Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Books for sale - Louise Brooks and the Jazz Age

Looking for something good to read? Want to learn more about Louise Brooks, silent film, or the Jazz Age? The Louise Brooks Society has a small number used books for sale of interest to the dedicated fan. These are titles found at used book stores and thrift shops. Some are hard to find, some less so. Each are in good to very good condition. First come, first served. To place an order via PayPal, please send to tgladysz AT pandorasboxDOTcom

Louise Brooks (hardcover, 1st edition)
by Barry Paris
-- A must read, the ultimate biography of Louise Brooks. This edition, with illustrations, was published in 1989. Purchase this item and receive a free copy of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival 2012 program with Louise Brooks on the cover (see below), as well as 2013 San Francisco Silent Film Festival program containing an essay on Prix de Beauté.

One copy available
$30.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)

Lulu in Hollywood (hardcover, 1st edition)
by Louise Brooks
-- Brooks' own collection of autobiographical essays. This edition, with a photo insert, was published in 1982. Introduction by William Shawn. Purchase this item and receive a free copy of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival 2012 program with Louise Brooks on the cover (see below), as well as the 2013 San Francisco Silent Film Festival program containing an essay on Prix de Beauté.

One copy available
$25.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)
Lulu in Hollywood (softcover)
by Louise Brooks
-- Brooks' own collection of autobiographical essays. This edition, with a photo insert, was published in paperback in the 1980s. Introduction by William Shawn.

A few copies available
$12.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)

Louise Brooks: Portrait of an Anti-Star (signed softcover)
edited by Roland Jaccard
-- scarce first book on the actress, contains writings by and about Louise Brooks and Lulu along with 90 illustrations, edited by the noted French film critic and novelist. This rare copy SIGNED by Roland Jaccard. Purchase this item and receive a free copy of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival 2012 program with Louise Brooks on the cover (see below), as well as the 2013 San Francisco Silent Film Festival program containing an essay on Prix de Beauté, and a copy of Photoplay Edition by Emil Petaja.

One copy available
$300.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)

The Lulu Plays and Other Sex Tragedies (softcover)
by Frank Wedekind
-- This volume, translated from the German by the noted English poet Stephen Spender, includes Earth Spirit, Pandora's Box, Death and the Devil, and Castle Wetterstein. Hard to find. Purchase this item and receive a free copy of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival 2012 program with Louise Brooks on the cover (see below).

One copy available
$25.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)

San Francisco Silent Film Festival (softcover)
2012 program
-- This illustrated 88-page program, with Louise Brooks on the cover, contains an illustrated 2-page essay on Pandora's Box by Thomas Gladysz. Purchase this item and receive a copy of the 2013 San Francisco Silent Film Festival program which contains an essay on Prix de Beauté.

A few copies available
$10.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)

The 1920s (hardcover)
by American Heritage
-- A nostalgic look back at the Jazz Age This special issue of American Heritage runs 112 pages and includes informative essays and many illustrations.

A few copies available
$12.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)

This Fabulous Century 1920-1930 (hardcover)
by Time-Life Books
-- A nostalgic look back at the Roaring Twenties. This 288 page book includes informative essays and lots of illustrations about the fashion, celebrities, culture, cars and crime of the era. Recommended. [Be the first to buy you'll also receive This Fabulous Century 1910-1920 for free.]

A few copies available
$15.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)

The 20's (softcover)
by Frederick J. Hoffman
-- A very interesting look at the literature and writing of the 1920s.

One copy available
$12.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Cool Pic of the Day: Louise Brooks, a white dress

Here is the "Cool Pic of the Day" - Louise Brooks, her portrait, softly focused, a white dress

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Nominate Louise Brooks movies for the National Film Registry

The United States Congress established the National Film Registry in 1988. Along with mandating continuing implementation of a plan to save America's film heritage, the law authorizes the Librarian of Congress to select up to 25 films each year for inclusion in the Registry. The 625 films chosen to date illustrate the vibrant diversity of American film-making.

The Library of Congress is currently seeking nominations from the public - meaning you! Public nominations play a key role when the Librarian of Congress and Film Board are considering their selections. To be eligible for the Registry, a film must be at least 10 years old and be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Recommendations are due in September. New selections are usually announced at the end of December.

