Monday, October 19, 2020

Louise Brooks on examiner.com by Thomas Gladysz

The Louise Brooks Society went online in the summer of 1995, around the time amazon.com, Netscape and other pioneering websites first launched. As such, it is among the older surviving websites. One of the goals of the LBS is to "get the word out" about the actress via its website, social media, real world advocacy (screenings, exhibits, books, research, etc...), and online journalism. To mark the 25th anniversary of the LBS, I thought to post links to some of my past articles about the actress. 

This post is a continuation of a mini-series highlighting some of my online journalism. Over the past decade or so, I have written dozens of pieces - perhaps a few hundred, about Brooks and various facets of her life and career. These pieces were published on Huffington Post, examiner.com, PopMatters, Film International, Fandor, City Brights (the blog for SFGate - the website of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper), Open Salon (the blog for Salon), and elsewhere. The best of my various pieces were collected in my 2018 book, Louise Brooks, the Persistent Star

This post features a selection of my pieces from the now defunct quasi-news site examiner.com. I wrote for this site for a few years, at first as their San Francisco based Silent Film Examiner (covering the lively San Francisco Bay Area scene), and then in addition as their national Louise Brooks Examiner. The site closed down a few years ago, and all of their content disappeared, including hundreds of my articles on Louise Brooks and early film. I was disappointed that my work had vanished, until I found some (but not all) of my examiner.com work was archived on NewsBank, which archives mainstream newspapers. Unfortunately, I can't link to most of the pieces, as they are behind the NewsBank proxy wall. (Your local library may subscribe and provide access to these pieces.)

Pandora’s Box with Louise Brooks shows in Seattle and Toronto.” examiner.com, January 22, 2014.

“Louise Brooks, a magnet of meaning, more popular than ever.” examiner.com,
November 14, 2013.

Beggars of Life with Louise Brooks in England and Italy.” examiner.com, October 6, 2013.

“Louise Brooks stars in new music videos.” examiner.com, May 19, 2013.

“Dodge Brothers set to accompany Beggars of Life at the Aldeburgh Cinema.” examiner.com, April 21 2013.

“Louise Brooks film screens at Andy Warhol Museum.” examiner.com, October 30, 2012.
— the text of the piece has also been archived here

 “Jim Tully takes Hollywood, again.” examiner.com, October 10, 2012.
— the text of the piece has also been archived here

“Louise Brooks and The New Woman in Film.” examiner.com, September 29, 2012.

Pandora’s Box shows twice on July 14, in Chicago and San Francisco.” examiner.com, July 11 2012.

“The Countess Geschwitz.” examiner.com, June 24, 2012.

“Rare screening of Louise Brooks film, Prix de Beauté.” examiner.com, June 23, 2012.
— the text of the piece has been archived here

 “A Girl in Every Port goes to Stanford.” examiner.com, May 1, 2012.

 “Pandora’s Box with Louise Brooks screens at Getty Museum.” examiner.com, April 26, 2012.

 “Dodge Brothers do Beggars of Life.” examiner.com, April 21, 2012.

 “Pandora’s Box in America – A Brief History.” examiner.com, March 26, 2012.

Pandora’s Box screens twice in Cardiff.” examiner.com, February 19, 2012.

A Girl in Every Port screens in Berkeley.” examiner.com, January 22, 2012.

“Louise Brooks lights up screens in Bay Area and beyond.” examiner.com, January 16, 2012.

“Pandora’s Box to screen in Dubai.” examiner.com, November 20, 2011.

“Polish film history, with a nod to Lulu, surveyed in book.” examiner.com, October 29, 2011.

“New Lou Reed – Metallica album inspired by Lulu plays.” examiner.com,
September 22, 2011.

“Rare Louise Brooks film to screen in Chicago.” examiner.com, June 29, 2011.

 “Talking with The Dodge Brothers.” examiner.com, April 8, 2011.

 “Two Louise Brooks films to be screened with live musical accompaniment.” examiner.com, April 7, 2011.
— about screenings in England and Ireland

“Louise Brooks film featured at Toronto Silent Film Festival.” examiner.com, April 3, 2011.

