Louise Brooks. The article, "Silent-film star once lived on North Topeka," even alludes to the Louise Brooks Society!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Lulu in L.A.

I think we all agree with the sentiments expressed in this short article, which appeared in today's Los Angeles Times.

Louise Brooks and silent-era German Expressionist films have a web following and are screening at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre. 

By Susan King
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

December 6, 2007

IN the era of TMZ, Britney Spears and throwaway pop culture, it might seem there's no longer a place for silent films. Not so, says Peter Kobel, who wrote the new coffee-table book "Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture." In fact, there is a growing interest in silent films "and not just among film-school nerds," he says.

"On MySpace, there is a very large silent-film group, like 1,500 members," Kobel says. "I have actually met some very cool people in that group. They are not just students, but they are in rock bands or they are artists. You can tell by their sites and chatting with them, a lot of people are into this stuff. . . .

"It's my theory that they are rediscovering silent films because they are often strikingly original or strange or just plain interesting."

Look no further than tonight's screening at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre for two intriguing examples of silent-era German Expressionism -- 1925's "Variety," starring Emil Jannings as a former trapeze artist who lands in prison, and director Joe May's pre-noir "Asphalt" from 1929. The films, both restored by the Library of Congress, are traveling the country in conjunction with the publication of the book. The library's Christel Schmidt will introduce the movies, and Daniel Redfield will provide live piano accompaniment. Plus, attendees will be able to buy the book, which is lavishly illustrated with materials from the Library of Congress and features a foreword by Martin Scorsese and introduction by historian Kevin Brownlow.

As for those more interested in Britney than Brownlow, Kobel has the perfect solution: Louise Brooks. The silent-film actress has a surprisingly active Web following. "Of anyone you would want to pick out," Kobel says, "Louise Brooks is going to be a cult figure for modern times."

Monday, December 3, 2007

That Bob


Katie Holmes' new hairstyle - a bob - has been all over the news. I have seen references to it in newspapers from all over the world, including, even, the online edition of the Khaleej Times. The article, syndicated in a UAE newspaper, reads in part
If she doesn't owe her latest hairstyle to daughter Suri - perhaps she was attempting a hairdo which combines close friend Victoria Beckham's bob with Kate Moss's fringe?
Or maybe she's harking back to the look of tinseltown's original queen of the black bobbed look, Louise Brooks?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

At the Castro

Hopefully, I will see one or some of you at the Castro Theater at today's winter season San Francisco Silent Film Festival. As usual, I will be up stairs at the book table, where we will be selling books on silent film and hosting film historians Matthew Kennedy and Anthony Slide.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Back in the USSR

Ever wondered how to spell Louise Brooks in Russian? This postcard, dating from the late 1920s, shows how. It is for sale oneBay.

This Soviet era postcard depicts the photographic work of M.I. Boris, a photographer once associated with the Austro-Hungarian Royal Court. That's a bit ironic, historically speaking. Ah, the currents of history . . . .

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lulu in New York, Louise Brooks in New York Times

Today, the New York Times ran a piece on a new stage production of Lulu, which is playing at BAM as part of the Next Wave Festival. (An earlier, and equally informative article about this new production, "The Nymphet Is a Lethal Weapon," appeared in the 11-25-07 New York Times. The article can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/theater/25kalb.html).

Today's article by Caryn James, "A Woman of Thoughtless Erotic Force Has Her Day, and Many Men," reads in part:
Wedekind wrote “Pandora’s Box” and “The Earth Spirit,” which together became “Lulu,” soon after “Spring Awakening,” the 1891 play that is the basis for the current (when the stagehands aren’t on strike) Broadway musical. Although his sexual frankness shattered the mores of his society, we can see now that his plays were not so much ahead of their time as timeless. Just as the musical “Spring Awakening” speaks to the eternal theme of adolescent sexual discovery, this “Lulu” distills the story of a woman and the many men with whom she has lethal affairs to its primal elements: desire, willfulness, blind obsession.

That approach shatters the Lulu stereotype. From Louise Brooks in the 1929 silent film “Pandora’s Box,” staring out from the screen with her dark-rimmed eyes and trademark black bob, to her descendant, Lola Lola, the Marlene Dietrich character in “The Blue Angel,” the typical Germanic femme fatale has swept through men’s lives with the destructive force of a tornado. Mr. Thalheimer offers a nonjudgmental “Lulu,” with a heroine who is more careless than seductive, and men and women who are neither good nor bad, strong nor weak. Until it is undermined by a melodramatic ending, his version has an elemental sexuality that transcends the taboos of any moment.
According to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) website, this performance is sold out for the duration of its short run. I know I have asked this question before, but might there be a Wedekind revival in the works?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Louise Brooks, the fairy

magine Louise Brooks as a fairy. Imagine Louise Brooks as a fairy doll. Must be seen to be believed. . . .  Check it out here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stolen Moments on Louise Brooks

Don't forget to check out the latest installment of "Stolen Moments," Donna Hill's always interesting silent film podcast. "Episode "Forever Lulu"  is number 19 in the series. I am a regular listener.

Though the show is usually focussed on "all things Valentino" (Donna also runs a fantastic Valentino website and is the author of a book in the works about the great silent film star), this latest episode is devoted to Louise Brooks. What's the connection? Brooks was a fan of the actor. We know that. And, according to one published account, she met him at a party not long before his premature death in 1926. Brooks also attended his New York funeral. But anyways, who needs a reason to talk about Louise Brooks?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mike Nichols on Natalie Portman and Louise Brooks

Once again, Natalie Portman is associated with Louise Brooks. . . . The first time was in 1994, when Portman appeared in The Professional wearing a bob haircut.

