Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Radio Lulu :: Listen Now to Louise Brooks Online Radio

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 our favorite  silent film star.


This unique station features music from six of the Louise 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). To know the other two, you will have to give a listen.

Other vintage tracks on RadioLulu associated with the actress 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 (each appeared in a Brooks' film). 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, Clan of Xymox and 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  be heard singing the charming "If I Had A Talking Picture Of You."

On RadioLulu, you'll also hear Jazz Age crooners, torch singers, Jazz Age dance bands, hotel orchestras, show tunes, standards, and some real sweet jazz! There are vintage recordings from England, France, Germany, and Czechoslovakia. There are also tracks featuring the celebrated 1930's Polish chanteuse Hanka Ordonówna (one of my faves), 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 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 features lots of great music, including rare recordings of movie stars from the silent and early sound era. Check it out, and happy New Year from the Louise Brooks Society. Let's end the year on a musical note with this swell video of the Avalon Jazz Band playing a song by Charles Trenet.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Charlie Chaplin Centennial Celebration

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival Presents

THE LITTLE TRAMP AT 100
A Charlie Chaplin Centennial Celebration


January 11, 2014 at the Castro Theater
The San Francisco Silent Film Festival is pleased to present a day of Charlie Chaplin films on Saturday, January 11th at the historic Castro Theater in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of Charlie Chaplin’s most renowned character, The Little Tramp. For more information visit http://www.silentfilm.org/special-events/the-little-tramp-at-100.

The program for the day includes:

Our Mutual Friend: Three Chaplin Shorts at 1PM
Charlie Chaplain made some of his greatest comedies at the Mutual Film Corporation. Chaplin acknowledged his time at Mutual as the most inventive and liberating period of his career. Approximately 90 minutes total. The shorts program includes:
  • The Vagabond (1916, with Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell). Charlie Chaplin plays is a musician who rescues a girl from a band of gypsies.
  • The Cure (1917, with Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Henry Bergman). An inebriated Charlie Chaplin checks into a sanitarium to take the cure, but brings a cabinet of liquor with him.
  • Easy Street (1917, with Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell). Blending comedy and social commentary Charlie Chaplin’s character goes from tramp to police constable. Accompanied by Jon Mirsalis on piano.   

THE KID at 4PM
Chaplin’s Little Tramp character becomes a surrogate father to an abandoned child in this eloquent marriage of comedy and sentiment. One of his most personal films, Chaplin himself was placed in a home for destitute children at age seven, THE KID is considered by many to be his most perfect. Additionally, celebrate the centennial of with Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914), the first appearance of Chaplin’s Tramp character. Approximately 70 minutes total. Accompanied by San Francisco Chamber Orchestra with Timothy Brock conducting Chaplin’s score.

Preceding THE KID, there will be Charlie Chaplin Look-Alike contest. Come dressed as the Little Tramp and win a prize!

THE GOLD RUSH at 7:30PM
Charlie Chaplin, inspired by images of the 1896 Klondike gold rush and the Donner Party disaster of 1846 (in which snowbound immigrants resorted to eating their shoes—and their dead companions—to survive), manages to turn a story of cold, hunger, and loneliness into a sublime comedy. The Little Tramp becomes a prospector who sets out for the Klondike to strike it rich, battling starvation, bears, and other prospectors along the way. THE GOLD RUSH contains some of the most iconic images in cinema, including the famous scene in which Charlie makes a gourmet feast of his boot! Georgia Hale plays the beautiful dance hall entertainer who steals Charlie’s heart. Approximately 80 minutes. Accompanied by San Francisco Chamber Orchestra with Timothy Brock conducting Chaplin’s score.

Tickets Information, Date and Public Contact Numbers
The San Francisco Silent Film Festival presentation of Charlie Chaplain at 100 takes place Saturday, January 11 at the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco. Tickets and passes are now on sale and are $15 for General, $13 for Members and $10 for Children for the Shorts Program and $22 for General, $20 for Members and $10 for Children for THE KID and THE GOLD RUSH. For complete ticket information, please visit the San Francisco Silent Film Festival at www.silentfilm.org, or call 415-777-4908 ext. 1 for group sales.

For more information, visit the SFSFF website at www.silentfilm.org.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pandora's Box played Dublin, Ireland

On Friday, December 27th, the 1929 film Pandora's Box, starring Louise Brooks, played in Dublin, with live accompaniment by 3EPKANO and special guest Michelle O'Rourke. Here is information on the screening from the event website.

*****

3epkano, formed by Cameron Doyle and Matthew Nolan, are dedicated to producing original soundtracks to silent, avant-garde, and contemporary cinema. Since 2004, the collective have played numerous headline shows in both Ireland and the US to critical acclaim.

Lurid and controversial melodrama, Pandora’s Box, is one of silent cinema’s great works, by master of early German cinema, G. W. Pabst. Sensationally modern, the film follows the downward spiral of the fiery, brash, yet innocent showgirl Lulu, whose sexual vivacity has a devastating effect on everyone she comes in contact with.

Michelle O’Rourke is an Irish singer currently based in Dublin & Berlin. Her natural, direct sound and unaffected expressivity make for a performer of rare dynamism. In recent years Michelle has found most inspiration in the work of living composers. She has been involved in the commission, premiere and touring of works by Linda Buckley, Garrett Sholdice, Benedict Schlepper-Connolly, Judith Ring and Andrew Hamilton, amongst others.

Michelle performs regularly with Ergodos musicians (I call to you released 2013). She has also performed as vocalist with the lauded Crash Ensemble, and as alto soloist with the RTE Concert Orchestra. Recent projects have included a song cycle for voice and chamber ensemble, titled Here I am, commissioned from Linda Buckley with support from the Irish Arts Council and Recueillement, a chamber opera by Garrett Sholdice.

At the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2012, Michelle was one of five selected artists to perform a Huddersfield Short. Her performance of music for voice and tape was singled out as an ‘exquisite moment’ in the UK Independent. Her dynamic vocal performance in Hamilton’s demanding music for people who like art with Crash Ensemble at HCMF was also singled out in the Irish Times.

*****

BUTTON FACTORY Presents
PANDORA’S BOX with live accompaniment by 3EPKANO and special guest Michelle O'Rourke
Friday 27th December 2013
The Button Factory – Curved Street, Temple Bar – Dublin 2.
Doors – 7:30pm

Tickets €10 (this price includes booking fee) available from Ticketmaster

About the film...Germany / 1929 / 133 minutes / Black and White / 1.33:1
"One of the masters of early German cinema, G. W. Pabst had an innate talent for discovering actresses (including Greta Garbo). And perhaps none of his female stars shone brighter than Kansas native and onetime Ziegfeld girl Louise Brooks, whose legendary persona was defined by Pabst’s lurid, controversial melodrama Pandora’s Box. Sensationally modern, the film follows the downward spiral of the fiery, brash, yet innocent showgirl Lulu, whose sexual vivacity has a devastating effect on everyone she comes in contact with. Daring and stylish, Pandora’s Box is one of silent cinema’s great masterworks and a testament to Brooks’s dazzling individuality."

About 3epkano...3epkano are a Dublin based collective, formed by Cameron Doyle and Matthew Nolan, who are dedicated to producing original soundtracks to silent, avant-garde, and contemporary cinema since 2004, the group have played numerous headline shows in both Ireland and the US to critical acclaim. They have also been commissioned to produce new music for a number of prestigious institutions including The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin Fringe Festival, Film Society of Lincoln Centre and the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in New York. In 2008 the group took responsibility for curating the new alternative music strand at the Kilkenny Arts Festival, a programme which included Mercury Rev, Spiritualized, and Lisa Hannigan to name but a few. They returned to BAM in 2010 to premier their score for Diary of a Lost Girl and also performed 2011 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC to launch their winter movie calendar. Their most recent work involves a collaboration with the acclaimed singer, Iarla O'Lionaird. 2014 will see them celebrate their 10th year together.

