Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Some thoughts .... Hurricane Katrina

For the last few days, I have been watching television coverage of the disaster along the Gulf Coast. It is frightening. The loss of life and of material goods is so distressing. I work at a bookstore - and wonder about the bookstores in New Orleans. Did any survive? How about the libraries and archives, the old movie theaters, and historic buildings? Along with life itself, these are some of the material / cultural things I hold dear. So many of the cities hit by Hurricane Katrina and mentioned on the news are familar to me - New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Meridian, Mississippi are all cities visited by Louise Brooks when she was a member of the Denishawn Dance Company. By some strange coincidence, at the library today I looked at microfilm of the Baton Rouge State Times, where I found a bunch of Denishawn material from 1924. The lending institution was Louisiana State University. I wonder if these mere microfilm rolls have a dry home to go back to? My thoughts are with those in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama (including members of the LBS and a few dear friends - namely Tim & Laura Dwyer, who live in New Orleans) who have suffered through this awful event. I hope you are safe.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

On this day in 1930

On this day in 1930, The Hollywood Filmograph reports that Louise Brooks was among the celebrities present to see Duke Ellington perform (on August 21st) at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles. "Duke Ellington's famous dusky orchestra of the Ziegfield Follies discoursed dandy jazz music for an hour and made a great hit." Other celebrities present included Roscoe Arbuckle, Mack Sennett, Loretta Young, Mervyn LeRoy, Skeets Gallagher, Carl Laemmele, and Carl Laemmele Jr. The regular band at the Cocoanut Grove, led by Gus Arnheim, featured vocals by The Rhythm Boys.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Lulu in Honolulu

On Friday, I visited the California State Library. I had intended to look at some more California newspaper, but instead spent the afternoon browsing three and a half years of microfilm of the the Honolulu Advertiser. (Only recently did I discover that the California State Library has a few non-California newspapers.) I found advertisements and/or articles and reviews for every Louise Brooks' film from The American Venus (1926) through The City Gone Wild (1927). These are the first citations from Hawaii (which was then the Territory of Hawaii) I have found.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

"American Venus" Discloses Her Beauty Secrets

Here is a nifty, 1922 article I came across today. I think it nifty because it refers to Dorothy Knapp (Louise Brooks' later friend in the 1925 Ziegfeld Follies) as The American Venus.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Diary of a Lost Girl screening

Diary of a Lost Girl will be shown at the Northbrook Public Library in Northbrook, Illinois on September 7th. Live piano accompaniment performed by Dave Drazin. For more info see  Here is info on other films in the series:

September 14 - Sex
The vampish "Spider Woman" breaks up homes and marriages but retribution soon strikes in a devious way.
Starring: Louise Glaum, Irving Cummings, Viola Barry (90 minutes)

September 21 - Show People
A delightfully funny early glimpse of Hollywood as a girl from the sticks tries to make it in movies.
Starring: Marion Davies, William Haines, Polly Moran (82 minutes )

September 28 - Sunrise
One of the first Oscar winners. A farmer plans to murder his wife, led on by another woman.
Starring: Janet Gaynor, George O'Brien, Margaret Livingston (110 minutes)

Thursday, August 25, 2005


I spent half-a-day at UC Berkeley, where I went through two-and-a-half years of Neie Freie Presse, a daily newspaper from Vienna, Austria. All I managed to find, however, was a single 1928 review and advertisement for Eine Pariser Ehe, which shown in the United States as Evening Clothes (1927). I was lucky to spot this, as the Austrian title differs from the German title, Ein Frack Ein Claque Ein Mandel. The review did not mention Louise Brooks.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Library research jottings

Quick trip to the library today, where a couple of microfilm loans were waiting. I went through a few months of the Paterson News (from Paterson, New Jersey - the longtime home of William Carlos Williams), and found some interesting material, including a review, on The City Gone Wild. The Paterson News is promising, so I may look through other months sometime in the future. I also went through some microfilm of the Joplin Globe (from Joplin, Missouri - not sure who lived there). Denishawn performed in Joplin twice during Louise Brooks' tenure with the dance company. However, each of their perfromances were on Sundays - and the Joplin Globe did not publish on Mondays. Thus, I didn't find any reviews - which is the material I desire the most. Nevertheless, I did find a few advertisements and some generic articles and images (two of which pictured Brooks).

