Monday, September 30, 2019

Louise Brooks in second edition of Perfume Legends

Fragrance expert Michael Edwards has revised and updated his highly regarded reference work Perfume Legends. First published in 1996, Edwards' book is now considered one of the most significant books written on modern perfumery. His new book, Perfume Legends II, has recently been released, and includes a reference to Louise Brooks in describing Loulou, a Louise Brooks-inspired  scent created by Jean Guichard for Cacharel in 1987. (A container of this perfume, in its box, is in the collection of the Louise Brooks Society.) The Loulou perfume is also depicted on the cover of the book.



The following two paragraphs are excerpted from Perfume Legends II. "By the mid-eighties, competition in the French fragrance market had become brutal. In just one year, more fragrances were launched than in the entire 1960s. Loulou was a sequel to 1978’s Anaïs Anaïs and inspired by silent film star Louise Brooks. 'In France, people say that a young girl’s skin smells of caramel. That is the smell of toffee,' says Guichard. 'So we started working around the vanilla-toffee notes.'

In Tahiti he came across the beautiful tiare flower, which had a freshness he needed to balance the 'gourmand' flavours. 'We associate vanilla with something very agreeable, because, as children, we were spoiled by cakes and ice cream. More than that, it’s a scent that men find sexy'."




It is interesting to note that the script font used to spell out the word Loulou is the same used on the Dutch edition of Loulou in Hollywood.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Louise Brooks film Beggars of Life shows in England

The 1928 Louise Brooks film, Beggars of Life, will be shown on Sunday, October 6th in Dorset, England. More information can be found HERE.

According to the venue: The Dodge Brothers and Neil Brand play live to a screening of the classic 1928 silent film Beggars of Life. Renowned film critic Mark Kermode - who plays bass and harmonica - will be joining his bandmates and acclaimed composer Brand for a musical accompaniment to the seminal 1928 silent movie featuring Wallace Beery as a rail-riding hobo and Louise Brooks as a girl on the run. The Dodge Brothers (Mike Hammond, Mark Kermode, Aly Hirji and Alex Hammond) play an exuberant hybrid of country blues, rockabilly, jugband and skiffle. 


“Never has a film and a band been more perfectly matched than ‘Beggars of Life’ and the Dodge Brothers – deep dish Americana, rail-riding hoboes and Louise Brooks – they were made for each other.” – Bryony Dixon, curator of silent film, British Film Institute.

The performance has been met with glowing reviews following London shows, and the band became the first ever to accompany a silent film at Glastonbury Festival in 2014. Tickets: £17.50, Concessions £15.50 (including 50p Regent Centre Development Fee)

 

 Want to learn more about Louise Brooks and Beggars of Life? My book, Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film, as well as the DVD / Blu-ray of the film from Kino Lorber, are the perfect compliment to one another. And what's more, the DVD, featuring the best copy of the film available anywhere, includes an informative commentary by yours truly!

My 106-page book on Beggars of Life looks at the film Oscar-winning director William Wellman thought his finest silent movie. Based on Jim Tully’s bestselling book of hobo life—and filmed by Wellman the year after he made Wings (the first film to win the Best Picture Oscar), Beggars of Life is a riveting drama about an orphan girl (played by Louise Brooks) who kills her abusive stepfather and flees the law. She meets a boy tramp (leading man Richard Arlen), and together they ride the rails through a dangerous hobo underground ruled over by Oklahoma Red (future Oscar winner Wallace Beery). Beggars of Life showcases Brooks in her best American silent—a film the Cleveland Plain Dealer described as “a raw, sometimes bleeding slice of life.” This first ever study of Beggars of Life includes more than 50 little seen images, a mention of the Dodge Brothers, and a foreword by actor and author William Wellman, Jr. (the director's son).

If you haven't secured a copy of either the book or the DVD / Blu-ray, why not do so today? Each is an essential addition to your Louise Brooks collection, and EACH IS AVAILABLE IN BOTH THE UK AND THE USA via amazon.com.


Thursday, September 26, 2019

Lulu In Rochester, new play about Louise Brooks and James Card, debuts October 18

Geva Theatre / The Festival of New Theatre in Rochester, New York has announced its schedule of upcoming productions, and one in particular stands out for those interested in Louise Brooks. On Friday, October 18th the festival presents Lulu in Rochester by Allison Gregory. The play, the story of two Rochester icons, was commissioned especially for the 2019 Festival of New Theatre.

