Thursday, August 31, 2006

Diary of a Lost Girl ?

Did anyone attend the screening of Diary of a Lost Girl at the Colorado Chautauqua Association in Boulder, Colorado last night? If so, how was it?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Satellite sites

A few satellite sites have been set up for the LBS. The one at MySpace can be found at   and the one at Vox can be found at   And there's one at  

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sacramento trip

Returned from Sacramento, where I spent most of yesterday at the California State Library. (This may well be one of my last trips to this library, as I think I have pretty much looked through everything I need to at that institution.) I went through microfilm of Los Angeles phone books dating from the late 1920's and 1930's. I wasn't able to find any white pages listing for Louise Brooks from the 1930's. . . . I also looked at microfilm of various California newspapers - including the Santa Rosa Press Democrat,Venice Beach VanguardPasadena PostRiverside Daily NewsGlendale Press, and Daily News Tribune (from Fullerton) - and found a smattering of film reviews, film related articles, and advertisements for local screenings of Brooks' films. An ok haul of material - I spent about $14.00 for photocopies.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

John Canemaker

It was a real treat to see Winsor McCay on the big screen last night. The PFA exhibited 35 mm prints of four of his films, and John Canemaker - who was very  informative - gave a running commentary. There was also live piano accompaniment. And at long last, I got Canemeker (who won an Academy Award for one of his own recent animated films) to sign my copy of his book on Winsor McCay. I then proceeded to spend even mor emoney by purchasing a DVD of McCay films which was put together by Canemaker. A splendid time was had in Berkeley.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Jen Anderson

I am excitied to find out that Jen Anderson, the gifted Australian composer and performer of the lovely "Lulu - The Song" (as heard on RadioLulu and elsewhere), as well as the composer of a soundtrack to Pandora's Box (which was released in Australia on CD with Louise Brooks on the cover in 1993), will be coming to the San Francisco Bay Aea. Anderson will be performing her score to The Sentimental Bloke on Sunday, September 17 at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, California. Apparently, Anderson will be touring the country with this film. Here is the descriptive text from the PFA website.

The Sentimental Bloke Raymond Longford (Australia, 1919) 
Musical Accompaniment by Jen Anderson and the Larrikins 

The Sentimental Bloke is considered the jewel of Australia's surviving silent cinema. Of the thirty films directed by Raymond Longford, this delightful work, based on a popular book of verse entitled The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke, is the only one that now exists intact. Its charming depiction of a romance between commoners Bill (Arthur Tauchert) and Doreen (Lottie Lyell) and its colorful use of colloquial language appealed to audiences of its day; the film achieved record box-office returns and screened widely in Australia, New Zealand, and Britain. Plans for a theatrical release in the States, in a shortened, re-edited version, never panned out; however, the original 35mm camera negative ended up at George Eastman House and was used in this recent restoration. We are pleased to present this classic with a score composed and performed by Jen Anderson and the Larrikins (Dave Evans and Dan Warner), written for instruments that would have been available to working-class Australians in 1919: piano, accordion, guitar, mandolin, violin, tin whistle, and vocals. — Susan Oxtoby 

• Written by Raymond Longford, Lottie Lyell, from The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C. J. Dennis. Photographed by Arthur Higgins. With Arthur Tauchert, Lottie Lyell, Gilbert Emery, Stanley Robinson. (109 mins, Silent, B&W, tinted and toned, 35mm, From George Eastman House, permission National Film and Sound Archive, Australia). PFA acknowledges the Australian Film Commission for sponsoring the North American tour of this restored film with trio accompaniment.
Tonight, at the PFA, I am going to see John Canemaker, author of a book about the comic strip artist Winsor McCay. Canemaker will be speaking prior to a screening of animated short silent films by McCay.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lulu in Japan

Louise Brooks adorns the cover of a 1929 Japanese magazine, which is for sale on eBay.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Lulu in NY Fringe Fest

Wow, did anyone see the absolutely fabulous review by Jason Zinoman which Lulu recieved in this past Saturday's New York Times ? I am so excitied about seeing this production when it comes to the Victoria Theater in San Francisco in a few weeks. Here is an excerpt from the article.
The Silent Theater Company of Chicago is dedicated to the idea that the theater doesn't need the spoken word, which it proves with panache in its first production, Lulu, an ingeniously staged version of the Louise Brooks 1929 silent film Pandora's Box.

Stylishly directed by Tonika Todorova, this dreamlike play without words is about an insatiable hedonist who leaves death in her tracks. It opens with a wild freak show - peopled by a bearded lady, a dwarf and a man on stilts - dressed and lighted in a noirishly severe black and white, like the cover of a 1920's scandal sheet burst to life. Last to enter is the knockout showgirl Lulu (Kyla Louise Webb), a good-time girl who is clearly bad news.