The  Louise Brooks Society suggests you recommend these Louise Brooks films. Each are worthy of inclusion in the registry:

Beggars of Life (1928)

The Street of Forgotten Men (1925)

The Show Off (1926)

A Girl in Every Port (1928)

Looking for other films to nominate? Check here for hundreds of titles not yet selected to the National Film Registry. Please include the date of the film nominated, and number your recommendations. And if you would, tell how you learned of the Registry. Please forward your recommendations via email to dross@loc.gov  Email is preferred; to submit via postal mail, send your nominations to:

National Film Registry
Library of Congress
Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation
19053 Mt. Pony Road
Culpeper, VA 22701
Attn: Donna Ross

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Louise Brooks on examiner.com

I've been writing for examiner.com for 5 years; I've written hundreds of pieces, and naturally, I've penned many about Louise Brooks. To mark my fifth anniversary as the San Francisco Bay Area silent film correspondent, I've put together this checklist of some of my favorite and most interesting pieces about Louise Brooks which ran on my silent film column.

Louise Brooks stars in Los Angeles series
May 3, 2009

Louise Brooks and Pandora's Box still attract
June 30, 2009

Jan Wahl through a lens darkly
August 14, 2009

New Doctor Who comic celebrates silent film
October 31, 2009

Dear Stinkpot: Letters from Louise Brooks
November 14, 2009

Stuart Oderman: talking to the piano player
November 23, 2009

Rufus Wainwright pens tribute to silent film star Louise Brooks
January 12, 2010

Rare Louise Brooks films issued on DVD
January 25, 2010

Pandora's Box opened
February 10, 2010

Louise Brooks' film centerpiece of 2010 Silent Film Festival
May 21, 2010

Six questions with . . . silent film accompanist Tom Peters
May 25, 2010

Screenwriter Frederica Sagor Maas turns 110
July 7, 2010

Rufus Rufus Rufus on Lulu Lulu Lulu
August 8, 2010

Rare Louise Brooks film to screen in Niles
September 21, 2010

A Girl in Every Port set to screen at BFI in January
November 30, 2010

Louise Brooks lights up screens in Bay Area and beyond
January 15, 2012

A Girl in Every Port goes to Stanford 
May 1, 2012

Author of Louise Brooks novel to speak in Bay Area
June 23, 2012

A Brief History of Pandora's Box in the San Francisco Bay Area
July 11, 2012

Jim Tully takes Hollywood, again
October 10, 2012

Louise Brooks to shine in Orinda
February 26, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Snapshot of Louise Brooks at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.

Here is a snapshot taken at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. This portrait of Louise Brooks by Nicholas Murray is part of the "American Cool" exhibit (through September 7). Thanx to Pete for the photo.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Louise Brooks in the Missouri Review

The current issue of the Missouri Review (Winter 2013) features an excellent essay by Kris Somerville on "The Logic of Dreams: The Life and Work of Ruth St. Denis". The piece is illustrated with a number of images of  Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, including a  remarkably erotic picture of St. Denis on page 130. And of course, Louise Brooks is part of the Denishawn story.

That piece follows another equally fine piece also by Kris Somerville in the Fall 2012 issue of the Missouri Review titled "The Thoroughly Modern World of Louise Brooks". Both pieces are worth checking out.

As is Robert McNamara's Summer 1983 piece in the Missouri Review, "Lulu in Rochester: Self-Portrait of an Anti-Star". 
More information on this leading literary journal can be found at www.missourireview.com   [Thanks to my friend Lisa Buchanan for pointing out this latest piece.]

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Louise Brooks and Poland: Ziyo does Lulu

Speaking of Louise Brooks and Poland . . . . Here is a video of scenes from Pandora's Box (known in Polish as Puszka Pandory) which features a song by the popular Polish band Ziyo.

Ziyo is a post-punk band formed in Tarnow (southern Poland) in 1984. After a successful set at the Jarocin Festival in 1986, they got the attention of the Polish music industry and released their eponymous debut the following year. Their sound here reminds me of Joy Division. At other times they have been compared to Ultravox and U2.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sincerely yours, Louise Brooks

"Sincerely yours, Louise Brooks"
(later 1920's fan photo of the kind distributed by Paramount)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kino Venus, a Polish thriller with a Louise Brooks-like character

Kino Venus is the name of a Polish thriller set in 1930s Lublin which may feature a Louise Brooks and/or a Marlene Dietrich inspired character. The book's author is Marcin Wroński. I was alerted to Kino Venus after coming across a reference to the actresses on a French bookseller's webpage.