“Remembering Richard Leacock.” examiner.com, March 29, 2011.

 “Lulu character featured in new play, Mlle. God.” examiner.com, February 6, 2011.

Pandora’s Box, with Louise Brooks, screens on TCM.” examiner.com, January 27, 2011.

Beggars of Life, by Jim Tully, back in print.” examiner.com, December 29, 2010.

 “Louise Brooks films celebrated in Paris.” examiner.com, December 23, 2010.

“Toronto Silent Film Festival to screen It’s the Old Army Game.” examiner.com, December 22, 2010.

 “Louise Brooks & Bruz Fletcher: Camped, Tramped, Riotous Vamps.” examiner.com, December 16, 2010.

Diary of a Lost Girl screens at National Gallery of Art.” examiner.com, December 9, 2010.
— quoted on Alt Film Guide

“Yuna Yang Fashion Designs Louise Brooks.” examiner.com, December 4, 2010.

 “Love Em and Leave Em screens in Rochester, NY.” examiner.com, November 4, 2010.

 “Rare documentary part of Louise Brooks celebration.” examiner.com, October 27, 2010.

Beggars of Life screens again in Los Angeles.” examiner.com, October 21, 2010.

“Louise Brooks’ private journals to be revealed.” examiner.com, October 2, 2010.
— tweeted about by Roger Ebert and Neil Gaiman (see below)

 


“Rare Louise Brooks film to screen in Niles.” examiner.com, September 21, 2010. 

 “A Beggars of Life revival redux.” examiner.com, September 27, 2010.

“New restoration of Pandora’s Box announced.” examiner.com, September 8, 2010.

The Show-Off screens in Los Angeles July 10.” examiner.com, July 8, 2010.

“Canary Murder Case screens in Rochester, NY.” examiner.com, June 9, 2010.

“Six questions with the Dodge Brothers.” examiner.com, May 23, 2010.

“Louise Brooks’ film centerpiece of 2010 Silent Film Festival.” examiner.com, May 21, 2010.

Pandora’s Box, with Louise Brooks, screens in SoCal.” examiner.com, May 17, 2010.

“Diary of a Lost Girl, with Louise Brooks, screens in Brooklyn.” examiner.com, May 11, 2010.
— my first piece under the moniker of the national “Louise Brooks examiner”

“Rufus Wainwright pens tribute to silent film star Louise Brooks.” examiner.com, January 12, 2010.

Louise Brooks and Pandora’s Box still attract.” examiner.com, June 30, 2009.

“Louise Brooks stars in Los Angeles series.” examiner.com, April 30, 2009

 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Louise Brooks articles on various websites by Thomas Gladysz

The Louise Brooks Society went online in the summer of 1995, around the time amazon.com, Netscape and other pioneering websites first launched. As such, it is among the older surviving websites. One of the goals of the LBS is to "get the word out" about the actress via its website, social media, real world advocacy (screenings, exhibits, books, research, etc...) and online journalism. To mark the 25th anniversary of the LBS, I thought to post links to some of my past articles about the actress. 

This post marks the beginning of a mini-series highlighting some of my online journalism. Over the past decade or so, I have written dozens of pieces - perhaps a few hundred, about Brooks and various facets of her life and career. These pieces were published on Huffington Post, examiner.com, PopMatters, Film International, Fandor, City Brights (the blog for SFGate - the website of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper), Open Salon (the blog for Salon), and elsewhere. The best of my various pieces were collected in my 2018 book, Louise Brooks, the Persistent Star

This mini-series continues with scattered pieces on various sites including City Brights, Film International, and Open Salon -- as well as various festival program essays and program notes including the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and University of Wisconsin Cinematheque.

The Chaperone marks a return to Berkeley for Louise Brooks.” Berkeleyside, April 30, 2019.

Louise Brooks Returns to Ann Arbor.” Ann Arbor Observer, April 22, 2019.

Never the Victim: Louise Brooks and The Chaperone.” Film International, .