In the seasoned hands of Ms. Brooks - whose black bob, imitated here, may be the most famous haircut in film history - the role inspired oceans of critical drooling. Kenneth Tynan once wrote that she was "the only star actress I can imagine either being enslaved by or wanting to enslave."

The charismatic Ms. Webb, who wears a blankly innocent expression, letting her jitterbugging body do the seducing, may not bring on such dark thoughts, but her pursuit of unbridled pleasure is so persuasive that you are sure that after the show she will seduce the rest of the cast members and then break all their hearts.

Backed by the moody piano of Isaiah Robinson, this coolly stylized presentation, which could benefit from a few more tech rehearsals, communicates a remarkable amount of plot - in a few crisply designed scenes that slip back and forth between erotic and macabre.

The glamorous Lulu is a reminder of how effective the great silent performers were in their ability to cut directly to the heart of a scene, something Billy the Mime also accomplishes superbly. If you don't have the crutch of language, you need to be able to tell a story with discipline and clarity, and these wordless artists developed a vocabulary every bit as articulate as that of any playwright in the Fringe. They are particularly eloquent with comedy and horror, two areas in which the theater often lags behind film. When was the last play you saw that was really scary or made you explode in belly laughs?

Unlike talking actors, who generally shun the grand gesture as hammy, these silent performers are willing to go for the jugular. They treat their limitation in speech as an opportunity to exploit the rest of their repertory, which may be the reason that their shows seem bolder, faster and meaner than any others I saw this week. Silence, in an odd way, has liberated them.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Acorn Books

Acorn Books: I have written about this San Francisco store in the past . . . . They are going out of business and everything is now 70% off. I was there yesterday, and there are still a fair number of good books to be found - especially film books, and older film magazines including periodicals from the 1920's. What did I buy? I found a scarce copy of Screwball: The Life of Carole Lombard from 1975, the Intimate Journals of Rudolph Valentino from 1931; a nice hardback copy of Hot Toddy, a book on the murder of Thelma Todd; some vintage photoplay editions (I collect them); an autographed William K. Everson hardback book; a couple of other hardback Everson titles; a book on gangster movies, etc.... and all for cheap!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Nittany Lion perspective

Perspective on the times from the Nittany Lions.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

My weekly research trips

My weekly research trips to the library continue. . . .  I uncovered Denishawn articles, ads and reviews from the Daily British Whig, the local newspaper from Kingston, Ontario. This material, dating from April 1924, included a review which mentioned Louise Brooks.  With just four  more inter-library  loan requests from Canada, I will have completed my Candadian-Denishawn research. By then, I will have obtained articles, advertisements and reviews from each of Louise Brooks' Canadian Denishawn performances. This week, I will also be looking for Denishawn material from the St. Paul Dispatch (from St. Paul, Minnesota.)

And lately, I have also been requesting and looking through other papers in search of yet more film reviews. These papers include the Hartford Courant, (from Connecticut), Queens County Evening News (from New York), Salem World (from Oregon), and the San Bernardino Evening Telegram & Evening Index (from California). I found a bit of material.

And the other night, I found online access to historic issues of the Penn State Collegian (the student newspaper at Penn State University). There, I found a few advertisements for Louise Brooks films. Here is one of them.

I would like to find more material from college newspapers. So far, as opportunity has arisen, I have scoured the papers at the University of Michigan, as well as Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. And in each, I found advertisements and some articles and even reviews. Imagine, college students writing about Brooks' films back in the 1920's! (In the past, I have also looked through the student newspapers from what are now Michigan State University and San Jose State University, but found nothing.) If anyone lives in a college town - the bigger the school the better - and would want to scroll through microfilm looking for Brooks material . . . . your help would be appreciated.

And for those keeping track, two of my ILL requests were rejected. Hoping to get small town reviews of Denishawn performances, I had requested the M'Alester News-Capital (from Mcalister, Oklahoma) and the Evening Chronicle (from Pottsville, Pennslyvannia). As it turns out, no state library seems to have these papers for the period requested.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Criterion DVD of Pandora's Box

The Criterion Collection website has announced the following information regarding their forthcoming release of Pandora's Box. This version - the first ever on DVD in the United States - will run 133 minutes. Expectations are high. And I think this forthcoming release should satisfy. We shall see. Among the bonus material is the first ever DVD release of now hard-to-find documentary, Lulu in Berlin(No release date is given. The suggested retail price is $39.95)