And now again, in an article in today's Guardian newspaper, "The actress was a paragon of principle, a hugely talented brainbox who happened to be both bombshell and bewitcher, who rewrote the rule book for young Hollywood hot shots. 'It confuses people to think that someone so completely beautiful could be a first-rate actor, too,' says veteran director Mike Nichols, to whom Portman is very close. 'It's hard to grasp, but it's happened. It's happened a few times before, with Garbo and Louise Brooks'."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

TONIGHT: Louise Brooks double feature at Harvard


A Girl in Every Port (1928) and The Canary Murder Case (1929) will be shown at the Harvard Film Archive, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, 24 Quincy Street, in Cambridge, Mass. Tonight's start time is 7:00 pm. For more information about this rare double bill, click there.*

Special Event Tickets $10 - Double Feature Admission 
Live Piano Accompaniment by Martin Marks
Introduction by Caroline Yaeger, Assistant Curator, George Eastman House


A Girl in Every Port


Directed by Howard Hawks
With Louise Brooks, Victor McLaglen
US 1928, 35mm, b/w, silent, 64 min.

A rousing action comedy, A Girl In Every Port is arguably the first quintessential Howard Hawks film, one of the earliest to fully explore the themes of male bonding and sexual relations that would preoccupy the director throughout his entire career. Brooks plays Marie, a protofemme fatale who lures sailors to commit acts of folly. Brooks' wonderful turn in the film brought her to Pabst's attention and rocketed her to sudden celebrity.

The Canary Murder Case


Directed by Malcolm St. Clair
With Louise Brooks, William Powell, Jean Arthur
US 1929, 35mm, b/w, 82 min
.
One of Paramount's biggest hits of 1929, The Canary Murder Case is a wonderful example of the sophisticated brand of comedy that remained extremely popular in the years leading up to the Production Code. One of Hollywood's earliest private eye films, The Canary Murder Case stars William Powell as the debonair detective Phil Vance, investigating the suspicious career of the eponymous Canary (Brooks), an immoral nightclub singer with a cast of impatient lovers. The script, co-written by Herman J. Mankiewicz, sparkles with sexual innuendo. Brooks' refusal to dub her own voice when Paramount decided to turn the film into a talkie helped alienate her from the studios.

* When A Girl in Every Port was first shown at Harvard in 1928, The Crimson, the Harvard student newspaper wrote, "The main interest of the story comes when Spike meets his rival, and 'the' girl - Louise Brooks. From then on the picture might well be entitled 'A Text Book for Pugilistic Aspirants.' In a word, the picture is very amusing and eminently well worth seeing; well directed with Miss Brooks and Mr. McLaglen forming a very delightful contrast."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Films to Know About . . .

This bit appeared in Kristi Turnquist's "Pop Talk" column in Friday's Portland Oregonian.
Dreading holiday party chitchat? Here's a resource to consider: "In the Know: The Classic Guide to Being Cultured and Cool" (Penguin, $13, 240 pages). Author Nancy MacDonell arms you for cocktail conversation with such tidbits as "Ten Books You Should Read" (example: F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Tender Is the Night"); "Ten Films to Know About" (the silent Louise Brooks classic, "Pandora's Box"); "Ten Landmark Buildings and their Architects" (Lovell Health House, by Richard Neutra, with bonus pronunciation guide of "NOY-tra").

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Underworld

Images of Louise Brooks, set to the music of Underworld, a Liverpool band. Enjoy . . .

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Window display



A snapshot of the little window display I created at The Booksmith in San Francisco. I placed a copy of Silent Movies, by Peter Kobel, in the store window to promote the San Francisco Silent Film Festival screenings on December 1st. And of course, I couldn't help but put a copy of Barry Paris' Louise Brooks biography in the window as well. (I have subsequently added Matthew Kennedy's new Joan Blondell book, as well.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Joan Blondell: A Life Between Takes


For those in the San Francisco Bay Area: Tuesday night, I will be hosting film historian Matthew Kennedy for a talk and booksigning to mark the publication of Joan Blondell: A Life Between Takes, the first major biography of the effervescent, scene-stealing actress (1906-1979) who conquered motion pictures, vaudeville, Broadway, summer stock, television, and radio. Frequent co-star to James Cagney, Clark Gable, Edward G. Robinson, and Humphrey Bogart, friend to Judy Garland, Barbara Stanwyck, and Bette Davis, and wife of Dick Powell and Mike Todd, Blondell was a true Hollywood insider. By the time of her death, she had made nearly 100 films in a career that spanned over fifty years. Blondell, as many of you may know, also appeared along with Louise Brooks in God's Gift to Women (1931).

Kennedy’s book offers extensive research and insights gained from the cooperation of Blondell’s friends, family, and colleagues – this new book is a must read for anyone interested in early Hollywood. I hope some of you can make it to this special event, which will take place at The Booksmith (1644 Haight Street) in San Francisco. Start time is 7 pm

Matthew Kennedy teaches anthropology at the City College of San Francisco and film history at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He is the author of Marie Dressler: A Biography and Edmund Goulding's Dark Victory: Hollywood's Genius Bad Boy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Birthday anecdote

Because it was Louise Brooks' 101st birthday, I wore my Lulu pin to work. It was my little way of saying "Happy birthday!"

Tonight, at work, I hosted an event with the Adrian Tomine and Glen David Gold. (Gold wrote the novel Carter Beats the Devil, a national bestseller. He is also a big fan of comic books, and was on hand to interview Tomine, whose new graphic novel,Shortcomings, has just been released.) When Gold arrived, he took one look at my lapel and exclaimed "Louise Brooks." A bit later, we had a nice chat about Brooks . . . . He is, seemingly, a big fan of the actress and had read both the Barry Paris and Peter Cowie books. Gold also said he has always wanted to include Brooks as a character in a work of fiction, but hasn't had the opportunity yet. Tomine and Gold and I also spoke about the various cartoon and comic book incarnations of Brooks, like Dixie Dugan and Valentina.

Happy 101st !


Today would have been Louise Brooks 101st birthday. Happy birthday Louise !



Why not go out and rent a movie, like Pandora's Box, or buy yourself a present, like Peter Cowie's Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday events

Pandora's Box at BAM: To accompany the Thalia Theater's production of Lulu in the Next Wave Festival in Brooklyn, BAM Rose Cinemas will screen G.W. Pabst's 1928 adaptation of the same story starring Louise Brooks tonight at 7:30 with live musical accompaniment from 3epkano. Click here to buy tickets.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Vanity Fair calendar


Louise Brooks adorns the latest Vanity Fair calendar. New subscribers receive the 2008 "Masters of Photography" calendar as a bonus item. Check it out here.