It’s The Old Army Game – W.C. Fields and Louise Brooks in Ocala Florida.” Silent Locations, July, 2018.
— I contributed to this three part series of posts on John Bengtson’s film blog 

The BFI Re-Opens Silent Film Pandora’s Box.” PopMatters, December 7, 2017.

A World Turned Over: Wellman’s BEGGARS OF LIFE.” University of Wisconsin Cinematheque, November 28, 2017.

Louise Brooks, Lost Girl.” Brattle Theater / Film Notes, August 27, 2017.

Now We’re in the Air Travels the World.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Summer, 2017.
— program notes, published in the Festival program

Windy Riley Goes Hollywood.” Fandor, January, 2016.
— seemingly no longer online

“A dense atmosphere of intense emotions: Diary of a Lost Girl (1929).” Fandor, November, 2015.
— seemingly no longer online

A Girl in Every Port: The Birth of Lulu?” University of Wisconsin Cinematheque, December 2, 2013. 

Downton Abbey – the Louise Brooks connection.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, January 27, 2013.

Pandora’s Box.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Summer 2012.
— program essay in festival booklet

Lulu by the Bay: Louise Brooks is legend in Pandora’s Box.” SFGate, July 12, 2012.
— this piece later ran in SF Sentinel

Sid Kay’s Fellows – Music in Pandora’s Box.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, June 26, 2012.

Pandora’s Box and the Celluloid Closet.” SFGate, June 23, 2012.

Author of Louise Brooks novel, The Chaperone, comes to Bay Area.” SFGate, June 22, 2012.

Thomas Gladysz’s most treasured book.” San Francisco Chronicle, July 10, 2011.
— this piece also appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper (see below)


“Before Greg Mortenson and Three Cups of Tea.” Open Salon, April 21, 2011.
— a Salon editor’s pick, sadly no longer online

A Girl in Every Port.” Starts Thursday!, January 1, 2011.
— guest blog

The Diary of a Lost Girl: Brief history of a banned book.” Open Salon, September 24, 2010.
— sadly no longer online

American Venus.” Starts Thursday!, August 3, 2010.
— guest blog

The American Venus.” San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, November 23, 2009.
— I launched the SFSFF blog, and was their regular blogger for a few years

Galley Talk.” Publisher’s Weekly, July 28, 2006.
— a write-up of Peter Cowie's Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever

 Louise Brooks.” In Encyclopedia of the Great Plains, edited by David J. Wishart, University of Nebraska Press, 2004.
— I wrote an entry for this regional reference work


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Louise Brooks on Huffington Post by Thomas Gladysz

The Louise Brooks Society went online in the summer of 1995, around the time amazon.com, Netscape and other pioneering websites first launched. As such, it is among the older surviving websites. One of the goals of the LBS is to "get the word out" about the actress via its website, social media, real world advocacy (screenings, exhibits, books, research, etc...) and online journalism. To mark the 25th anniversary of the LBS, I thought to post links to some of my past articles about the actress.

This post marks the beginning of a mini-series highlighting some of my online journalism. Over the past decade or so, I have written dozens of pieces - perhaps a few hundred, about Brooks and various facets of her life and career. These pieces were published on Huffington Post, examiner.com, PopMatters, Film International, Fandor, City Brights (the blog for SFGate / San Francisco Chronicle), Open Salon (the blog for Salon), and elsewhere. The best of my various pieces were collected in my 2018 book, Louise Brooks, the Persistent Star.

This mini-series begins with my pieces on Huffington Post. Back in the day, I contributed numerous pieces not only to the national Huffington Post website but also to their once regional news sites (San Francisco, Detroit, New York, Denver, Los Angeles). I even had three pieces on Huffington Post UK.

Louise Brooks, the Persistent Star.” Huffington Post, August 22, 2017.

Long Missing Louise Brooks Film Found.” Huffington Post, March 30, 2017.

Opera with Louise Brooks inspired character debuts in Chicago, and it’s not Lulu.” Huffington Post, February 20, 2017.

getTV Premieres Rare Cary Grant film.” Huffington Post, May 4, 2016.

Lulu in New York: Pandora’s Box at Film Forum.” Huffington Post, March 16, 2016.

