Thursday, December 31, 2015

Boards of Canada Hi Scores Louise Brooks

Happy New Year from the Louise Brooks Society, since 1995 the leading online source for all things Lulu. Visit the LBS at
For your visual and musical entertainment, here is a scene from Diary of a Lost Girl, starring Louise Brooks. The music is by Boards of Canada.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

S.S. van Dines's The Canary Murder Case Cocktail

I recently came across an unusual book from 1935, So Red the Nose, or -- Breath in the Afternoon, a collection of cocktail recipes by 30 leading authors.

Among the drinks included in this illustrated book are Ernest Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon Cocktail ("After six of these cocktails The Sun Also Rises"); Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan Cocktail; Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road Cocktail; and Rockwell Kent's Salamina Cocktail. Other authors included in the book are Alexander Woolcott, Theodore Dreiser, Christopher Morley, Irving Stone, E. Phillips Oppenheim, MacKinley Kantor, Harriet Monroe, Hervey Allen and others.

What caught my attention was S. S. Van Dine's The Canary Murder Case Cocktail. Van Dine, of course, authored the mystery novel that was the basis for the 1929 detective film co-starring William Powell and Louise Brooks. Each was quite popular in their day.

Van Dine, something of a bon vivant and man about town, offered this recipe for his mystery cocktail: 1/2 jigger dry gin, 1/2 jigger cognac, 1/2 jigger yellow vermouth, 1 jigger orange juice, 1 dash orange bitters, shake well. Enjoy. And Happy new year.

Here is a picture taken on the set of The Canary Murder Case depicting author S. S. van Dine and actor William Powell.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Book Cover in the Weimar Republic

For Christmas, I got a remarkable new 452 page book, The Book Cover in the Weimar Republic,
by Jürgen Holstein. Published by Taschen earlier this year, it's an eye popping treat for both book lovers and those interested in 20th century German history.

The publisher description reads this way: "The years between the First and Second World Wars in Germany are famed for their cultural boom. With Berlin as its epicenter, the Weimar Republic was replete with ground-breaking literature, philosophy, and art. At the heart of this intellectual and creative hub were some of the most outstanding and forward-thinking book designs in history.

The Book Cover in the Weimar Republic assembles 1,000 of the most striking examples from this golden age of publishing activity and innovation. Based on the remarkable collection of Jürgen Holstein and his rare collectible Blickfang, it combines an unparalleled catalog of dust jackets and bindings with Holstein’s introduction to the leading figures and particular energy of the Weimar publishing age. Expert essays discuss the aesthetic and cultural context of these precious fourteen years, in which a freewheeling spirit would flourish, only to be trampled, burned, or driven out of the country with the rise of National Socialism.

From children’s books to novels in translation, bold designs for political literature to minimalist artist monographs, this is a dazzling line-up of typography, illustration, and graphic design at its most energetic and daring. Part reference compendium, part vintage visual feast for the eyes, this very particular cultural history is at once a testament to an irretrievable period of promise and a celebration of the ambition, inventiveness, and beauty of the book."

The Book Cover in the Weimar Republic is not only a visual feast for those who love books and literature, but also for those interested in early German film. Here are snapshots of some representative pages which speak for its many visual treasures. 

"Just browsing through the pages can easily transport you into a huge bookstore in early 20th Century Berlin, well-stocked with just about every genre of fiction and non-fiction you can imagine… To enjoy the pleasures and glories of the golden age of the region’s visual — and literary — arts, you can blissfully immerse yourself for hours in The Book Cover in the Weimar Republic." — PRINT Magazine

"This book is, in the parlance of my profession, total eye candy. The work is stunning, and there’s a whole lot of it: over a thousand distinct (and distinctly interesting) book covers, jackets and bindings for books in a variety of genres. It turns out that Weimar, that creative caldron of philosophy, literature, painting and music, also cooked up a renaissance in the book arts, a golden age of book cover design. Who knew? The release of a monograph such as this one is a big deal for designers like us, important not only because the work that The Book Cover in the Weimar Republic comprises is so inspiring aesthetically, but also because these designs present a new historical context for our own contemporary covers." — New York Times Book Review

For more on this stunning book, be sure and check out this heavily illustrated write-up on the Paris Review website.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

EPIC event: Pandora's Box starring Louise Brooks screens at LACMA on Jan 17

In what promises to be an epic event . . . . on Sunday, January 17th, acclaimed musical accompanist Michael Mortilla will perform improvised live scores for five silent films, including Pandora's Box (1929) starring Louise Brooks, in the galleries of New Objectivity: Modern German Art In The Weimar Republic, 1919–1933 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The special event will last for the duration of the museum’s opening hours on Sunday, January 17. Films will be screened with 5–10 minute breaks in between.

