Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Louise Brooks in Los Angeles exhibit

The Vanity Fair exhibit, which drew large crowds and much acclaim while on exhibit in London, is coming to Los Angeles. Opening October 26 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA),  "Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913–2008" brings together 150 of the famed magazine's iconic portraits. This is the first major exhibit to bring together the magazine's historic archive of rare vintage prints with contemporary photographs as well. The exhibition will complete its tour at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia,  where it will run June 12 – August 30, 2009.

Of special note to Louise Brooks devotees and fans of the 1920's is the inclusion of portraits of a handful of celebrities from the 1920's. "Among the exceptional people portrayed in the exhibit are Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, Jesse Owens, James Joyce, Katharine Hepburn, and Fred and Adele Astaire. The introduction of modernism into photography was particularly evident in the progressive work of [Edward] Steichen (1879–1973), who held the title of Vanity Fair 's chief photographer for 13 years. Steichen was America's leading photographer of style, taste and celebrity, and many of his iconic photographs are in "Vanity Fair Portraits," including those of Gloria Swanson, Louise Brooks, Anna May Wong and Paul Robeson. The exhibition also showcases definitive portraits of the Jazz Age, including now-classic studies of Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker and Noel Coward."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Love Em and Leave Em screens in L. A

The Silent Society of Hollywood Heritage, in association with the National Parks Service, is hosting a screening of Love 'em and Leave 'em (1926) at the Paramount Ranch in Agoura (near Los Angeles) this Sunday evening, August 17th at 7:30 pm. The screening is part of the groups  “Silents Under the Stars” series. This feature will be preceded by a surprise short subject, and will feature live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 - 7:30 pm

Love ‘Em And Leave ‘Em (1926) starring Evelyn Brent, Louise Brooks and Lawrence Gray. Directed by Frank Tuttle. Mame Walsh (Evelyn Brent) returns from vacation to find her younger sister, Janie (Louise Brooks) has stolen the affections of her boyfriend and decides to make him jealous by adopting Janie’s “love ‘em and leave ‘em” philosophy.

Tickets are $6.00 for adults, $5.00 for members of Hollywood Heritage. Children under twelve are $3.00, under three free.

Films begin at dusk. Picnic dinners are encouraged. Please bring a flashlight as the parking area is dark.

For further information call Hollywood Heritage at (323) 874-4005, or visit

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Louise Brooks and forged letters

There have been a lot of articles popping up regarding Lee Israel's new book, Can You Ever Forgive Me? Memoirs of a Literary Forger. One of the best articles / reviews I read was by Thomas Mallon. It appeared in the New York Times on August 3rd. I recommend reading it. And what's more, two of the illustrations accompanying the article relate to Louise Brooks.

As some readers of this blog may know, Lee Israel is a noted journalist and biographer. [I own a copy of her Tallulah Bankhead biography.] When she fell on hard times some years back, she turned to stealing the letters of famous individuals from archives and libraries, whcih she sold, as well as forging letters from other subjects of interest (which she also sold). Apparently, Israel was very good at what she did. A couple of her Noel Coward letters were even included in a recently published collection of the British authro's correspondence.

Among the letters Israel forged and sold where some from Louise Brooks. I haven't read this new book yet, but from all the coverage its getting, I gather that Israel's forgeries of Brooks' letters play a significant part in her story. The name of the actress also appears, obliquely, on the cover of the book.

[This bit of literary intrigue reminds me that I had once heard that shortly after Louise Brooks' death, a number of fake signatures ascribed to the actress came on the market. Signed books, signed pictures, etc.... I wonder what ever became of them. Buyer beware.]
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