Saturday, February 28, 2015

Diary of a Lost Girl with Louise Brooks and Wurlitza screens tonight in the UK

Included on the embedded image below are the remaining dates on Wurlitza's Diary of a Lost Girl tour. Wurlitza performs tonight, February 28th at The Zone in Downberry, England.

You can learn more about the band and their music by checking out the previous post on this Louise Brooks Society blog, by visiting the band's Facebook page, or listening to their soundtrack via Soundcloud.  The band and their new CD were also the subject of an article in a local newspaper, the Plymouth Herald, and website, Tuned Cornwall.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wurlitza releases new soundtrack to Louise Brooks film

Wurlitza, a five piece band from South East Cornwall (in the UK), have released a CD featuring their new soundtrack to the 1929 Louise Brooks' film, Diary of a Lost Girl. The band has been specializing in adding live soundtracks to silent films since 2006.

Here is what the band's website says about their new release: "New for 2014, after two years in the making, is Wurlitza’s soundtrack for GW Pabst’s 1929 movie Diary of a Lost Girl. Fast moving and at times shocking, Diary of a Lost Girl traces the story of Thymian, played by the mesmerising screen idol Louise Brooks, as her life yoyos between episodes of lightness and innocence, darkness and despair. Moments of great comedy involve life in a reform school for fallen girls headed by a villainous nun, and a modern dance lesson with an incompetent buffoon. This gripping film defies convention, confounding expectations as joy and compassion are found in the most unlikely places. Repertoire for the soundtrack of Diary of a Lost Girl includes music by Django Reinhardt, Fun Boy Three, Portishead, Wire, Chopin, Leonard Cohen, Madonna and Grace Jones."

The new CD is available now. Recorded live at Goodmerry Farm Studios in Cornwall, it features 20 tracks from Wurlitza's Diary of A Lost Girl soundtrack. It will be on sale at upcoming performances (see list below), or you can order by post by emailing to £8 (+£2 p+p). The band also accepts PayPal.

Saturday 28th February 2015 - Diary of a Lost Girl. A Film Kitchen event in association with Carn to Cove at The Zone, Downderry, Cornwall.

Saturday 14th March 2015 - Diary of a Lost Girl. A Calstock Arts event at The Old Chapel, Calstock, Cornwall

Sunday 22nd March 2015 - Diary of a Lost Girl. Wadebridge Cinema, Cornwall. 7:30pm.

You can learn more about the band and their music on their Facebook page, or listen to the soundtrack via Soundcloud.  You can also listen below.

Band members are Dave Stroud - bass guitar; Lizzy Stroud - piano/keyboard, clarinet, vocals; Lil Lanyon - guitar, vocals; Claire Abbott - drums/percussion, vocals.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Beggars of Life with Louise Brooks screens in Toronto, Canada

The Revue Cinema in Toronto, Canada has announced it will be screening the classic 1928 silent, Beggars of Life, on Sunday, March 8th. The film, which will be shown with live musical accompaniment at 4:15 pm, stars Louise Brooks. Here is what the Revue Cinema website says:

"Celebrate International Women's Day in style with our ultra-rare screening of Beggars of Life starring Louise Brooks (1928), starring the silent era's most memorable rebel, Louise Brooks!

Brooks plays Nancy, who, on the lam after killing her abusive guardian, disguises her identity in hope of escaping to Canada. Tucking those signature bangs under a cap (don't worry -- they fall out from time to time) she passes as a boy among a gang of rail-riding hobos, where the threat of being revealed a killer takes a back seat to a more pressing danger: being exposed as a woman!

Co-starring Wallace Beery and Richard Arlen, Beggars of Life is frequently cited as Brooks's best American film, and under the direction of "Wild Bill" Wellman (Wings), it is no wonder.

See it the way it was meant to be seen - at the historic Revue Cinema with live musical accompaniment performed by Jordan Klapman.

Beggars of Life is preceded by the short film Suspense (1913), directed by one cinema's greatest pioneers, Lois Weber.

This special event is part of 'IT GIRLS: Sirens of the Silent Screen', Silent Revue’s on-going tribute to the first ladies of Hollywood.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pandora's Box with Louise Brooks screens in Rochester, NY

The George Eastman House in Rochester, New York has announced it will be screening the classic 1929 German silent, Pandora's Box, on April 21st. The film, which will be shown in the Dryden Theater at 8pm, stars Louise Brooks as Lulu. Here is what the GEH website says:

(Die Büchse der Pandora, Georg Wilhelm Pabst, Germany 1929, 133 min., 35mm)

"For James Card, there was only one Louise Brooks. The cineaste referred to his lifelong infatuation as an emotional devotion that had begun at the age of 14, calling Brooks an inadvertent femme fatale who could in no way be coquettish or even deliberately seductive—ideal for the role of Lulu in Pandora’s Box, heroine of Frank Wedekind’s beloved German plays. An innocently immoral sexual predator, Lulu discards and destroys men as she tries to get ahead, until she meets Jack the Ripper. The steamy story is a tangled web of intrigue and deception—the camera work, sets, and direction brilliantly economical, powerfully simple."