I was in touch with Gregory back in February, when she contacted me with a question about the silent film star.  In researching Brooks, Gregory had consulted the Louise Brooks Society website. She wrote, "Thank you for your wonderful website; it is truly a treasure trove for anyone interested in Louise Brooks and silent film of the era.... This website, the many links and books referenced here, and the folks at the Eastman Museum have been hugely helpful." I am looking forward to hearing more about Gregory's new work, and would love to hear from anyone who attends.

Lulu in Rochester
by Allison Gregory
Friday, October 18 at 7pm

Inspired by real-life, Lulu in Rochester follows the fascinating partnership between famously reclusive silent-film star Louise Brooks and acclaimed Eastman Museum film curator James Card. When James persuades his irreverent idol to move to Rochester and watch her celebrated films for the first time, Louise must confront the myths and perceptions that have shaped her life, and shed light on the mystery of why ‘Lulu’ inexplicably disappeared at the height of her fame.

The Festival of New Theatre takes place October 8 through 20 on the Fielding Stage of the Geva Theatre Center, located at 75 Woodbury Blvd. The Festival of New Theatre is a mix of new works by playwrights from across the country. The plays are presented concert-style, with actors at music stands and facing the audience. Admission is free; reservations are required. Call (585) 232-4382 or visit gevatheatre.org for information.

Allison Gregory’s plays have been produced widely and she has received commissions, grants, and development from Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Kennedy Center, South Coast Repertory, Indiana Repertory Theatre, the Skirball-Kenis Foundation, GEVA, Seattle Repertory Theatre, ACT Theater, and elsewhere. Her work has been the recipient of the Julie Harris Playwriting Award.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

My Afternoon with Louise Brooks

Last week, I was pleased to receive my copy of My Afternoon with Louise Brooks, Tom Graves' limited edition book recounting his encounter with the silent film actress. The book was issued in a limited edition of 100 signed and numbered hardback books. I received #44.


The other day, the author posted a message that noting a few copies are still for sale: "There are a very few copies left of My Afternoon with Louise Brooks out of this 100-copy limited edition. Get one before they are all gone forever. Each copy is signed by the author and numbered. Cost is $30.00 plus $4.00 postage in the U.S.. Foreign inquiries are welcome. Payment can be made through Paypal at: pullers2004@yahoo.com."

"The book contains two segments by author Tom Graves, the award-winning biographer of bluesman Robert Johnson and several other acclaimed books.  He was the last journalist admitted into the reclusive Louise Brooks' apartment in 1982 for an audience and an interview.  Although wary at first, Louise warmed up to the young writer and Graves writes a penetrating and incisive look at Louise Brooks in her final years.  Graves had begun a biography of Miss Brooks but she pulled her authorization leaving Graves with only one chapter -- about her childhood up to the point she left Kansas for New York. These two segments comprise this small jewel of a book that comes to 80 pages.  The book, at once a collectible, is certain to go up greatly in value."
 

Friday, September 20, 2019

TV date announced for Louise Brooks inspired film The Chaperone

At last, the date for the television debut of The Chaperone has been announced. According to the venerable Willow and Thatch website, the show will broadcast on PBS on Sunday, November 24th.

Following a too limited theatrical release in April, The Chaperone was made available for streaming in August on PBS Passport, a members only channel. Now comes the announcement of its national broadcast date - something Louise Brooks' fans across the United States have been waiting for!

The Chaperone is based on Laura Moriarty’s 2012 New York Times bestselling novel and reunites several individuals associated with the hit PBS series, Downton Abbey. Among them is Julian Fellowes, who scripted Downton Abbey and adapted The Chaperone, and Elizabeth McGovern, who starred in the TV series and produced and stars in The Chaperone. Michael Engler, who directed episodes of the TV show as well as the just released Downton Abbey film, directed The Chaperone.


McGovern, who played Lady Cora Grantham in Downton Abbey, stars opposite young actress Haley Lu Richardson, who plays Louise Brooks. The Chaperone is a fictionalized account of the summer when the 15 year old Brooks left Wichita, Kansas to travel to New York City to attend the Denishawn School of dance. IMHO, Haley Lu Richardson is terrific in the role of Brooks, a talented though petulant teenager. She is deserving of an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress. The costuming in the film is also quite good.

