Monday, June 30, 2014

New book - Lady in the Dark: Iris Barry and the Art of Film

I have recently finished reading Lady in the Dark: Iris Barry and the Art of Film, by Robert Sitton. The 496 page book is out from Columbia University Press. I found this compelling biography to be gracefully written, always interesting, and well researched.

Alas, there is no mention of Louise Brooks, which I find a bit surprising, as an encounter between Brooks and Barry is recounted in the Barry Paris biography. However, other individuals close to Brooks do figure in the book, namely Henri Langlois of the French Cinematheque, and James Card of the George Eastman House. Perhaps Iris Barry's famous rejection of Pandora's Box for inclusion in the collection of the NY Museum of Modern Art had something to do with the antagonistic relationship between herself and Card, who was not only a professional rival, but a surprising political "enemy" as well. (According to Sitton, during the anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s, Card may have informed the United States government of Barry's leftist sympathies. This caused her a great deal of trouble, which eventually necessitated the intervention of her longtime friend and supporter, Nelson Rockefeller, the future Vice President of the United States.)

Anyone interested in film history, particularly in the history of film history and film preservation, will want to read this book. Iris Barry is a key figure, and she led a fascinating life.

From the publisher: "Iris Barry (1895--1969) was a pivotal modern figure and one of the first intellectuals to treat film as an art form, appreciating its far-reaching, transformative power. Although she had the bearing of an aristocrat, she was the self-educated daughter of a brass founder and a palm-reader from the Isle of Man. An aspiring poet, Barry attracted the attention of Ezra Pound and joined a demimonde of Bloomsbury figures, including Ford Maddox Ford, T. S. Eliot, Arthur Waley, Edith Sitwell, and William Butler Yeats. She fell in love with Pound's eccentric fellow Vorticist, Wyndham Lewis, and had two children by him.

In London, Barry pursued a career as a novelist, biographer, and critic of motion pictures. In America, she joined the modernist Askew Salon, where she met Alfred Barr, director of the new Museum of Modern Art. There she founded the museum's film department and became its first curator, assuring film's critical legitimacy. She convinced powerful Hollywood figures to submit their work for exhibition, creating a new respect for film and prompting the founding of the International Federation of Film Archives.

Barry continued to augment MoMA's film library until World War II, when she joined the Office of Strategic Services to develop pro-American films with Orson Welles, Walt Disney, John Huston, and Frank Capra. Yet despite her patriotic efforts, Barry's "foreignness" and association with such filmmakers as Luis Buñuel made her the target of an anticommunist witch hunt. She eventually left for France and died in obscurity. Drawing on letters, memorabilia, and other documentary sources, Robert Sitton reconstructs Barry's phenomenal life and work while recasting the political involvement of artistic institutions in the twentieth century."

PRAISE FOR Lady in the Dark: Iris Barry and the Art of Film

Iris Barry was film's first great archivist and a crucial figure in turning a curious novelty into the most significant new art form of its century. She has long deserved a biography as graceful and expert as the one Robert Sitton has delivered so handsomely. It offers a lively portrait of modernist New York when it was fresh and new and is the better for the richness of its quotations from Barry's stirring writings. It cannot be praised too highly. - Richard Schickel

I confess that I thought of Iris Barry as an English snob who had rejected many exceptional silents as products of the much-despised Hollywood, but she is so much more interesting -- and maddening -- than I ever suspected. Her autobiographical fragments are superb, remarkable descriptions of history as it happened -- a Zeppelin raid on London in World War 1, the Depression in America making the rich richer. As she describes them, these incidents are as evocative as any film, and the book is beautifully illustrated with excellent-quality portraits. Somebody should film it. - Kevin Brownlow, author of The Parade's Gone By…

Robert Sitton's remarkably well researched and evocatively written biography of Iris Barry's hitherto largely unknown position at the forefront of film appreciation is long overdue and most welcome. She led a fascinating private and public life and had an extremely complicated female odyssey in the world of her times, which she profoundly influenced through her writings and cultural actions. That influence still reverberates today. - Peter Bogdanovich

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Another rare Louise Brooks related comic

