Thursday, December 30, 2010

Canary Murder Case author featured in new book

The 1929 Louise Brooks film, The Canary Murder Case, is based on bestselling book of the same name by S.S. Van Dine, a once-popular and critically esteemed author of detective fiction. Though little read today, Van Dine is considered an important figure in the development of the modern detective story. 

Van Dine is one of three writers featured in a new book, Making the Detective Story American: Biggers, Van Dine and Hammett and the Turning Point of the Genre, 1925-1930 (McFarland), by J.K. Van Dover. This 221 page study also examines the fiction of  Earl Derr Biggers and Dashiell Hammett during a crucial five year period when these three authors helped transform the detective story into the genre we know today.

Making the Detective Story American is well written, thoroughly researched, and a good read! Further consideration of this recommended new book can be found on examiner.com, along with some vintage newspaper advertisements for the film. Making the Detective Story American: Biggers, Van Dine and Hammett and the Turning Point of the Genre, 1925-1930 is available through online retailers and Indiebound.

RadioLulu reminder

Just a reminder to be sure and check out RadioLulu - Louise Brooks inspired, silent film themed radio featuring music of the Twenties, Thirties and today - includes Brooks' related film music, early jazz, dance bands, songs sung by silent film stars, and contemporary pop music about the silent film star.


This unique station features music from six of the Brooks' films - including the haunting themes from Beggars of Life (1928) and Prix de Beaute (1930), as well as musical snippets from The Canary Murder Case (1929) and Empty Saddles (1936). Other vintage tracks associated with the actress on RadioLulu include Maurice Chevalier's much-loved 1929 recording of "Louise," and rare recordings by co-stars Adolphe Menjou, Noah Beery, Blanche Ring, Grace Moore, and Cary Grant. RadioLulu also plays contemporary musical tributes to the actress by the likes of Twiggy, Rufus Wainwright, Soul Coughing, OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark), Marillion, The Green Pajamas, Ron Hawkins, Sarah Azzara, Paul Hayes, and Clan of Xymox, among others.

Rare recording by Brooks' Hollywood contemporaries are also featured. Among the film world personalities heard on the station are Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson, Charlie Chaplin, Joan Crawford, Pola Negri, Ramon Novarro, Dolores Del Rio, Lupe Velez, Bebe Daniels, Marlene Dietrich, Buddy Rogers, Jean Harlow, and Tallulah Bankhead. Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell can also be heard singing the charming "If I Had A Talking Picture Of You."

On RadioLulu, you'll also hear Jazz Age crooners, torch singers, dance bands, hotel orchestras, show tunes, standards, and some real sweet jazz! There are vintage recordings from England, France, Germany, and even Czechoslovakia. There are also tracks featuring the celebrated 1930's Polish chanteuse Hanka Ordonówna, the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht (singing "Mack the Knife" in 1929!), and the contemporary cartoonist Robert Crumb (playing on "Chanson por Louise Brooks"). And what's more, you'd be hard-pressed to find a station that plays more tracks with "Lulu" in the title than the always eclectic and always entertaining RadioLulu!

Who else can be heard on RadioLulu? How about the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Abe Lyman, Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians, Gertrude Lawrence, Annette Hanshaw, Rudy Vallee, Helen Kane, Paul Whiteman, Ted Weems, George Gershwin, Russ Colombo, Harry Richman, Libby Holman and Xavier Cugart - as well as Camilla Horn, Lillian Harvey, Anny Ondra, Josephine Baker, Lucienne Boyer, Mistinguett, and even Kiki of Montparnase.

RadioLulu plays great music, including numerous rare recordings of movie stars from the silent film and early sound era. Check it out !

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Let's nominate Louise Brooks to the National Film Registry

The Library of Congress today announced which 25 films will be included in the National Film Registry for 2010.

Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, the Librarian of Congress annually names 25 films to the National Film Registry. The films are deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. The films are not selected as the “best” American films, but rather, works of enduring significance to American culture. To date, more than 500 films have been honored.

Annual selections to the registry are finalized by the Librarian after reviewing hundreds of titles nominated by the public and having extensive discussions with the distinguished members of the National Film Preservation Board, as well as the Library’s motion-picture staff. This year 2,112 films were nominated.

So far, no Louise Brooks film is included in the National Film Registry. It's time that change. The Librarian urges the public to make nominations for next year’s registry at the Film Board’s website (www.loc.gov/film/vote.html). I would like to suggest the nomination of The Show Off  (1926) or Love Em and Leave Em (1926) or Beggars of Life (1928). I think they are the best American films in which Brooks appeared. 

It's the Old Army Game (1926), Love Em and Leave Em (1926), and Beggars of Life (1928) are each on the National Film Registry "shortlist" at http://www.loc.gov/film/NFRposs.html

[ More on this news story at www.examiner.com/silent-movie-in-san-francisco/early-films-selected-for-national-film-registry ]

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thomas Jefferson on silent film

Today's New York Times has a fascinating article on crowd sourcing scholarly projects. The article, "Scholars Recruit Public for Project," can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/28/books/28transcribe.html

The article ends with a quotation from a letter by Thomas Jefferson, who was commenting on national documents destroyed during the Revolutioniary War. I think his thoughts might well apply to silent film and silent film history. "The lost cannot be recovered; let us save what remains not by vaults and locks which fence them from the public eye and use in consigning them to the waste of time, but by such a multiplication of copies, as shall place them beyond the reach of accident.” 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Prix de beauté screens Christmas Eve in Paris

The 1930 Louise Brooks film, Prix de beauté, will be screened in Paris on Christmas Eve at the Forum des Images. The film, which will be shown at 2:30 pm, is being presented as part of the series of great films made in the French city. 