"Full of urgent percussion and sweeping strings, [the performance] owes a great deal to pioneering Montreal post-rockers Godspeed You Black Emperor…..the overall effect was mesmerising."
Davin O’Dwyer - The Irish Times

"It’s very hard to describe, but for such a feather-light sound to mesmerise as it did was one of the most fascinating concert experiences I’ve had."
Hillary White – State

"Conjuring an atmosphere not too far from Mogwai's signature dynamics, only with more emphasis on melody and fewer concerted efforts to terrify the listener."
Tim Smyth - Hot Press

Video link...A tribute to Louise Brooks by 3epkano - http://vimeo.com/35895172


A Tribute to Louise Brooks from 3epkano video on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Bernice Bobs Her Hair, part three

Happy holidays from the Louise Brooks Society. As a special treat for our many readers and thousands of followers, presented here is F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous 1920 short story, "Bernice Bobs Her Hair." It is a trademark work of the Jazz Age. 

It is not known if Louise Brooks read this story, as she was only 14 years old when it was first published. However, it is known that Brooks and Fitzgerald later encountered one another on at least one occasion.

"Bernice Bobs Her Hair" tells the story of a shy young woman who leaves the confines and regularity of her home to visit her flapper cousin. When her cousin tries to teach Bernice how to be modern, Bernice gives her much more than she bargained for. In 1976, there was a TV movie made starring Shelly Duvall.

"Bernice Bobs Her Hair" was written in 1920 and first published in the Saturday Evening Post in May of that year (pictured below). The publication of the story marked the first time Fitzgerald's name appeared on the cover of the prestigious magazine. The story later appeared in Fitzgerald's short story collection Flappers and Philosophers

The first installment appeared two days ago, the second installment yesterday. The third and final installment (featuring parts V and VI) can be found below. Find out what happens to Bernice!


Part V
To Bernice the next week was a revelation. With the feeling that people really enjoyed looking at her and listening to her came the foundation of self-confidence. Of course there were numerous mistakes at first. She did not know, for instance, that Draycott Deyo was studying for the ministry; she was unaware that he had cut in on her because he thought she was a quiet, reserved girl. Had she known these things she would not have treated him to the line which began "Hello, Shell Shock!" and continued with the bathtub story--"It takes a frightful lot of energy to fix my hair in the summer--there's so much of it--so I always fix it first and powder my face and put on my hat; then I get into the bathtub, and dress afterward. Don't you think that's the best plan?"

Though Draycott Deyo was in the throes of difficulties concerning baptism by immersion and might possibly have seen a connection, it must be admitted that he did not. He considered feminine bathing an immoral subject, and gave her some of his ideas on the depravity of modern society.

But to offset that unfortunate occurrence Bernice had several signal successes to her credit. Little Otis Ormonde pleaded off from a trip East and elected instead to follow her with a puppy-like devotion, to the amusement of his crowd and to the irritation of G. Reece Stoddard, several of whose afternoon calls Otis completely ruined by the disgusting tenderness of the glances he bent on Bernice. He even told her the story of the two-by-four and the dressing-room to show her how frightfully mistaken he and every one else had been in their first judgment of her. Bernice laughed off that incident with a slight sinking sensation.

Of all Bernice's conversation perhaps the best known and most universally approved was the line about the bobbing of her hair.

"Oh, Bernice, when you goin' to get the hair bobbed?"

"Day after to-morrow maybe," she would reply, laughing. "Will you come and see me? Because I'm counting on you, you know."

"Will we? You know! But you better hurry up."

Bernice, whose tonsorial intentions were strictly dishonorable, would laugh again.

"Pretty soon now. You'd be surprised."

But perhaps the most significant symbol of her success was the gray car of the hypercritical Warren McIntyre, parked daily in front of the Harvey house. At first the parlor-maid was distinctly startled when he asked for Bernice instead of Marjorie; after a week of it she told the cook that Miss Bernice had gotta hold a Miss Marjorie's best fella.

And Miss Bernice had. Perhaps it began with Warren's desire to rouse jealousy in Marjorie; perhaps it was the familiar though unrecognized strain of Marjorie in Bernice's conversation; perhaps it was both of these and something of sincere attraction besides. But somehow the collective mind of the younger set knew within a week that Marjorie's most reliable beau had made an amazing face-about and was giving an indisputable rush to Marjorie's guest. The question of the moment was how Marjorie would take it. Warren called Bernice on the 'phone twice a day, sent her notes, and they were frequently seen together in his roadster, obviously engrossed in one of those tense,
significant conversations as to whether or not he was sincere.

Marjorie on being twitted only laughed. She said she was mighty glad that Warren had at last found some one who appreciated him. So the younger set laughed, too, and guessed that Marjorie didn't care and let it go at that.

One afternoon when there were only three days left of her visit Bernice was waiting in the hall for Warren, with whom she was going to a bridge party. She was in rather a blissful mood, and when Marjorie--also bound for the party--appeared beside her and began casually to adjust her hat in the mirror, Bernice was utterly unprepared for anything in the nature of a clash. Marjorie did her work very coldly and succinctly in three sentences.

"You may as well get Warren out of your head," she said coldly.

"What?" Bernice was utterly astounded.

"You may as well stop making a fool of yourself over Warren McIntyre. He doesn't care a snap of his fingers about you."

For a tense moment they regarded each other--Marjorie scornful, aloof; Bernice astounded, half-angry, half-afraid. Then two cars drove up in front of the house and there was a riotous honking. Both of them gasped faintly, turned, and side by side hurried out.

All through the bridge party Bernice strove in vain to master a rising uneasiness. She had offended Marjorie, the sphinx of sphinxes. With the most wholesome and innocent intentions in the world she had stolen Marjorie's property. She felt suddenly and horribly guilty. After the bridge game, when they sat in an informal circle and the conversation became general, the storm gradually broke. Little Otis Ormonde inadvertently precipitated it.

"When you going back to kindergarten, Otis?" some one had asked.

"Me? Day Bernice gets her hair bobbed."

"Then your education's over," said Marjorie quickly. "That's only a bluff of hers. I should think you'd have realized."

"That a fact?" demanded Otis, giving Bernice a reproachful glance.

Bernice's ears burned as she tried to think up an effectual come-back. In the face of this direct attack her imagination was paralyzed.

"There's a lot of bluffs in the world," continued Marjorie quite pleasantly. "I should think you'd be young enough to know that, Otis."

"Well," said Otis, "maybe so. But gee! With a line like Bernice's--"

"Really?" yawned Marjorie. "What's her latest bon mot?"

No one seemed to know. In fact, Bernice, having trifled with her muse's beau, had said nothing memorable of late.

"Was that really all a line?" asked Roberta curiously.

Bernice hesitated. She felt that wit in some form was demanded of her, but under her cousin's suddenly frigid eyes she was completely incapacitated.

"I don't know," she stalled.

"Splush!" said Marjorie. "Admit it!"

Bernice saw that Warren's eyes had left a ukulele he had been tinkering with and were fixed on her questioningly.

"Oh, I don't know!" she repeated steadily. Her cheeks were glowing.

"Splush!" remarked Marjorie again.

"Come through, Bernice," urged Otis. "Tell her where to get off."

Bernice looked round again--she seemed unable to get away from Warren's eyes.

"I like bobbed hair," she said hurriedly, as if he had asked her a question, "and I intend to bob mine."
"When?" demanded Marjorie.

"Any time."

"No time like the present," suggested Roberta.

Otis jumped to his feet.

"Good stuff!" he cried. "We'll have a summer bobbing party. Sevier Hotel barber-shop, I think you said."

In an instant all were on their feet. Bernice's heart throbbed violently.

"What?" she gasped.

Out of the group came Marjorie's voice, very clear and contemptuous.

"Don't worry--she'll back out!"

"Come on, Bernice!" cried Otis, starting toward the door.

Four eyes--Warren's and Marjorie's--stared at her, challenged her, defied her. For another second she wavered wildly.

"All right," she said swiftly, "I don't care if I do."

An eternity of minutes later, riding down-town through the late afternoon beside Warren, the others following in Roberta's car close behind, Bernice had all the sensations of Marie Antoinette bound for the guillotine in a tumbrel. Vaguely she wondered why she did not cry out that it was all a mistake. It was all she could do to keep from clutching her hair with both hands to protect it from the suddenly hostile world. Yet she did neither. Even the thought of her mother was no deterrent now. This was the test supreme of her sportsmanship; her right to walk unchallenged in the starry heaven of popular girls.