“Pabst’s was the keyhole system: I’ll put your eye to the keyhole—become a voyeur of this scene and make of it what you will. A viewer is forced to participate intellectually in a Pabst film.” – James Card

Live piano by Philip C. Carli.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pandora's Box with Louise Brooks screens in Littleton, Colorado

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Littleton, Colorado has announced it will screen the classic 1929 German silent, Pandora's Box, on February 21st. That's today! The film, which will be shown with live musical accompaniment at 4 pm, stars Louise Brooks as Lulu.

The presentation of this unrated silent film has an age policy: "18 and up; Children 6 and up will be allowed only with a parent guardian. No children under the age of 6 will be allowed."

Here is what the Alamo Drafthouse website says:

"This 35mm screening of PANDORA'S BOX will feature live in-theater score provided by the great and talented Paul Buscarello!

Haunting. Lurid. Sensual. G.W. Pabst's tale of a much-sought after socialite would prove to be only partly fictional, as young actress Louise Brooks was also swept up in the roaring lifestyle of her generation. It's powerful in its depiction of sexuality on screen, but delivered deceitfully by the alluring and magnetic Brooks. Easily one of the greatest films of early German film making, PANDORA'S BOX is more than essential- it's foundational. (Steve Bessette)"


This screening received a more than four minute review by Howie Movshovitz on the local NPR affiliate, KUNC. "It's rare for a commercial movie theater to show a silent film, and even more rare that the film will be shown with live music. But Saturday, Feb. 21, at the Alamo Draft House in Littleton, one of the most beautiful – and lurid – movies of the silent period, Pandora's Box, will screen on actual 35mm film accompanied by a young musician and composer Paul Buscarello."

Listen HERE.

Friday, February 20, 2015

More on the new Lulu

Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported on William Kentridge's new production of Lulu and the new season at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. The WSJ said this:
In November, the Met will debut a new staging of Alban Berg ’s “Lulu,” directed by South African visual artist William Kentridge, whose 2010 version of Shostakovich’s “The Nose” for the Met drew admiring reviews. Soprano Marlis Petersen will sing the title role of the scheming man-magnet Lulu, a part she has performed in prior productions in the U.S. and Europe.

“She is the leading Lulu of the day,” said Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager.

The new production will incorporate projections of drawings by Mr. Kentridge, as did “The Nose.” Like Marc Chagall, who designed scenery for the Met in the 1960s, Mr. Kentridge is “this wonderful kind of intermediary between the visual art world and the operatic world,” Mr. Gelb said.

The opera will be conducted by James Levine, the Met’s music director, who first introduced “Lulu” to the company in the 1970s.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Announcing a new Lulu

The Met in New York City has announced a significant new production of Lulu (1937), the Alban Berg opera based on the Frank Wedekind plays which also served as the basis for the sensational G.W. Pabst-directed film, Pandora's Box (1929), starring Louise Brooks as Lulu. Interestingly, Berg had seen the Pabst film while he was composing Lulu, as he noted in a letter to his friend, Theodor Adorno. That influence continues to this day - note the hairstyle of the newest Lulu.

From the Met website:

"William Kentridge returns to the Met for his first new production since the company premiere of The Nose, which caused a sensation when it opened in 2010. The inventive visual artist will stage Berg’s shocking masterpiece about a sexually irresistible young woman whose wanton behavior causes destruction for those who fall under her spell. James Levine conducts one of the operas with which he is most identified; he has led 30 Met performances of the work, including the company premiere in 1977. Marlis Petersen reprises her acclaimed interpretation of the title role, with Susan Graham as the Countess Geschwitz, one of Lulu’s most devoted admirers, and Daniel Brenna, Paul Groves, Johan Reuter, and Franz Grundheber among the men who fall victim to her charms."