Live365 is Dead, Long Live RadioLulu.” Huffington Post, January 27, 2016.

Louise Brooks Celebration in San Francisco.” Huffington Post, November 13, 2015. 

Lulu-mania Sweeps New York City.” Huffington Post, November 9, 2015.

Danger and Desire: 6 Great Lulus.” Huffington Post, November 9, 2015.

Rick Geary’s New Comic, Louise Brooks: Detective.” Huffington Post, July 7, 2015.

Louise Brooks Returns to Detroit in Pandora’s Box.” Huffington Post, March 26, 2015.

Hobo Author Jim Tully Celebrated in New Documentary on PBS.” Huffington Post, February 11, 2015.

A Glastonbury First.” Huffington Post, June 24, 2014.
— published on Huffington Post UK

Natalie Merchant’s ‘Lulu’ Latest Pop Tribute to Silent Film Icon Louise Brooks.” Huffington Post, May 19, 2014.

Louise Brooks’ Star Shines Brighter Than Ever.” Huffington Post, November 4, 2013.

Pandora’s Box Plays Out Doors in Newcastle.” Huffington Post, August 28, 2012.
— published on Huffington Post UK

Louise Brooks Stars in Beggars of Life.” Huffington Post, July 30, 2012.

Louise Brooks Cover Girl and Secret Muse of the 20th Century.” Huffington Post, June 6, 2012.

Louise Brooks and Silent Film Star in Montreal.” Huffington Post, May 21, 2012.

Louise Brooks Celebrated in London.” Huffington Post, April 11, 2012.
— published on Huffington Post UK

Louise Brooks Is Lulu in Pandora’s Box.” Huffington Post, March 22, 2012.

Strange Silent Film Screens in Syracuse.” Huffington Post, March 15, 2012.

Beggars of Life with Louise Brooks Screens in New York.” Huffington Post, February 17, 2012.
— published in New York City section; tweeted about by Roger Ebert (see below)

Howard Hawks Retrospective in Berkeley.” Huffington Post, January 11, 2012.   

Jim Tully Revival: Hobo Author Back in Print.”Huffington Post, December 8, 2010.

Dear Stinkpot: Letters from Louise Brooks by Jan Wahl.” Huffington Post, October 13, 2010.

Louise Brooks Journals to be Revealed, and Perhaps Published.” Huffington Post, October 11, 2010.

A Lost Girl, a Fake Diary, and a Forgotten Author.” Huffington Post, August 26, 2010.

Rufus Talks Lulu Plays Denver.”Huffington Post, August 12, 2010.

Beggars of Life Screens Under the Stars.”Huffington Post, August 10, 2010.

‘I Am the Victim of Such a Lascivious Beauty’ Rufus Wainwright on Louise Brooks.”Huffington Post, August 5, 2010.

Loving Louise Brooks : A Student Film You Simply Must Watch.”Huffington Post, July 23, 2010.



Thursday, October 1, 2020

Another newly found poem which references Louise Brooks


Last week, I came across yet another published poem which references Louise Brooks. The poem, titled "The Time Machine," is by Jon Anderson (1940–2007), a contemporary American poet and educator. Anderson's first book, Looking for Jonathan, was an inaugural selection of the Pitt Poetry Series of the University of Pittsburgh Press in 1967. His second, Death & Friends, was nominated for the National Book Award. Anderson won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1976; the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America in 1983 for career achievement; and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in poetry in 1986.

"The Time Machine" was included in the author's 1982 book, The Milky Way: Poems 1967-1982, published by Ecco Press. The poem appears in the section of new work, suggesting it was one of the poet's more recent efforts. I am not sure when exactly the poem dates from, but I did find it appeared in the 1981 winter / spring issue of the literary journal Antaeus.

 

In David Wojahn's review of The Milky Way in Prairie Schooner, a literary journal, Wojahn describes Anderson as a tonal poet, and his selected poems a "satisfactory achievement." Wojahn writes that most poets under 45 years old don't have cause for such a book -- as they have not yet truely found their voice. Wojahn writes, "Most poets find their subjects early in their careers, but arrive at at their voices much later, and this is not surprising; we all know what we would like to write about, but few of us can easily delineate our attitude toward the subjects that obsess us." Anderson, Wojahn writes, is an exception.