The Forum des Images is located at Forum des Halles, Passage Rambuteau, 75001 PARIS 01. 

Details on the Friday, December 24 screening can be found at www.forumdesimages.fr/Collections/notice/VDP1017  More on this special event on the Louise Brooks column on examiner.com

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Toronto Silent Film Festival to screen It’s the Old Army Game

The Toronto Silent Film Festival has announced it will screen the celebrated 1926 silent comedy, It’s the Old Army Game, at next year’s event. The film stars Louise Brooks and screen legend W.C. Fields. It’s the Old Army Game will be shown on Wednesday April 6 at 8:30 pm at the Fox Theater, 236 Queen Street East, in Toronto. The film will be accompanied by Toronto organist Andrei Streliaev. More at examiner.com

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christian Zimmerman - Diary Of A Lost Girl (World Of Apples Mojave Rehab Mix)

Not sure if this piece of music by Christian Zimmerman has anything to do with the 1929 Louise Brooks film, Diary Of A Lost Girl, but here you go. If Christian Zimmerman sees this, please let us know.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Louise Brooks & Bruz Fletcher

Anyone who checked out my recent examiner.com list of recommended new releases for the Louise Brooks fan might be wondering who Bruz Fletcher is and what is his connection with the silent film star. The list includes a new book by Tyler Alpern titled, Bruz Fletcher: Camped, Tramped & a Riotous Vamp (Blurb Books).

Yesterday, I set out to answer that question with my latest column on examiner.com. My article, titled "Louise Brooks & Bruz Fletcher: Camped, Tramped, Riotous Vamps," discusses their apparent friendship as well as other individuals with whom both worked. Please check it out.

Tyler Alpern and I have been in contact for a number of years, and some time ago he graciously provided me with a .mp3 of one of Bruz's recordings. It was likely one of the songs Bruz sang when Louise Brooks heard him perform at the Club Bali in Hollywood in 1937 and 1938. I placed that song in rotation on RadioLulu.

Besides issuing his book, Alpern has also put out a compact disc of Fletcher's hard-to-find recordings titled Drunk with Love. The CD is available through CD Baby and other sources. You haven't lived till you've heard "Nympho-Dipso-Ego Maniac" and "She's My Most Intimate Friend" and "The Hellish Mrs. Haskell." These 1930's recordings take the double entendre to the limit.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stanzas about Louise Brooks

Did you know that Vachel Lindsay wrote poems about Mary Pickford? Or that Hart Crane wrote poems about Charlie Chaplin? Or that Frank O'Hara wrote a poem inspired by Louise Brooks? 

The tradition of writing poems about silent film - and especially about silent film stars, goes all the way back to the silent film era. Lindsay was among the first, and is certainly the most famous practitioner. Anthony Slide's book, The Picture Dancing on a Screen: Poetry of the Cinema (Vestel Press, 1988) collects a number of early examples by both well known and little know writers from the first half of the 20th century. Another expansive anthology is The Faber Book of Movie Verse (Faber & Faber, 1995). This latter collection contains a selection devoted to the silent era.  One book I've come across on the subject is Laurence Goldstein's The American Poet at the Movies: A Critical History (University of Michigan Press, 1995).  

A blog which continues the tradition is Silent Stanzas. It bills itself as "poetry, photos and anecdotes about silent film." It's well worth checking out. And, its where I found this poem about Louise Brooks.

Scrubbie's Sonnet

Her liquid gaze could melt the coldest heart,
Her perfect face framed ‘round by ebony;
Since early on her dancing was an art –
Lithe hands and limbs in quaking ecstasy.
Not one to walk on eggshells, biting wit
And knife-blade tongue would often trouble make;
But unrelenting, in the face of it
She’d stand, too proud to let it see her break.
From featured player to forgotten star,
To author/critic, razor-edged and quick:
A sharpened, honey-coated scimitar,
A heady blend of sex and arsenic.
With such a life – complex beyond compare –
How strange her strongest legacy’s her hair.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Artist Includes Louise Brooks in Mural Series

A Kansas artist has included an image of Louise Brooks in a series of murals currently on display in a museum in Salina, Kansas. The portrait of Brooks is part of the exhibit, "Remarkable Kansas Women," by Jennifer Randall at the Smoky Hill Museum. The Salina Journal ran a piece about the exhibit, which is about to go on display in Salina. An image of Randall's art can be found at http://www.salina.com/photos/encore-eyes-jpg

And here is a page from artist Jennifer Randall's website about Louise Brooks which includes a better image of her piece depicting the Kansas born and raised film star. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Diary of a Lost Girl, with Louise Brooks, to screen at National Gallery of Art

It has just been announced that Diary of a Lost Girl, starring Louise Brooks, will be shown  at National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. on January 2, 2011. This special screening will feature live musical accompaniment by 3epkano. 

This Irish musical ensemble, which specializes in silent film accompaniment, will perform their original score to the G.W. Pabst directed film. The January 2nd screening marks the first appearance by 3epkano in Washington D.C. Their score to Diary of a Lost Girl was premiered in June at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.