Tomorrow, I return to the microfilm collection at UC Berkeley. This will be my last visit to that campus for a couple of years. And Friday, I will drive to Sacramento to visit the State Library of California. That will be my last visit to that institution this year. I don't have any other "research trips" planned for the next six or nine months. (If things work out - I may have to go to Washington D.C. next June, and may end up visiting the Library of Congress. . . . Most of my research trips piggyback onto business and family trips.) Otherwise, inter-library loans will continue to trickle in every couple of weeks, and I won't be burdening all of you so frequently with these dry library reports.

Here is a picture of my filing cabinet stuffed with Louise Brooks material. The fruits of my labor. I have four drawers filled with files on every Brooks' film, as well as files on significant topics (Denishawn, Ziegfeld Follies, Eddie Sutherland, G.W. Pabst, Lulu in Hollywood, obituaries, etc...).

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Legend of Rudolph Valentino

I watched another documentary. The Legend of Rudolph Valentino was made in 1982, and released on DVD in 2000. It is a pretty poor excuse for a documentary, and is mainly worth watching only for the little seen photographs and film clips it contains (early movies in which Valentino had a small part, Valentino's home movies, footage from Valentino's funeral, etc....) The details of the actor's life are only glossed over. And, there is so much footage from Blood and Sand and Son of the Shiek included that you feel as though you have watched each of those films!

p.s. The director of The Legend of Rudolph Valentino is Graeme Ferguson, who also directed the clumsy 1965 documentary, The Love Goddesses, which included Louise Brooks. Paul Killiam, another familiar name to Brooks' and silent film devotees, was co-producer.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Louise Brooks in Denmark

Here is a link to a nifty website called Louise Brooks in Denmark. It contains a few articles, a list of films, and audio file of an interview with the well known Danish film historian Ib Monty, and more. It is well worth checking out.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A couple of days late

Apparently, Pandora's Box was shown on Friday. I just noticed this Spanish-language newsgroup posting. I am not sure if this screening took place in Argentina, or Spain. Does anyone know?

Viernes 19, 22.30 hs.
Ciclo de Cine Alemán-Cine Mudo-Música en vivo
"Lulu o la Caja de Pandora" (1928/29) de Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Centro Cultural Estación Provincial
Calle 17 y 71 - La Plata
Entada: libre

La obra que lanzó a la fama a Louise Brooks y la obra maestra de su director, Georg Wilhelm Pabst. Una obra clave de la Historia del Cine. Louise Brooks, que se impuso a actrices de la talla de Marlene Dietrich, interpreta a Lulú, una mujer magnética y hechizante, auténtica femme fatale, que hace que todas las personas que la rodean caigan rendidos ante su encanto, y con ello, caigan en la perdición. Todo ello dotado de una ambigüedad que nos hace dudar si Lulú es una mujer que se aprovecha de su belleza, o si, por el contrario, no es consciente de ella y son los demás los que se aprovechan de ella. A la maravillosa interpretación de Louise Brooks se une el extraordinario oficio de su director, el reputado Georg Wilhelm Pabst, que impregna esta película de una sobriedad y de un realismo que dota a todo el film de una verosimilitud y de un ritmo inteligente que sigue vigente 75 años después.