The funny thing is that Julie Roberts once owned the film rights to the Barry Paris biography. And here they are, once again.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

"Anyone who goes through life without seeing Louise Brooks on film, I feel sorry for them"

There is an interview with Peter Kobel, author of the just released, beautifully illustrated book, "Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture," appears in the current issue of The Express, a weekly publication of the Washington Post. Kobel discusses the impetus of his writing the book, as well as various aspects of silent film. He also briefly discusses Louise Brooks and Pandora's Box.
» EXPRESS: It seems that there was a lot of very challenging filmmaking, what we now call adult themes, even though we make the mistake of thinking of our ancestors as childlike and simple.
» KOBEL: They dealt with all kinds of serious subjects and in most cases, in the case of Hollywood films, vice would be punished. In Europe — "Pandora's Box" is actually a good example. In the end of "Pandora's Box," Lulu is killed by Jack the Ripper, but that is not like the punishment of vice; it's just something that happened. It's not like some god or force is punishing her — it's just this tragic arc of her life. But the American version has to end with her working for the Salvation Army.
Anyone who hasn't gotten into silent film at all has this impression that it's Victorian, that it's melodrama, that it's 30-year-old women in pigtails trying to look like teenagers. There is that. But there's so much really brilliant, thought-provoking, daring stuff happening.
That's the biggest prejudice you have to get people past. Some people will never get past it. ... Anyone who goes through life without seeing Louise Brooks on film, I feel sorry for them.
There will be a series of film screenings in celebration of the book in Washington D.C. (see the link at the bottom of the interview for details). And as well, the book will be celebrated at the December 1st San Francisco Silent Film Festival screening at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. I am certainly looking forward to that.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Short article

rom today's San Francisco Chronicle

Louise Brooks book features rare photos

Peter Cowie is a major international film critic, a British national based in Switzerland who has written 30 books, including "Ingmar Bergman: A Critical Biography," the most intelligent and lucid book on Bergman in the English language. Cowie is the founder of the International Film Guide, and he is regarded as an authority on Swedish and foreign-language cinema, Francis Ford Coppola, Orson Welles and films of the 1960s. But, in his youth, he was also friends with film legend Louise Brooks (1906-1985), and that friendship has become the occasion for a superb book about the actress, "Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever," a gorgeous, glamour-packed, coffee-table extravaganza just published by Rizzoli.

For most people who buy the book, the photos will be the draw -- there's a 256-page deluge of them, many full-page, some double-page and most of them rare. Yet the text is what makes this book invaluable as film history. Cowie augments the story of Brooks' life with his own recollections and with direct quotes from Brooks' correspondence. A full picture of the woman emerges.

Cowie will be in the Bay Area this weekend promoting the book and its subject. At 7 p.m. Saturday at the Rafael Film Center (cafilm.org), he will introduce a screening of G.W. Pabst's "Pandora's Box" (1929). The program will repeat at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Balboa Theater (www.balboamovies.com). For fans, this is a must-see. Even those immune to the Brooks mystique (myself included) should welcome the chance to hear Cowie's lucid and informed response to her life and work. -- Mick LaSalle

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/11/06/DDGQDM607K1.DTL&feed=rss.entertainment

p.s. please note that the Sunday program at the Balboa starts at 7:30 pm - and that "Pandora's Box" will NOT be shown; there will be other rare Louise Brooks' film shown instead (not shown in San Francisco in 80 years)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Scarce Japanese Book for sale

A copy of a scarce Japanese book on Louise Brooks is for sale on eBay. The seller description reads "Louise Brooks, published by Chuokorou-Sha, Tokyo, 1984, 122 pages, large hardcover in dust jacket with photographic endpapers, 10.25" by 10.25". Text in Japanese. Scarce Japanese book on silent screen legend Brooks, profusely illustrated with over 100 film stills, portraits, and publicity images. Beautifully printed and very uncommon." I have seen this book, and as far as I can tell, it is really a book by and about the actress. The book contains Brooks' "Gish and Garbo" and "Pabst and Lulu" along with a filmography and bibliography and many illustrations.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Annie Leibovitz

Last week, famed photographer Annie Leibovitz dropped by the bookstore where I work to sign copies of her new book, A Photographers Life. (The store was hosting an event with Leibovitz the following day.) After she was done signing, I asked the good natured photographer if she would take my picture. Leibovitz agreed! I handed her my camera. The snapshot (an original Annie Leibovitz no less) is seen below. The incident even merited a mention in the local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle.



Why mention this happenstance on this blog? Because I am wearing one of my Louise Brooks t-shirts! That's why. I am standing next to my co-worker and wife, Christy Pascoe, as we rest on a big stack of autographed Annie Leibovitz books in the backroom of  The Booksmith. (Tonight, we are hosting gonzo artist Ralph Steadman - whose aunt, incidentally, was the silent film actress Vera Steadman.)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Lulu in Austria & Vienna subway stations

An advertisement for the Louise Brooks film retropspective is running in subway stations in Vienna, Austria. I have short mpg file of the ad and will try and figure out how to post it.


ere's a look at the new German-language book on Louise Brooks published by the Film Archiv Austria,  Louise Brooks. Rebellin, Ikone, Legende.  For more info visit this page. A copy is on its way to me. I can't wait!

Marion's Wall

Upon Kevin Brownlow's recommendation, I read Jack Finney's 1973 novel, Marion's Wall. I liked it pretty well. The story starts a little slow, but picks up and finishes with a flourish. Anyone who likes silent film might well like this novel.

Set in San Francisco in the early 1970's, the story involves a young married couple whose bodies are taken over by two long-dead silent film stars. The story moves forward as the couple comes to terms with the ghosts/personalities who have taken them over. Eventually, the couple makes their way to Hollywood, where they encounter a very different film industry and individuals from their long ago past. Throughout, various silent films and actors are referenced.

Brownlow mentioned the book to me while we were talking about literary homages and allusions to Louise Brooks. The actress does not make an appearance in this book, nor is she mentioned. Nevertheless, I would suggest that the books' main character - a blonde named Marion Marsh - brings Brooks' map cap spirit to mind.