Warren was moodily silent, and when they came to the hotel he drew up at the curb and nodded to Bernice to precede him out. Roberta's car emptied a laughing crowd into the shop, which presented two bold plate-glass windows to the street.

Bernice stood on the curb and looked at the sign, Sevier Barber-Shop. It was a guillotine indeed, and the hangman was the first barber, who, attired in a white coat and smoking a cigarette, leaned nonchalantly against the first chair. He must have heard of her; he must have been waiting all week, smoking eternal cigarettes beside that portentous, too-often-mentioned first chair. Would they blindfold her? No, but they would tie a white cloth round her neck lest any of her blood--nonsense--hair--should get on her clothes.

"All right, Bernice," said Warren quickly.

With her chin in the air she crossed the sidewalk, pushed open the swinging screen-door, and giving not a glance to the uproarious, riotous row that occupied the waiting bench, went up to the first barber.

"I want you to bob my hair."

The first barber's mouth slid somewhat open. His cigarette dropped to the floor.

"Huh?"

"My hair--bob it!"

Refusing further preliminaries, Bernice took her seat on high. A man in the chair next to her turned on his side and gave her a glance, half lather, half amazement. One barber started and spoiled little Willy Schuneman's monthly haircut. Mr. O'Reilly in the last chair grunted and swore musically in ancient Gaelic as a razor bit into his cheek. Two bootblacks became wide-eyed and rushed for her feet. No, Bernice didn't care for a shine.

Outside a passer-by stopped and stared; a couple joined him; half a dozen small boys' noses sprang into life, flattened against the glass; and snatches of conversation borne on the summer breeze drifted in through the screen-door.

"Lookada long hair on a kid!"

"Where'd yuh get 'at stuff? 'At's a bearded lady he just finished shavin'."

But Bernice saw nothing, heard nothing. Her only living sense told her that this man in the white coat had removed one tortoise-shell comb and then another; that his fingers were fumbling clumsily with unfamiliar hairpins; that this hair, this wonderful hair of hers, was going--she would never again feel its long voluptuous pull as it hung in a dark-brown glory down her back. For a second she was near breaking down, and then the picture before her swam mechanically into her vision--Marjorie's mouth curling in a faint ironic smile as if to say:

"Give up and get down! You tried to buck me and I called your bluff. You see you haven't got a prayer."

And some last energy rose up in Bernice, for she clinched her hands under the white cloth, and there was a curious narrowing of her eyes that Marjorie remarked on to some one long afterward.

Twenty minutes later the barber swung her round to face the mirror, and she flinched at the full extent of the damage that had been wrought. Her hair was not curly, and now it lay in lank lifeless blocks on both sides of her suddenly pale face. It was ugly as sin--she had known it would be ugly as sin. Her face's chief charm had been a Madonna-like simplicity. Now that was gone and she was--well, frightfully mediocre--not stagy; only ridiculous, like a Greenwich Villager who had left her spectacles at home.

As she climbed down from the chair she tried to smile--failed miserably. She saw two of the girls exchange glances; noticed Marjorie's mouth curved in attenuated mockery--and that Warren's eyes were suddenly very cold.

"You see"--her words fell into an awkward pause--"I've done it."

"Yes, you've--done it," admitted Warren.

"Do you like it?"

There was a half-hearted "Sure" from two or three voices, another awkward pause, and then Marjorie turned swiftly and with serpentlike intensity to Warren.

"Would you mind running me down to the cleaners?" she asked. "I've simply got to get a dress there before supper. Roberta's driving right home and she can take the others."

Warren stared abstractedly at some infinite speck out the window. Then for an instant his eyes rested coldly on Bernice before they turned to Marjorie.

"Be glad to," he said slowly.

Part VI

Bernice did not fully realize the outrageous trap that had been set for her until she met her aunt's amazed glance just before dinner.

"Why, Bernice!"

"I've bobbed it, Aunt Josephine."

"Why, child!"

"Do you like it?"

"Why, Ber-nice!"

"I suppose I've shocked you."

"No, but what'll Mrs. Deyo think tomorrow night? Bernice, you should have waited until after the Deyos' dance--you should have waited if you wanted to do that."

"It was sudden, Aunt Josephine. Anyway, why does it matter to Mrs. Deyo particularly?"

"Why, child," cried Mrs. Harvey, "in her paper on `The Foibles of the Younger Generation' that she read at the last meeting of the Thursday Club she devoted fifteen minutes to bobbed hair. It's her pet abomination. And the dance is for you and Marjorie!"

"I'm sorry."

"Oh, Bernice, what'll your mother say? She'll think I let you do it."

"I'm sorry."

Dinner was an agony. She had made a hasty attempt with a curling-iron, and burned her finger and much hair. She could see that her aunt was both worried and grieved, and her uncle kept saying, "Well, I'll be darned!" over and over in a hurt and faintly hostile tone. And Marjorie sat very quietly, intrenched behind a faint smile, a faintly mocking smile.

Somehow she got through the evening. Three boys called; Marjorie disappeared with one of them, and Bernice made a listless unsuccessful attempt to entertain the two others--sighed thankfully as she climbed the stairs to her room at half past ten. What a day!

When she had undressed for the night the door opened and Marjorie came in.

"Bernice," she said, "I'm awfully sorry about the Deyo dance. I'll give you my word of honor I'd forgotten all about it."

"'Sall right," said Bernice shortly. Standing before the mirror she passed her comb slowly through her short hair.

"I'll take you down-town to-morrow," continued Marjorie, "and the hairdresser'll fix it so you'll look slick. I didn't imagine you'd go through with it. I'm really mighty sorry."

"Oh, 'sall right!"

"Still it's your last night, so I suppose it won't matter much."

Then Bernice winced as Marjorie tossed her own hair over her shoulders and began to twist it slowly into two long blond braids until in her cream-colored negligée she looked like a delicate painting of some Saxon princess. Fascinated, Bernice watched the braids grow. Heavy and luxurious they were, moving under the supple fingers like restive snakes--and to Bernice remained this relic and the curling-iron and a to-morrow full of eyes. She could see G. Reece Stoddard, who liked her, assuming his Harvard manner and telling his dinner partner that Bernice shouldn't have been allowed to go to the movies so much; she could see Draycott Deyo exchanging glances with his mother and then being conscientiously charitable to her. But then perhaps by to-morrow Mrs. Deyo would have heard the news; would send round an icy little note requesting that she fail to appear--and behind her back they would all laugh and know that Marjorie had made a fool of her; that her chance at beauty had been sacrificed to the jealous whim of a selfish girl. She sat down suddenly before the mirror, biting the inside of her cheek.

"I like it," she said with an effort. "I think it'll be becoming."

Marjorie smiled.

"It looks all right. For heaven's sake, don't let it worry you!"

"I won't."

"Good night, Bernice."

But as the door closed something snapped within Bernice. She sprang dynamically to her feet, clinching her hands, then swiftly and noiselessly crossed over to her bed and from underneath it dragged out her suitcase. Into it she tossed toilet articles and a change of clothing. Then she turned to her trunk and quickly dumped in two drawerfuls of lingerie and summer dresses. She moved quietly, but with deadly efficiency, and in three-quarters of an hour her trunk was locked and strapped and she was fully dressed in a becoming new travelling suit that Marjorie had helped her pick out.

Sitting down at her desk she wrote a short note to Mrs. Harvey, in which she briefly outlined her reasons for going. She sealed it, addressed it, and laid it on her pillow. She glanced at her watch. The train left at one, and she knew that if she walked down to the Marborough Hotel two blocks away she could easily get a taxicab.

Suddenly she drew in her breath sharply and an expression flashed into her eyes that a practised character reader might have connected vaguely with the set look she had worn in the barber's chair-- somehow a development of it. It was quite a new look for Bernice and it carried consequences.
She went stealthily to the bureau, picked up an article that lay there, and turning out all the lights stood quietly until her eyes became accustomed to the darkness. Softly she pushed open the door to Marjorie's room. She heard the quiet, even breathing of an untroubled conscience asleep.