This rare 1930 cartoon featuring the "life story" of Thomas Meighan also mentions the 1927 Louise Brooks film, The City Gone Wild. I have other examples of this strip featuring other Brooks' co-stars like Richard Arlen, James Hall, Neil Hamilton, Esther Ralston, and Carole Lombard.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Louise Brooks: A Glastonbury First

Over the years, there have been great performances and historic moments at the annual Glastonbury Festival. This year should be no different.
Along with predictions of rain, there are rumours that Prince will make a surprise appearance. The five day festival, which runs through Sunday, June 29, features an eclectic line-up of musical acts; scheduled to perform are Arcade Fire, Lily Allen, Jack White, Robert Plant, Lana Del Ray, The Black Keys, Foster the People, Blondie, Yoko Ono, Dr. Feelgood, Dolly Parton, Nick Lowe, Suzanne Vega, and the tUnE-yArDs, among others.
One act breaking new ground are the Dodge Brothers, a five man quartet (I'll explain later) that play a sometimes exuberant, sometimes raucous hybrid of country blues, rockabilly, jugband and skiffle. Some have called what they play roots music, others call it Americana. Whatever it's called, it rocks.
On Saturday, June 28, the Dodge Brothers are set to become the first band to accompany a silent film at Glastonbury. The film is Beggars of Life (1928). Directed by the great William Wellman the year after he made Wings (the first film to win an Academy Award), Beggars of Life is a American drama about a lovely girl (the beautiful Louise Brooks) dressed as a boy who flees the law after killing her abusive stepfather. On the run, she rides the rails through a hobo underworld where danger is always close at hand.
Based on a novelistic memoir by hobo author Jim Tully, the film also features future Oscar winner Wallace Berry and the early African-American actor Edgar "Blue" Washington. Girls dressed as boys, race mingling, pastoral life gone wrong, and desperation among the glitz and glamour of the Twenties -- there is a lot of friction in Beggars of Life. In her book, 100 Silent Films, BFI curator Bryony Dixon calls it a movie to "wallow" in. And indeed, Beggars of Life is rich with mood, tension, sentiment, harrowing danger, and beauty. Dixon has noted, "Never has a film and a band been more perfectly matched than Beggars of Life and the Dodge Brothers - deep dish Americana, rail-riding hoboes and Louise Brooks - they were made for each other."

For the record, Beggars of Life is not the first silent film shown at Glastonbury. That honor belongs to Metropolis (1927), which was first screened in the 1980s. The Dodge Brothers, however, will be the first band to play live music to accompany a silent. It is something they've done before.
The Dodge Brothers are Mike Hammond (lead guitar, lead vocals, banjo), Mark Kermode (bass, harmonica, vocals), Aly Hirji (rhythm guitar, mandolin, vocals), and Alex Hammond (washboard, snare drum, percussion). Joining the band at Glastonbury and elsewhere when they accompany silent films is composer and silent film accompanist Neil Brand, a regular at London's National Film Theatre.
According to founder Mark Kermode, who doubles as film critic for The Observer, "all this started because Neil Brand approached us with the idea of playing to silents as they used to with local pickup bands. Neil can do this as he's a solo performer, but we were concerned about doing this as a band, and whether our music would fit with the films. He said 'Trust me - it'll work'. I've found that as long as I can see Neil's left hand I can follow what he's doing. The more we play silent films the less we use our cue sheets and the more we play to the film itself. This means that every performance is different."
Over the last few years, the Dodge Brothers have accompanied Beggars of Life around the UK, including well received gigs at BFI Southbank, The Barbican London, National Media Museum, and other venues. Aly Hirji, who performs under the name Aly Dodge, recently remarked "As we'd played to silent films all over the country, I thought it was time we took it to Glastonbury. I contacted the festival and they happened to be looking for something that would be different enough to draw an audience from the big music stages on Saturday night." Even if the band draws only a fraction of the estimated 175,000 people expected to attend the Festival, Glastonbury's Pilton Palais Cinema Marquee should prove their largest audience to date.
For those keeping track, the Dodge Brothers are not the only Glastonbury performer with a connection to Louise Brooks. (The silent film star is becoming something of a rock icon.) Also set to perform at this year's Festival on Sunday is Caro Emerald, whose 2013 "Tangled Up" video features three hard-to-miss images of the actress, one of which is the poster forPandora's Box (1929). And then there is Metallica, who perform Saturday. In 2011, they collaborated with Lou Reed on Lulu, their oblique, noisy riff on the legendary character played by Brooks in the film version of Pandora's Box.