Has anyone else read this novel? [ Finney wrote a number of other nostalgic novels involving "time travel," such as Time and Again, as well asThe Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He lived just north of San Francisco.]

Friday, November 2, 2007

Barry Paris article on LB

There is an article by Barry Paris in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Louise Brooks and Pandora's Box, which screens Sunday evening in Pittsburgh. This mere newspaper article is yet another example of Paris' considerable gifts as a writer. Check it out !

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Louise Brooks pics on eBay

Anyone who watches eBay will have noticed the many new images of the Louise Brooks currently for sale.
On November 7 and 8, Profiles in History will be offering over $1 million worth Hollywood glamour photography dated from the period before the Production Code was implemented.
These classic photographs -- in one of the greatest assemblages of its kind -- include the works of legendary portrait photographers George Hurrell, Clarence Sinclair Bull (Head of MGM's still department for nearly 40 years), and Ruth Harriet Louise, the first woman photographer active in Hollywood, who ran Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's portrait studio from 1925 to 1930. Their sexy, glamorous subjects include Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Clara Bow, Marlene Dietrich, Louise Brooks, Norma Shearer and Thelma Todd. Also included in the auction will be rare photos of actors Clark Gable, Lon Chaney Sr., Gary Cooper, John Barrymore, and William Powell, to name a few.
Worldwide bidding will begin at noon on both days. Bids may be placed either in person, in advance via mail, by phone or fax, or live over the Internet via eBay Live Auctions at www.ebayliveauctions.com
Be sure and search under "Louise Brooks" (or for that matter "Clara Bow" and "Carole Lombard").

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jeanine Basinger event

For those in the San Francisco Bay Area: Tomorrow night, I will be hosting film historian Jeanine Basinger for a talk and booksigning to mark the publication of The Star Machine, her new book on the golden age of movies. Basinger will also show some film clips during her talk. I hope some of you can make it to this special event, which will take place at The Booksmith (1644 Haight Street) in San Francisco. Start time is 7 pm

In her new book, Basinger offers a look into the "star machine," examining how, at the height of the studio system, the studios worked to manufacture star actors and actresses. With revelatory insights and asides, Basinger shows us how the machine worked when it worked, how it failed when it didn't, and how irrelevant it could sometimes be.

Jeanine Basinger is the chair of film studies at Wesleyan University and the founder and curator of its cinema archives. She has written nine other books on film, including A Woman's View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women 1930-1960; as well as Silent Stars, winner of the William K. Everson Award for Film History; and American Cinema: 100 Years of Filmmaking, the companion book for a ten-part PBS series.    

            

Friday, October 19, 2007

A rather good article

There is a rather good article about Louise Brooks in the current issue of StopSmiling magazine. (Issue # 32 is devoted to "Hollywood Lost and Found.") The piece, by John Davidson, is titled "The Cult of Personality: Louise Brooks."

Poking around the magazine's website, I came across an earlier review by José Teodoro of the Criterion release of Pandora's Box on DVD.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lulu at BAM in Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Eagle reports that Pandora's Box will be shown at BAM on November 13th. According to the article,
This screening of the classic German silent film is in conjunction with the U.S. premiere of German director Michael Thalheimer’s production of Frank Wedekind’s “Lulu” during BAM’s 25th Next Wave Festival. The film will feature live musical accompaniment by Dublin-based ensemble 3epkano [“three”-epkano] as they perform a new original score. This special event is supported by the Goethe-Institut New York and Culture Ireland.
Known for synthesizing classical and experimental sounds, 3epkano has built a reputation over the past three years for their original scores for silent films, which they have performed at festivals and venues throughout Ireland.
This screening, featuring a "new print," takes place one day before what would have been Louise Brooks' 101st birthday. And, in a way, it is a kind of artistic homecoming for the actress. Before she got into the movies, Brooks danced at BAM (then known as the Brooklyn Academy of Music) as a member of the Denishawn Dance Company. Brooks danced there on October 22, 1923 and April 5, 1924.

I was fortunate enough to have visited BAM this past May, when I attended an advance screening of the about to be released Paul Auster film, The Inner Life of Martin Frost. Auster and his daughter, Sophie, who appears in the film, were in attendance. As an Brooks'  fan knows, Auster wrote and directed the "Lulu-Pandora's Box-Louise Brooks inspired" film, Lulu on the Bridge.
More information about the theatrical presentation of Lulu can be found on this BAM webpage.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture

Over the weekend, I saw an early copy of Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture, by Peter Kobel. Wow! The book looks great - it will certainly be THE silent film book to get this year. It is gorgeous - full of black and white and color illustrations, many of them little seen and new to my eyes. There is also a two page spread on Louise Brooks in this new book.

The book features a preface by Martin Scorcese and a foreword by Kevin Brownlow. Here is the publisher's description: "A gorgeous, lavish history of silent movies - with more than 400 amazing images - captures the birth of film and icons like Chaplin, Garbo, Clara Bow, and Valentino.Drawing on the extraordinary collection of The Library of Congress, one of the greatest repositories for silent film and memorabilia, Peter Kobel has created the definitive visual history of silent film.From its birth in the 1890s, with the earliest narrative shorts, through the brilliant full-length features of the 1920s, SILENT MOVIES captures the greatest directors and actors and their immortal films. SILENT MOVIES also looks at the technology of early film, the use of color photography, and the restoration work being spearheaded by some of Hollywood's most important directors, such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Richly illustrated from the Library of Congress's extensive collection of posters, paper prints, film stills, and memorabilia-most of which have never been in print - SILENT MOVIES is an important work of history that will also be a sought-after gift book for all lovers of film."

Friday, October 5, 2007

Louise Brooks & Charlie Chaplin


This news photo is currently for sale on eBay. Its a great image of Louise Brooks. (She is holding a portable record player.) What's even more interesting is the caption on the back.



Sunday, September 16, 2007

Another Google Map

I have finished compiling another Google map. Though it is still something of a work in progress, I have placed the date, venue and city for each of the stops on the 1923-1924 Denishawn tour, which included Louise Brooks. This newly created map can be found at here.