More about this special event and the Irish group and the German film can be found on examiner.com

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pandora's Box mentioned in Sight & Sound

Bill Kromm wrote from England to let everyone know that the January 2011 edition of Sight & Sound contains a couple of references to Pandora's Box. It's from the annual critics' list of favorite movies and year's highlights:
from David Thompson, "critic and documentarian, UK" --

"Highlights: Two magnificent presentations of silent cinema: the newly restored (courtesy of Hugh Hefner!) Pandora's Box, looking as though it were shot yesterday, premiered in Paris; and Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929) -- the superior silent version -- at the Barbican. Both were supplied with electrifying musical scores by Neil Brand."

and from Vlastimir Sudar, "critic UK" --

"Highlights: The nicest surprise -- finally a high-quality restoration of Pabst's Pandora's Box, thanks to Berlin's Deutsche Kinemathek."
Bill concluded by stating, "Here's hoping this newest restoration will find its way DVD and Blu-ray (Criterion or UK's Masters of Cinema?) very soon."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shop window in London features Louise Brooks likeness

Melanie, a Louise Brooks fan in Zurich, tipped me off to this image of a London store window which includes a pair of likenesses of Louise Brooks. (The image of LB is based on the now famous nude by Alfred Cheney Johnson taken in 1925.) The window display, at/for Zoot Allure, is the work of Emily Forgot, a London based graphic artist and designer.


According to the Emily Forget website, "Emily Forgot is the moniker of London based graphic artist Emily Alston. Having worked in the creative industry for the past 5 years she has amassed a diverse range of international clients. Embracing the odd, the everyday and the sometimes surreal, Emily Forgot’s playful visual language and image making continues to evolve and surprise. Turning her hand to anything from illustration, retail display, print design and visual identity she prides herself on approaching all briefs with creative thought, originality, humour and beauty in mind. . . . Along side commercial endeavors Emily produces personal work in the form of limited edition prints and ceramics. Her work has been exhibited both in London and abroad most notably in 2007 at the “Fragiles” show as part of the prestigious Miami Art Basel."
 
Seen a store window which features a likeness of Louise Brooks? Send your sighting to the Louise Brooks Society at LBS [at] pandorasboxDOTcom or silentfilmbuff {at} gmailDOTcom

Monday, December 6, 2010

Shop window in Rome features Louise Brooks likeness

This shop window in Rome features a likeness of Louise Brooks. No, I'm not referring to the more obvious Betty Boop likeness in the middle right, but rather the Valentina pillow in the bottom center. Valenina, as is well known, was a European comix character modeled after Brooks.


This recent image was sent to me by Gianluca Chiovelli. It was taken in Rome on the Via di Boccea. Be sure and visit Gianluca's excellent Louise Brooks website at

Sunday, December 5, 2010

When two dollars is worth four-hundred, or more

Here's a real curio. On eBay, someone is selling a two dollar bill apparently signed by Louise Brooks. The bill dates from 1976, and the signature looks right. However, there is no story of how this piece of American currency came to be autographed by Brooks.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Yuna Yang fashion designs Louise Brooks

Yuna Yang is a New York City based fashion designer who also happens to love Louise Brooks. I've been in touch with Yang, and in our email exchanges, she has said so. Yang also made mention of her interest in the Brooks' look in her most recent blog post. Yesterday, Yang wrote

Yuna Yang FW 2010 was inspired by the provocative style of the 1920’s

silent movie starlet Mary Louise Brooks. Also known as ‘Lulu,’
Brooks traveled across the world, performing as a dancer and actress
in both Europe and America. With her forward

thinking fashion sense; her clothes became an external representation
of her innovative and liberal spirit. Lulu’s fashion heralded the

emergent role of women in society, part of the twentieth century’s
momentum that would give rise to feminism, women’s liberation and its
corollary, ready-to-wear fashion.

Yuna Yang FW2010 collection, manufactured right here in Manhattan, is
unique in providing couture quality ready to wear designs. 
There is a bit more about Yuna Yang at my Louise Brooks column on examiner.com. Also, check out Yang's blog at http://yuna-yang.blogspot.com/ or her website at http://www.yunayang.com/

Friday, December 3, 2010

More This and That

More good news: another library has acquired the Louise Brooks edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl for their collection. The Thousand Oaks Library (the "Grant R. Brimhall Library") in southern California now lists the book as part of their collection.

And today, Book Passage in Corte Madera, California also took copies for their store. Book Passage is a well known independent bookstore located in Marin County.

Also, the small exhibit of material related to the book on display at the San Francisco Public Library has been extended and will remain on display through December 14th. The display - pictured below - is on the fourth floor.


If you haven't already done so, please check out this guest blog I wrote about the book in anticipation of the November 14th event at the SFPL. This guest blog is hosted on the San Francisco Public Library Art, Music & Recreation Center blog at http://sfplamr.blogspot.com/2010/11/diary-of-lost-girl.html

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This and that, The Diary of a Lost Girl & Louise Brooks

I just received the most recent email newsletter from the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum. They announced their December line-up of films, and also included a few pictures from their gift shop and film vault. There always seems to be a lot going on at the Fremont, California film museum. On Christmas night, they are screening Ella Cinders, starring that other bobbed-haired wonder from the Jazz Age - Colleen Moore.

I was especially pleased to see Louise Brooks front and center in a snapshot of one of their gift shop displays.


My recent Louise Brooks edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl is doing well. A friend emailed me to say they saw it on display at the Neue Gallerie in New York City. And this past weekend, I visited Petaluma, California (a little more than an hour north of San Francisco) where I saw the book on display at Copperfields. According to the clerk at the cashier, this large stire has already sold 3 of the 5 copies they ordered! That's a pretty good sell-through. Here's an in situ snapshot of the book at Copperfields, right next to a George Clooney cover in the fiction section. Oh, and that's me.