The Glastonbury Festival is a five day music festival that takes place near Pilton, Somerset, England. In addition to contemporary music, the festival hosts dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other arts. More at

This piece by Thomas Gladysz was originally published on the UK Huffington Post in the entertainment section, where it rose as high as the #1 featured blog post.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Where and Why Miss Louise Brooks Draws the Line

A follow up to yesterday's post: Newspapers around the country ran an illustrated article on the draped nudes scandal entitled ''Where and Why Miss Brooks Draws the Line.'' This widely syndicated article ran in the Sunday supplement & Sunday magazine section of various papers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Post, and Sacramento Union. For a larger scan of the article, see
What was all the fuss about? The following nude image (right) appeared in the December, 1925 issue of Artists & Models magazine.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Posing Regretted by Louise Brooks, Erstwhile "Friend" of Charlie Chaplin

As promised, here is one of the rarest bits of Brooksiana and Chapliniana you are likely to see . . . . the four panel comic strip "history" of the summer long affair between the then little known showgirl Louise Brooks and international film star Charlie Chaplin. Tongues were wagging in 1925.

Gossip made the news. The related feature photo below was syndicated across the country. I have found many instances of this captioned image in newspapers from across the United States.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Charlie Chaplin: Birth of the Tramp celebration & conference in Italy

Charlie Chaplin: Birth of the Tramp celebration & conference June 26th-28th, 2014
at the Cineteca di Bologna in Italy

The conference will cover a large breadth of topics: presentations will deal with Chaplinitis, fakes and imitators and the Tramp’s reception and influence in Czechoslovakia, India, Japan and China, to name but some. There will also be papers on The Tramp in Art and Philosophy, and animation, on Chaplin the Filmmaker, and Chaplin & Music. Keynote speaker Lisa Haven will tackle Chaplin's influence on members of the American Counterculture movement.

Download the complete programme

A Conversation with Mike Leigh, Michel Hazanavicius, Claire Bloom
A conversation with Michael Chaplin about his father’s origins
David Robinson on the Centenary of the Tramp and Chaplin’s Limelight/Footlights
Kevin Brownlow illustrated lecture on Chaplin and the First World War 
Birth of the Tramp
Frank Scheide, “Finding his Screen Persona in Making a Living and Kid’s Auto Races: Charlie Chaplin’s Transition from English Music Hall Comedy to American Film Slapstick”
Hooman Mehran, “Lingering Mysteries from 1914”
Bill Finney, “Kid Auto Races, The Tramp’s Debut”

The Tramp in Historical Context

Norbert Aping, “Chaplin and the Nazis, 1926-44”
Ayse Bechet, “The Little Tramp and the Big War: The Harmsworth Affair”
Richard Carr, “Chaplin and the British Political Elite: Depicting Poverty to the Great and the Good, 1889-1932”
Harvey Cohen, Charlie Chaplin’s America”

Chaplin, the Filmmaker

Francis Bordat "How far is Chaplin the filmmaker at work in his early films (1914-1917)?"
Chuck Maland "’A Neurotic State of Wanting Perfection’: Chaplin, Studio Records, and the Making of City Lights"
John Bengtson, "Chaplin’s Silent Footsteps: a visual tour of the Tramp’s historic film locations"
David Totheroh on his grandfather, Rollie Totheroh

Pertaining to the Tramp

Christian Hayes, Chaplinitis: "The Chaplin Boom in Britain, 1914-1915"
Adolphe Nysenholc 1914 : "Birth of a world”; Glenn Mitchell, “The Tramp’s True Farewell"
Libby Murphy, "The Tramp and the Tuxedo: How Charlie Triumphs over Chaplin"