-- New, restored high-definition digital transfer of the definitive Munich Film Museum restoration
Four different musical scores, each with its own unique stylistic interpretation of the film
Audio commentary by film scholars Thomas Elsaesser and Mary Ann Doane
Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu, a 1998 documentary
Lulu in Berlin (48 minutes), a rare 1971 interview with Brooks by verite documentarian Richard Leacock
A new video interview with Leacock
A new interview with G. W. Pabst's son, Michael
New and improved English subtitle translation
PLUS: A book including Kenneth Tynan's famous essay "The Girl in the Black Helmet," a chapter from Louise Brooks's evocative memoir discussing her relationship with Pabst, and a new essay by film critic J. Hoberman

Pandora's Box is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. On widescreen televisions, black bars will appear on the left and right of the image to maintain the proper screen format. This new high-definition digital transfer was created from a 35mm composite print provided by the Munich Film Museum. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, and scratches were removed using the MTI Digital Restoration System. To maintain optimal image quality through the compression process, the picture on this dual-layer DVD-9 was encoded at the highest-possible bit rate for the quantity of material included. The Gillian Anderson score is presented in both Dolby 5.1 surround and stereo mixes. The three other scores are presented in Dolby 2.0 stereo.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Alfred Cheney Johnston

An interesting website to check out is Alfred Cheney Johnston: Ziegfeld Follies Lost Photographer. This site is dedicated to the life & times of renown Jazz Age photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston (1884 - 1971). Besides taking scores of lovely photographs of showgirls, actors and other stage personalities, Johnston also photographed Louise Brooks. This website is put together by Robert Hudovernik, author of the forthcoming book Jazz Age Beauties.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Stolen Moments

Stolen Moments is a swell silent film / Rudolph Valentino themed podcast available on the internet. I've just finished listening to the newest installment, which features a chat with Kevin Brownlow. (I've listened to each of the podcasts, and each is good.) Stolen Moments is put together and hosted by Donna Hill (aka Rudyfan), who runs an excellent website devoted to Valentino. Check it out.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

William K. Everson Archive

Well worth checking out is the William K. Everson Collection, a website which archives publicity material, photographs and most importantly the film notes (short essays) of the film historian, author, critic, teacher, archivist, and collector. [ Everson knew Louise Brooks, and wrote highly of her in his terrific 1978 book, American Silent Film. And some years ago before his death, I had the pleasure of seeing Everson's 16 mm print of Beggars of Life. ] Film buffs will enjoy exploring this site.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Louise Brooks in Literature

As any reader of this blog knows, I like organizing information. It a compulsion of mine. I guess that's why I like doing research. And sometimes, I make lists. It gives me something to do. It's a kind of therapy. It keeps me off the streets.... I recently made a list at (part of their Listmania function)  called "Homage to Lulu: Louise Brooks in Literature." It's a survey  of homages, tributes, name checks, references, etc... to the one and only Louise Brooks. It includes the likes of Neil Gaiman, Paul Auster, Frank O'Hara, Angela Carter, Salman Rushdie, Clive Barker, Lemony Snicket, John Updike and others. Another list I recently created is "Louise Brooks in Song (and Other Musical Tributes."

Speaking of literary tributes, today the popular blog known as Bookslut wrote up one of the earliest literary tributes to Brooks, The Invention of Morel (1940), by Adolpho Bioy Casares. The blogger noted

The Invention of Morel, by Adolfo Bioy Casares: An Argentinean writer much less known than his brilliant friend and collaborator, Jorge Luis Borges, “Bioy” was also less consistent in the quality of his work. But he did write at least one great book, a dreamy novella inspired by movies and the flapper actress Louise Brooks. Published in 1940, it’s also one of the earliest books which uses virtual reality as a central conceit, long before the digital age.

It begins like a Latin American version of a story by Wells or Stevenson (both favourites of Casares and of Borges, too). A mysterious island, rumours of a terrible disease, a refugee from justice, and all-too-real ghosts who keep on repeating the same actions… Tinged by post-modern ideas without losing its emotional heart, fantastic without ever seeming preposterous, this is a weird and exciting book. The Louise Brooks photo NYRB use on the cover is great, too -- the white-swathed actress with her famous bangs, surrounded by piles of books. Just like the book, it’s haunting, sexy and literary.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Elegy: London's derelict cinemas

Here's a gallery of derelict London cinemas, some of them empty hulks, some converted to discount stores, meat storage facilities, banana warehouses, or snooker and social clubs. I wonder if any of Louise Brooks' films played in any of these theaters?