Has anyone read these books? I found three different covers while searching online. They sound intriguing.

Below is biographical information on the author from his website. And here is a the author's Wikipedia page in Polish.

Marcin Wroński (b. 1972, Lublin, Poland) studied Polish literature and language at the Catholic University of Lublin. Before devoting himself wholeheartedly to becoming a writer he worked as a columnist, a radio journalist, a secondary school teacher and an editor at various Polish publishing houses.

Wroński’s debut book appeared in 1992. Since then he has published six novels. He has also written many short stories and articles, cabaret sketches, essays and plays. In his work, Wroński combines literary tradition with elements from mass culture, whereby the complex Polish-Jewish-Russian-German history of his native city of Lublin often plays a role.

In Poland he is known mainly as the author of historic crime fiction featuring Police Commissioner Zygmunt Maciejewski as the main character. So far, he has published in the series Morderstwo pod cenzurą ("Murder Under Censorship", 2007), Kino Venus ("Cinema Venus", 2008), A na imię jej będzie Aniela ("And She Shall Be Called Aniela", 2011) and Skrzydlata trumna ("The Flying Coffin", 2012). Wroński also wrote a political thriller about contemporary Poland: Officium Secretum. Pies Pański ("Officium Secretum. Domini Cane", 2010). The 5th retro crime novel featuring Maciejewski is Pogrom w przyszły wtorek ("Pogrom on the Next Tuesday")

Morderstwo pod cenzurą, Kino Venus and Officium Secretum were nominated to the ‘Great Calibre Prize’ (the most prestigious prize for authors of crime fiction in Poland). The Russian rights for these books were sold to Gesharim/Bridges of Culture Publishing in Moscow. Studio Kalejdoskop, a Polish production company, has bought the film rights.

In 2009 Marcin Wroński was awarded the honorary title of Bene Meritus Terrae Lublinensi (Meritiorious for Lublin's Region) for the way in which he managed to conjure up the history of Lublin in his novels about 'Zyggie' Maciejewski. In 2012 he was awarded the Medal of the Mayor of Lublin.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Robert Crumb and Les Primitifs Du Futur play "Chanson Pour Louise Brooks"

The song here,"Chanson Pour Louise Brooks," is performed by Les Primitifs Du Futur (featuring cartoonist Robert Crumb), from the album World Musette (2006). It is a great album. This song can be heard on RadioLulu.

RadioLulu has a Twitter account at @Radio_Lulu and a Facebook page too. Check 'em out.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Marion Harris singing "I'm A Jazz Vampire"

One of the 1920s novelty numbers heard on RadioLulu - Marion Harris singing "I'm A Jazz Vampire." Check it out as well as many others at www.live365.com/stations/radiolulu

RadioLulu is a Louise Brooks-inspired, silent film-themed station streaming music of the 1920s, 1930s, and today.

Launched in 2002, this unique station features music from six of Brooks' films - the haunting themes from Beggars of Life (1928) and Prix de Beaute (1930), as well as musical passages from The Canary Murder Case (1929), Empty Saddles (1936), and Overland Stage Raiders (1938). Other vintage tracks associated with the actress include "Somebody Loves Me" (Brooks' favorite Gershwin tune) and Xavier Cugat's "Siboney" (recommended by Brooks in her booklet "The Fundamentals of Ballroom Dancing"). There are also recordings by actors and actress who appeared in films with Brooks - Blanche Ring, W.C. Fields, Adolphe Menjou, Noah Beery, Kurt Geron, Siegfried Arno, Joan Blondell, Frank Fay, Grace Moore, and Cary Grant. There arer even vintage tracks by Sid Kay's Fellows, the German jazz combo who appear in Pandora's Box.

There are vintage recordings songs by Brooks' friends and acquaintances - like Charlie Chaplin,  Libby Holman, and Bruz Fletcher. Also featured are rare recordings by other early Hollywood figures, including Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro, Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford, Bebe Daniels, Lupe Velez, Buddy Rogers, Jean Harlow, Dolores Del Rio, Dick Powell, Tallulah Bankhead, and Dorothy Lamour. Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell can be heard singing "If I Had A Talking Picture Of You," one of a number of movie related songs on RadioLulu. Have you ever heard "Take Your Girlie to the Movies," "At the Moving Picture Ball," and "Those Charlie Chaplin Feet" ? You can on RadioLulu.