As I had mentioned in an earlier blog, I have also created a map for the 1922-1923 Denishawn tour, and a map of my Louise Brooks research (featuring the libraries and archives I've visited, as well as the top 12 lending institutions). I have also started a Louise Brooks Gazetteer - which will include locations where the actress lived and worked (excluding the Denishawn performances). This latter map far from complete. Please check them out and let me know what you think. . . . has anyone who reads this blog ever worked with Yahoo maps?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sues with Doug and other finds

I visited the library this week. A few inter-library loans arrived. I looked at the Hagerstown Morning Herald (Maryland), in which I found an article and review relating to the Denishawn performance there in 1923. I also looked at some microfilm reels of theEvening Bulletin (Providence, Rhode Island) and Hartford Times (Connecticut). And in each of these later two papers I found a few film reviews and film advertisements dating from the late 1920's. I've added citations to the appropriate bibliographies.

While scrolling through microfilm, I came across this clipping from 1923, It caught my eye, as it featured actress Evelyn Brent, who co-starred with Louise Brooks in Love Em and Leave Em (1926). I thought it quite interesting.



A few books which I requested also arrived. I had ordered each because of my interest in Denishawn, an in particular Louise Brooks'  involvement with the pioneering modern dance troupe. The books were The Story of Louis Horst and the American Dance by Ernestine Stodelle, You call me Louis, not Mr Horst by Dorothy Madden, and Doris Humphrey, A Centennial Issue edited by Naomi Mindlin. Each of the subjects of these books were involved with Denishawn during Brooks' tenure. I brought the books home, and plan to peruse them over the next couple of weeks.

In other research related news: I was pleased to learn that the Irish Times have placed their archives on-line. This weekend, I plan to purchase a 24-hour subscription and see what Louise Brooks-related material I can find in this Irish newspaper.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sound for silents


From the September 14th issue of the English newspaper, the Bristol Gazette
Sound for silents
By Emily Thwaite

A WORLD premiere performance of a newly commissioned score from composer Paul Lewis can be heard at the Colston Hall, Bristol tomorrow.

It will be accompanying one of the greatest films from the silent era, Pandora's Box.

Adapted from the controversial plays of Frank Wedekind, Pandora's Box stars the legendary Louise Brooks as young temptress Lulu. Unleashing unruly desires, Lulu wreaks havoc on the lives of wealthy newspaper editor Dr Schon, his handsome but hapless son Alwa, and the desperately lovelorn Countess Geschwitz (cinema's first unequivocal lesbian).

The music will be conducted by the composer and performed by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.

The evening will be hosted by actor Paul McGann, a patron of Bristol Silents and a devoted fan of Louise Brooks.
I would love to hear from anyone who attends this special screening.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Favorites


If you were asked what was one of your favorite things, what would you say? Cheese, ice cream, oatmeal cookies, the beach, the music of Kate Bush? I was asked that very question recently. And I answered "Louise Brooks."

The occasion was an author event with Kiara Brinkman. This widely acclaimed debut novelist read from Up High in the Trees, which was published in July. Kiara read from her novel, and during the signing afterword everyone who lined up to get their book autographed was asked what were their favorite things. Polaroids were taken, and the answers recorded. To see the results, visitwww.kiarabrinkman.com   [ Once you are at the author's site, click on "Favorites." And then click through seven times. I am in the upper left hand corner. Click on "thomas" to see my response - "Louise Brooks."  ]



If you are looking for something good to read, check out Kiara Brinkman's Up High in the Trees. I recommend it. And it's been getting some great reviews.

Monday, September 10, 2007

VIP hairstyles website features Louise Brooks

VIPhairstyles.com has an article on its website called "Hollywood's influence through the years," and Louise Brooks is featured prominently. Be sure and check it out.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Shadow


ohn Baxter - the prolific film biographer, critic and writer once told me his daughter was named Lulu. She had been named "after" Louise Brooks. And the great English short story writer and essayist Angela Carter once wrote, "If I ever had a daughter, I would name her Lulu." We name the things we love after those things we love.
With great sadness I report the passing of my beloved dog, Shadow. When my wife and I adopted her some 11 years years ago, we had almost named her Lulu in tribute to Louise Brooks. But there was something not quite fitting about the name in her case, despite a physical and behaviourial resemblance. Instead she became Shadow. Our black cat, who was named Ebony, had recently passed away. And in looking through a name book, we came across the curious "Ebony's Shadow." Thus, our little two month old puppy, our little almost Lulu, became Shadow.

Shadow was a sweet dog. She once stepped on a vintage film magazine I had carelessly left on the ground and her claws punctured the soft paper cover. Another time, she chewed up a copy of an old Viking Portable collection of crime fiction. Often, when I would be sitting at my computer composing a blog or adding to the LBS bibliographies, she would come into my room and look up doefully at me with her dark eyes and say "Hey, lets go outside and play." Here is a picture of her at play, with a tennis ball in her mouth.



Louise Brooks was a dog lover. I can think of at least three or four pictures of her with her canine pets. Rest in peace, Shadow. I miss you.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Opening up Pandora's Box


British actor (and big Louise Brooks fan) Paul McGann has written an article about  "Louise Brooks silent beauty." The article was published in the September 7th issue of the Guardian  - a British newspaper.
Louise Brooks is unique and immortal. Her face can still command a magazine cover, the breathtaking beauty and the enigma are always instant and contemporary. She never dates or ages. To see her in Pandora's Box is like watching a modern, living actor who had somehow moved into a silent film set. And at the same time she brings home how rich the silent cinema was and how much it can still offer. She is the model and the despair of actors. She simply IS her character. What actor does not dream of that?
Pandora's Box, with the world premiere of a live Paul Lewis score, screens on September 15 at Colston Hall in Bristol, England.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Louise Brooks, at home

I am not sure, but I would guess that this image depicts Louise Brooks, at home in the 1920s. The staircase is different from the one depicted in the image five entries earlier.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Diary of a Lost Girl to show in Flint, Michigan

Diary of a Lost Girl, the 1929 film starring Louise Brooks, will be shown in Flint. Michigan at the Flint Institute of the Arts. According to an article in the Flint Journal,
On Oct. 12-14, to commemorate National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11), an Out 'n About Film Festival will present movies with characters or themes connected to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and other nontraditional sexual identities. Among the entries are the German silent drama "Diary of a Lost Girl," with American star Louise Brooks, and the 1996 documentary "The Celluloid Closet."
More information can eventually be found at the Flint Institute of the Arts website.