Tramp Fakes & Imitators

Carlos Paz Molina, “Chaplin Speaks!: Chaplin Fake Sound Films in Spain”
Scott Paulin, "’ I’ll give you a movie right here’: Impersonating Charlie Chaplin on the Musical Stage in 1915"
Uli Ruedel, "One Little Tramp, Two Great Clowns: The Chaplin ‘Parody’ of Charlie Rivel"

The Tramp Around the World

Milan Hain, “Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp and Czechoslovakia” ; Ono Hiroyuki, “The Tramp in Japan”; Kathryn Millard, "Chaplin Imitators Around the Globe:  A Historical Perspective”; Geraldine Rodrigues, The Reception of early Chaplin films in France; Zhiwei Xiao, “The Enduring Legacy of Charlie Chaplin: The View from the East, 1919-2013”;

The Tramp in Art and Philosophy

Lisa Haven, "City Lights Magazine, the American Counterculture and Chaplin’s Little Tramp, 1952-77"
Charly Sistovaris "The Gold Rush, The Circus, City Lights – a trilogy of illusions"
Noah Teichner, "Charlie Chaplin, a Surrealist Icon?"

Chaplin & Music

Jim Lochner, "The Tramp in Transition: The Musical Movements of City Lights"
Round table discussion on Chaplin’s music with musician who accompany and compose for Chaplin films: Antonio Coppola, Donald Sosin, Timothy Brock, Maud Nelissen, Gabriel Thibaudeau

The Chaplin Archives

Cecilia Cenciarelli & Kate Guyonvarch,"Treasures of the Chaplin Archives"
Ellen Cheshire, "Charlie Chaplin on How to Make a Living"
Paul Duncan, "Chaplin without Chaplin: The Making of A Woman of Paris"

The Tramp’s Influence

Yuri Tsivian will discuss Chaplin and Russia
Nancy Beiman, "The Animated Tramp: Charlie Chaplin’s Influence on American Animation"
Ranjamkittka Bhowmik, "The Eternal Tramp: Chaplin’s Imitation and Resonance in Raj Kapoor’s Cinema"
Stephane Goudet, "Chaplin and Jacques Tati"

and much more.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Suggest Louise Brooks become a Google doodle !

Why not suggest Louise Brooks become a Google doodle on her birthday, November 14th. 

Send a suggestion to

Monday, June 23, 2014

Louise Brooks articles on San Francisco Chronicle website

For about a year, I blogged for the San Francisco Chronicle website, SFGate. I wrote about all kinds of stuff, movies, books, authors, local history, and more. And of course, I wrote about Louise Brooks whenever I could. Here is a check list of some of my Louise Brooks-related articles.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Louise Brooks outdoors a little longer

Here is one more picture of Louise Brooks outdoors, enjoying the sun. How she could get much swimming done with those heals is hard to say. Be sure and follow this blog, as early July will see a series of posts featuring more images of Louise Brooks in a bathing suite and on the beach!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Louise Brooks at home, outdoors

Louise Brooks at home, enjoying the California sun in and around her yard, circa 1928. Brooks is pictured in the first and fourth images with her younger sister June.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Louise Brooks Society is on Twitter @LB_Society

The Louise Brooks Society is on Twitter @LB_Society. As of today, the LBS is followed by more than 2,700 individuals. Are you one of them? Why not join the conversation? Be sure and visit the LBS Twitter profile, and check out the more than 3,465 LBS tweets so far!
The LBS twitter stream can also be found in the right hand column.
And that's not all.

RadioLulu ♪♫♬♪

also has a Twitter account at @Radio_Lulu.
This new account tweets about Louise Brooks and music and additions to
RadioLulu - the online radio station of the Louise Brooks Society
at Check it out today!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rolled Stockings - A round-up of reviews

Rolled Stockings, Louise Brooks' ninth film, was officially released on this day in 1927. The film is a romantic drama, set on a college campus, involving roadhouse adventures and a climatic race involving the schools' rowing team. The film, shot mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area, is lost.

The film stars five of Paramount's "junior stars," Louise Brooks as Carol Fleming, James Hall as Jim Treadway, Richard Arlen as Ralph Treadway, Nancy Phillips as The Vamp, and El Brendel as Rudolph. The film, based on the screenplay by Percy Heath, adapted from an original story idea by Frederica Sagor, with titles by Julian Johnson, was directed by Richard Rosson.

