Sunday, September 16, 2007

Another Google Map

I have finished compiling another Google map. Though it is still something of a work in progress, I have placed the date, venue and city for each of the stops on the 1923-1924 Denishawn tour, which included Louise Brooks. This newly created map can be found at here.

As I had mentioned in an earlier blog, I have also created a map for the 1922-1923 Denishawn tour, and a map of my Louise Brooks research (featuring the libraries and archives I've visited, as well as the top 12 lending institutions). I have also started a Louise Brooks Gazetteer - which will include locations where the actress lived and worked (excluding the Denishawn performances). This latter map far from complete. Please check them out and let me know what you think. . . . has anyone who reads this blog ever worked with Yahoo maps?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sues with Doug and other finds

I visited the library this week. A few inter-library loans arrived. I looked at the Hagerstown Morning Herald (Maryland), in which I found an article and review relating to the Denishawn performance there in 1923. I also looked at some microfilm reels of theEvening Bulletin (Providence, Rhode Island) and Hartford Times (Connecticut). And in each of these later two papers I found a few film reviews and film advertisements dating from the late 1920's. I've added citations to the appropriate bibliographies.

While scrolling through microfilm, I came across this clipping from 1923, It caught my eye, as it featured actress Evelyn Brent, who co-starred with Louise Brooks in Love Em and Leave Em (1926). I thought it quite interesting.

A few books which I requested also arrived. I had ordered each because of my interest in Denishawn, an in particular Louise Brooks'  involvement with the pioneering modern dance troupe. The books were The Story of Louis Horst and the American Dance by Ernestine Stodelle, You call me Louis, not Mr Horst by Dorothy Madden, and Doris Humphrey, A Centennial Issue edited by Naomi Mindlin. Each of the subjects of these books were involved with Denishawn during Brooks' tenure. I brought the books home, and plan to peruse them over the next couple of weeks.

In other research related news: I was pleased to learn that the Irish Times have placed their archives on-line. This weekend, I plan to purchase a 24-hour subscription and see what Louise Brooks-related material I can find in this Irish newspaper.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sound for silents

From the September 14th issue of the English newspaper, the Bristol Gazette
Sound for silents
By Emily Thwaite

A WORLD premiere performance of a newly commissioned score from composer Paul Lewis can be heard at the Colston Hall, Bristol tomorrow.

It will be accompanying one of the greatest films from the silent era, Pandora's Box.

Adapted from the controversial plays of Frank Wedekind, Pandora's Box stars the legendary Louise Brooks as young temptress Lulu. Unleashing unruly desires, Lulu wreaks havoc on the lives of wealthy newspaper editor Dr Schon, his handsome but hapless son Alwa, and the desperately lovelorn Countess Geschwitz (cinema's first unequivocal lesbian).

The music will be conducted by the composer and performed by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.

The evening will be hosted by actor Paul McGann, a patron of Bristol Silents and a devoted fan of Louise Brooks.
I would love to hear from anyone who attends this special screening.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


If you were asked what was one of your favorite things, what would you say? Cheese, ice cream, oatmeal cookies, the beach, the music of Kate Bush? I was asked that very question recently. And I answered "Louise Brooks."

The occasion was an author event with Kiara Brinkman. This widely acclaimed debut novelist read from Up High in the Trees, which was published in July. Kiara read from her novel, and during the signing afterword everyone who lined up to get their book autographed was asked what were their favorite things. Polaroids were taken, and the answers recorded. To see the results,   [ Once you are at the author's site, click on "Favorites." And then click through seven times. I am in the upper left hand corner. Click on "thomas" to see my response - "Louise Brooks."  ]

If you are looking for something good to read, check out Kiara Brinkman's Up High in the Trees. I recommend it. And it's been getting some great reviews.

Monday, September 10, 2007

VIP hairstyles website features Louise Brooks has an article on its website called "Hollywood's influence through the years," and Louise Brooks is featured prominently. Be sure and check it out.

Friday, September 7, 2007


John Baxter - the prolific film biographer, critic and writer once told me his daughter was named Lulu. She had been named "after" Louise Brooks. And the great English short story writer and essayist Angela Carter once wrote, "If I ever had a daughter, I would name her Lulu." We name the things we love after those things we love.
With great sadness I report the passing of my beloved dog, Shadow. When my wife and I adopted her some 11 years years ago, we had almost named her Lulu in tribute to Louise Brooks. But there was something not quite fitting about the name in her case, despite a physical and behaviourial resemblance. Instead she became Shadow. Our black cat, who was named Ebony, had recently passed away. And in looking through a name book, we came across the curious "Ebony's Shadow." Thus, our little two month old puppy, our little almost Lulu, became Shadow.