[ Back in the 1920's, when Brooks'  American silent films were first screened in Flint, the actress was well liked by the Flint Journal  - the industrial city's leading newspaper then and now. The Journal described Brooks as "smart" and "picquant" and noted she acted "with distinction." We shall see if they review Diary - which may or may not be making its Flint debut.]

Monday, September 3, 2007

Jennifer Gilmore event

On Thursday, I will be hosting an author event with Jennifer Gilmore. Not only is Jennifer an accomplished writer with a published novel to her credit, she is also a fan on Louise Brooks. As a matter of fact, the actress is referenced in Jennifer's novel, Golden Country, which is just out in paperback.

              

Golden Country vividly brings to life the intertwining stories of three immigrants: handsome and ambitious Seymour, a salesman turned gangster turned Broadway producer; gentle and pragmatic Joseph, a door-to-door salesman driven to invent a cleanser effective enough to wipe away the shame of his brother’s mob connections; and irresistible Frances Gold, who grows up in Brooklyn, stars in Seymour’s first show, and marries the man who invents television. Spanning the first half of the 20th century, Jennifer Gilmore’s debut novel captures the exuberance of the American dream - while exposing its underbelly of disillusionment, greed, and disaffection bred by success.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and can make it to Thursday night's event at The Booksmith, be sure and say hello.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A William Wellman jag

After having watched William Wellman Jr.'s superb documentary on his father, Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick, I have been on something of a William Wellman jag lately. Wellmann, of course, directed Louise Brooks in Beggars of Life, not to mention Clara Bow in Wings - the first film to win an Academy Award.

I just saw Roxie Hart, the director's 1942 remake of Chicago with Ginger Roger's playing the title character. The film also featured Adolphe Menjou and a bunch of character actors I recognized. I liked the film, though I found it a little uneven at times. All in all, it's good and worth checking out. Right now I am watching A Star is Born (1937), Wellman's sparkling look at Hollywood then, (and now). Wellman co-wrote the story, and Dorothy Parker contributed to the screenplay. The film stars Janet Gaynor, Fredric March and Adolphe Menjou. If you haven't seen it, you must. It is really delightful, and something of a tear-jerker. It is a great film.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

A fashion plate

A bunch of images from the San Francisco Examiner photo archive have been put up for sale on eBay. One particular image ran alongside a fashion column by Babette, which was syndicated in Hearts' newspaper syndicate.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Spring Awakening, a new translation

Today, I received an advance copy of Jonathan Franzen's new translation of Frank Wedekind's play, Spring Awakening. Here is what the publisher has to say.
First performed in Germany in 1906, Frank Wedekind’s controversial play Spring Awakening closed after one night in New York in 1917 amid charges of obscenity and public outrage. For the better part of the twentieth century Wedekind’s intense body of work was largely unpublished and rarely performed. Yet the play’s subject matter—teenage desire, suicide, abortion, and homosexuality—is as explosive and important today as it was a century ago. Spring Awakening follows the lives of three teenagers, Melchior, Moritz, and Wendl, as they navigate their entry into sexual awareness. Unlike so many works that claim to tell the truth of adolescence, Spring Awakening offers no easy answers or redemption.
I haven't had a chance to yet read the work, though I did read Franzen's challenging introduction. In it, the acclaimed, National Book Award winning novelist (The Corrections, etc...) notes Wedekind's California origins, his troubled history, as well as the play's controversial New York City debut. Franzen also mentions Wedekind's Pandora's Box, the character of Lulu, and their relationship to Spring Awakening, as well as the fact that Alban Berg wrote an opera based on the Wedekind play. (Franzen did not mention Pabst's film or Louise Brooks.)

I term Franzen's introduction challenging because Franzen does not hold his punches when discussing earlier translations, or even the recent Broadway musical - which he terms "insipid." From what I gather, this new translation promises a fuller and more truly representative version of Wedekind's work. We shall see. It would be great to see him translate Pandora's Box.
Spring Awakening is the best play ever written about teenagers, and Jonathan Franzen's fraught yet buoyant translation is the best I've ever read.  In a culture where lies about adolescence prevail, this funny and honest play is more relevant than ever. Spring Awakening is essential reading.”  — Christopher Shinn

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A sort of silent film

The Belgian comic duo Circoripopolohas has created a web feature (not unlike a short silent film) whose design includes affecting your Internet browser. Click on their site and your browser will immediately shrink. At first, you'll see two pairs of hands squeezing out of a small crack in the otherwise black screen. The duo keep pushing outward until they've successfully expanded your browser. Later, when they explode a large balloon, your browser shakes. Pretty nifty me thinks. Check it out athttp://users.telenet.be/kixx/

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pandora's Box - new soundtrack

The BBC website is reporting that a new soundtrack for Pandora's Box has been commissioned. The score will debut at a special screening in Bristol on September 15. According to the BBC
New meets old at the Watershed in September, with the world premiere of a brand spanking new musical score for a silent classic.
The orchestral score, from composer Paul Lewis, has been specially commissioned by Watershed and Bristol Silents for the gala screening of silent classic Pandora's Box.
The event, taking place at the Colston Hall on Saturday, 15 September, will be hosted by actor Paul McGann, a big fan of the film's star, Louise Brooks, and is part of the media centre's 25th birthday celebrations. . . .
Two years in the planning, music for the gala event will be performed by members of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, conducted by composer Paul Lewis.
Lewis has produced more than 500 pages of handwritten A3 score sheets to accompany the two hours and 11 minutes of Pandora's Box.
"The score is operatic and the melodies full-blooded," he explained.
"In spite of this I am scoring it for a relatively small orchestra as I believe this gives greater intimacy and a closer connection with the individual characters."
Adapted from the controversial plays of Frank Wedeking, Pandora's Box, released in 1929, stars Louise Brooks as young temptress Lulu who wreaks havoc in the lives of a wealthy newspaper editor, his hapless son and a lovelorn countess.
Chris Daniels of Bristol Silents said: "It's incredible that a film of this standing in world cinema hasn't had an orchestral score composed of this quality or on this scale before.
"Even people who know the film well will be experiencing it for the very first time in this way."
I would love to hear from anybody who attends this screening. I wish I could be there!