Lulu – Alban Berg                                                                                                            
Opening: November 5, 2015
Conductor: James Levine
Production: William Kentridge
Co-Director: Luc De Wit
Projection Designer: Catherine Meyburgh
Set Designer: Sabine Theunissen
Costume Designer: Greta Goiris
Lighting Designer: Urs Schönebaum
Live in HD: November 21, 2015

Above: Watch an interview with director William Kentridge

"Acclaimed artist and director William Kentridge (The Nose) applies his unique theatrical vision to Berg’s notorious femme fatale who shatters lives, including her own. Musically, the masterful score is in the sure hands of Met Music Director James Levine. Soprano Marlis Petersen has excited audiences around the world with her portrayal of the tour-de-force title role, a wild journey of love, obsession, and death. Susan Graham joins a winning cast, including Daniel Brenna and Johan Reuter."

Production a gift of the Kirsch Family Foundation. Co-production of the Metropolitan Opera, Dutch National Opera, and English National Opera. Performance Dates:

    Thursday, November 5, 2015, 7:00 pm
    Levine; Petersen, Graham, Brenna, Groves, Reuter, Grundheber

    Monday, November 9, 2015, 7:00 pm
    Levine; Petersen, Graham, Brenna, Groves, Reuter, Grundheber

    Saturday, November 14, 2015, 7:30 pm
    Levine; Petersen, Graham, Brenna, Groves, Reuter, Grundheber

    Tuesday, November 17, 2015, 7:00 pm
    Levine; Petersen, Graham, Brenna, Groves, Reuter, Grundheber

    Saturday, November 21, 2015, 12:30 pm
    Levine; Petersen, Graham, Brenna, Groves, Reuter, Grundheber

    Tuesday, November 24, 2015, 7:00 pm
    Levine; Petersen, Graham, Brenna, Groves, Reuter, Grundheber

    Saturday, November 28, 2015, 7:30 pm
    Levine; Petersen, Graham, Brenna, Groves, Reuter, Grundheber

    Thursday, December 3, 2015, 7:00 pm
    Levine; Petersen, Graham, Brenna, Groves, Reuter, Grundheber

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New tribute music video features Louise Brooks

This new music video by David C. Williams pays tribute to both 1960's pop and Louise Brooks.

Monday, February 16, 2015

New DVD of Beggars of Life starring Louise Brooks

On January 16th, Grapevine Video released Beggars of Life (1928), a new digital transfer of the acclaimed silent film starring Louise Brooks, Wallace Beery and Richard Arlen.

Directed by William Wellman following his work on Wings (the first film to win an Academy Award), this new version looks good, and is a big improvement on previously available VHS, DVD, and online versions of the movie (which have often looked dark). The Grapevine release is a DVD-R running 83 minutes with tinting and an all new orchestra score by Jack Hardy.
Without a doubt, Beggars of Life is worth watching as the best surviving American film starring Louise Brooks.

Upcoming event: On May 4th, Film Forum in New York City is set to screen Beggars of Life with actor William Wellman Jr., author of a forthcoming biography of his father, Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel (Pantheon), providing the introduction.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

More on Jim Tully and Beggars of Life

As the world awaits the tonight's premiere of the television documentary Road Kid to Writer - The Tracks of Jim Tully on Western Reserve PBS (WNEO Channel 45.1 / WEAO Channel 49.1) in northeast Ohio, why not check out this excellent 14 minute radio documentary which aired last November on Southern California Public Radio. An online article, images, and a link to listen can be found HERE.

Jim Tully on the MGM lot.

Jim Tully's 1924 novel, Beggars of Life, was a big deal in its day. It also figures significantly in the life and career of Louise Brooks.

Tully wrote it while in the employ of Charlie Chaplin; and later, in the summer of 1925 and while they were having an affair, Chaplin and Brooks went to see the stage adaption of Tully's book in New York City. (That stage play, incidentally, starred a Tully look-alike redhead by the name of Jimmy Cagney.)

Earlier, in the spring of 1925, Brooks was hired to play a small part in the Herbert Brenon directed film, The Street of Forgotten Men. Like Beggars of Life, it too features a story with a down and out theme. In its review of the film, the New York Daily News even went so far as to name check Tully's then famous work, stating "The Street of Forgotten Men dips into the dark pools of life. It shows you the beggars of life - apologies to Jim Tully - and in showing them it shows them up."

Three year's later, Louise Brooks co-starred in the William Wellman film adaption of Beggars of Life (1928). It is widely considered today the actress' best surviving American film, and one of her best performances.

Louise Brooks on the back and front covers of the British dust jacket of Beggars of Life, which was published
at the time the film was released in 1928. (image courtesy of Frank Thompson)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Louise Brooks included in new documentary on Beggars of Life author Jim Tully

Jim Tully is a writer whose reputation is on the rise. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, his "extraordinary life story has long been a movie waiting to be made."