The film received many positive reviews, though Brooks sometimes only received faint praise. Here is a round up of magazine and newspaper reviews and articles drawn from the Louise Brooks Society archive.

McN., J. "James Bill Good Stuff." Columbus Citizen, June 13, 1927.
--- ". . . the provoking presence of Louise Brooks."

anonymous. "College Fun Features New Film at 'Met'." Los Angeles Examiner, June 17, 1927.
--- "Louise Brooks is utterly adorable as Carol Fleming. She is exactly the type college boys swoon over. She displays a sincerity in her work that has been absent from her previous roles. Though this particular part offers little opportunity to show any great acting, she measures up splendidly in the few scenes that border on the emotional."

Barnes, Eleanor. "Rolled Stockings Unfolds Great Comedy Drama." Los Angeles Daily Illustrated News, June 17, 1927.
--- "Hall and Arlen do nice work in this production, and Louise Brooks, judging by this film, is destined to go a long way. She has some of Colleen Moore's qualities with a dash of Florence Vidor thrown in, and a lot of her own distinctive personality."

Rush. "Rolled Stockings." Variety, June 20, 1927.
--- "The casting of the young stars is fortunate. Miss Brooks, who has done several excellent things, here finds a role for her demure charm, with its tricky suggestion of mild sophistication."

anonymous. "Strand." New Orleans States, June 27, 1927.
--- "One of the best comedies of college life that has been seen hereabouts in sometime."

Feldkamp, Frances V. "Movie Reviews." St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 27, 1927.
--- "Louise Brooks is the girl; enough of a looker to make any man lose his head and fraternity pin."

Taaffe, Agnes. "Movies." Minneapolis Daily Star, June 27, 1927.
--- " . . . which co-stars Louise Brooks and James Hall, two personable screen performers who have the ability to hold the interest of the fans throughout six lively reels. . . . Louise Brooks gives a highly diverting performance as the flapper."

Sheekman, Arthur. "Rolled Stockings Is Amusing Trifle, Very Collegiate." Chicago Daily Journal, June 29, 1927.
--- "Miss Brooks, as you know, is always a lovely ornament for any picture, and more than good enough as an actress."

Heffernan, Harold. "The New Movies in Review." Detroit News, July 4, 1927.
--- "The dark-eyed Louise Brooks, with a flashy, new hair trim, is the destructive siren who infests the snappy little college known as Colfax."

Armstrong, Everhardt. "Brothers Are Rivals For Flirt's Fancy." Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 15, 1927.
--- "The vivacious and flirtatious heroine of Rolled Stockings is Louise Brooks, of Love 'Em and Leave 'Em fame."

anonymous. "Rolled Stockings is College Thrill." Seattle Times, July 17, 1927.
--- "Paramounts 'youth' picture, which is now at the Coliseum Theatre, has everything - a thrilling college crew race, some exciting automobile scenes, snappy comedy, a good love story and lots of pep."

Thirier, Irene. "Both College Caper Films, Rolled Stockings Draws Better Than Poor Nut." New York Daily News, July 18, 1927.
--- "Rolled Stockings has Louise Brooks - lovely, no, lovelier than ever. . . . You're going to like this movie and the players in it."

author unknown. New York Graphic, July 19?, 1927. (United States)
--- "Paramount's junior stars romp through this playful picture and participate in an exciting regatta, a few romances, a fight, a road house sequence and college dances."

Cannon, Regina. "Rolled Stockings on Screen." New York American, July 19, 1927.
--- "This is another college story and it is realistic enough to be entertaining. . . . Louise Brooks is seen for the first time in a 'straight' role. This child is so smartly sophisticated that it has seldom been her lot to portray anything but baby vamps on the screen. She has an unusual personality which the camera catches and magnifies, dresses snappily and makes the most of her every movie moment."

lliott, James M. "Rolled Stockings Average." New York Daily Mirror, July 20, 1927.
--- " . . . manages to be pleasant, mildly absorbing and sufficiently accurate for the purposes of the picture. . . . Louise Brooks looks remarkably like Clara Bow, though she lacks the famed pep of our national flapper."