And that's not all. . . . You'll hear Maurice Chevalier's much-loved recording of "Louise," as well as the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks' recording of "Louise, You Tease." There are Jazz Age crooners, torch singers, dance bands, hotel orchestras, show tunes, novelty numbers, standards, and some real hot and some real sweet jazz!

European tracks include Pola Negri's classic "Tango Notturno," the Russian-born Ilja Livschakoff and his Tanz Orchester playing their homage to Garbo, early German-language recordings by Marlene Dietrich, the unforgettable 1930s Polish chanteuse Hanka Ordonówna, and the great British cinema organist Sidney Torch. There's the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht singing "Mack the Knife" in 1929, and contemporary cartoonist Robert Crumb playing on "Chanson por Louise Brooks". What's more, you'd be hard-pressed to find a station that plays more tracks with Lulu in their title (including the ever popular "Don't Bring Lulu") than the always eclectic, always entertaining RadioLulu!

RadioLulu has a Twitter account at @Radio_Lulu and a Facebook page. Check 'em out.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Introducing the Eskimo Pie Orchestra

If you don't know them, they're swell. . . . the Eskimo Pie Orchestra. Check out this video below, which features the tunes "What a Day" and "Junior". The band was led by Jean Goldkette.

The Eskimo Pie Orchestra's version of "Louise" can be heard on RadioLulu. Give it a listen too! RadioLulu has a Twitter account at @Radio_Lulu and a Facebook page. Check 'em out.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Louise Brooks - an Argentine heavy metal band

Just recently, I came across a heavy metal band from San Justo, Argentina named "Louise Brooks." (San Justo is near Buenos Aires.) A picture of the actress adorns their Facebook page. The band is Güîdö PeTeduro Përrî on rhythm guitar, Agustinn Siffredi on bass, Alexis (el sin face) on drums, and Lüshin Tetrico on vocals. They list their influences as Asking Alexandria, Bring Me The Horizon, The Devil Wears Prada, Coralies, The World Alive, A Day To Remember, Her Name In Blood. I haven't been able to find much else on this group. Is anyone familiar with them?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rädio Lulú - a Spanish pop / swing / rock band

I've recently discovered a pop / swing / rock band from Spain called Rädio Lulú - check em out on Facebook or on their website. Rädio Lulú started in 2010. It's members include Leticia Robles from Leon and Emilio Saiz from Madrid, where they are based. No word on any direct relation to the Louise Brooks Society online station, RadioLulu.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

God's Gift to Women - A Round up of Reviews

God's Gift to Women, Louise Brooks' third American talkie, was officially released on this day in 1931. The film is a pre-code romantic comedy - or rather a farce - about a Parisian playboy who falls in love with an American girl, but cannot consummate his love for fear of his life. An eminent cardiologist warned his terrified patient, “No excitement and no women. One kiss and you die!”

The film stars Frank Fay (the Parisian playboy), Laura LaPlante (his love interest), and Louise Brooks, Joan Blondell, Margaret Livingston, and Yola d'Avril (feminine distraction to the Parisian playboy). Charles Winninger plays the father of the love interest. This Warner Brothers film, based on the play called The Devil Was Sick by Jane Hinton, was directed by the great Michael Curtiz.

When first completed, God's Gift to Women included a few musical numbers, but due to growing audience distaste for musicals in the United States, all of the songs were cut in American prints of the film. Frank Fay (then Barbara Stanwyck's husband) sang the film's theme song, which is heard over the credits and is underscored several times throughout the story. As well, there is an elaborate dance number featuring the Sisters "G" (Eleanor and Karla Gutchrlein) in the nightclub sequence at the beginning of the film. The complete film was released intact in other countries; today, however, only the American version sans music is thought to have survived. The Warner Archive Collection released God's Gift to Women on DVD in December 2012.

Despite Frank Fay's then enormous popularity, God's Gift to Women never really caught on. Though an A-list production, the film's silliness garnered it the attention and respect of a B-list flick. [A few songs recorded by Frank Fay can be heard on RadioLulu.] In fact, it was sometimes paired with a lowly instructional golf film featuring golfing star Bobby Jones. Here is a round up of magazine and newspaper reviews and articles drawn from the Louise Brooks Society archive.

anonymous. "Amorous Fluff Amusing at Warner Bros." San Francisco Chronicle, April 18, 1931.
--- "The picture is a bit of fluff, but it is amusing and is well produced."

anonymous. "Frank Fay as Don Juan at Warner." San Francisco Examiner, April 19, 1931.
--- "The cast is notable . . . . Joan Blondell, the blonde, and Louise Brooks, the brunette, are prominent among the principals."

anonymous. "Reviews of the New Films." Film Daily, April 19, 1931.
--- capsule review; "Merry French farce with amusing plot and deft comedy work by Frank Fay, fine feminine support and good direction."