My browser translation utility renders it, somewhat akwardly, thus:

Friday 19, 22,30 hs.
Cycle of Cinema Alema'n-Cine Mudo-Mu'sica live
"Lulu or the Box of Pandora" (1928/29) of Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Cultural Center Provincial Station
71 street 17 and - the Silver
Cost: free

The work that sent to the fame to Louise Brooks and the masterpiece of his director, Georg Wilhelm Pabst. A key work of the History of the Cinema. Louise Brooks, who prevailed actresses of the stature of Marlene Dietrich, interprets Lulu, a magnetic and bewitching woman, authentic femme fatale, that does that all the people who surround it fall tired before his enchantment, and with it, they fall in the perdición. All it equipped with an ambiguity that makes us doubt if Lulu is one woman who takes advantage of her beauty, or if, on the contrary, she is not conscious of her and those are the others that take advantage of her. To wonderful interpretation of Louise Brooks is united the extraordinary one office of its director, the reputed Georg Wilhelm Pabst, that impregnates this film of a sobriety and a realism that it equips to all film of a probability and an intelligent rate that follows effective 75 years later.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

On this day in 1927

On this day in 1927, Louise Brooks was listed as the 65th biggest draw among featured players by Film Spectator magazine.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Olive Thomas

Sometimes I get around to things a little late . . . . Tonight I watched Olive Thomas: Everybody's Sweetheart the documentary contained on the DVD release The Olive Thomas Collection. (Tomorrow night I plan to watch The Flapper, the 1920 Olive Thomas film also contained on the disc. From what I have read online, The Flapper is one of Thomas' best films, and only one of two which still survive.) I liked the documntary well enough. It was informative, and was a good introduction to an actress I admittedly knew little about. I would be curious to read a biography of her, if there were one!

A book briefly mentioned and pictured in the documentary was Midnight Frolic: A Ziegfeld Girl's True Story by Marcelle Earle. I am intrigued. Is anyone familiar with it, or has anyone read it ?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Back to Berkeley

Returned to the University of California, Berkeley where I spent the afternoon scrolling through microfilm. I looked at another year's worth of El Mercurio, from Santiago, Chile. Found an article and ads for Medias Enrolladas (aka Rolled Stockings), as well as ads for Reclutas por los Aires (aka Now We're in the Air) and La Ciudad del Mal (aka The City Gone Wild). That completes my survey of this South American newspaper. I then jumped continents and scanned some months of Neue Freie Presse from Vienna, Austria. I found a great ad and a long 1929 review of Die Buchse der Pandora. Very exciting! When I return next week, I plan to look at some more of Neue Freie Presse, as well as hopefully complete my survey of La Prensa (from Buenos Airies, Argentina). Next week's visit will be my last to Berkeley for at least a couple of years, as the library is set to undergo earthquake retrofitting.

One oddity I came across in Neue Freie Presse was this 1928 ad for Clara Bow's 1927 film, Hula - curiously renamed Die Lulu von Honolulu(aka The Lulu from Honolulu). It always interesting to see the titles films take on when shown overseas.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Quick trip to the library

Quick trip to the San Francisco Public Library, where I dug up a whole bunch of Denishawn articles, advertisements and a review in Daily Telelgram (from Eau Claire, Wisconsin). Not as much luck with the Austin Statesman (from Austin, Texas), where I only found one Denishawn article. I will return to the SFPL next week to look at other inter-library loans.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Frank Martin (1921 - 2005)

Frank Martin, the British artist whose 1974 portrait of Louise Brooks has been discussed recently on this blog (see the July 21stand August 3rd entries), died in London on July 29th. He was aged 84. The Independent (link to story) and other British newspapers ran obituaries which mentioned his portrait of Brooks and others early film stars.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy

Leonard Maltin recently included the Louise Brooks Society in his list of recommended websites. Under "Links We Like," Maltin wrote "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!"

If you haven't visited Maltin's website, Movie Crazy, you are missing out! Maltin is a real movie buff (you might even describe him as "crazy about the movies"), and his fine website contains interesting and rare material. Maltin is an author and accomplished film historian, but he brings a fan's enthuisiasm to the movies. I like that. And as is evident from the pages of his website, Maltin also has a great fondness for the silent and early sound era. Explore his website and find out more. Movie buffs will also want to subscribe to his newsletter, Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy. I subscribe. It's always a good read.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Lillian Gish, by Charles Affron

Just finished reading Lillian Gish Her Legend Her Life by Charles Affron. All-in-all, I liked it, and I found Gish's life interesting. Parts of the book were more interesting than others, especially when Affron was relating details of Gish's personal life. (I had recently seen part of  The Scarlet Letter at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, and that rekindled by interest in this actress and her films.) Has anyone else read this book, or any of the other books on Miss Gish?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Beggars of Life screening in Three Oaks, Michigan