She was by the bedside now, very deliberate and calm. She acted swiftly. Bending over she found one of the braids of Marjorie's hair, followed it up with her hand to the point nearest the head, and then holding it a little slack so that the sleeper would feel no pull, she reached down with the shears and severed it. With the pigtail in her hand she held her breath. Marjorie had muttered something in her sleep. Bernice deftly amputated the other braid, paused for an instant, and then flitted swiftly and silently back to her own room.

Down-stairs she opened the big front door, closed it carefully behind her, and feeling oddly happy and exuberant stepped off the porch into the moonlight, swinging her heavy grip like a shopping-bag. After a minute's brisk walk she discovered that her left hand still held the two blond braids. She laughed unexpectedly--had to shut her mouth hard to keep from emitting an absolute peal. She was passing Warren's house now, and on the impulse she set down her baggage, and swinging the braids like pieces of rope flung them at the wooden porch, where they landed with a slight thud. She laughed again, no longer restraining herself.

"Huh!" she giggled wildly. "Scalp the selfish thing!"

Then picking up her suitcase she set off at a half-run down the moonlit street.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Bernice Bobs Her Hair, part two

Happy holidays from the Louise Brooks Society. As a special treat for our many readers and thousands of followers, presented here is F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous 1920 short story, "Bernice Bobs Her Hair." It is a trademark work of the Jazz Age. 

It is not known if Louise Brooks read this story, as she was only 14 years old when it was first published. However, it is known that Brooks and Fitzgerald later encountered one another on at least one occasion.

"Bernice Bobs Her Hair" tells the story of a shy young woman who leaves the confines and regularity of her home to visit her flapper cousin. When her cousin tries to teach Bernice how to be modern, Bernice gives her much more than she bargained for. In 1976, there was a TV movie made starring Shelly Duvall.

"Bernice Bobs Her Hair" was written in 1920 and first published in the Saturday Evening Post in May of that year (pictured below). The publication of the story marked the first time Fitzgerald's name appeared on the cover of the prestigious magazine. The story later appeared in Fitzgerald's short story collection Flappers and Philosophers

The first installment appeared yesterday. The second installment (featuring parts III and IV) can be found below. The third installment runs tomorrow. Tune in to find out what happens!


Part III

While Marjorie was breakfasting late next day Bernice came into the room with a rather formal good morning, sat down opposite, stared intently over and slightly moistened her lips.

"What's on your mind?" inquired Marjorie, rather puzzled.

Bernice paused before she threw her hand-grenade.

"I heard what you said about me to your mother last night."

Marjorie was startled, but she showed only a faintly heightened color and her voice was quite even when she spoke.

"Where were you?"

"In the hall. I didn't mean to listen--at first."

After an involuntary look of contempt Marjorie dropped her eyes and became very interested in balancing a stray corn-flake on her finger.

"I guess I'd better go back to Eau Claire--if I'm such a nuisance." Bernice's lower lip was trembling violently and she continued on a wavering note: "I've tried to be nice, and--and I've been first neglected and then insulted. No one ever visited me and got such treatment."

Marjorie was silent.

"But I'm in the way, I see. I'm a drag on you. Your friends don't like me." She paused, and then remembered another one of her grievances. "Of course I was furious last week when you tried to hint to me that that dress was unbecoming. Don't you think I know how to dress myself?"

"No," murmured Marjorie less than half-aloud.

"What?"

"I didn't hint anything," said Marjorie succinctly. "I said, as I remember, that it was better to wear a becoming dress three times straight than to alternate it with two frights."

"Do you think that was a very nice thing to say?"

"I wasn't trying to be nice." Then after a pause: "When do you want to go?"

Bernice drew in her breath sharply.

"Oh!" It was a little half-cry.

Marjorie looked up in surprise.

"Didn't you say you were going?"

"Yes, but----"

"Oh, you were only bluffing!"

They stared at each other across the breakfast-table for a moment. Misty waves were passing before Bernice's eyes, while Marjorie's face wore that rather hard expression that she used when slightly intoxicated undergraduates were making love to her.

"So you were bluffing," she repeated as if it were what she might have expected.
Bernice admitted it by bursting into tears. Marjorie's eyes showed boredom.

"You're my cousin," sobbed Bernice. "I'm v-v-visiting you. I was to stay a month, and if I go home my mother will know and she'll wah-wonder----"

Marjorie waited until the shower of broken words collapsed into little sniffles.

"I'll give you my month's allowance," she said coldly, "and you can spend this last week anywhere you want. There's a very nice hotel----"

Bernice's sobs rose to a flute note, and rising of a sudden she fled from the room.

An hour later, while Marjorie was in the library absorbed in composing one of those non-committal, marvellously elusive letters that only a young girl can write, Bernice reappeared, very red-eyed and consciously calm. She cast no glance at Marjorie but took a book at random from the shelf and sat down as if to read. Marjorie seemed absorbed in her letter and continued writing. When the clock showed noon Bernice closed her book with a snap.

"I suppose I'd better get my railroad ticket."

This was not the beginning of the speech she had rehearsed up-stairs, but as Marjorie was not getting her cues--wasn't urging her to be reasonable; it's all a mistake--it was the best opening she could muster.

"Just wait till I finish this letter," said Marjorie without looking round. "I want to get it off in the next mail."

After another minute, during which her pen scratched busily, she turned round and relaxed with an air of "at your service." Again Bernice had to speak.

"Do you want me to go home?"

"Well," said Marjorie, considering, "I suppose if you're not having a good time you'd better go. No use being miserable."

"Don't you think common kindness----"

"Oh, please don't quote `Little Women'!" cried Marjorie impatiently. "That's out of style."

"You think so?"


"Heavens, yes! What modern girl could live like those inane females?"

"They were the models for our mothers."

Marjorie laughed.

"Yes, they were--not! Besides, our mothers were all very well in their way, but they know very little about their daughters' problems."

Bernice drew herself up.

"Please don't talk about my mother."

Marjorie laughed.

"I don't think I mentioned her."

Bernice felt that she was being led away from her subject.

"Do you think you've treated me very well?"

"I've done my best. You're rather hard material to work with."

The lids of Bernice's eyes reddened.

"I think you're hard and selfish, and you haven't a feminine quality in you."

"Oh, my Lord!" cried Marjorie in desperation. "You little nut! Girls like you are responsible for all the tiresome colorless marriages; all those ghastly inefficiencies that pass as feminine qualities. What a blow it must be when a man with imagination marries the beautiful bundle of clothes that he's been building ideals round, and finds that she's just a weak, whining, cowardly mass of affectations!"
Bernice's mouth had slipped half open.

"The womanly woman!" continued Marjorie. "Her whole early life is occupied in whining criticisms of girls like me who really do have a good time."

Bernice's jaw descended farther as Marjorie's voice rose.

"There's some excuse for an ugly girl whining. If I'd been irretrievably ugly I'd never have forgiven my parents for bringing me into the world. But you're starting life without any handicap--" Marjorie's little fist clinched. "If you expect me to weep with you you'll be disappointed. Go or stay, just as you like." And picking up her letters she left the room.

Bernice claimed a headache and failed to appear at luncheon. They had a matinée date for the afternoon, but the headache persisting, Marjorie made explanation to a not very downcast boy. But when she returned late in the afternoon she found Bernice with a strangely set face waiting for her in her bedroom.

"I've decided," began Bernice without preliminaries, "that maybe you're right about things--possibly not. But if you'll tell me why your friends aren't--aren't interested in me I'll see if I can do what you want me to."

Marjorie was at the mirror shaking down her hair.

"Do you mean it?"

"Yes."

"Without reservations? Will you do exactly what I say?"

"Well, I----"

"Well nothing! Will you do exactly as I say?"

"If they're sensible things."

"They're not! You're no case for sensible things."

" Are you going to make--to recommend----"

"Yes, everything. If I tell you to take boxing-lessons you'll have to do it. Write home and tell your mother you're going to stay another two weeks."

"If you'll tell me----"

"All right--I'll just give you a few examples now. First, you have no ease of manner. Why? Because you're never sure about your personal appearance. When a girl feels that she's perfectly groomed and dressed she can forget that part of her. That's charm. The more parts of yourself you can afford to forget the more charm you have."