Some of the poems in The Milky Way concern other writers, artists and composers. Wojahn writes, "Another new poems, 'The Time Machine,' is an homage to the silent-movie actress Louise Brooks, who becomes another member of the Anderson pantheon. . . . Again and again in Anderson's work we see situations in which the speaker attempts to release himself from solipsism through his homages to his saints...."

To me, Anderson's poem is somewhat oblique, though its indirectness is not so much we don't know which scene in Pandora's Box the poet is meditating on. I wish Anderson were still alive, as I would like to write to him and ask him about his work. And why, and what was he referring to, when he titled this poem  "The Time Machine."


Friday, September 25, 2020

Another Louise Brooks related film to watch online

Alan Boyle pointed out on the Louise Brooks Society Facebook page the recent availability of Dance with Death: The Ufa Star Sybille Schmitz (2000), a ten year old documentary about the once popular 1930s German actress who not only had a small featured role in the Louise Brooks film, The Diary of a Lost Girl, but was also the inspiration for the title character Veronika Voss in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s celebrated film of the same name. 

Sybille Schmitz and Louise Brooks in The Diary of a Lost Girl
 

Besides Pabst's Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), Schmitz's other early roles include Carl Th. Dreyer's Vampyr (1932), and eventually F.P.1 (1932), where she played her first leading role. I don't speak German, but was able to watch this fascinating documentary with the closed captions turned on, as if it were subtitled.

In The Diary of a Lost Girl, Schmitz plays Elisabeth, the pregnant housekeeper who is thrown out of the house by Thymian's father. Elisabeth is soon found dead, setting in motion a chain of events with tragic consequences. As Dance with Death notes, it was Schmitz's second film role, and already her second on-screen death. The documentary also notes the dark atmosphere which seemed to hang around the actress. The Wikipedia entry on Schmitz states, "Coincidentally, the last film she made less than two years before taking her own life (1953's The House on the Coast, now considered a lost film) had Schmitz's character committing suicide as a last act of desperation. A much earlier film, Frank Wisbar's The Unknown (1936) ends with the suicide of Schmitz's character, also in a final act of desperate hopelessness.) 

Despite it's gloom, I recommend Dance with Death: The Ufa Star Sybille Schmitz. It is interesting to say the least. For example, with the rise of Nazism, the film suggests Schmitz felt a frustration with a film industry which increasingly devalued her dark features. As her Wikipedia entry states, "... her explicitly non-Aryan appearance relegated her mostly to femme-fatales or problematic foreign women." That got me wondering about Brooks' dark features and what role they may have played in her acceptance among German film goers.

Another documentary about another supporting player in The Diary of a Lost Girl is Prisoner of Paradise, the story of Kurt Gerron. In the Brooks film, Gerron plays Dr. Vitalis, who is featured in the nightclub scene where Brooks' character, Thymian, is auctioned off.

Kurt Gerron and Louise Brooks in The Diary of a Lost Girl

Prisoner of Paradise is a 2002 documentary about one of the great German actors of the 1920s and 1930s. He appeared in many films and stage productions, but today is best remembered for a key supporting role in The Blue Angel (1930), with Marlene Dietrich. After being sent to a concentration camp, Gerron was forced by his captors to direct the pro-Nazi propaganda film, The Fuhrer Gives a City to the Jews. In addition to exploring his life, Prisoner of Paradise details a remarkable detective story in which Gerron's film, lost for decades after World War II, was tracked down and painstakingly put back together.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Louise Brooks related film to watch online

This year, the world famous Pordenone Silent Film Festival | Le Giornate del Cinema Muto is going online. 

In the wake of the worldwide coronovirus pandemic, the eight days of screenings originally set to take place in October 2020 have been rescheduled for 2021. And in its place, the world famous festival will instead screen a number of rarely seen films and recent restorations, each paired with musical  accompaniment. The daily schedule of films can be found HERE.