Beggars of Life will be screened as part of the Harbor County "Sounds of Silents Film Festival" on August 12th, at 9:00 pm. The film will be shown outside, in Dewey Canyon Park, in Three Oaks, Michigan. (Three Oaks is located in Southwest part of the state.) Admission is $10.00    Blue Dahlia will be performing their original score for the film. For more info

From Santiago, Chile

Returned to Berkeley today, where I went through more microfilm. This visit, I scanned two years (all of 1926 and 1927) of El Mercurio, a daily newspaper from Santiago, Chile. Things started slow. I went through six months and found nothing. My eyelids were growing heavy. I was fidgitting. I didn't feel well. And I thought about giving up when I came across a slew of material onLa Venus Americana. Wow. I was saved. El Mercurio ran illustrated articles (with incredibly long titles), like the one pictured above, three days in a row. A couple of other brief articles followed. As with the material I found in O Estado de S. Paulo ( link to earlier entry ), Brooks' second film seemed to be hot stuff in South America. I also found some typical theater advertisements, like this one.

From what I gathered, the Victoria was one of the main movie theaters in Santiago. This July 23, 1926 ad features La Venus Americana as the main attraction. The supporting film is La Calle del Olvido, better known to American audiences as The Street of Forgotten Men. I wonder if any patrons noticed the spunky, bobbed brunette who appeared in both films? (Who knows, perhaps Pablo Neruda was in the audience. I came across an article about the poet in my search through this Chilean newspaper.) My look through 1926 and 1927 also turned up a little material on two films featuring Adolph Menjou and Louise Brooks, Figaro en Sociedad (1926) and Las que no aman (1927). Can you guess the titles?

I plan to return to Berkeley once, perhaps twice more this month. Parts of the library are either moving or closing while the library building undergoes earthquake repairs.

Here is another interesting item I happened to spot. It's from El Mercurio from June, 1927. The name "Lulu" caught my eye. I have tried to figure out what film this might be, as Willy Fristch and Lucy Doraine were both European actors. (Is it a film, or a stage performance?) Does anyone have any idea what this is? I'm curious.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bristol Silents

Silent film buffs will want to check out Bristol Silents, a film festival (and website) in Bristol, England. Their next series of films will be shown this September. Anyone who love the movies and lives in England may well want to check out their website for more information. I mention this organization because they are big fans of Louise Brooks! Bristol Silents was begun when local silent film enthusiasts Chris Daniels and Norman Taylor formed Bristol Silents in August 2000. Their goal was to promote and celebrate the art of the silent cinema. Initially, their series began with a short season of Louise Brooks films at Arnolfini in October 2000. Since then, they have presented many films. Among their Patrons are Kevin Brownlow, David Robinson, Diana Serra Carey, and Richard Attenborough.

Bristol Silents =

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Louise Brooks Society Celebrates 10 Years Online

The Louise Brooks Society, the largest and most popular website in the world devoted to any silent film star, celebrates 10 years on the internet. Since its launch in August 1995, nearly two million people have visited this pioneering site. The New York Times said, "The Louise Brooks Society is an excellent homage to the art of the silent film as well as one of its most luminous stars."

The LBS was founded as a fan-site, and over the years has evolved into a comprehensive on-line archive and center for "all things Lulu." This 250-page site features an array of information about the actress including a filmography, commentary, links, bibliographies, vintage articles and memorabilia, portrait galleries, a message board, and contributions from fans from around the world. The LBS has a long-running blog, as well as its own Louise Brooks themed radio station, aptly named RadioLulu.

The mission of the Louise Brooks Society is to honor the actress by stimulating interest in her life and films; by fostering and coordinating research on her life, films and writings; by serving as a repository for related material; and by advocating for the preservation and restoration of Brooks' films. To date, the LBS has co-sponsored events (including one with Barry Paris), mounted exhibits, "inspired" a documentary, and generated wide spread media interest in the actress.