"Don't I look all right?"

"No; for instance, you never take care of your eyebrows. They're black and lustrous, but by leaving them straggly they're a blemish. They'd be beautiful if you'd take care of them in one-tenth the time you take doing nothing. You're going to brush them so that they'll grow straight."

Bernice raised the brows in question.

"Do you mean to say that men notice eyebrows?"

"Yes--subconsciously. And when you go home you ought to have your teeth straightened a little. It's almost imperceptible, still----"

"But I thought," interrupted Bernice in bewilderment, "that you despised little dainty feminine things like that."

"I hate dainty minds," answered Marjorie. "But a girl has to be dainty in person. If she looks like a million dollars she can talk about Russia, ping-pong, or the League of Nations and get away with it."

"What else?"


"Oh, I'm just beginning! There's your dancing."

"Don't I dance all right?"

"No, you don't--you lean on a man; yes, you do--ever so slightly. I noticed it when we were dancing together yesterday. And you dance standing up straight instead of bending over a little. Probably some old lady on the side-line once told you that you looked so dignified that way. But except with a very small girl it's much harder on the man, and he's the one that counts."

"Go on." Bernice's brain was reeling.

"Well, you've got to learn to be nice to men who are sad birds. You look as if you'd been insulted whenever you're thrown with any except the most popular boys. Why, Bernice, I'm cut in on every few feet--and who does most of it? Why, those very sad birds. No girl can afford to neglect them. They're the big part of any crowd. Young boys too shy to talk are the very best conversational practice. Clumsy boys are the best dancing practice. If you can follow them and yet look graceful you can follow a baby tank across a barb-wire sky-scraper."

Bernice sighed profoundly, but Marjorie was not through.

"If you go to a dance and really amuse, say, three sad birds that dance with you; if you talk so well to them that they forget they're stuck with you, you've done something. They'll come back next time, and gradually so many sad birds will dance with you that the attractive boys will see there's no danger of being stuck--then they'll dance with you."

"Yes," agreed Bernice faintly. "I think I begin to see."

"And finally," concluded Marjorie, "poise and charm will just come. You'll wake up some morning knowing you've attained it, and men will know it too."

Bernice rose.

"It's been awfully kind of you--but nobody's ever talked to me like this before, and I feel sort of startled."

Marjorie made no answer but gazed pensively at her own image in the mirror.

"You're a peach to help me," continued Bernice.

Still Marjorie did not answer, and Bernice thought she had seemed too grateful.

"I know you don't like sentiment," she said timidly.

Marjorie turned to her quickly.

"Oh, I wasn't thinking about that. I was considering whether we hadn't better bob your hair."

Bernice collapsed backward upon the bed.

Part IV

On the following Wednesday evening there was a dinner-dance at the country club. When the guests strolled in Bernice found her place-card with a slight feeling of irritation. Though at her right sat G. Reece Stoddard, a most desirable and distinguished young bachelor, the all-important left held only Charley Paulson. Charley lacked height, beauty, and social shrewdness, and in her new enlightenment Bernice decided that his only qualification to be her partner was that he had never been stuck with her. But this feeling of irritation left with the last of the soup-plates, and Marjorie's specific instruction came to her. Swallowing her pride she turned to Charley Paulson and plunged.

"Do you think I ought to bob my hair, Mr. Charley Paulson?"

Charley looked up in surprise.

"Why?"

"Because I'm considering it. It's such a sure and easy way of attracting attention."

Charley smiled pleasantly. He could not know this had been rehearsed. He replied that he didn't know much about bobbed hair. But Bernice was there to tell him.

"I want to be a society vampire, you see," she announced coolly, and went on to inform him that bobbed hair was the necessary prelude. She added that she wanted to ask his advice, because she had heard he was so critical about girls.

Charley, who knew as much about the psychology of women as he did of the mental states of Buddhist contemplatives, felt vaguely flattered.

"So I've decided," she continued, her voice rising slightly, "that early next week I'm going down to the Sevier Hotel barber-shop, sit in the first chair, and get my hair bobbed." She faltered, noticing that the people near her had paused in their conversation and were listening; but after a confused second Marjorie's coaching told, and she finished her paragraph to the vicinity at large. "Of course I'm charging admission, but if you'll all come down and encourage me I'll issue passes for the inside seats."

There was a ripple of appreciative laughter, and under cover of it G. Reece Stoddard leaned over quickly and said close to her ear: "I'll take a box right now."

She met his eyes and smiled as if he had said something surpassingly brilliant.

"Do you believe in bobbed hair?" asked G. Reece in the same undertone.

"I think it's unmoral," affirmed Bernice gravely. "But, of course, you've either got to amuse people or feed 'em or shock 'em." Marjorie had culled this from Oscar Wilde. It was greeted with a ripple of laughter from the men and a series of quick, intent looks from the girls. And then as though she had said nothing of wit or moment Bernice turned again to Charley and spoke confidentially in his ear.
"I want to ask you your opinion of several people. I imagine you're a wonderful judge of character."
Charley thrilled faintly--paid her a subtle compliment by overturning her water.

Two hours later, while Warren McIntyre was standing passively in the stag line abstractedly watching the dancers and wondering whither and with whom Marjorie had disappeared, an unrelated perception began to creep slowly upon him--a perception that Bernice, cousin to Marjorie, had been cut in on several times in the past five minutes. He closed his eyes, opened them and looked again. Several minutes back she had been dancing with a visiting boy, a matter easily accounted for; a visiting boy would know no better. But now she was dancing with some one else, and there was Charley Paulson headed for her with enthusiastic determination in his eye. Funny--Charley seldom danced with more than three girls an evening.

Warren was distinctly surprised when--the exchange having been effected--the man relieved proved to be none other than G. Reece Stoddard himself. And G. Reece seemed not at all jubilant at being relieved. Next time Bernice danced near, Warren regarded her intently. Yes, she was pretty, distinctly pretty; and to-night her face seemed really vivacious. She had that look that no woman, however histrionically proficient, can successfully counterfeit--she looked as if she were having a good time. He liked the way she had her hair arranged, wondered if it was brilliantine that made it glisten so. And that dress was becoming--a dark red that set off her shadowy eyes and high coloring. He remembered that he had thought her pretty when she first came to town, before he had realized that she was dull. Too bad she was dull--dull girls unbearable--certainly pretty though.

His thoughts zigzagged back to Marjorie. This disappearance would be like other disappearances. When she reappeared he would demand where she had been--would be told emphatically that it was none of his business. What a pity she was so sure of him! She basked in the knowledge that no other girl in town interested him; she defied him to fall in love with Genevieve or Roberta.

Warren sighed. The way to Marjorie's affections was a labyrinth indeed. He looked up. Bernice was again dancing with the visiting boy. Half unconsciously he took a step out from the stag line in her direction, and hesitated. Then he said to himself that it was charity. He walked toward her --collided suddenly with G. Reece Stoddard.

"Pardon me," said Warren.

But G. Reece had not stopped to apologize. He had again cut in on Bernice.

That night at one o'clock Marjorie, with one hand on the electric-light switch in the hall, turned to take a last look at Bernice's sparkling eyes.

"So it worked?"

"Oh, Marjorie, yes!" cried Bernice.

"I saw you were having a gay time."

"I did! The only trouble was that about midnight I ran short of talk. I had to repeat myself--with different men of course. I hope they won't compare notes."

"Men don't," said Marjorie, yawning, "and it wouldn't matter if they did--they'd think you were even trickier."

She snapped out the light, and as they started up the stairs Bernice grasped the banister thankfully. For the first time in her life she had been danced tired.

"You see," said Marjorie at the top of the stairs, "one man sees another man cut in and he thinks there must be something there. Well, we'll fix up some new stuff to-morrow. Good night."

"Good night."

As Bernice took down her hair she passed the evening before her in review. She had followed instructions exactly. Even when Charley Paulson cut in for the eighth time she had simulated delight and had apparently been both interested and flattered. She had not talked about the weather or Eau Claire or automobiles or her school, but had confined her conversation to me, you, and us.