Monday, August 27, 2007

From Rudolph Nureyev to Louise Brooks


here was an article in yesterday's New York Times about Rudolph Nureyev. ** The piece was prompted by the debut of a new documentary about the Russian dancer which airs on PBS later this week. Well anyways, the article began in a most thoughtful kind of way. For me, the situation the reporter depicts rang true. The article began:
A POINT comes in the afterlife of an artist when, for the time being, biography has pretty much done its work. The essential history is known; the ambience is broadly understood; the relationship between the life and the work has yielded its chief mysteries. Barring bombshells any future surprises are apt to be minor: not revelations, just minutiae.
Sometimes, that's the situation I find myself in regarding Louise Brooks. There may not be all that much left to find out. Critics of the Louise Brooks Society - and there are a few - have complained that my efforts are too much focussed on picking through the scraps. Well, that's all I have access to. Sometimes, I find something interesting. . . like the unlikeliness of G.W. Pabst having seen A Girl in Every Port before he decided to cast Brooks in Pandora's Box, or the fact that Pandora's Box was screened in Newark, New Jersey in 1931 with sound effects! These simple facts may not be revelations, only minutiae. But they do alter some long held believes in the story of the actress.

My hunt goes on.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been back to the San Francisco Public Library looking at inter-library loan material. More microfilmed newspapers had arrived. I got a bit of Denishawn material and a few film reviews from the Bangor Daily News (Maine), Reading Times(Pennsylvania), Louisville Post (Kentucky), Virginian-Pilot and Norfolk Landmark (Norfolk, Virginia), and Montreal Gazette (Canada). My request for the Milwaukee Herold (a German-language newspaper from Wisconsin) was rejected as "title not on shelf." Oh well, that sometimes happens. Likewise, nothing turned up in the Morning Register (Eugene, Oregon), though I did find a short article and a large advertisement forBeggars of Life in some January, 1930 issues of the North China Daily News (Shanghai). Bad luck sometimes runs with good.

One unusual source I also examined was the New York Commerical. This New York City financial paper was something like today's Wall Street Journal. (Like so many other publications I have looked at, the Commerical is no longer published. I believe it either folded or merged with another paper in the late 1920's.) Anyways, somewhere along the line I had come across a reference to a Denishawn article appearing in that publication. So, I figure I would request some key dates and see what I could find. As it turns out, I found that review and bit more. Happily, the Commercialran a small amount of "entertainment news" pretty much every day - mostly reviews of New York happenings.

Along with the Denishawn dates, I also requested microfilm for the period when the George White Scandals opened in NYC in 1924. And lo and behold, I came across a June 30th article referencing Brooks as a performer in the Scandals. Wow, she was hardly a principal - but there was her name in an article in a newspaper. That article ran before the show opened. I also came across a interesting review titled "George White Excels His Best Scandals" after the show's debut. Brooks was not mentioned in it.

My luck with the Commerical convinced me to request additional microfilm.Thus, on the docket are microfilm requests for the period covering the opening of "Louie the 14th," the 1925 Ziegfeld Follies, and even the NYC openings of Brooks' early silent films. You never know what you may find. . . . Speaking of things found, here is a nice advertisement I came across in the Evening Bulletin (Providence, Rhode Island).


Last week, I also spent a little time organizing my projected inter-library loan requests. I have pending requests for some additional issues of theEvening Bulletin, as well as the New Orleans States (Louisiana), Hagerstown Morning Herald (Maryland), Evening Telegram (Superior, Wisconsin), and a few other papers. From here on out, I plan on putting in probably no more than two ILL requests per week till I am through. It should take me less than a year to get through  all of those.

** Trivia buffs: which silent film star with whom Brooks was acquainted did Rudolph Nureyev play in a film?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Beggars of Life to play at Cinecon

According to a story in today's Los Angeles Times, the 1928 Louise Brooks film Beggars of Life will be shown at this year's Cinecon film festival. The article, by Susan King, reads in part, "Other films in the lineup include the complete version of 1927's "The Patent Leather Kid," starring Richard Barthelmess in an Oscar-nominated performance; a newly restored print of the 1922 Mary Pickford classic "Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall"; the 1928 William Wellman drama "Beggars of Life" with Richard Arlen and Louise Brooks; and Paramount's first talkie, 1928's "Interference," starring William Powell and Evelyn Brent."

The Cinecon website - located at http://www.cinecon.org/ - doesn't reference the film. Perhaps it was just added to the schedule. Cinecon takes place in Hollywood. I have been a few times. That's were I saw Franz Lederer speak. (Lederer was Brooks co-star in Pandora's Box.) Once, I bumped into Kenneth Anger in the memorabilia room, and saw Kevin Brownlow present a John Ford film. I have also seen a bunch of silent and early sound films screened there. Cinecon is well worth going if you have never been.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fashion Decrees, from Mme Lisbeth

Here is a clipping I ran across while looking through old newspapers on microfilm. As can be seen, Louise Brooks is one of the models included in this syndicated fashion column.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Valentino Is Dead



It was 81 years ago that Rudolph Valentino died. His passing made headlines across the United States and the world. Here is but one example. Louise Brooks - then a young actress - was acquainted with the "Latin Lover." They had met at a party. At a funeral mass in New York City - held just a few days after Valentino's death, one newspaper reported that Brooks was seen crying. Film buffs and the world shared her grief.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lulu in Albany


The New York State Writers Institute has announced its Fall 2007 Classic Film Series, which includes an October 19th screening of Pandora's Box, with live music by pianist Mike Schiffer. Further details to come.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Google maps fun

Over the weekend, I spent some time playing around with Google maps. Basically, I was trying to figure out how they worked and how I might use them. To teach myself, I created an annotated map called "My Louise Brooks Research." In map form, it is a list of the libraries, museums, archives and historical societies I visited in search of material on the actress. Red pins mark more than 35 institutions in nearly as many cities. I also added green pins to indicate institutions which have been significant lenders of inter-library loan material. Check it out, it is kinda cool.