In its first ten years, the LBS has been widely praised, having been written-up in publications from around the world including the Sunday Times (London, England), Stuttgarter Zeitung (Stuttgart, Germany), Le Temps (Paris, France), and Melbourne Age (Melbourne, Australia). The LBS has also received coverage in the San Francisco ChronicleGrand Rapids PressAtlanta Journal and ConstitutionRochester Democrat and Chronicle, and USA Today.

The site serves as home to the Louise Brooks Society - an internet-based fan club and the "first virtual fan club" in cyberspace. Most all club activities - including its newsletter, membership meetings, correspondence, and the participation of individuals - take place over the internet. At last count, its 1000+ members hail from 46 countries on six continents. Such a joining together by like-minded fans was only made possible by the advent of the world wide web.

The Louise Brooks Society - Highlights of 10 Years Online

1995 - The earliest pages of the Louise Brooks Society appear on the world wide web. The LBS is the first site devoted to the actress, one of the earliest devoted to any silent film star, and one of the earlier "fan sites" on the internet.

1996 - The LBS receives its first reviews. "USA Today" notes "Silent-film buffs can get a taste of how a fan club from yesteryear plays on the Web. The Louise Brooks Society site includes interviews, trivia and photos. It also draws an international audience." Later in the year, a British computing magazine, "Net Directory," names the LBS one of the five best sites in the world devoted to actresses.

1997 - Among its many web honors, the LBS is named a Hollywood Site of the Week and Celebrity Site of the Day. The LBS made Yahoo's Desert Island List and is named part of the Microsoft Network's One Click Away program.

1998 - Impressed by the popularity of the LBS, the television station Turner Classic Movies (TCM) gives the go ahead to a documentary on the actress. "Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu" plays to great acclaim and is nominated for an Emmy Award.

1998 - Pages from the LBS are referenced in a book on G.W. Pabst (Brooks' director in Pandora's Box and Diary of a Lost Girl) published by the Austrian Film Archive.

1999 - Numerous schools (from the junior high to university level) adopt pages from the LBS as suggested reading. The LBS is named a recommended site by the online version of the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

2000 - The University of Minnesota Press publishes Lulu in Hollywood by Louise Brooks, and Louise Brooks by Barry Paris. Each book is brought back into print following a petition campaign organized by the LBS.

2001 - The San Francisco Examiner includes the LBS in an article "Thirteen great film sites."

2002 - The LBS launches RadioLulu, a Louise Brooks-themed radio station. This internet-based station features theme songs from the films of Louise Brooks, vintage jazz, recordings by the actresses' contemporaries and co-stars, as well as recent pop and rock music about the silent film star (by Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark, Soul Coughing, etc.).

2002 - Pages from the LBS are referenced in three books, German Expressionist Films (Pocket Essentials); Sex in the City (Universe); and Photoplay Editions (McFarland).

2003 - Site traffic continues to grow. Visitor logs show that individuals have visited the LBS from more than 60 different countries including every nation in Europe as well as countries scattered across Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and South America.

2004 - The bibliographies found on the website surpass 400 pages of printed material, making them one of the largest such collections of documentation so far assembled.

Monday, August 8, 2005

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Merian C. Cooper

This Tuesday, I will be hosting an event with Mark Cotta Vaz, author of Living Dangerously: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper, Creator of King Kong. (This event - an author talk and booksigning - will take place at The Booksmith in San Francisco. Start time is 7:00 pm.) If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, please attend. It should be interesting and fun.

Vaz's new book is a biography of filmmaker, adventurer and aviator Merian C. Cooper, who not only made the 
Oscar-nominatedChang (1927), but was also the producer-director of the original King-Kong (1933). This Fall, TCM will debut a new documentary about Cooper by Kevin Brownlow. And in December, LOTR director Peter Jackson, author of the forward to this new biography, is set to release his own version of King Kong.