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Nov. 14, 1906 - Aug. 8, 1985

Mary Louise Brooks, Nov. 14, 1906 - Aug. 8, 1985. Find a Grave has a webpage where you can visit the actress' gravestite, leave a comment, or even leave virtual flowers.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Buster Keaton song

Would anyone happen to have a vintage recording of "Meine Schwester liebt den Buster Keaton," which was composed by Friedrich Hollaender around 1928. I just received the massive Hollaender box set from Bear Family Records (in Germany) - and I thought it was included on that set, but it is not!

I can't find any listings for any CD's which have the a vintage recording. I would like to obtain an mp3 of this song, if possible. Please email me if you can help, or point me in the right direction.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

On the Beach

What a lovely day it is - what a lovely day to visit the beach and enjoy the warm weather.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Louise Brooks retrospective

I just received word that the Filmmuseum in Munich, Germany will be mounting a major Louise Brooks retrospective in November and December. The retrospective celebrates the Louise Brooks centenary. More info can be found on this illustrated, six page pdf document. The schedule of films is:

November 17 at 18:30h: THE STREET OF FORGOTTEN MEN (5 min. excerpt)  /  THE AMERICAN VENUS (Trailer)  /  IT’S THE OLD ARMY GAME

November 18 at 18:30h: THE SHOW OFF

November 19 at 18:30h: LOOKING FOR LULU  /  LOVE ’EM AND LEAVE ’EM

November 26 at 18:30h: LULU IN BERLIN  /  A GIRL In EVERY PORT

December 1, at 18:30h: BEGGARS OF LIFE

December 2, at 18:30h: DIE BÜCHSE DER PANDORA (with Aljoscha Zimmermann on piano)

December 3, at 18:30h: DAS TAGEBUCH EINER VERLORENEN (with Aljoscha Zimmermann on piano)

December 8, at 18:30h: THE CANARY MURDER CASE

December 9, at 18:30h: PRIX DE BEAUTÉ (Italian silent version, with Aljoscha Zimmermann on piano)


December 13, at 21:00h: DIE BÜCHSE DER PANDORA



Friday, August 4, 2006

Louise Brooks - Denishawn project

One of my projects is to gather material on each of the performances given by Denishawn during the two seasons Louise Brooks was a member of this modern American dance company. Much material has already been gathered, but some has proven difficult to find. If you live near any of the cities listed hear, perhaps you could help. Please email me. I would like to obtain local newspaper coverage (articles, advertisements, or reviews) on any of the following engagements:

November 24, 1922 - Lyric Theatre - Memphis, Tennessee
(need News Scimitar; and Memphis Press clippings)

November 25, 1922 - Marlowe Theatre - Jackson, Tennessee
(need Jackson Sun; and Jacksonian clippings)

November 30, 1922 - High School Auditorium - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (see also 2-9-1924)
(need Oklahoma News clippings)

December 9, 1922 - Majestic Theatre - Peoria, Illinois (see also 2-23-24)
(need Peoria Evening Star clippings)

December 28, 1922 - Burns Theatre - Colorado Springs, Colorado
(need Colorado Springs Evening & Sunday Telegraph clippings)

January 9, 1923 - Lyceum - New London, Conneticut
(need New London Daily Globe clippings)

January 10, 1923 - Memorial Auditorium - Lowell, Massachusetts (see also 10-23-1923)
(need Lowell SunLowell Evening Leader; and Courier-Citizen clippings)

January 11, 1923 - Worcester Theatre - Worcester, Massachusetts (see also 4-8-1924)
(need Worcester Evening PostWorcester Telegram; and Evening Gazette clippings)

January 22, 1923 - Winthrop College Auditorium - Rock Hill, South Carolina
(need The Johnsonian (student newspaper) clippings?)

January 23, 1923 - Columbia Theatre - Columbia, South Carolina
(need Columbia Record clippings)

January 26, 1923 - Grand Theatre - Macon, Georgia
(need Macon News clippings)

January 27, 1923 - Lucerne Theatre - Orlando, Florida
(need Orlando Morning Sentinel clippings)

February 2, 1923 - Kyle Theatre - Beaumont, Texas
(need Beaumont Enterprise clippings)

February 4, 1923 - City Auditorium - Houston, Texas (see also 4-8-1924)
(need Houston Press clippings)

February 10, 1923 - Brenan Auditorium - Gainesville, Georgia
(need Gainesville EagleGainesville News; and Gainesville Daily Times clippings)

February 13, 1923 - Academy of Music - Charleston, South Carolina
(need Charleston American clippings)

February 14, 1923 - Garden Theatre - Bennettsville, South Carolina
(need Pee Dee Advocate clippings)

February 20, 1923 - Strand Theatre - Salisbury, North Carolina
(need Salisbury Evening Post clippings)