The other good news is that another library has acquired the book for their collection. The Dakota County Library in Eagan, Minnesota go a copy last week. God bless em - as they are the second Minnesota library to acquire the book - the other being the Hennepin County Library. And here at my local San Francisco Public Library, their are 16 holds on the 4 copies they have in their collection! Wowza.

On January 13th of next year, I will be speaking about The Diary of a Lost Girl at the Village Voice Bookshop in Paris - with a screening of the film to follow at the nearby Action Cinema. While in France, I also plan on visiting the Cinémathèque Française and other Parisian sights connected with the actress's time there. More about the book can be found at http://www.pandorasbox.com/diary.html.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

King of Gamblers star subject of new book

(adapted from my article on examiner.com)

King of Gamblers was one of the last films in which Louise Brooks had a role. Unfortunately, her small part – as the fiancé to a character played by Lloyd Nolan - was cut at the time of the film’s release. Nevertheless, this 1937 Paramount drama - an underworld crime story about a slot-machine racket and the crusading reporter who uncovers it – is a terrific “B” movie given “A” treatment at the hands of director Robert Florey. Should you ever have a chance to see it, you won’t be disappointed. [Duped copies of the film sometimes show up on eBay. it has never been officially released on either VHS or DVD.]

The film stars Akim Tamiroff as a syndicate boss. However, it’s the crusading reporter in King of Gamblers, played by Nolan, who steals the show.

Nolan, a venerable character actor whose career spanned 50 years, is the subject of a new book by broadcaster Joel Blumberg and writer Sandra Grabman. The 294-page Lloyd Nolan: An Actor's Life With Meaning has just been published by BearManor Media. The book is a good read, contains a few bits about King of Gamblers, and is worth checking out.

Joel Blumberg and writer Sandra Grabman’s Lloyd Nolan: An Actors Life With Meaning (BearManor Media) is available through amazon.com and Indiebound.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Girl in Every Port to screen at BFI in January

A Girl in Every Port, the 1928 Howard Hawks film starring Louise Brooks, Victor McLaglen and Robert Armstrong, will screen at the British Film Institute on January 2 and January 7. The film will be shown with live piano accompaniment, and is part of a Hawks retrospective taking place at the BFI. The film is being described as "Perhaps the most significant of Howard Hawks' silent films."


The BFI website notes, "History ranks this as the most significant of Hawks' silent films, because it seemingly persuaded GW Pabst to ask for Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box.

The Hawks film casts Brooks as a circus artiste, 'Mlle Godiva', who dives from a height into a small pool of water. She has Victor McLaglen and Robert Armstrong offering a towel, and she handles that with Lulu's aplomb, enjoying them both at the same time. So Brooks stands as the first Hawksian woman."

Monday, November 29, 2010

CyberMonday 15% off on The Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks edition)

Here's the perfect gift for the Louise Brooks / silent film fan on your holiday shopping list. Purchase The Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks edition) at Lulu.com and receive 15% off with coupon code STOCKING305
Use coupon code STOCKING305 at checkout and receive 15% off The Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks edition). This offer good only on Lulu.com. Maximum savings with this promotion is $10. You can only use the code once per account, and you can't use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. 

This great CyberMonday offer ends on December 15, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST. (Link to purchase.) This offer good only on Lulu.com, the recommended site on which to purchase this new book.

"In today's parlance this would be called a movie tie-in edition, but that seems a rather glib way to describe yet another privately published work that reveals an enormous amount of research and passion." - Leonard Maltin

"Read today, it's a fascinating time-trip back to another age, and yet remains compelling." - Jack Garner, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

"An important contribution to film history. . . . a volume of uncommon merit." - Richard Buller, author of A Beautiful Fairy Tale: The Life of Actress Lois Moran

"Thomas Gladysz is the leading authority on all matters pertaining to the legendary Louise Brooks. We owe him a debt of gratitude for bringing the groundbreaking novel, The Diary of a Lost Girl, back from obscurity." - Lon Davis, author of Silent Lives 

15% off The Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks edition)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New stage adaption of Lulu in Paris

The La Colline - théâtre national in Paris is putting on a new stage adaption of Frank Wedekind's Lulu plays. After this productions plays Paris, it will then tour around France next year. Here are the details via the La Colline website. (The production runs through December 23 - more images and video at the theater website.)

Photo © Élisabeth Carecchio 

overview
In a world where eroticism seems to have become a common law, no man can resist Lulu, even if death is the consequence of pleasure. Wedekind started writing this sensational drama in 1892, and went over it for twenty years, as if the period itself was giving birth to this mythical heroine. In Lulu’s story, the enchanting eros, promise of happiness, ends up turning to trash. The grotesque accents Wedekind valued so much echo till the very last tragic burst of the plot. It is this vim and the combative strength of this writing Stéphane Braunschweig will nourish his staging of the “monstrous tragedy” with.
english subtitled performances
Saturday 4 December at 7.30 p.m

& Tuesday 14 December at 7.30 p.m
cast and creative
director and stage designer Stéphane Braunschweig
artistic collaboration Anne-Françoise Benhamou
costumes Thibault Vancraenenbroeck
lighting Marion Hewlett
sound designer Xavier Jacquot
stage designer collaborator Alexandre De Dardel
director assistant Caroline Guiela
make-up and hair Karine Guillem
with Jean-Baptiste Anoumon, John Arnold, Elsa Bouchain, Thomas Condemine, Claude Duparfait, Philippe Faure, Philippe Girard, Christophe Maltot, Thierry Paret, Claire Rappin, Chloé Réjon, Grégoire Tachnakian, Anne-Laure Tondu
publication
The entire work of Wedekind is published by the edition Théâtrales/Maison Antoine Vitez. The theatrical version of Stephane Braunschweig relies on the first primitive version of the play (1894), translated from german by Jean-Louis Besson and Henri Christophe, to which were integrated a few elements of the 1913 version, translated by Ruth Orthmann, Eloi Recoing and Philippe Ivernel.
tour
Grenoble MC2 - 7 to 13 January 2011
Nantes Le Grand T - 19 to 22 January 2011
Toulouse TNT - 27 to 30 January 2011