More about the book: "Explorer, war hero, filmmaker, and cinema pioneer Merian C. Cooper – the adventurer who created King Kong  – was truly larger than life . . . . Cooper's place in history is assured, thanks not only to the monstrous gorilla from Skull Island but because the story of Kong's creator is even bigger and bolder than the beast he made into a cultural icon. Spellbound since boyhood by tales of life-threatening adventure and exotic locales, Cooper plunged again and again into harrowing expeditions that took him to places not yet civilized by modern man. Cooper was one of the first bomber pilots in World War I. After the war, he helped form the famous Kosciuszko Squadron in battle-torn Poland. He then turned his attention to producing documentary films that chronicled his hair-raising encounters with savage warriors, man-eating tigers, nomadic tribes, and elephant stampedes."

"In addition to producing King Kong, he was the first to team Fred Astaire with Ginger Rogers, arranged Katharine Hepburn's screen test, collaborated with John Ford on Hollywood's greatest Westerns, and then changed the face of film forever with Cinerama, the original 'virtual reality.' He returned to military service during World War II, serving with General Claire Chennault in China, flying missions into the heart of enemy territory. This book is a stunning tribute to a two-fisted visionary who packed a multitude of lifetimes into eighty remarkable years. The first comprehensive biography of this unique man and his amazing time, it's the tale of someone whose greatest desire was always to be living dangerously."

Saturday, August 6, 2005

Forever Lulu

Louise Brooks appears on the cover of August 7, 2005 issue of Film TV, a magazine from Italy. This issue also contains an article by Emanuela Martini (the editor) along with 7 images from Brook's films.

Friday, August 5, 2005

This week's library report

Three more inter-library loans were waiting for me at the San Francisco Public Library. I went through microfilm of the News-Sentinel (from Ft. Wayne, Indiana) where I got some Denishawn material regarding their March, 1924 appearance. Along with a review, which referenced Louise Brooks, I found a earlier article which featured a group photo of the Denishawn dancers, including Brooks! I also looked through some later issues of News-Sentinel, where I found a rather nice advertisement for a screening of Beggars of Life dating from March, 1929 (some six months after it was released). And I found reviews and ads forThe Street of Forgotten Men and The American Venus in the Hartford Daily Courant (from Hartford, Conneticut).

Another publication at I looked at was Germania, a daily newspaper from Berlin. Looking through microfilm of this publication was certainly the highlight of this week's trip, as the Berlin newspapers are dificult to get ahold of. I have been trying to find Germania for some time. My efforts paid off, as I found short reviews for Blaue jungens, blonde MadchenDie Buchse der Pandora, and Tagebuch einer Verlorenen. These reviews got me to thinking. . . .

It is commonly reported that G.W. Pabst cast Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box after having seen her in Blaue jungens, blonde Madchen (aka A Girl in Every Port). Looking at Brooks' list of films, this assumption makes sense, as the release of the Howard Hawks' buddy film (in which Brooks play a kind of temptress, not unlike Lulu) preceded the start of production on Pandora's Box.A Girl in Every Port, was released in the United States on February 20, 1928. Pabst was attempting to cast Lulu in the Spring or Summer of that same year.

The claim that Pabst cast Brooks in Pandora's Box after having seen her in A Girl in Every Port was made by James Card in "Out of Pandora’s Box: Louise Brooks on G. W. Pabst," an article published in 1956. And it was repeated by Brooks herself in the 1970's in filmed interviews. Why? I wonder why? As newspaper reviews show, Blaue jungens, blonde Madchen didn't screen in Berlin until the first week of December in1928, after production work on Pandora's Box was finished!

Could Pabst - largely an independent filmmaker - have seen the Hawks' film at a private screening? Or could Pabst have noticed Brooks through her roles in earlier films such as Die Schonste Frau der Staaten (The American Venus), Die Braut am Scheidewege (Just Another Blonde), or Ein Frack Ein Claque Ein Madel (Evening Clothes) - each of which was shown in Berlin and received significant press coverage. It's a tidy assumption to believe Brooks' role in the Hawk's film struck Pabst's fancy. I wonder if it weren't another.