Over the last few years, this once famous "Hobo author" has been celebrated with the publication of a definitive biography, a string of newspaper and magazine articles, reissues of his out-of-print bestsellers, screenings of movies based on his books, and the recent DVD release of Beggars of Life (1928), an acclaimed silent film based on Tully's best known work.

In 2012 there was "Tullyfest", a series of exhibits, lectures, talks, screenings, and walking tours held in-and-around Hollywood, the author's one-time home. The event, which marked the 100th anniversary of Tully's arrival in Los Angeles, also saw the publication of The Dozen and One: A Field Guide to the Books of Jim Tully, by Howard Prouty of ReadersInk in Los Angeles.

Now comes Road Kid to Writer - The Tracks of Jim Tully, a new documentary by Mark Wade Stone and StoryWorks.TV which airs February 15th on PBS in Ohio. At 50 minutes, it packs a punch, and should go a long way toward reestablishing the author as one of the significant American personalities of the 1920's.

As this new documentary shows, Jim Tully (1886-1947) was a larger-than-life character: stocky, short, and with a tussle of red hair, this rough and tumble writer was hard to miss either in person or on the printed page.

The son of an impoverished Irish immigrant ditch-digger, Tully fled the orphanage where he had been placed following the death of his mother and spent most of his teenage years in the company of the American underclass. Drifting across the country as a "road kid," Tully rode the rails, sleeping in hobo camps, begging meals at back doors, and haunting public libraries wherever he went. It was a hardscrabble life.

Weary of wandering after six years, Tully jumped off a railroad car in Ohio with dreams of becoming a writer. He published a few poems, and supported himself working as a newspaper reporter, professional boxer, chain maker, and tree surgeon. These early experiences would shape his future books.

Tully moved to Hollywood in 1912, and there started work on his first work, Emmett Lawler. (Originally composed as a single paragraph 100,000 word novel--it took a decade to complete). Tully also fell in with a crowd of artistically inclined up-and-comers. His growing circle of friends included the likes of Lon Chaney, Tom Mix, Erich von Stroheim, Boris Karloff, and others. Another early friend was director Paul Bern, who insisted Tully meet another "little tramp" by the name of Charlie Chaplin. Tully went to work for Chaplin as ghostwriter, publicist and creative factotum.

Jim Tully is center, to the left of Charlie Chaplin. Louise Brooks' future husband,
 Eddie Sutherland is second from the right.
After a year-and-a-half in Chaplin's employ, Tully began to turn-out a stream of critically acclaimed books about his road years, including Beggars of Life (a major bestseller), Circus Parade, Blood on the Moon, Shadows of Men, and Shanty Irish. Tully was quickly established as a major American author, and he used his status to launch a parallel career as a Hollywood journalist, writing for Vanity Fair, Photoplay and other leading magazines. Much as his gritty books shocked readers, his truth-be-told magazine articles on the movies rocked Hollywood. One, about matinee idol John Gilbert, even led to a headline-making fistfight.

While some of Tully's more gritty books ran afoul of the censors (one was banned in Boston), they also garnered critical acclaim and considerable commercial success. A couple were filmed, and a couple were turned into successful stage plays. H.L. Mencken, his editor at The American Mercury, was a longtime champion. Screenwriter Rupert Hughes, another promoter of Tully's work, wrote that this singular author had "fathered the school of hard-boiled writing so zealously cultivated by Ernest Hemingway and lesser luminaries."

Richard Arlen, Louise Brooks and Jim Tully on the set of Beggars of Life
Road Kid to Writer - The Tracks of Jim Tully tells a remarkable story. Always in the thick of things, the author's equally remarkable array of friends and associates include W. C. Fields, Wallace Beery, Eddie Sutherland, and Frank Capra. He also crossed paths with Jack London, James Joyce, Jimmy Cagney, Joe Louis, Amelia Earhart, Louis B. Mayer, George Bernard Shaw, and H.G. Wells. All are glimpsed in Road Kid to Writer, a revelatory documentary deserving a broader, even national audience. The Youngstown Vindicator newspaper in Ohio wrote up the broadcast a few days ago.

Louise Brooks and Jim Tully didn't like one another, but that shouldn't stop you from watching this worthwhile film. Road Kid to Writer - The Tracks of Jim Tully premieres on Western Reserve PBS (WNEO Channel 45.1 / WEAO Channel 49.1) on Sunday, February 15 at 7 p.m. Additional airdates can be found at

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Louise Brooks Evening Gown

1926 Advertisement for the Louise Brooks Evening Gown, designed by Sally Milgrim,
"America's Foremost Fashion Creator," based in New York City and Chicago.
The photo of Louise Brooks is by M.I. Boris.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Louise Brooks should be a Google doodle

It is about time ..... 

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

Send a suggestion to
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