But a few minutes before she fell asleep a rebellious thought was churning drowsily in her brain--after all, it was she who had done it. Marjorie, to be sure, had given her her conversation, but then Marjorie got much of her conversation out of things she read. Bernice had bought the red dress, though she had never valued it highly before Marjorie dug it out of her trunk--and her own voice had said the words, her own lips had smiled, her own feet had danced. Marjorie nice girl--vain, though--nice evening--nice boys--like Warren--Warren--Warren--what's-his-name--Warren----

She fell asleep.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bernice Bobs Her Hair, part one

Happy holidays from the Louise Brooks Society. As a special treat for our many readers and thousands of followers, presented here is F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous 1920 short story, "Bernice Bobs Her Hair." It is a trademark work of the Jazz Age. 

It is not known if Louise Brooks read this story, as she was only 14 years old when it was first published. However, it is known that Brooks and Fitzgerald later encountered one another on at least one occasion.

"Bernice Bobs Her Hair" tells the story of a shy young woman who leaves the confines and regularity of her home to visit her  cousin, a flapper. When her cousin tries to teach Bernice how to be modern, Bernice gives her much more than she bargained for. In 1976, there was a TV movie made starring Shelly Duvall.

"Bernice Bobs Her Hair" was written in 1920 and first published in the Saturday Evening Post in May of that year (pictured below). The publication of the story marked the first time Fitzgerald's name appeared on the cover of the prestigious magazine. The story later appeared in Fitzgerald's short story collection Flappers and Philosophers

The first installment is presented below. The second installment  follows tomorrow. And the third installment the day after that. Tune in to find out what happens!


After dark on Saturday night one could stand on the first tee of the golf-course and see the country-club windows as a yellow expanse over a very black and wavy ocean. The waves of this ocean, so to speak, were the heads of many curious caddies, a few of the more ingenious chauffeurs, the golf professional's deaf sister--and there were usually several stray, diffident waves who might have rolled inside had they so desired. This was the gallery.

The balcony was inside. It consisted of the circle of wicker chairs that lined the wall of the combination clubroom and ballroom. At these Saturday-night dances it was largely feminine; a great babel of middle-aged ladies with sharp eyes and icy hearts behind lorgnettes and large bosoms. The main function of the balcony was critical. It occasionally showed grudging admiration, but never approval, for it is well known among ladies over thirty-five that when the younger set dance in the summer-time it is with the very worst intentions in the world, and if they are not bombarded with stony eyes stray couples will dance weird barbaric interludes in the corners, and the more popular, more dangerous, girls will sometimes be kissed in the parked limousines of unsuspecting dowagers.

But, after all, this critical circle is not close enough to the stage to see the actors' faces and catch the subtler byplay. It can only frown and lean, ask questions and make satisfactory deductions from its set of postulates, such as the one which states that every young man with a large income leads the life of a hunted partridge. It never really appreciates the drama of the shifting, semicruel world of adolescence. No; boxes, orchestra-circle, principals, and chorus are represented by the medley of faces and voices that sway to the plaintive African rhythm of Dyer's dance orchestra.

From sixteen-year-old Otis Ormonde, who has two more years at Hill School, to G. Reece Stoddard, over whose bureau at home hangs a Harvard law diploma; from little Madeleine Hogue, whose hair still feels strange and uncomfortable on top of her head, to Bessie MacRae, who has been the life of the party a little too long--more than ten years--the medley is not only the centre of the stage but contains the only people capable of getting an un-obstructed view of it.

With a flourish and a bang the music stops. The couples exchange artificial, effortless smiles, facetiously repeat "la-de-da-da dum-dum," and then the clatter of young feminine voices soars over the burst of clapping.

A few disappointed stags caught in midfloor as they had been about to cut in subsided listlessly back to the walls, because this was not like the riotous Christmas dances--these summer hops were considered just pleasantly warm and exciting, where even the younger marrieds rose and performed ancient waltzes and terrifying fox trots to the tolerant amusement of their younger brothers and sisters.

Warren McIntyre, who casually attended Yale, being one of the unfortunate stags, felt in his dinner-coat pocket for a cigarette and strolled out onto the wide, semidark veranda, where couples were scattered at tables, filling the lantern-hung night with vague words and hazy laughter. He nodded here and there at the less absorbed and as he passed each couple some half-forgotten fragment of a story played in his mind, for it was not a large city and every one was Who's Who to every one else's past. There, for example, were Jim Strain and Ethel Demorest, who had been privately engaged for three years. Every one knew that as soon as Jim managed to hold a job for more than two months she would marry him. Yet how bored they both looked, and how wearily Ethel regarded Jim sometimes, as if she wondered why she had trained the vines of her affection on such a wind-shaken poplar.

Warren was nineteen and rather pitying with those of his friends who hadn't gone East to college. But, like most boys, he bragged tremendously about the girls of his city when he was away from it. There was Genevieve Ormonde, who regularly made the rounds of dances, house-parties, and football games at Princeton, Yale, Williams, and Cornell; there was black-eyed Roberta Dillon, who was quite as famous to her own generation as Hiram Johnson or Ty Cobb; and, of course, there was Marjorie Harvey, who besides having a fairylike face and a dazzling, bewildering tongue was already justly celebrated for having turned five cart-wheels in succession during the last pump-and-slipper dance at New Haven.

Warren, who had grown up across the street from Marjorie, had long been "crazy about her." Sometimes she seemed to reciprocate his feeling with a faint gratitude, but she had tried him by her infallible test and informed him gravely that she did not love him. Her test was that when she was away from him she forgot him and had affairs with other boys. Warren found this discouraging, especially as Marjorie had been making little trips all summer, and for the first two or three days after each arrival home he saw great heaps of mail on the Harveys' hall table addressed to her in various masculine handwritings. To make matters worse, all during the month of August she had been visited by her cousin Bernice from Eau Claire, and it seemed impossible to see her alone. It was always necessary to hunt round and find some one to take care of Bernice. As August waned this was becoming more and more difficult.

Much as Warren worshipped Marjorie, he had to admit that Cousin Bernice was sorta dopeless. She was pretty, with dark hair and high color, but she was no fun on a party. Every Saturday night he danced a long arduous duty dance with her to please Marjorie, but he had never been anything but bored in her company.

"Warren"--a soft voice at his elbow broke in upon his thoughts, and he turned to see Marjorie, flushed and radiant as usual. She laid a hand on his shoulder and a glow settled almost imperceptibly over him.

"Warren," she whispered, "do something for me--dance with Bernice. She's been stuck with little Otis Ormonde for almost an hour."

Warren's glow faded.

"Why--sure," he answered half-heartedly.

"You don't mind, do you? I'll see that you don't get stuck."

"'Sall right."

Marjorie smiled--that smile that was thanks enough.

"You're an angel, and I'm obliged loads."

With a sigh the angel glanced round the veranda, but Bernice and Otis were not in sight. He wandered back inside, and there in front of the women's dressing-room he found Otis in the centre of a group of young men who were convulsed with laughter. Otis was brandishing a piece of timber he had picked up, and discoursing volubly.

"She's gone in to fix her hair," he announced wildly. "I'm waiting to dance another hour with her."
Their laughter was renewed.

"Why don't some of you cut in?" cried Otis resentfully. "She likes more variety."

"Why, Otis," suggested a friend, "you've just barely got used to her."

"Why the two-by-four, Otis?" inquired Warren, smiling.

"The two-by-four? Oh, this? This is a club. When she comes out I'll hit her on the head and knock her in again."

Warren collapsed on a settee and howled with glee.

"Never mind, Otis," he articulated finally. "I'm relieving you this time."

Otis simulated a sudden fainting attack and handed the stick to Warren.

"If you need it, old man," he said hoarsely.


No matter how beautiful or brilliant a girl may be, the reputation of not being frequently cut in on makes her position at a dance unfortunate. Perhaps boys prefer her company to that of the butterflies with whom they dance a dozen times an evening, but youth in this jazz-nourished generation is temperamentally restless, and the idea of fox-trotting more than one full fox trot with the same girl is distasteful, not to say odious. When it comes to several dances and the intermissions between she can be quite sure that a young man, once relieved, will never tread on her wayward toes again.