Friday, November 26, 2010

Love Em and Leave Em


An especially charming image: Louise Brooks and Lawrence Gray in the 1926 film, Love Em and Leave Em.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rufus Wainwright comments on Louise Brooks

In an article on Straight.com, Rufus Wainwright commented on Louise Brooks and his recent CD, All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu. In an interview, Wainwright said this about the "Weimar-era icon":

“I was definitely thinking of Louise Brooks in Pandora’s Box,” says the piano-playing singer, calling from a San Francisco stop on his current tour. “But Lulu has become many different people over the past few months. It’s the concept of the ravaging, destructive beauty who kills you with a smile—something I worship and at the same time am frightened to death of. When I started touring, though, I felt like I was Lulu. Or my mother or Shakespeare’s Dark Lady would become Lulu.”

Monday, November 22, 2010

Best 2010 releases for the Louise Brooks fan

Looking for the perfect gift for the Louise Brooks fan on your holiday shopping list ? Look no further.

There are a handful of new books, DVDs, and CDs to choose from which should interest just about every Louise Brooks / Lulu fan.

I've selected the best of the 2010 releases and put together an annotated list, with links to buy, at examiner.com.

Check it out at http://www.examiner.com/louise-brooks-in-national/best-new-releases-for-the-louise-brooks-fan

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks edition) now on SALE

15% off The Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks edition)
Offer ends December 15, 2010
The perfect gift for the Louise Brooks / silent film fan on your holiday shopping list. Purchase The Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks edition) and receive 15% off with coupon code STOCKING305

The fine print: Use coupon code STOCKING305 at checkout and receive 15% off The Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks edition). Maximum savings with this promotion is $10. You can only use the code once per account, and you can't use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer ends on December 15, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST so try not to procrastinate! While very unlikely, the publisher does reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so. Finally, Lulu incurs the cost of this discount, so it does not impact the author's proceeds of the book. (Link to purchase.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Diary of a Lost Girl: So far, and into the future

So far, I have done four events for my new edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl. The first two - at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in July, and at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in October - were book signings. Each went well, and more than a few fans lined up at each event to get a copy of the book.

This past weekend, I did two more events. Each were presentations at which I gave a 25 minute talk accompanied by a Power Point presentation. The slide show included a number of little known images related to Louise Brooks and The Diary of a Lost Girl, including some not in the new edition. Each of these events went well.

Though there was a smallish crowd at the Saturday afternoon event at Orinda Books in  Orinda, they were devoted. We had a 100% sell through on books!  And, there was a lively question and answer period after my talk. That was enjoyable.

The event also gave me a chance to reconnect with my old pal Beth Ann Gallagher. We first met years ago over the internet when she set up the Louise Brooks group on the old Tribe.net social networking site. Then, she was living on the East Coast - but now she lives in the Bay Area and helps with events at Orinda Books, an independent bookstore in the East Bay. I was especially pleased that Beth introduced me at this my first event for the book!

Thanks to everyone at Orinda Books for making this a memorable happening! I appreciate it.

This fine independent bookstore is located near the Orinda Theater, a handsome art deco theater once likely frequented by the 1925 Miss America, Fay Lanphier (the star of the 1926 Louise Brooks film, The American Venus). Lanphier used to live in Orinda in the years following the second World War. Her husband owned and operated a bookstore there. And by the way, Orinda Books still has a few copies of my book for sale for those who couldn't make it to this special event.


The next day, on what would have been Louise Brooks' 104th birthday, I gave a presentation in the Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Public Library. At least 125 people showed up. And again, things went well. At least, everyone said they appreciated my introduction, and many were very enthused about having the chance to see the 1929 film, The Diary of a Lost Girl.

They was a buzz in the air. I think the event made a few new fans - and drew a few old ones as well. I did spot at least one person wearing a Louise Brooks t-shirt. The specially made Thymain and Lulu pinback buttons also proved popular. Here is a snapshot of me in action at the SFPL.


I especially want to thank SFPL staffer Maureen Russell, whose idea this event was – and, SFPL librarian Gretchen Good for not only making the event happen, but for helping this book of mine make its way out into the world. I hope at least a few of those who attended this event had a chance as well to see the small exhibit of related vintage material on display on the fourth floor. And thanx to the San Francisco Public Library Art, Music and Recreation Center for blogging about the book and event on a couple of occasions.


Next up is Books Inc in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco. That event is set for tomorrow, November 18th at 7:30 pm. I plan on giving a slightly modified version of my prepared presentation. Books Inc has been promoting the event heavily, and listings for it have shown up on various local television, news, and radio web sites - not to mention social networking sites.

I am getting excited. A handful of people have already told me they would be attending this event, the last scheduled for this year in the Bay Area. I may do one last book signing next February . . . .

I will be doing one more author event - in Paris at the English-language Village Voice bookshop. My presentation there on January 13th of next year will be followed by a screening of the Diary of a Lost Girl film at the nearby Action Cinema - should all go according to plan. Village Voice is a distinguished Paris bookstore. My event follows one they have scheduled with David Sedaris.

For more on the book, check out this information page, which has some background as well as links to reviews, additional information, and a list of the stores and museums around the country which carry the book. I've also created a special Facebook page for the book.

