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.
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