Despite the many mixed reviews the film has received in newspaper and magazine around the world, it is a film well worth watching -- especially if you are a fan of Louise Brooks OR Downton Abbey. Back in April, I penned a long review about The Chaperone for Film International. You can read my review HERE.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Forthcoming book - Ted Shawn His Life, Writings, and Dances

Of all the individuals associated with Louise Brooks and her careers as a dancer and actress, few are as seminal as Ted Shawn. As one of the co-founders of Denishawn Dance Company, Shawn played a significant role in ushering Brooks into the prestigious modern dance troupe. Her joining Denishawn would eventually lead her to the New York stage and then to film, where she would make her mark. As a seminal individual in Brooks' early life, Shawn is portrayed in the recent PBS film, The Chaperone.

I am thrilled to learn of a big new 536 page book on the legendary dancer, Ted Shawn: His Life, Writings, and Dances by Paul A. Scolieri. The book, from Oxford University Press, is set for a December release.



Here is the publisher's description: "Ted Shawn (1891-1972) is the self-proclaimed "Father of American Dance" who helped to transform dance from a national pastime into theatrical art. In the process, he made dancing an acceptable profession for men and taught several generations of dancers, some of whom went on to become legendary choreographers and performers in their own right, most notably his protégés Martha Graham, Louise Brooks, Doris Humphrey, and Charles Weidman. Shawn tried for many years and with great frustration to tell the story of his life's work in terms of its social and artistic value, but struggled, owing to the fact that he was homosexual, a fact known only within his inner circle of friends. Unwilling to disturb the meticulously narrated account of his paternal exceptionalism, he remained closeted, but scrupulously archived his journals, correspondence, programs, photographs, and motion pictures of his dances, anticipating that the full significance of his life, writing, and dances would reveal itself in time.

Ted Shawn: His Life, Writings, and Dances is the first critical biography of the dance legend, offering an in-depth look into Shawn's pioneering role in the formation of the first American modern dance company and school, the first all-male dance company, and Jacob's Pillow, the internationally renowned dance festival and school located in the Berkshires. The book explores Shawn's writings and dances in relation to emerging discourses of modernism, eugenics and social evolution, revealing an untold story about the ways that Shawn's homosexuality informed his choreographic vision. The book also elucidates the influences of contemporary writers who were leading a radical movement to depathologize homosexuality, such as the British eugenicist Havelock Ellis and sexologist Alfred Kinsey, and conversely, how their revolutionary ideas about sexuality were shaped by Shawn's modernism."

As a Denishawn dancer

I am not a dancer, but I am a BIG fan of Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis and Denishawn. I have  read all of the earlier books on both dancers, as well as the couple on Denishawn, and even own autographed books by both Shawn and St. Denis. (I even have a rare copy of St. Denis' poetry booklet, as well as an album of her speaking.) My point of entry was Brooks, of course. Over the last twenty years, I have amassed a huge amount of material on Brooks' two seasons with Denishawn, and sometime in the future plan on writing a book detailing the two tours. How much is a huge amount? Would you believe I have clippings, advertisements, articles, and reviews for every one of the hundreds of stops they made throughout the United States and Canada. There is a narrative in there somewhere!

Louise Brooks and Ted Shawn

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Silent and Forgotten - forthcoming film features Louise Brooks

A forthcoming docudrama, Silent and Forgotten, features Louise Brooks as its primary character and occasional narrator. The film, an independent release from Summer Hill Films, is set for release on November 12, 2019.

According to the film's producers, "In the years before talking pictures, movies relied on faces to tell a story. Silver screens around the world were illuminated by the incandescent beauty of actresses like Clara Bow, Lillian Gish, Louise Brooks, America's Sweetheart Mary Pickford, and many others. They were the most famous women in the world...adored by millions, worshiped by legions. They had fame, fortune and power. Behind the scenes, it was a different story. Early Hollywood lured thousands of young actresses with the promise of fame and fortune. Hidden in the enticement was exploitation, abuse and ownership by the men in power. Most of these starlets died young of drugs, alcohol and suicide. They have been silent until now. Hear their stories in their own words. In Silent and Forgotten, a single actress re-enacts the stories of 13 of the most famous actresses of the silent era."

That single actress is Jacquie Donley, who stars in the 150 minute film. Donley plays Brooks, as well as Clara Bow, Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, Theda Bara, Colleen Moore, Marion Davies, Lottie Pickford, Olive Thomas, Marlene Dietrich, Pepi Lederer, Dorothy Arzner, and Virginia Rappe. Among the other individuals portrayed by other actors in this look at early film are Charlie Chaplin, Owen Moore, Jack Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, William Wellman, Richard Arlen, B. P. Schulberg, D.W. Griffith, Walter Wanger, Adolf Zukor, Will Hays, Elinor Glyn, and Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle.