Warren danced the next full dance with Bernice, and finally, thankful for the intermission, he led her to a table on the veranda. There was a moment's silence while she did unimpressive things with her fan.

"It's hotter here than in Eau Claire," she said.

Warren stifled a sigh and nodded. It might be for all he knew or cared. He wondered idly whether she was a poor conversationalist because she got no attention or got no attention because she was a poor conversationalist.

"You going to be here much longer?" he asked, and then turned rather red. She might suspect his reasons for asking.

"Another week," she answered, and stared at him as if to lunge at his next remark when it left his lips.
Warren fidgeted. Then with a sudden charitable impulse he decided to try part of his line on her. He turned and looked at her eyes.

"You've got an awfully kissable mouth," he began quietly.

This was a remark that he sometimes made to girls at college proms when they were talking in just such half dark as this. Bernice distinctly jumped. She turned an ungraceful red and became clumsy with her fan. No one had ever made such a remark to her before.

"Fresh!"--the word had slipped out before she realized it, and she bit her lip. Too late she decided to be amused, and offered him a flustered smile.

Warren was annoyed. Though not accustomed to have that remark taken seriously, still it usually provoked a laugh or a paragraph of sentimental banter. And he hated to be called fresh, except in a joking way. His charitable impulse died and he switched the topic.

"Jim Strain and Ethel Demorest sitting out as usual," he commented.

This was more in Bernice's line, but a faint regret mingled with her relief as the subject changed. Men did not talk to her about kissable mouths, but she knew that they talked in some such way to other girls.

"Oh, yes," she said, and laughed. "I hear they've been mooning round for years without a red penny.
Isn't it silly?"

Warren's disgust increased. Jim Strain was a close friend of his brother's, and anyway he considered it bad form to sneer at people for not having money. But Bernice had had no intention of sneering. She was merely nervous.

Part II

When Marjorie and Bernice reached home at half after midnight they said good night at the top of the stairs. Though cousins, they were not intimates. As a matter of fact Marjorie had no female intimates--she considered girls stupid. Bernice on the contrary all through this parent-arranged visit had rather longed to exchange those confidences flavored with giggles and tears that she considered an indispensable factor in all feminine intercourse. But in this respect she found Marjorie rather cold; felt somehow the same difficulty in talking to her that she had in talking to men. Marjorie never giggled, was never frightened, seldom embarrassed, and in fact had very few of the qualities which Bernice considered appropriately and blessedly feminine.

As Bernice busied herself with tooth-brush and paste this night she wondered for the hundredth time why she never had any attention when she was away from home. That her family were the wealthiest in Eau Claire; that her mother entertained tremendously, gave little dinners for her daughter before all dances and bought her a car of her own to drive round in, never occurred to her as factors in her home-town social success. Like most girls she had been brought up on the warm milk prepared by Annie Fellows Johnston and on novels in which the female was beloved because of certain mysterious womanly qualities. always mentioned but never displayed.

Bernice felt a vague pain that she was not at present engaged in being popular. She did not know that had it not been for Marjorie's campaigning she would have danced the entire evening with one man; but she knew that even in Eau Claire other girls with less position and less pulchritude were given a much bigger rush. She attributed this to something subtly unscrupulous in those girls. It had never worried her, and if it had her mother would have assured her that the other girls cheapened themselves and that men really respected girls like Bernice.

She turned out the light in her bathroom, and on an impulse decided to go in and chat for a moment with her aunt Josephine, whose light was still on. Her soft slippers bore her noiselessly down the carpeted hall, but hearing voices inside she stopped near the partly opened door. Then she caught her own name, and without any definite intention of eavesdropping lingered--and the thread of the conversation going on inside pierced her consciousness sharply as if it had been drawn through with a needle.

"She's absolutely hopeless!" It was Marjorie's voice. "Oh, I know what you're going to say! So many people have told you how pretty and sweet she is, and how she can cook! What of it? She has a bum time. Men don't like her."

"What's a little cheap popularity?"

Mrs. Harvey sounded annoyed.

"It's everything when you're eighteen," said Marjorie emphatically. "I've done my best. I've been polite and I've made men dance with her, but they just won't stand being bored. When I think of that gorgeous coloring wasted on such a ninny, and think what Martha Carey could do with it--oh!"
"There's no courtesy these days."

Mrs. Harvey's voice implied that modern situations were too much for her. When she was a girl all young ladies who belonged to nice families had glorious times.

"Well," said Marjorie, "no girl can permanently bolster up a lame-duck visitor, because these days it's every girl for herself. I've even tried to drop her hints about clothes and things, and she's been furious--given me the funniest looks. She's sensitive enough to know she's not getting away with much, but I'll bet she consoles herself by thinking that she's very virtuous and that I'm too gay and fickle and will come to a bad end. All unpopular girls think that way. Sour grapes! Sarah Hopkins refers to Genevieve and Roberta and me as gardenia girls! I'll bet she'd give ten years of her life and her European education to be a gardenia girl and have three or four men in love with her and be cut in on every few feet at dances."

"It seems to me," interrupted Mrs. Harvey rather wearily, "that you ought to be able to do something for Bernice. I know she's not very vivacious."

Marjorie groaned.

"Vivacious! Good grief! I've never heard her say anything to a boy except that it's hot or the floor's crowded or that she's going to school in New York next year. Sometimes she asks them what kind of car they have and tells them the kind she has. Thrilling!"

There was a short silence, and then Mrs. Harvey took up her refrain:

"All I know is that other girls not half so sweet and attractive get partners. Martha Carey, for instance, is stout and loud, and her mother is distinctly common. Roberta Dillon is so thin this year that she looks as though Arizona were the place for her. She's dancing herself to death."

"But, mother," objected Marjorie impatiently, "Martha is cheerful and awfully witty and an awfully slick girl, and Roberta's a marvellous dancer. She's been popular for ages!"

Mrs. Harvey yawned.

"I think it's that crazy Indian blood in Bernice," continued Marjorie. "Maybe she's a reversion to type. Indian women all just sat round and never said anything."

"Go to bed, you silly child," laughed Mrs. Harvey. "I wouldn't have told you that if I'd thought you were going to remember it. And I think most of your ideas are perfectly idiotic," she finished sleepily.
There was another silence, while Marjorie considered whether or not convincing her mother was worth the trouble. People over forty can seldom be permanently convinced of anything. At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look; at forty-five they are caves in which we hide.

Having decided this, Marjorie said good night. When she came out into the hall it was quite empty.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Louise Brooks Society

Merry Christmas from the Louise Brooks Society . . . .


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Louise Brooks Society is on Twitter

The Louise Brooks Society is on Twitter @LB_Society. As of now, the LBS is followed by more than 2,160 followers. Are you one of them? Why not join the conversation? Be sure and visit the LBS
Twitter profile, and check out the more than 2,760 LBS tweets so far!
Louise Brooks is trending in 2013! The LBS twitter stream can also be 
found in the right hand column.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Best film books of 2013

I have a new piece on the Huffington Post, my selection of the "Best Film Books of 2013". It includes more than a few titles of interest to fans of Louise Brooks and silent film.

Check it out at  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-gladysz/best-film-books-of-2013_b_4491272.html

By the way, my selection of the book of the year is ..... A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907-1940 by Victoria Wilson (Simon & Schuster). I explain why I think it the best book in my article. This richly detailed biography has a number of references to Louise Brooks, some of which relate to Stanwyck's one time husband, Frank Fay, the star of the 1931 Louise Brooks' film, God's Gift to Women. Check it out.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Vanity, by Robert Murillo, on display at Orinda Books

Check it out - The Vanity, by Robert Murillo, on display at Orinda Books in Orinda, California.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Louise Brooks / Guido Crepax inspired Valentina furniture

Italian comic artist Guido Crepax (1933 - 2003) is best known for his iconic heroine Valentina, which was inspired by the silent film star Louise Brooks.

Valentina was one of the most recognized graphic novel characters of the 1960s and 1970s, especially in Europe. The character, a young photographer, is identified by her signature bob haircut and voluptuous body, presenting readers with erotic storylines of suspense and surreality.