O., H. H. "Stage and Screen." Ann Arbor Times News, August 15, 1927.
--- "The three stars, Louise Brooks, James Hall and Richard Arlen are so thoroughly likeable and the story so different from the usual line of college bunk, that Rolled Stockings proves to be a delightful bit of cinema entertainment."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Double take: a nude Louise Brooks

A nude Louise Brooks (circa 1925), giving the camera a devilish grin. Be sure and follow this blog: in the coming days there will be for the rare vintage comic strip relating the "history" behind this photograph (and Charlie Chaplin's appreciation of its subject and what he called Brooks' little pears).

Monday, June 16, 2014

Berlin - Metropolis of Vice (video documentary) NSFW

Louise Brooks speaks about such things in her memoirs and in filmed interviews shot later in her life. . . . Here is Berlin - Metropolis of Vice, an excellent NSFW video documentary.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Louise Brooks: a social celebrity in evening clothes

Louise Brooks: a social celebrity in evening clothes

Saturday, June 14, 2014

"World Gin Day" poster features Louise Brooks

Louise Brooks drank more than her fair share of gin, and perhaps that's why the actress adorns this poster for Ginstock, an event taking place today celebrating "World Gin Day" in England. The annual poster is shown below. Apparently, this is the second year in a row the group has made Louise Brooks their poster girl. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

First ever Louise Brooks Society blog on this day in 2002

The first ever Louise Brooks Society blog appeared on LiveJournal on this day in 2002. To mark the occasion, here is that first post:

In search of the perfect bob, in the Philippines

The Philippine Daily Inquirer, from Manila, recently ran a story titled "In search of the perfect bob." In it, the reporter discusses her own quest for the haircut, as well as a bit of it's history.

It has been a long debate on who actually started the classic bob. But American Hairdresser magazine, in an article on March 1, 2007, “The Way We Were,” credited dancer Irene Castle for the bob, which used to be called “Castle Bob” in 1915.

There was also the tale of an unpopular girl whose life changed after she got her new bob, as told in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story, “Bernice Bobs Her Hair,” published in the Saturday Evening Post in May 1920.

Others credit the bob to Coco Chanel or the American dancer and actress Louise Brooks, with her ebony black, blunt bob with bangs.

Anna Wintour has been sporting the page-boy bob since she was 14.

Why is the ’do still popping up to this day?

The popularity of the bob knows no bounds. Neither does its identification with Louise Brooks. Both are a worldwide phenomena!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

New Silent Film Documentary - Silence is Golden

Check out this swell new short documentary telling the story of cinema's origins from the pioneers of the first films till the first full talkie The Jazz Singer. I like it, and not just because Louise Brooks makes an appearance.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Louise Brooks at Glastonbury Music Festival

On Saturday June 28th, The Dodge Brothers & Neil Brand become the first band to accompany a silent film at the famous Glastonbury Festival in England. The long running festival, which draws more than 100,00 people, is one of the biggest musical events in the world. On this year's schedule are Jack White, Lily Allen, Metallica, Caro Emerald, Yoko Ono, Arcade Fire, Robert Plant, Bryan Ferry, tUnE-yArDs, and many others.

The film The Dodge Brothers will accompany is Beggars of Life (1928), starring Louise Brooks. I guess that means Louise Brooks is the first silent film star to "play" Glastonbury. This is a trailer of what they'll do...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cool pic of the day: Louise Brooks, the glance

Cool pic of the day: the glance (Louise Brooks, circa 1928)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Emil Petaja "Photoplay Edition"

I have a few copies of Photoplay Edition, by Emil Petaja, which I would like to sell. This collectors guide was the first book on the subject of photoplay editions, the movie tie-in books of the silent and early sound era. This heavily illustrated, 200 page bibliography contains a delightful introductory essay and a checklist of hundreds of titles. It is also illustrated with dozens of rare book covers and black-and-white stills from the silent era. I am selling these softcover books for $10.00 each (which includes shipping). Personal checks or PayPal accepted. Contact me via email at thomasg at pandorasboxDOTcom to arrange payment and shipping.