A number of individuals associated with Brooks and her careers as a dancer and actress are also portrayed. They include James Card and Kenneth Tynan, Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, G. W. Pabst, Fritz Kortner and Alice Robert, Hal McCoy, and Lord Beaverbrook.

Silent and Forgotten is in pre-sale now at a discount. According to Donley, "Our hope is that we were as accurate as possible while giving one perspective of what Louise must have experienced emotionally during her lifetime. This movie was a labor of love, and our hope is that one of these days, we can get a star on the walk of fame for Louise."


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Louise Brooks and the Louise Brooks Society in the news

The Louise Brooks Society continues to make the news. Just recently, journalist Jeanine Guilyard mentioned the LBS in her article on Guido Crepax, "A Star is Reborn," which appeared in the September 2019 issue of La Voce (an Italian-American publication) and the October 2019 issue of Fra Noi.



I've updated the "In the News" tab to include this article as well as a few others of recent vintage. Happily, I have been able to find links to these and other pieces.

Episode 509 - Louise Brooks segment, Positively Kansas, May 31, 2019.
-- appearance on KPTS-Channel 8, PBS television affiliate in Wichita, Kansas 

Williams, Tony. "Brooksie Revisited: Beggars of Life (1928) from Kino Lorber and Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film by Thomas Gladysz." Film International, May 30, 2019.
-- film and book review

Garner, Jack. "Classic movie fans can soon binge on Louise Brooks film on PBS." Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, October 14, 2018.
-- "Meanwhile, if there exists a No. 1 fan and a No. 1 chronicler of Brooks, it's Thomas Gladysz, the founder and longtime champion of the Louise Brooks Society."

Brady, Tara. "Louise Brooks: ‘I was always late, but just too damn stunning for them to fire me’." Irish Times, June 2, 2018.
-- brief mention: "She has super-fans. An online tribute site, the Louise Brooks Society, contains an extraordinary day-by-day chronology of her life."

Next year, the Louise Brooks Society will celebrate it's 25th anniversary - that's 25 years online. Here are a few of the notable clippings, blurbs and mentions from the past & from around the world.

Weissberg, Jay. "Now We're in the Air."  Pordenone / Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, 2017.
-- "Louise Brooks Society founder Thomas Gladysz found evidence that William Wellman was also attached at some point, which makes quite a bit of sense, but by June the studio revealed that the director for Now We’re in the Air would be Frank R. Strayer, a considerably lesser talent than the original three choices."

King, Susan. "The Eternal Louise Brooks." American Cinematheque blog, May 17, 2017.
-- dual interview with Thomas Gladysz and Cari Beauchamp

Mack, Megan. "Connections: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of Louise Brooks." WXXI, December 2, 2015. (Rochester, NY NPR)
-- hour long program with film critic Jack Garner, documentary filmmaker Charlotte Siller, and Thomas Gladysz, director of the Louise Brooks Society

Toole, Michael T. "Reopening Pandora’s Box in San Francisco." Film International, August 22, 2012.
-- interview

Blackburn, Gavin. "Forgotten book by Margarete Boehme to be revived in US." Deutsche Welle, November 3, 2010.
-- article on English-language German news site

Matheson, Whitney. "Happy birthday, Louise!" USA Today, November 14, 2006.
-- "My favorite Louise Brooks site belongs to the Louise Brooks Society, a devoted group of fans that even keeps a blog. There, you can find just about everything about the actress: articles, filmography, photos, links and more."

Maltin, Leonard. "Links We Like: Louise Brooks Society." Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy, August 1, 2005.
-- "Not many sites of any kind can claim to be celebrating a tenth anniversary online, but that’s true of the Louise Brooks Society, devoted to the life and times of the magnetic silent-film star and latter-day memoirist. Thomas Gladysz has assembled a formidable amount of material on the actress and her era; there’s not only a lot to read and enjoy, but there’s a gift shop and even a 'Radio Lulu' function that allows you to listen to music of the 1920s. Wow!"

O'Connell, Pamela Licalzi. "Online Diary." New York Times, August 29, 2002.
-- "The Louise Brooks Society (www.pandorasbox.com) is an excellent homage to the art of the silent film as well as one of its most luminous stars."