Tomorrow, I head over to the East Bay, where I will once again spend some time exploring the microfilm collection at the University of California, Berkeley. The microfilm collection at the Bancroft Library numbers in the thousands of rolls. Such riches! I've kept notes, and plan to pick-up where I left off last time. This trip, I plan to look at some more South American and European newspapers. It's slow, tedious work - but I occassionally uncover a gem or two. (Like the review of Pandora's Box I found in a Buenas Aires newspaper from 1929; and the movie ads I found in newspapers from Mexico City, also dating from the 1920's; and the other clippings I uncovered in French, German, Polish and Russians newspapers and magazines from the 1920's and 1930's.) This is one of three or possibly four trips to Berkeley I plan to take this month before the microfilm collections is closed. The library is set to undergoe a seismic retrofit. An article recently appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle about this historic library and the challenges it faces.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

From Sao Paulo, Brazil

Yesterday's trip to Berkeley went well. I looked through four years (1926, 1927, 1928, 1929) of O Estado de S. Paulo, a daily newspaper from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I found two reviews - one for Venus Americana and one for Mendigos da vida - and advertisements for a bunch of others including and Desfrutando a alta sociedadeDois Aguias No Ar and O Drama de Uma Noite. I made lots and lots of photocopies - about twenty dollars worth. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Frank Martin exhibit in London

Received this flier in the mail today advertising an exhibit of work by Frank Martin to be held in London in November, 2005. Apparently, this exhibit of woodcuts, etchings and colour prints will include his portrait of Louise Brooks. For more on Frank Martin, see this webpage (includes a somewhat curious image of Clara Bow).

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Poet August Kleinzahler

There is a large article in today's New York Times about poet August Kleinzahler. ( link to article ) He is a fine fellow, and a longtime friend of mine. Back in May, 2000 I published one of his poems as a signed, limited edition broadside. The poem, "Watching Young Couples with an Old Girlfriend On Sunday Morning," mentions Louise Brooks . . . "the women they escort in tight black leather, bangs and tattoos, cute little toughies, so Louise Brooks annealed." (Shades of the Sarah Azzara song!)

The poem appears in Green Sees Things in Waves, which was published by Farrar Straus Giroux in 1998. When I printed this rather plain looking broadside, I included - almost as a kind of watermark - the image of the face of a clock which reads 11:14 am. (clue) The clock face is hard to see on this scan, but is more apparent on the object itself. If you like contemporary poetry, I would recommend checking out Kleinzahler's work. He has a selected poems available for those wishing to dip in.

Monday, August 1, 2005

Forthcoming Alfred Cheney Johnston book !

At last! I just came across a listing for a forthcoming Alfred Cheney Johnston book. Jazz Age Beauties : The Lost Collection of Ziegfeld Photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston by Robert Hudovernik is set to be published in early 2006. Here is what the publisher, Rizzoli, says about this new title: "Despite Prohibition, the '20s was the decade of jazz, flappers and hip flasks. While some took their vote and joined the Woman's Christian Temperance Movement, others, well, took liberties. Compiled here for the first time are more than 200 publicity stills and photos of some of America's first 'It' girls - the silent film-era starlets who paved the way for the cacophony of Monroes and Madonnas to follow. Accompanying these iconic images are the stories behind them, including accounts from surviving Ziegfeld Girls, as well as ads featuring them that helped perpetuate the allure of It girl glamour. When rare and striking portraits of these women surfaced on the internet in 1995, author Robert Hudovernik began researching their source. What he discovered was the work of one of the first 'star makers' identified most with the Ziegfeld Follies, Alfred Cheney Johnston. Johnston, a member of New York's famous Algonquin Round Table who photographed such celebrities as Mary Pickford, Fanny Brice, the Gish Sisters, and Louise Brooks, fell out of the spotlight with the demise of the revue. A sumptuous snapshot of an era, this book is also a look at the work of this 'lost' photographer."

I  am an admirer of Alfred Cheney Johnston's work. He made beautiful images, not only of Louise Brooks, but of many others. I have at least two hundred of his pictures stored on my computer - pictures mostly harvested from eBay. I am glad that he is finally  getting some recognition. (Next should be Eugene Robert Richie.)
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