"Thymian lives."

A most unusual girl

This unusual product card - made by Cracks for the South American market according to the seller, is for sale on eBay. It depicts Louise Brooks, an early portrait by M.I. Boris. It almost appears as though her name is spelled Louise Brorks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy birthday Mabel Normand

A belated happy birthday to Mabel Normand (born November 9, 1892).

Louise Brooks is mentioned in this 1982 television clip featuring biographer Betty Harper Fussell, who can be seen discussing her then recently published life of Mabel Normand. Fussell's book came out around the same time as did Brooks' Lulu in Hollywood. (John Updike reviewed them together in the New Yorker).


There is a lot wrong with this bit of video - its a terrible interview, and the Charlie Chaplin clip certainly leaves something to be desired. The interviewer is Geoff Edwards, and the talk show is likely from a Los Angeles TV station.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The birthday girl, Louise Brooks

Happy birthday to Louise Brooks, who would have been 104 years old today. There was a great turn-out at the special event held in her honor at the San Francisco Public Library. Thanx to all the old and new Brooks fans who attended.

Happy birthday, Louise Brooks

Happy birthday to Louise Brooks. The Denishawn dancer, silent film actress, and author of Lulu in Hollywood was born on this day in 1906 in Cherryvale, Kansas. Come celebrate today at a special event held at the San Francisco Public Library!

If you can't make it to this San Francisco event - remember Brooks by checking out one of these related books or DVD's. Lulu forever!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Today in Orinda, CA - Louise Brooks celebration

Today, at 2 pm, I'll be speaking about the new "Louise Brooks edition" of The Diary of a Lost Girl at Orinda Books in Orinda, CA. My presentation will include an author talk, slide show, Q&A, and booksigning. More about the event can be found on the Lamorinda Patch at http://lamorinda.patch.com/events/thomas-gladysz-discusses-the-diary-of-a-lost-girl

This special event takes place on the day before what would have been Louise Brooks 104th birthday. Orinda, I might add, was the one-time home of Fay Lanphier, the first ever Miss America from California and star of the 1926 Louise Brooks' film The American Venus. In the post WWII era, Lanphier's husband owned a bookstore in Orinda (not Orinda Books, alas). Hope to see some of you there.

[More about the new "Louise Brooks edition" of The Diary of a Lost Girl and future events in San Francisco, CA and Paris, France can be found at http://www.pandorasbox.com/diary.html ]

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tagebuch einer Verlorenen: Screening und Lesung

The local Goethe-Institut is helping promote Sunday's event, "The Diary of a Lost Girl, from book to film," at the San Francisco Public Library. Here is what they have to say about it, in German.

Tagebuch einer Verlorenen
Screening und Lesung

Film
Sonntag, 14. November 2010, 13:00 Uhr
Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Public
Library
100 Larkin Street, San Francisco
Diese Veranstaltung ist oeffentlich und kostenlos

The Diary of a Lost Girl
Thomas Gladysz, Direktor der Louise Brooks Society, wird eine kurze Lesung zu seiner Neuauflage des Buchs “Tagebuch einer Verlorenen”, der Deutschen Schritstellerin, Margarete Bohme
(1967-1939) geben. Im Anschluss wird der gleichnamige Film von 1929 gezeigt.

Dieses Buch wurde ursprünglich in Deutschland im Jahre 1905 veröffentlicht und ist seit über 100 Jahren in USA nicht erhältlich gewesen.

INHALT: Der Film, "Diary of a Lost Girl" (1929) von Louise Brooks basiert auf dem 1905 veröffentlichten kontroversen Bestseller. Zu Beginn des 20ten Jahrhunderts stellte das Buch eine literarische Sensation dar, verkaufte sich bis zum Jahre 1929 über 1.2 Mio mal und gehört damit zu den meistverkauftesten Buchern in Deutschland überhaupt.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Louise Brooks event: Diary of a Lost Girl

I've finished my power point presentation for Sunday's event, "The Diary of a Lost Girl: From book to film," at the San Francisco Public Library. The SFPL page for the event can be found at http://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=1002352301 The event is set to start at 1 pm, and will be held in the Koret Auditorium (seats about 250).

I plan on giving a 15 minute talk (with a slide show featuring a handful of rare images),  followed by a screening of the 1929 G.W. Pabst film, The Diary of a Lost Girl. Copies of my new "Louise Brooks edition" of The Diary of a Lost Girl will be for sale, and I will sign copies for those interested. This event is free and open to the public.

Today, I received a really nice email from Louise Brooks biographer Barry Paris complimenting me on the book and saying how much he wishes he could be at this special event - which takes place on what would have been Louise Brooks' 104th birthday. (Barry lives on the other side of the country.) I had also hoped that major LB fan Rufus Wainwright would make it. The celebrated singer songwriter is in town for a series of performances with the San Francisco Symphony. However, Wainwright has a flight the afternoon of the event and couldn't make it.

Nevertheless, I am looking forward to Sunday. The event got a nice write up in the San Francisco Chronicle, and that piece in turn got picked up by a news site in Flagstaff, Arizona. If anyone makes it from Flagstaff, I will give em a free book! I am also pleased that the Academy of Art University blog featured the event.

Louise Brooks postcard

This vintage postcard of Louise Brooks, issued in England in the late 1920s, is for sale on eBay.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Margaret Livingston

Margaret Livingston, one of the stars of Sunrise, as photographed by Melbourne Spurr. 