Delehanty, Thonton. "The New Film." New York Post, April 21, 1931.
--- "The humor is in the style of the hackneyed French farce, so hackneyed that it is paralyzingly awful."

Mines, Harry. "Bobby Jones Reeler Clicks." Los Angeles Daily Illustrated News, April 25, 1931.
--- "All the girls in the cast have the opportunity to wear beautiful clothes and look their vamnpiest. They are Laura LaPlante, Marguerite Livingston, Yola D'Avril, Louise Brooks, Joan Blondell,, Ethelyn Claire and the Sisters 'G'."

Schallert, Edwin. "First Golfing Picture Clever." Los Angeles Times, April 27, 1931.
--- "Louise Brooks and Yola D'Avril participate zestfully in this conflict."

Starr, Jimmy. "Warner's Hollywood Has F. Fay as Modern Don Juan." Los Angeles Evening Express, April 27, 1931.
--- "Joan Blondell, Louise Brooks and Yola D'Avril are a trio of snappy charmers."

Evans, Harry. "The Movies." Life, May 8, 1931.
--- "These few amusing moments are the film's total assets - unless you haven't seen Louise Brooks, Joan Blondell and Yola D'Avril in their underwear."

Monday, April 14, 2014

More Louise Brooks and Poland - Photography of Piotr Pietryga

While searching under the keywords "Puszka Pandory" (a Polish name for Pandora's Box), I came across an intriguing Polish website devoted to the photographic art of Piotr Pietryga. One series that caught my eye was devoted to images of restaged scenes and characters from silent films, including The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, Metropolis, and Pandora's Box. Here are a few images. (See more of this photographer's work on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PiotrPietryga)

Gabinet Doktora Caligari

Gabinet Doktora Caligari

Puszka Pandory

Puszka Pandory

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Imaginary encounter between Fernando Pessoa, Pablo Picasso, and Louise Brooks.

Today in Barcelona, Spain -- an imaginary encounter between Fernando Pessoa, Pablo Picasso, and Louise Brooks.

There will be a staged reading of Imaginary Encontros, the title of a text by Hélder Costa, playwright and Portuguese director - with the participation of 21 players from the Catalan theater scene. This special event takes place at the El Born Centre Cultural (Pl Comercial, 12, Barcelona, 08003).


Els Encontros Imaginaris són set lectures dramatitzades a partir dels textos de l’Hélder Costa, el dramaturg i director portuguès, -excepte una-, amb una senzilla i cuidada posada en escena dins la peculiar atmosfera de la Sala Moragues del Born CC, i que comptarà amb la participació de 21 intèrprets de l’escena teatral catalana.

Als Encontros Imaginaris, diversos personatges històrics universals conversen en format de tertúlia, despertant somriures i complicitats a partir d’uns textos plens d’intel·ligència i d’humor.

En aquesta primera edició al Born CC podrem comptar amb un Encontro Imaginari, l’últim, escrit per Josep Maria Benet i Jornet, que posarà a conversar el gran Àngel Guimerà amb en Frederic Soler (Pitarra) i la Margarida Xirgu!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Law of the Looking Glass: Cinema in Poland

Lately, I've been reading a terrific book, Law of the Looking Glass: Cinema in Poland, 1896-1939 by Sheila Skaff. The book was published by Ohio University Press in 2008. There is nothing specific in the book about Louise Brooks, but there is a lot of useful material about the silent and early sound era in Poland - a country whose history and contribution to world cinema is too little known.

Films from other countries - including American, French, German, Czech and Russian silents, were shown in Poland alongside Polish-made fair. Those imported films included Brooks' American, German, and sole French film. So far, I have been able to document the premieres of both Lulu (the Polish title for Pandora's Box), Prix de Beaute and other films in Warsaw, the capitol of Poland.

I found out, for example, that the Casino theater in Warsaw, the theater where Lulu was shown, was a major cinema in the Polish capitol.