Anderson, Jeffrey M. "Thirteen great film sites." San Francisco Examiner, November 29, 2001.
-- "This San Francisco-run site pays tribute to one of the greatest and most under-appreciated stars of all time, Louise Brooks, who played numerous bit parts and starred in only two films during the silent era. It contains tons of info, pictures and history." - short write-up in California newspaper

Forestier, Katherine. "Private Icon." South China Morning Post, December 1, 1999.
-- "The renewed interest in her, fueled by the cyberspace Louise Brooks Society, prompted Turner Classic Movies to fund the television profile Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu."

Evenson, Laura. "Lovely Lulu Lives Again." San Francisco Chronicle, May 3, 1998.
-- feature article in California newspaper (alternative archive link)

Farrant, Darrin. "On the Web." Melbourne Age, April 16, 1998.
-- "The Louise Brooks Society has an exhaustive web site about this fascinating siren." - mention in Australian newspaper

Silberman, Steve. "Fan Site Sparks Biopic." Wired News, April 10, 1998.
-- article on Wired magazine website

Meddis, Sam Vincent. "Net: New and notable." USA Today, May 23, 1996.
-- "Silent-film buffs can get a taste of how a fan club from yesteryear plays on the Web. The Louise Brooks Society site includes interview, trivia and photos. It also draws an international audience."(this piece was syndicated to various newspapers, including Florida Today)

Monday, September 9, 2019

Reluctant Icon: Louise Brooks at Rochester Public Library

Thanks to Rochester resident Tim Moore for tipping us off to the upcoming Louise Brooks event at the Rochester, New York Public Library. The event, "Reluctant Icon: Louise Brooks (1906-1985)" is set to take place on Wednesday, October 2 in the Kate Gleason Auditorium in Rochester's Central Library. Start time is 6:00 pm, and the event is expected to run one hour.

Tim, a dedicated and longtime Brooks' fan, risked life and limb to take these pictures of the some of the library's in-house promotion for the event.

According to the library website: "2019 marks the 90th anniversary of Louise Brooks’ most famous film, Pandora’s Box, a print of which has been newly restored. In this presentation, Tim Madigan will discuss how a young girl from Kansas came to Weimar, Germany to play the iconic role of Lulu in that movie, as well as how she later moved to Rochester, where she spent the rest of her life, becoming a noted chronicler of Hollywood and a figure of mystery. He’ll also discuss her depiction in the 2012 novel The Chaperone and its 2018 movie version, and why she lives on as a modern-day muse.

Tim Madigan is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at St. John Fisher College where he regularly discusses Pandora’s Box in his “Philosophy through Film” course." The event is free and open to the public. More information may be found HERE.


As many Louise Brooks fans should know, Louise herself visited this library on many occasions. She was a great reader of books, and at least a few of the books she checked out (and even annotated) still resides on the library shelves. The Central library also has a small collection of books and movies related to Brooks, including copies of some of the publications of the Louise Brooks Society.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Louise Brooks Society books now at Larry Edmunds bookshop in Hollywood

During my recent trip to Los Angeles, I had the chance to visit Larry Edmunds. I've visited the historic bookshop (located at 6644 Hollywood Blvd) many times in the past, but always as a customer. This time, I dropped off copies of three of my books, each of which are now for sale at the famous Hollywood bookshop. The current owner of the shop and I also discussed the possibility of doing an event sometime next year to mark the publication of my forthcoming publication, Around the World with Louise Brooks, as well as to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Louise Brooks Society.

The three titles now available at Larry Edmunds are Louise Brooks: the Persistent Star, Beggars of Life: a Companion to the 1928 Film, and Now We're in the Air: a Companion to the Once Lost Film. If you live in or around Los Angeles, this is the place to go to check out these Louise Brooks Society publications (and a whole lot more).


Larry Edmunds Bookshop has been in business for over 70 years. As such, it is one of the last surviving cinema and theatre book and memorabilia stores in North America. It features an inventory of 500,000 movie photographs, 6,000 original movie posters and 20,009 motion picture and theater books. This is the place where film buffs come to shop.


Larry Edmunds Bookshop (photo by Gary Leonard via onlyinhollywood.org)

Larry Edmunds Bookshop opened in 1938, during the last couple years of Louise Brooks residency in Los Angeles. So who knows, perhaps she shopped there at one time or another.

Larry Edmunds Bookshop in 1965 (photo courtesy of Larry Edmunds Bookshop)
p.s. Larry Edmunds is located on Hollywood Blvd, where many stars from the Hollywood Walk of Fame are located. And fittingly, the star located just in front of the bookshop is that of Ray Bradbury, the great writer and lover of old movies.

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