Livingston bore a slight resemblance to Louise Brooks, and dubbed the voice of Brooks in The Canary Murder Case (1929). In 1931, she married the band leader Paul Whiteman, and retired from film acting in 1934. This image is for sale on eBay.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Silent pictures

From 2008 - 2010, members of San Francisco bands Mellow Drunk, Dora Flood and Boyskout as well as Los Angeles bands Sky Parade and Gene Loves Jezebel began recording music under the name Silent Pictures.


The band is composed of Alexander Mann (Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keys, Drums), David Alexander (Drums, Bass, Guitar), Leigh Gregory (lead guitars), Steven Dietrick (drums), Joel Patterson (drums), Rene Perez (backing vocals, electone), andTommy Dietrick (Bass). I have been aware of them for some time - and they obviously have an affection for Louise Brooks, Clara Bow and silent film. 

If you are into Joy Division, Pale Saints, The Magnetic Fields, Wire, Television, Roxy Music, The Church, New Order, Air, Love and Rockets, Bryan Ferry, The Go-Betweens, Cocteau Twins, Brian Eno, Galaxie 500, Luna, Supergrass, Trashcan Sinatras, Tom Verlaine, Japan, Jesus and Mary Chain, The Kinks, Kraftwerk, XTC, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, The Stooges, The Smiths, Pavement, Pixies, Syd Barret of Clan of Xymox (another band with a love of Lulu), then you are sure to appreciate Silent Pictures. More about them at http://www.myspace.com/silentpictures

Saturday, November 6, 2010

More libraries carry Diary of a Lost Girl

A few more libraries have added The Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks edition) to their collections - including the Margaret Herrick Library (Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences), as well as the Rochester (NY) Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library, Wellesley College (Massachusetts) library, and the University of Arizona Library. 

I am especially pleased that the Rochester Public Library carries the book, as that was the library that Louise Brooks used when she lived in Rochester during the last few decades of her life.

The book is also available at through the University of Nebraska, the Hennepin County Library (Minnesota), the George Eastman House (Rochester, NY) and elsewhere.

Thank you to Gretchen, Julie, Amanda, and Mary for helping this book makes its way out into the world. Don't forget to suggest your local library carry a copy. (Many city and university libraries have a "suggest a purchase" form on their websites.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Love Em and Leave Em to screen in Rochester, NY

Love Em and Leave Em, the fast-paced 1926 romantic comedy featuring Louise Brooks, will be shown in the Dryden Theater at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York on Tuesday, November 16th at 8:00 pm. 

The GEH announcement states, "This early comedy features Louise Brooks and Evelyn Brent as the dueling Walsh sisters: Brent’s Mame is bookish and considerate, while Brooks’s Janie is a heartbreaking flapper whose morals extend so low as to snag her sister’s betrothed. Their relationship comes under even further trial as Janie finds herself in a financial hole from which only Mame’s sibling devotion can rescue her. Far ahead of its time in sexual politics, Love ’Em and Leave ’Em also exhibits one of Brooks’ rare onscreen dance routines. Live piano by Philip C. Carli."


The Dryden Theatre (where once Brooks herself used to watch films) is located at George Eastman House (900 East Avenue) in Rochester, New York. For further information, call 585.271.4090. A little more on this special event can be found at examiner.com

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Deutsche Welle on The Diary of a Lost Girl

Deutsche Welle, a leading English-language German news site (and television & radio network based in Europe) carried a big article today on the new Louise Brooks edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl.

The Neale Lytollis-penned article, "Forgotten book by Margarete Boehme to be revived in US," can be found at http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6171021,00.html 

The article begins, "Germany has a long literary tradition but names like Goethe and Schiller are likely to spring to mind before Margarete Boehme's. However, her profile is on the rise as one of her most famous works is re-published."

The Diary of a Lost Girl is available for purchase. More information at http://www.pandorasbox.com/diary.html and on the new Facebook page devoted to the book. Please check it out!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Facebook page for The Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks edition)

I have set up a new Facebook page for The Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks edition). And so far, I have added a bunch of images, with more coming! I also plan on adding background info, announcements, reviews, notice of events, links and more. Also, check out the SHOP NOW tab near the top of the the page. Those who "like" the page receive a 10% discount and free shipping on copies of The Diary of a Lost Girl purchased through Facebook. Check it out!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Louise Brooks makes a brief appearance

Louise Brooks makes a brief appearance in this brand new and rather swell promotional film for the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum.


Along with Bronco Billy, Charlie Chaplin, and early film, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum also love Louise Brooks! 

This is the same silent film museum where I recently introduced the rarely screened 1926 Brooks' film, Love Em and Leave Em. More than 100 people showed up. The good folk at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum gift shop also stock the recently published Louise Brooks edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl (PandorasBox Press), as well as a bunch of other nifty Brooks related stuff including posters and postcards. If you are anywhere near Fremont, California be sure and check em out.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The spooky corners of Louise Brooks’ career

(adapted from my article on examiner.com)

Since it's Halloween, I thought I might shine a light on a few of the spooky corners and "dark shadows" of Louise Brooks' career.

Because she typically played flappers and femme fatales, Brooks is not thought of as an actress associated with horror films or monster movies. However, there are a few interesting intersections between the actress's career and the gothic genres.

Did you know, for example, that Louise Brooks was considered for the title role in The Bride of Frankenstein? Director James Whale thought to cast Brooks or Brigitte Helm (the robot from Metropolis), before finally settling on Elsa Lanchester. The monster demanded a mate - though I think Brooks would have been a bit too sexy and a bit too animated for this big lug.