The great thing about Law of the Looking Glass: Cinema in Poland, 1896-1939 is that it offers clues about where else to look for material about Louise Brooks and the reception of her films. Skaff's book discusses the surprising number of film publications (both industry journals and fan magazines) which were issued not just in Warsaw, but also in Krakow and elsewhere. Of course, accessing those publications is the tricky part. Few American libraries have them.

Happily, I was able to search through a couple of Polish publications over the web. Here is a piece about director G.W. Pabst which mentions Lulu. It is from Kino: tygodnik ilustrowany from 1932.

Friday, April 11, 2014


While doing research a few years back, I found this item in an Austrian newspaper dating from 1928. As may be noticed, portraits of each individual are composed of the letters of their name. Pretty cool. Can anyone come up with a similar Louise Brooks name-o-graph?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Louise Brooks Society blog in 2009

Believe it or not, but the Louise Brooks Society started blogging back in 2002. The LBS started on LiveJournal, and moved to Blogger in June of 2009. In the last year or so, the LBS has been migrating many of the earlier LiveJournal posts over to this blog. (The ephemeral ones, about now long-passed eBay auctions, etc..., were not moved.) So far, the 2002 and 2003 posts have been relocated. And just recently, most all of the 2009 posts have also found a home here.

Below are some of the highlights from 2009. It was a great year. Check out these posts, as well as all of the earlier entries in the blog archive located in the column on the right.

Did small pox kill The Canary Murder Case?

David Levine, painter and illustrator, has died

Unusual 1954 Louise Brooks image for sale

A Screen Test for Bobbed Hair

Italian censorship of Louise Brooks' films

Louise Brooks look-alike in new Dr. Who comic

A wow Louise Brooks discovery

What Becomes of the "Follies" Girls

A vintage Russian Lulu - at last

A remarkable 1932 reference to Louise Brooks

A Shakespearean Lulu

Alan Moore on " the delectable Louise Brooks"

Lulu in Calcutta, 1966

Philip Jose Farmer Has Died

Lulu in Hollywood - the Russian Edition

No wonder they complained about nudity

Guy Maddin mentions Louise Brooks

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cool pic of the day: Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box

Cool pic of the day: Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box (1929) . . . . what's interesting about this screen capture of a passing moment in a moving picture is its timeless, almost composed quality.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"Louise Brooks," a poem by William Logan

Willian Logan's poem, "Louise Brooks," was first published in the TLS (Times Literary Supplement) on April 8, 2008. Logan is a poet whose most recent book, Madame X (Penguin), was published in 2012. "Louise Brooks" will be in his next book, tentatively titled Rift of Light (probably 2016).  The poem is published here with the permission of the author.

Louise Brooks

Certain memories, uncertain,
and bearing toward gentle impoverishment—

Brooks, I mean, of the bow mouth
and ink-rimmed eye, the raccoon’s

calculating, injured stare,
and a black coiffure like an Achaean helmet.

There were few like her along the Niobrara.

Monday, April 7, 2014

"Lulu," a poem by Frank Wedekind

Presented here is Frank Wedekind's poem "Lulu" in its original German, and in rough English translation (by Thomas Gladysz).


Ich liebe nicht den Hundetrab
Alltäglichen Verkehres;
Ich liebe das wogende Auf und Ab
Des tosenden Weltenmeeres.
Ich liebe die Liebe, die ernste Kunst,
Urewige Wissenschaft ist,
Die Liebe, die heilige Himmelsgunst,
Die irdische Riesenkraft ist.

Mein ganzes Innre erfülle der Mann
Mit Wucht und mit seelischer Größe.
Aufjauchzend vor Stolz enthüll' ich ihm dann,
Aufjauchzend vor Glück meine Blöße.



I do not love the dog race
Of everyday intercourse;
I love the heaving up and down
Of the roaring ocean world.
I love love that serious art,
That song of science,
Love, the holy favor of heaven,
The power of giants on earth.

Mankind fulfills my whole soul
With force and with great mind.
I then reveal to men
My nakedness, rejoicing with happiness.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Lulu in "The Grand Inquisitor," a film by Eddie Muller starring Marsha Hunt

Lulu is the name of the charming, bobbed hair character in Eddie Muller's terrific short film, The Grand Inquisitor (IMdB), which was released back in 2008. It can be viewed in its entirety here, or on YouTube. Muller told me at the time he cast Lulu because of the actress' resemblance to Louise Brooks. He is a fan.