Emil Petaja (1915 - 2000) was a friend of mine; I knew him during the last half dozen years of his life. Though an accomplished author in the fields of science fiction and fantasy, Emil is best known to movie lovers as the author of Photoplay Edition (SISU Publishers, 1975).

Petaja based this book on his personal collection, which at the time of publication, numbered more than eight hundred titles. He loved film, and was a life-long movie buff and collector of movie memorabilia. He had a large library of film-related books, owned hundreds of 16mm films and videotapes, and enjoyed recounting stories about classic films, actors and actresses. What always impressed me about Emil was his remarkable mind for recalling plots, the stars of films, and even the authors whose books were made into movies. Occasionally, we would take in a movie together. Emil was a gateway to the past. And I enjoyed many conversations with him about the movies.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Louise Brooks asks: Anyone for tennis?

Louise Brooks asks: Anyone for tennis? (Photo circa 1928).

Saturday, June 7, 2014

LIke Louise Brooks

"Like Louise Brooks" by Sarah Azzara, from her superb 2000 album Revenge Of Danger Girl. (Available on CD Baby.)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Some pretty great bangs & bobbed hair: celebrating Ipso Facto & Theoretical Girl

Here is the 2007 video for the Ipso Facto single "Harmonise," directed by Tony Mines. This band sported some pretty great bangs and bobbed hair.

Ipso Facto were a goth-inflected, melodramatic psychedelic rock band founded in 2007 by Rosalie Cunningham (singer, songwriter, guitar), Victoria Smith (drums), Cherish Kaya (keyboards) and Samantha Valentine (bass guitar). They were based in London. Before Ipso Facto, Rosalie and Samantha played in the Southend band Theoretical Girl. (see videos below)

According to music writer Mark Deming, "In May 2007, Ipso Facto made their live debut opening for the Violets, and their first single, "Harmonise" b/w "Balderdash," was released by the independent Disc Error label six months later. Thanks in part to a striking music video and plenty of enthusiastic press, the single quickly sold out its press run, and Ipso Facto began receiving international coverage as they began work on their debut album in 2008."

After a couple years touring the UK, Ipso Facto split up, in 2009. Since then, they have gone separate ways. Rosalie Cunningham is continuing to write and record music with her new band Purson. Samantha Valentine has joined the band Romance, Cherish has gone to play keyboards for Florence and the Machine. Victoria Smith went on to be a touring member of MIA and is the current drummer in The Big Pink.

The band's AllMusic biography was written by the Mark Deming (my roommate in college, I kid thee not). He described them this way: "All-female foursome Ipso Facto are nearly as well known for their fashion sense as for their music -- they exclusively favor vintage monochrome outfits and sport hairdos that split the difference between Louise Brooks and Brian Jones -- though their stylish fusion of indie pop, garage rock, early goth sounds and psychedelia has certainly earned them a loyal following."

And below is a sweet outdoors live version of Theoretical Girl's "The Boy I Left Behind." To listen to the studio version follow this link.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mischa Barton: Louise Brooks rock n roll

From a few years ago, film and television actress Mischa Barton dressed up to look like Louise Brooks. I love the "Louise Brooks rock 'n roll" identification. Be sure and check out tomorrow's blog, which features more LB rock!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

An amusing 1926 cartoon strip

An amusing cartoon strip found while doing research. It dates from 1926, and is by Rube Goldberg.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Brooksie: The Jazz Age Musical

I wanted to let everyone know that Brooksie: The Jazz Age Musical is now available in the United States. A recording can be obtained through CDBaby at   There, you can also listen to sample sounds of this enjoyable musical inspired by the life of Louise Brooks. Composed by Sandro Moreni, who lives in Switzerland, this is jazzy music from the Jazz Age, full of swing and interpreted by top European musicians. I would encourage everyone to check it out - as I understand the stage version has proven popular and has been performed in Switzerland and Austria, and perhaps Germany).
The composer's website is also well worth checking out. It can be found at  The CD of the musical can also be obtained through such on-line European vendors as Huge Music and

Monday, June 2, 2014

Blast from the past: Etch-a-Sketch

An Etch-a-Sketchist featuring Louise Brooks drawn on a Etch-a-Sketch. Isn't it nifty? I could never manage more than a stick figure or two on those things.

Powered By Blogger