Along with Frankenstein, their is also a connection with Dracula. One interesting intersection revolves around The Diary of a Lost Girl.This controversial 1905 German bestseller by Margarete Bohme, the basis for the 1929 Louise Brooks film of the same name, was translated into English and published in the UK in 1907.


At the time, its sensational story line was praised by some and attacked by others. Among those wishing to ban it - according to the New York Times of December 11, 1907 was Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula. Curiously though, the dedicatee of Dracula, a now forgotten though once wildly popular novelist named Hall Caine, praised the book. He described this saddest of modern books as the “poignant story of a great-hearted girl who kept her soul alive amidst all the mire that surrounded her poor body.”

I will end this morbid blog with two splendidly gothic images from my new Louise Brooks edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl. The image on the left is the cover of the 1907 German edition of Bohme's book. And the image on the right is an illustration from a vintage Polish edition of the book.



Check out my article on examiner.com to learn about other connections - like that with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Know of others? Please post in the comments.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A rare Louise Brooks image

This fashion shot of Louise Brooks is quite uncommon, at least I haven't seen it before. It is currently for sale on eBay. Brooks seemed to do a at least a little modeling work in the late 1920s, as is evidenced by pictures like this and by her appearance in print advertisements for various products. I wonder if she received a fee for such work, and what it might have been.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bristol Silent’s Celebrating Louise Brooks

(adapted from my article on examiner.com)

Ten years ago, a local film group in the UK named Bristol Silent’s hosted its first ever event, a double bill featuring Louise Brooks. To mark the anniversary, the group (in conjunction with the Bristol Festival of Ideas and Arnolfini - a contemporary arts organization located in the English city) is putting on a special evening on October 29th celebrating the life and work of the actress. It’s an event no British fan of Brooks will want to miss.

Celebrating Louise Brooks” feature G.W. Pabst's Diary of a Lost Girl (1929). It will be preceded by Arena: Louise Brooks (1986), a superb British television documentary featuring interviews with Brooks in which she talks of her days in Paris and Berlin and her experiences in Hollywood. Film historian William Everson as well as Lothar Wolf (Pabst's publicist on Pandora's Box) are among the individuals seen speaking in the film.

This 55-minute documentary aired shortly after Brooks’ death. It is credited to Richard Leacock as director and includes footage of the actress he shot in the 1970s (some of which can be seen in the documentaries Lulu in Berlin and Looking for Lulu), as well as extracts from Brooks’ films. Arena: Louise Brooks is very rarely shown and is not otherwise available on video or DVD. If you live anywhere near Bristol, it's not to be missed.


Above is a clip from Diary of a Lost Girl which reminds us of what the Academy Award winning British film historian Kevin Brownlow once said, that Diary confirmed Pabst as one of the great directors of the silent period and established Brooks as an “actress of brilliance, a luminescent personality and a beauty unparalleled in screen history.”  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Louise Brooks: A pretty portrait

This image of Louise Brooks is currently for sale on eBay. It's a rather pretty portrait of the actress - and unusual in that her usual bob has been pulled back behind her ears. But yet, she is unsmiling.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Valentina postcards of Louise Brooks

A set of four postcards by the Italian comix artist Guido Crepax featuring Louise Brooks as Valentina are currently for sale on eBay. They were published in 1985.

The last card, orange tinted, has LB doing the Potempkin as von Stroheim looks on - curious and curiouser. The drawings are completely mystifying.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Good news from the European front

Good news from the European front: the local Goethe-Institut here in San Francisco is helping promote the November 14th event for The Diary of a Lost Girl at the San Francisco Public Library. They have posted it on their website and will include it in their newsletter!

And, the Neue Galerie in New York City ordered lots of copies of the book - they are the first NYC museum or store to stock copies. For those not familiar, the Neue Galerie (at 1048 Fifth Avenue) is a museum devoted to German and Austrian art. They should have the book within a week.

Also, a major German news organization is likely going to do a story. I shouldn't say who until it is published - but they have requested a copy of the book and images. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

And, there is a good chance of an event in Paris sometime early next year - in January, 2011. A friend and fan of Louise Brooks is attempting to set up a screening of Diary of a Lost Girl in conjunction with a talk at one of Paris' film theaters. Again, let's keep our fingers crossed. Here are a few key links.

Background info on the book: http://www.pandorasbox.com/diary.html

Goethe-Institut: http://www.goethe.de/ins/us/saf/ver/en6693917v.htm

San Francisco Public Library: http://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=1002352301

If there are any book reviewers / film reviewers / bloggers out there in need of a review copy of my new edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl - please let me know. I have a few copies to spare for those interested in writing something.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Beggars of Life screens in Los Angeles

(adapted from my article on examiner.com)

The acclaimed 1928 Louise Brooks film – directed by the Academy Award winner William Wellman – will be shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Saturday, October 23 at 7:30 pm. Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Vince Morton.

This special screening marks the second time in the last few months that this once-obscure Brooks film has been shown in Los Angeles. (It was also shown in Seattle last week.)

The LACMA screening honors the institution, The Film Foundation, which helped fund the recent George Eastman House restoration of the film which in turn helped spur the current interest in Beggars of Life.

Harrison Carroll, writing in the Los Angeles Evening Herald when the film first showed in Los Angeles (at the Metropolitan theater) wrote in 1928, “Considered from a moral standpoint, Beggars of Life is questionable, for it throws the glamour of adventure over tramp life and is occupied with building sympathy for an escaping murderess. As entertainment, however, it has tenseness and rugged earthy humor. . . . It is a departure from the wishy-washy romance and the fervid triangle drama.”

I would be pleased to hear from anyone who attends this LACMA event. Please post a write-up in the comments section.
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