Shadow was a sweet dog. She once stepped on a vintage film magazine I had carelessly left on the ground and her claws punctured the soft paper cover. Another time, she chewed up a copy of an old Viking Portable collection of crime fiction. Often, when I would be sitting at my computer composing a blog or adding to the LBS bibliographies, she would come into my room and look up doefully at me with her dark eyes and say "Hey, lets go outside and play." Here is a picture of her at play, with a tennis ball in her mouth.

Louise Brooks was a dog lover. I can think of at least three or four pictures of her with her canine pets. Rest in peace, Shadow. I miss you.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Opening up Pandora's Box

British actor (and big Louise Brooks fan) Paul McGann has written an article about  "Louise Brooks silent beauty." The article was published in the September 7th issue of the Guardian  - a British newspaper.
Louise Brooks is unique and immortal. Her face can still command a magazine cover, the breathtaking beauty and the enigma are always instant and contemporary. She never dates or ages. To see her in Pandora's Box is like watching a modern, living actor who had somehow moved into a silent film set. And at the same time she brings home how rich the silent cinema was and how much it can still offer. She is the model and the despair of actors. She simply IS her character. What actor does not dream of that?
Pandora's Box, with the world premiere of a live Paul Lewis score, screens on September 15 at Colston Hall in Bristol, England.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Louise Brooks, at home

I am not sure, but I would guess that this image depicts Louise Brooks, at home in the 1920s. The staircase is different from the one depicted in the image five entries earlier.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Diary of a Lost Girl to show in Flint, Michigan

Diary of a Lost Girl, the 1929 film starring Louise Brooks, will be shown in Flint. Michigan at the Flint Institute of the Arts. According to an article in the Flint Journal,
On Oct. 12-14, to commemorate National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11), an Out 'n About Film Festival will present movies with characters or themes connected to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and other nontraditional sexual identities. Among the entries are the German silent drama "Diary of a Lost Girl," with American star Louise Brooks, and the 1996 documentary "The Celluloid Closet."
More information can eventually be found at the Flint Institute of the Arts website.

[ Back in the 1920's, when Brooks'  American silent films were first screened in Flint, the actress was well liked by the Flint Journal  - the industrial city's leading newspaper then and now. The Journal described Brooks as "smart" and "picquant" and noted she acted "with distinction." We shall see if they review Diary - which may or may not be making its Flint debut.]

Monday, September 3, 2007

Jennifer Gilmore event

On Thursday, I will be hosting an author event with Jennifer Gilmore. Not only is Jennifer an accomplished writer with a published novel to her credit, she is also a fan on Louise Brooks. As a matter of fact, the actress is referenced in Jennifer's novel, Golden Country, which is just out in paperback.


Golden Country vividly brings to life the intertwining stories of three immigrants: handsome and ambitious Seymour, a salesman turned gangster turned Broadway producer; gentle and pragmatic Joseph, a door-to-door salesman driven to invent a cleanser effective enough to wipe away the shame of his brother’s mob connections; and irresistible Frances Gold, who grows up in Brooklyn, stars in Seymour’s first show, and marries the man who invents television. Spanning the first half of the 20th century, Jennifer Gilmore’s debut novel captures the exuberance of the American dream - while exposing its underbelly of disillusionment, greed, and disaffection bred by success.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and can make it to Thursday night's event at The Booksmith, be sure and say hello.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A William Wellman jag

After having watched William Wellman Jr.'s superb documentary on his father, Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick, I have been on something of a William Wellman jag lately. Wellmann, of course, directed Louise Brooks in Beggars of Life, not to mention Clara Bow in Wings - the first film to win an Academy Award.

I just saw Roxie Hart, the director's 1942 remake of Chicago with Ginger Roger's playing the title character. The film also featured Adolphe Menjou and a bunch of character actors I recognized. I liked the film, though I found it a little uneven at times. All in all, it's good and worth checking out. Right now I am watching A Star is Born (1937), Wellman's sparkling look at Hollywood then, (and now). Wellman co-wrote the story, and Dorothy Parker contributed to the screenplay. The film stars Janet Gaynor, Fredric March and Adolphe Menjou. If you haven't seen it, you must. It is really delightful, and something of a tear-jerker. It is a great film.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

An Aussie bob

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