Of special interest to silent film buffs and fans of Louise Brooks will be a online screening of Abwege (The Devious Path), by director G. W. Pabst. Made just prior to Pabst's Pandora's Box and Diary of a Lost Girl, this 1928 drama stars Brigitte Helm (the beautiful android in Metropolis) and Gustav Diesel (creepy Jack the Ripper in Pandora's Box) and tells a story of a marriage gone wrong. It is rich in Weimar Berlin detail.

Compared to the version screened in Pordenone in 1997, Abwege is said to have gone through a kind of rebirth after restoration by the Münchner Filmmuseum in Munich, which has produced this new copy --  beautifully tinted, from the original negative. The original inter-titles have also been reinstated, significantly enhancing an understating of the plot.


There are other films of interest as well. The George Eastman Museum has restored Cecil B. DeMille’s 1917 western, A Romance of the Redwoods, starring Mary Pickford, which is described as a beautiful example of the director’s work from the 1910s, one of the busiest periods of his long career. There is also Where Lights are Low (1921) featuring Sessue Hayakawa, a series of shorts with Laurel and Hardy, and more. Also included in the online event will be streamed discussions with archivists, musicians and film scholars, as well as the 35th year of the Jean Mitry Award presentations. (A bilingual catalogue will be downloadable on the website and later available in printed form.) 

I have always wanted to attend the Pordenone festival, but have never done so. I am excited, as this online event is a chance to experience the festival in a small way. I am registering for the event, and am looking forward to seeing Pabst's Abwege. How about you? This online festival requires registration, with a basic pass to the entire festival costing only € 9,90. That's a lot less than flying to Italy! More information about registration for the 39th annual Pordenone Silent Film Festival can be found HERE.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Major Louise Brooks Retrospective in Zurich, Switzerland Oct 5 - Nov 18, 2020

FilmPodium has announced the dates for its rescheduled Louise Brooks retrospective. The 15 film series, originally set to take place earlier this year but cancelled due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, is now set to take place October 5 through November 18, 2020. It looks to be a must attend event for any Louise Brooks fan or silent movie buff or film scholar in the region. FilmPodium is located in Zurich, Switzerland. For more information on the series, including informative program notes and the times and dates of each screening, visit HERE.


I have known about this event since it was in the planning stages, and have exchanged emails with Filmpodium offering suggestions. I am especially pleased the series will include the surviving fragment of Now We're in the Air, whose preservation I had a small hand in helping with. (You'll find my name in the credits, as well as in the credits at the end of Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu.) Once considered lost, Now We're in the Air has not been shown in Switzerland since the late 1920s! I don't know how long it is, but as well it must be decades since films like The Show Off, Love Em and Leave Em, or even God's Gift to Women were screened in Switzerland. More bold choices. And too, I don't know of any other series or retrospective which has shown both the silent and sound versions of Prix de Beaute back to back! That is a bold programming; also a fresh choice was showing a film in homage to Brooks, The Chaperone. The films in the series include:

It's the Old Army Game (1926) with Now We're in the Air (1927)

The Show Off (1926)

Love Em and Leave Em (1926)

A Girl in Every Port (1928)

Beggars of Life (1928)

Die Buchse der Pandora (1929)

The Canary Murder Case (1929)

Tagebuch einer Verlonenen (1929)

Prix de Beaute (1930) both the silent and sound versions

God's Gift to Women (1930)

Overland Stage Raiders (1938) with Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu (1998) documentary

The Chaperone (2018)

Most of the films will only be shown once, though a few will be shown on multiple occasions. All of the silent films will feature live musical accompaniment, which will feature acclaimed UK silent film accompaniest Neil Brand, friend to the Louise Brooks Society Stephen Horne, Martin Christ, André Desponds, Ephrem Lüchinger, Samuel Messerli and Neal Sugarman. Notes for the series were penned by Elisabeth Bronfen, who described Brooks as an icon of the Roaring Twenties, noting that "Her natural acting style was decades ahead of her time, her appeal remains immortal."

Last year, the Melbourne Cinémathèque in Melbourne, Australia put on a major film retrospective along similar lines titled "Enduring Modernity: The Transcontinental Career of Louise Brooks". Something must be in the air! 

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