March 8, 1923 - Marvin Theatre - Findlay, Ohio
(need Findlay Daily Courier clippings)

March 29, 1923 - Waterloo Theatre - Waterloo, Iowa
(need Waterloo Tribune clippings)

April 21, 1923 - Montclair Theatre - Montclair, New Jersey
(need Montclarion clippings)

October 15-20, 1923 - Apollo Theatre - Atlantic City, New Jersey
(need Atlantic City Evening UnionAtlantic City Press; and Atlantic City Gazette-Review clippings)

October 23, 1923 - Memorial Auditorium - Lowell, Massachusetts (see also 1-10-1923)
(need Lowell SunLowell Evening Leader; and Courier-Citizen clippings)

November 6, 1923 - Academy Theatre - Hagerstown, Maryland
(need Daily Mail clippings)

December 10, 1923 - Moore's Opera House - Clarksburg, West Virginia
(need Daily Telegram clippings)

December 11, 1923 - Camden Theatre - Parkersburg, West Virginia
(need Parkersburg News clippings)

December 15, 1923 - Auditorium - Hopkinsville, Kentucky
(need Daily Kentuckian; and Daily Kentucky New Era clippings)

January 10, 1924 - Kyle Theatre - Beaumont, Texas
(need Beaumont Enterprise clippings)

January 11, 1924 - Grand Theatre - Galveston, Texas
(need Galveston Daily News and Galveston Tribune clippings)

January 12, 1924 - Auditorium - Houston, Texas
(need Houston Dispatch clippings)

January 14, 1924 - Colombia Theatre - Baton Rouge, Louisiana
(need Baton Rouge News clippings)

February 9, 1924 - High School Auditorium - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (see also 11-30-1922)
(need Oklahoma News clippings)

February 22, 1924 - Waterloo Theatre - Waterloo, Iowa
(need Waterloo Tribune clippings)

February 23, 1924 - Majestic Theatre - Peoria, Illinois (see also 12-9-22)
(need Peoria Evening Star clippings)

February 27, 1924 - Grand Opera House - Ottumwa, Iowa
(need Ottumwa Daily Courier clippings)

April 8, 1924 - Worcester Theatre - Worcester, Massachusetts (see also 1-11-1923)
(need Worcester Evening PostWorcester Telegram; and Evening Gazette clippings)

April 10, 1924 - Stamford Theatre - Stamford, Connecticut
(need Stamford Sentinel clippings)

Thursday, August 3, 2006

More bibliographic notes

Today's trip to the library was brief. I dug up a few film reviews from the Memphis Press Scimitar (from Memphis, Tennessee) and Waterbury Republican (from Waterbury, Connecticut), as well as Denishawn and film reviews from the Eau Claire Leader(from Eau Claire, Wisconsin). I also had the opportunity to go through the two major newspapers from Charleston, West Virginia - the Charleston Gazette and Charleston Daily Mail - where I obtained a number of articles and advertisements for Louise Brooks' films.

I also spent a few hours assessing my research strategy. I have been doing inter-library loans for five years. The first ILL was submitted November 1, 2001.  I know because I have a 48-page log detailing what I've requested, what I've received, and where it came from. I must have submitted hundreds of requests, and only a few times have I mistakenly requested material I've already looked at. I have amassed a ton of material. Some of that material will soon see the light of day. I promise.

While assessing my research strategy, I mapped out what I have left to do. There are still many more requests to be made - the bulk of which come from Pennslyvannia, New York, Kansas, Canada and a clump of "elsewhere." The search goes on.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

More centenary events

Additional events have been added to the Louise Brooks Centerary page. New DVD's, books, museum exhibits, screenings and other happenings - it's amazing how much is taking place around the world!

August 4: The Stanford Theater will screen Diary of a Lost Girl in Palo Alto, California.  (more info)

August 12, 13, 22, 23, 26: The Silent Theater company of Chicago will stage their version of Lulu in New York City as part of the city-wide Fringe Festival.  (more info)

September 7-10 and 14-17: The Silent Theater company of Chicago will stage their version of Lulu at the Victoria Theater in San Francisco.

September 8: The Mechanics' Institute in San Francisco will show Pandora's Box. Program begins at 6:30 pm. A salon style discussion follows the film.

Late 2006: A Louise Brooks film retrospective will take place in Vienna, Austria.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Alternative cover

This past week, an alternative cover for the new Peter Cowie book, Louise Brooks: Forever Lulu, briefly appaeared on Now, the current display image for this title has reverted to the previously "announced" cover. Here is a scan of that alt cover (the fourth for the book - including the German edition - I've seen). I kinda like it. What do you think?

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