"Legendary blacklisted Hollywood actress Marsha Hunt, 90, makes a stunning return to the screen in this haunting short film that writer-director Eddie Muller describes as "a noir fairy tale, based on actual events." A young woman (Leah Dashe) discovers a cache of used books that she believes holds clues to the solution of decades-old crimes. When the authorities dismiss her, she takes matters into her own hands, ringing the doorbell of Hazel Reedy (Hunt), a lonely recluse who may or may not be the widow of America's most notorious serial killer. Their cross-generational confrontation, played out in real time (20 minutes), leads to an unexpected and shocking conclusion. Adapted from Eddie Muller's short story of the same name, published in A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Noir (Busted Flush Press, 2007)."

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Tilly No-Body: Catastrophes of Love - the story of the first Lulu

Take a look into the lives of Frank Wedekind and Tilly Wedekind, two well-known figures in the history of German theater.

"Tilly No-Body: Catastrophes of Love is a 70-minute, one-woman show weaving together original text and songs with extracts from Tilly's autobiography, letters between herself and Frank, snippets and themes from his plays, and a few inventions along the way. Set in a circus ring (as indeed Wedekind's first LULU play - Earth Spirit - begins), with a lute, two puppets, a circus ball and some puffs of magic, Tilly No-Body invites the audience into a world of love, loss, theatre and desire. Walking the tightrope of the absurd and the beautiful, the grotesque and sublime, the comic and the tragic - this is a paean to Frank and Tilly, and a waltz towards Weimar Germany. "

This play, written and performed by University of California, Davis professor Bella Merlin, illustrates how Tilly's mindset changed throughout her life, from her time as her husband's muse to her days as the writer's widow.

Find out more about Bella Merlin and her play, Tilly No-Body: Catastrophes of Love, by visiting her website. Or, check out this piece from 2010, when the play was staged in Davis, California.

Bella Merlin has also contributed a seminal, fascinating, thought-provoking, must read essay, "Tilly Wedekind and Lulu: The Role of Her Life or the Role in Her Life," to the book Auto/Biography and Identity: Women, Theatre and Performance, edited by Maggie B B. Gale and Vivien Gardner (Manchester University Press, 2009).

Friday, April 4, 2014

2014 San Francisco Silent Film Festival

SFSFF Banner


  Rudolph Valentino

The 19th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival Program is now online at  

Some highlights:
Opening Night Thursday, May 29. A commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Great War with one of the greats of all time, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the film that made Valentino VALENTINO! Accompanied by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra who started life as Mont Alto Ragtime and Tango Orchestra 25 years ago! We look forward to their take on
Four Horsemen's scintillating tango sequence.

The 2014 Silent Film Festival Award goes to the BFI National Film Archive. Archivist Bryony Dixon will accept the award at the Saturday afternoon screening of BFI's brilliant restoration of The Epic of Everest, the official film record of Mallory and Irvine's attempt to scale Everest. Two other treasures from BFI's vaults will grace the screen at Festival 2014: Anthony Asquith's Underground and Maurice Elvey's Sherlock Holmes feature The Sign of Four!

Amazing Tales From the Archives returns with more amazements! Bryony Dixon, Dan Streible, Craig Barron and Ben Burtt will take us on a fascinating illustrated tour of early cinema.

Preservationist and showman Serge Bromberg will share a selection from his vault of wonders, including the newly discovered version of Keaton's The Blacksmith. More shall be revealed in the program Serge Bromberg's Treasure Trove!

Once lost, now found: Ramona, a California story starring Dolores Del Rio was recently restored from materials found in the Czech National Archive. The torrid melodrama Midnight Madness was repatriated from New Zealand and preserved as part of the Save America's Treasures initiative. Our very own restoration project, The Good Bad Man with dashing Douglas Fairbanks will have its world premiere at the festival!

We have a cross-dressing Swedish comedy (directed by a woman!), The Girl in Tails; the first Chinese film to win an international award, The Song of the Fishermen; films by cinema heroes Ozu (Dragnet Girl), Dreyer (The Parson's Widow) and Keaton (The Navigator).  

Not to mention, the element that elevates the San Francisco Silent Film Festival into the realm of pure enchantment: live musical accompaniment. We are thrilled to host these dazzling musicians: Frank Bockius, Guenter Buchwald, Stephen Horne, Matti Bye Ensemble, Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, and Donald Sosin.

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