The next map I have started working on is much more complicated. It details the "
Denishawn Tour 1922-1923." It's still a work in progress. In the future, I hope to make a map for the "Denishawn Tour 1923-1924," as well as a "Louise Brooks Gazetteer" detailing important places in the actresses' life. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Louise Brooks mentioned on BBC website

Clive James - a well known British author, critic and commentator - mentioned Louise Brooks in an article posted yesterday on the BBC website. Brooks was also pictured in the piece, along with Garbo and Marlon Brando. You can read the piece, or hear the author read it aloud on the radio.


James' article - entitled "Just a Pretty Face" - is prefaced thus. "There are not as many movie icons out there as we think. What makes one? Well it's not talent - they can just look pretty and our imagination does the rest." James goes on to write, "Since Garbo, every female film star has wanted the same for herself. Louise Brooks achieved iconic status without making many films that a mass audience ever saw, and nowadays almost nobody has seen any film she made, yet she is instantly recognizable by her hairstyle, which in itself gets described as iconic."

Louise Brooks is more than a haircut. And more than just a pretty face. I agree with James when he says that Brooks has not achieved a mass audience. However, I would qualify his statement and add that more people today have seen a Brooks film than he suspects. Pandora's Box and Diary of a Lost Girl are shown pretty regularly these days - both in revivals and even on television. Also, I would add that Brooks has now achieved a level of mass recognition that her more celebrated contemporaries enjoyed. A few years ago, Movie Star News - a company that reprints movie star images - reported that Louise Brooks was the second most popular star in their expansive catalog. Brooks trailed only Marilyn Monroe.

I am not sure how I feel about James' piece overall.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Beggars of Life screens in Chicago tomorrow

If you live in the Chicago area and are a Louise Brooks fan, don't miss this chance to see the actress on the big screen in Beggars of Life (1928). The film is being shown tomorrow at 8 pm as part of the Silent Film Society Summer series at the Portage Theater. For more information, see the Society's web page. When and if this outstanding Brooks film will ever be released on DVD is unknown - so this is a great chance to see it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Beach Blanket Babylon

Tonight I saw the latest incarnation of Beach Blanket Babylon, the long running San Francisco musical farce . . . . And I think I picked-up on a very slight allusion to Louise Brooks. In one scene, set in Paris, an actor playing King Louie of France comes on stage to the tune of "Louie-Louie." That song quickly changes to the familiar "Louise,"  as in "every little breeze seems to whisper Louise. . .".  And Snow White, I think it was, then addresses him as Loulou. The King responds with, "just call me Lou." And allusion, or just a play on words - who can say?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Uncommon edition

Today, I received a copy of a book I had ordered over the internet. I received Lulu en Hollywood, the Spanish edition of Lulu in Hollywood. This first edition copy was published in Barcelona by Ultramar Editores, S.A. in November, 1984. As far as I can tell, this Spanish-language edition is pretty similar to the English-language edition. There is the introduction by William Shawn, seven essays by Louise Brooks, and an afterward by Lotte Eisner - all in Spanish. The only exception I have noted is in the filmography.

For some curious reason, the translator or editor of this edition added a film to Brooks' credits. In Lulu en Hollywood, Brooks is credited with having appeared in Robert Florey's Hollywood Boulevard (1937). Of course, Brooks did not appear in this film. And it's not the first time she is listed as having appeared in it. But there it is in this book. Why someone added I don't know.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Uncommon poster

Here's something I haven't seen before. According to it's eBay description, "This laminated poster advertises the German Film Season at the Barbican Theatre, which ran from October 1st – 31st 1982. It features a picture of Louise Brooks in profile, plus a list of films, including Diary of a Lost GirlNosferatu and Metropolis. It was taken from a London tube wall by a friend at the time and I have had it ever since. I think it came from somewhere on the Victoria line as it has "Vic 6/33" on the reverse.  . . . The white mark on my photo is the light shining on it. Thankfully it was laminated by whoever produced it."

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Lulu in Bristol

Pandora's Box will be shown in Bristol, England on September 15th at 7:30 pm. The Weston & Somerset Mercury ran a short article about the screening in today's paper.

Pandora's Box opens in Bristol
ONE of the greatest silent films in cinematic history is to be shown at Bristol's Watershed.

Adapted from the controversial plays of Frank Wedekind, Pandora's Box stars the legendary Louise Brooks as young temptress Lulu.

The seductive youngster wreaks havoc on the lives of wealthy newspaper editor Dr Shon, his handsome but hapless son Alwa, and the lonely and lovelorn Countess Geschwitz, cinema's first lesbian.

The film has been brought to life by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, who will be performing the music, composed by Paul Lewis.

Watershed and Bristol Silents have been working to produce the special event over the past two years and the evening will be hosted by Paul McGann.

Pandora's Box is being screened on September 15 at 7.30pm. Tickets, priced £20, are available from the Colston Hall box office on 0117 922 3686.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My library research continues II

Spent an hour or so at the library today, as a few inter-library loans had come in. (I receive email notifications when my requests arrive and are processed and are made available.) I looked through microfilm of the Salt Lake Tribune (Utah), Hartford Times(Connecticut), and Providence Evening Bulletin (Rhode Island). It was a messy bunch of loans, as some of the dates I requested hadn't come and in one instance, the wrong reel of film was sent. Nevertheless, I managed to find a few reviews and articles about films in which Louise Brooks had a role.


I also looked through a few reels of the Montreal Standard, a weekly, English-Language Canadian newspaper. I found some material on Beggars of Life (1928) and The Canary Murder Case (1929). I won't reproduce the article I found on the later film (as it wasn't that interesting), but here is a captioned photograph and an advertisement for the film. These are typical of the sort of clippings I uncover. I have hundreds - if not thousands of examples of this kind of material.



Finishing up, I noted which dates from which newspapers I would need to re-request. I then added a few citations to the LBS bibliographies. And then I submitted a few more inter-library loan requests. This round, I asked for the Morning Register (Eugene, Oregon), Bangor News (Maine),North China Daily News (Shanghai, China), and Milwaukee Herold (Wisconsin). The later is a German-language newspaper which I haven't look at before. The search continues.
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