Italian designers Andrea Radice and Folco Orlandini have developed the Valentina line of furniture in order to pay hommage to character and her creator. Produced by Brazilian manufacturer Schuster, the collection features a room divider, mobile bar, bookcase, side table, and other pieces, all depicting live size imagery of the comic book vixen at work and at play. Here are a few examples:


This Valentina furniture seems to be widely available in design shops. A Google image search will reveal other pieces as well.



Friday, December 20, 2013

Louise Brooks crossword puzzle

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the first crossword puzzle, the Louise Brooks Society presents this Louise Brooks-themed puzzle. (Download the puzzle to see a bigger image.)


Across 

2.  Rolled
4.  Valentina author
6.  Miss Europe
9.  First name
14. Pandora's Box playwright
15. Male star of gangster film
16. Dance Company
19. Avian murder case
21. Murdered by Jack the Ripper
24. Attended his funeral in 1926
25. It pays to ______
26. Canine star of Street of Forgotten Men
29. Author Margarete _____
30. City in France, biographer
31. Said there is no Garbo, there is no Dietrich, there is only Louise Brooks
32. Authored The Chaperone
33. German director
34. Miss America 1925
36. Lulu or Windy
38. Sunflower state
39. Almost won Pulitzer for The Show Off
40. Birthplace
 

Down 

1.  Directed A Girl in Every Port
3.  Hobo author
5.  Home in upstate New York
7.  One time lover, founder of CBS
8.  Italian born French director
10. English theater critic, wrote for the New Yorker
11. Gun Moll named Joy
12. Sophisticated two-time co-star
13. God's Gift to Women
17. Lost Girl
18. Dance team, Brooks & _____
20. Played Philo Vance
22. Nicknamed "American Venus"
23. Dear _____, collection of letters
26. Brooks one-time voice double
27. Two-time co-star, future Oscar winner
28. Follies
35. Magazine, or name for movies
37. American director, first Oscar winner

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sirens & Sinners: A Visual History of Weimar Film 1918-1933 stars

Here is another newly published book that every silent film and Louise Brooks fan will want to own, Sirens & Sinners: A Visual History of Weimar Film 1918-1933, by Hans Helmut Prinzler, the former director of the Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin.

Sirens & Sinners: A Visual History of Weimar Film 1918-1933 celebrates the height of Weimar cinema through images and commentaries on more than seventy of its finest films including the two Louise Brooks made in Germany, Pandora's Box (1929) and Diary of a Lost Girl (1929). Other G.W. Pabst films are also featured in this heavily illustrated book.

According to the publisher, "Between the First and Second World Wars, Germany under the Weimar Republic was the scene of one of the most creative periods in film history. Through the silent era to the early years of sound, the visual flair and technical innovation of its filmmakers set an international standard for the powerful possibilities of cinema as an art form, with movies such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, Metropolis, and M building a legacy that shaped the world of film.

Here is a showcase of more than seventy films, selected to give a wide-ranging overview of Weimar cinema at its finest. Every genre is represented, from escapist comedies and musicals to gritty depictions of contemporary city life, from period dramas to fantastical visions of the future, with themes such as sexuality and social issues tackled by iconic stars like Marlene Dietrich and Louise Brooks. A wealth of film stills captures the bold vision of great directors like Fritz Lang and Ernst Lubitsch, while the text sets the historical scene and gives intriguing insights into what the films meant to the society that created them."

Each of the 70 films featured in Sirens & Sinners is given a two page spread. The glory of this book is in its 443 illustrations, 335 of which are in duotone. Many are little seen. Also useful is the bibliography in the back of the book, which lists many works. I am pleased to report that among the reference works listed in Sirens & Sinners is my Louise Brooks' edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Making Personas: Transnational Film Stardom in Modern Japan (starring Clara Bow and Louise Brooks)

There is a new book out which should appeal to anyone interested in Louise Brooks, Clara Bow and silent film. The book is Making Personas: Transnational Film Stardom in Modern Japan, by Hideaki Fujiki, a professor of Cinema and Japanese Studies at Nagoya University. The book was published by the Harvard University Asia Center, and is distributed by Harvard University Press.

Fujiki's book is a detailed and fascinating look at how film stars are "made." According to the publisher, "The film star is not simply an actor but a historical phenomenon that derives from the production of an actor's attractiveness, the circulation of his or her name and likeness, and the support of media consumers. This book analyzes the establishment and transformation of the transnational film star system and the formations of historically important film stars--Japanese and non-Japanese--and casts new light on Japanese modernity as it unfolded between the 1910s and 1930s."

One chapter, "Modern Girls and Clara Bow," stronly suggests that the It girl was the subject of an intense following in Japan. And not far behind was Louise Brooks. In Japan in the late 1920s, the two actresses were compared and contrasted. Both were considered "modern girls," another term for flappers, and each influenced the way young Japanese women dressed and acted. (Colleen Moore was also considered a modern, though less so than Bow and Brooks, in opposition to Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish, who were considered "old fashioned.")

Bow and Brooks were each the subject of articles, which the author cites, in the Japanese press. Fujiki also notes that Akira Iwasaki, a prominent left-wing film critic, historian, and producer who helped introduce German experimental film in Japan, once penned a story called "Clara Louise."

In Making Personas, Fujiki "illustrates how film stardom and the star system emerged and evolved, touching on such facets as the production, representation, circulation, and reception of performers' images in films and other media." I've only begun looking through this book, but have found much of interest in it. The images of American movie stars on the cover of Japanese film magazines is fascinating. This book is recommended to anyone interested in the world wide phenomenon that was silent film.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The little story a postcard tells II

A follow up to an earlier blog, about the story a vintage German postcard told.... Another postcard currently for sale on eBay tells a similar story. The previous post drew a connection between Louise Brooks and Latvia. The vintage card pictured below, printed in France, was postmarked in what was Yugoslovia. Louise Brooks sure did get around.




Monday, December 16, 2013

Louise Brooks in Winter II

A few more portraits of the silent film star all-bundled up in a winter coat and cloche hat, circa the late 1920s.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Louise Brooks in Winter

It is chilly across the nation. Here is a screen capture of Louise Brooks looking rather stylish in a winter coat.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Speaking of Louise Brooks and Latvia . . .

Yesterday's post got me thinking about Louise Brooks and Latvia. I searched on "Latvian newspaper archive" and found that the National Library of Latvia has a number of Latvian newspapers scanned and available online. One of the newspapers, Latvijas Kareivis, from the capital Riga, covered the 1920's and 1930's.

Though the paper is not keyword searchable, I did a quick visual search and noticed that many American films were shown in the Latvia capital. While I spotted a number of Clara Bow images, I unfortunately didn't come across any images or references to Louise Brooks. Here is a typical example of what I found. I am not certain, but the image in the upper right hand corner featuring Adolphe Menjou  may be from the lost 1927 Louise Brooks film, Evening Clothes. (To see a better and complete image of this August 24, 1929 newspaper, visit this page.)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The little story a postcard tells

This particular postcard is currently for sale on eBay. I have seen examples of this Louise Brooks card come up for sale in the past. However, what makes it stand out is that it tells a little story.



The card, serial #4360/1, was printed in the late 1920's by Ross Verlag, a German company. The front features an attractive portrait of Louise Brooks issued by Paramount, her American studio. Their studio stamp is in the lower right hand corner. What is especially telling is the back of the card. The stamp on the back is from Latvia (prior to WWII a Baltic nation sandwiched between Lithuania and Estonia). The person who sent the card dated it June 28, 1931.

Interestingly, the postage suggests that these German cards were circulated around Europe. And, that  person who bought the card was in all likelihood familiar with the subject of the card; that suggests that at least some of Louise Brooks' films were show in the Baltic states, and that she was at least something of a known personality. Perhaps Brooks was featured in a movie magazine, or in a newspaper article? I would be willing to bet she was "known" because of her three European films, Pandora's Box (Germany, 1929), Diary of a Lost Girl (Germany, 1929), and Prix de Beaute (France, 1930).

Also interesting is the date. By 1931, Brooks' career was beginning to falter. In the United States, she appeared in three lesser films, one of them a short. In the European arena, she hadn't appeared in a film in a year. And yet, a fan in Latvia sent a postcard with her image. Can anyone translate the inscription on the back?


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