More information HERE.

"Mirroring the central themes of New Objectivity, the films depict the social realities of the Weimar Republic, ranging from the misery of the lower class—as portrayed in Slums of Berlin (1925)—to new forms of mass consumer culture and a fascination with new technologies, architecture, and machinery, as brilliantly assembled and edited in Walter Ruttmann’s masterpiece Berlin, Symphony of a Great City (1927). The renewed interest in the everyday is beautifully depicted in Robert Siodmak’s People on Sunday (1930), while Georg Wilhelm Pabst’s Pandora’s Box (1929)—based on Frank Wedekind’s play—expressed the destabilization of traditional identities and gender roles, with American actress Lousie Brooks as the personification of the New Woman.

Michael Mortilla is an award-winning pianist, composer, and sound designer. He has produced over 1,000 works for film, TV, radio, theater, dance, and the concert stage. Throughout his career, Mortilla has performed accompaniment for countless iconic American and German silent films and has been commissioned to compose numerous scores for restored silent films by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Among other organizations that have commissioned works by Mortilla are: the National Film Preservation Foundation, the Library of Congress, and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. He has performed at the White House, the Library of Congress, the Motion Picture Association of America, and many other prestigious museums and performance and broadcast venues."

Of note: in the 1980's, Mortilla was associated with Martha Graham and the Martha Graham Dance company as their touring company pianist and Miss Graham’s musician of choice for most events and projects over a period of six years. Some sixty years earlier, Graham was associated with Louise Brooks, as both were touring members of the Denishawn Dance Company during the 1922-1923 season.

Film Schedule:

10:30–11:38 am Berlin, Symphony of a Great City, 1927, 65 min, directed by Walter Ruttmann
11:45 am–1:40 pm Slums of Berlin, 1925, 113 min, directed by Gerhard Lamprecht
1:50–3 pm People on Sunday, 1930, 73 min, directed by Robert Siodmak
3:15–5:30 pm Pandora's Box, 1929, 109 min, directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst
5:40–6:50 pm Berlin, Symphony of a Great City, 1927, 65 min, directed by Walter Ruttmann

Free, with general admission

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Roarin' 20s: Girl of My Dreams (I Love You)

from YouTube, the video features a bit of Louise Brooks

"Blue STEELE & His Orchestra, with Vocal refrain – Girl of My Dreams [I Love You], HMV 1927 (American recording; UK pressing)

NOTE: Blue STEELE (b. Eugene Staples in 1893 in Arkansas, USA – d. 1971) American trombone player and band leader, whose greatest activity was in late 1920s thru 1930s. Serving in Europe during the Great War he got injured in his head - the accident which was responsible for recurring outbursts of his rough behavior and had a negative impact on his whole career. Blue Steele’s first engagement was in early '20s with a hot dance band known as Watson's Bell Hops, then came the Blue Steele’s Orchestra, which was formed in the late 1920s in Atlanta. Their arrangements were a very danceable blend of jazz and sweet music, therefore the band quickly achieved popularity, playing mostly in holiday resorts in Florida. Until 1930, Blue Steele’s Orchestra cut about 30 well-selling records for Victor, yet maintaining the success for a prolonged period was too a difficult task for Steele’s violatile temperament. Only a few musicians stayed with him for longer, including trombonist Sunny Clapp – who was a composer of this lovely waltz, and who finally left Blue Steele to form his own and very successful Band O’Sunshine. In 1940s-1950s Blue Steele’s career almost completely waned, he occasionally conducted various orchestras, including the symphony orchestra in Mexico City.

The Sunny Clapp’s waltz “Girl of My Dreams” belongs to one of the most beautiful American songs composed in the 1920s. Being myself not any particular waltz-lover, I however enjoy listening to this tune a lot. Several years ago I came across an unusual recording of that song, made in 1928 by a little known American singer Jack Pepper – ever since “Girl Of My Dreams” in his phenomenal rendition belongs to my absolute favs
However, the Blue Steele band’s version is lovely too. Some time ago, when I was still active in my another musical channel in Dailymotion, I happened to upload this hereby version, which was issued under Victor’s label and was in much worse condition – while now, it's a British HMV pressing in an excellent shape. (I got it in a junk store for equivalent of 5 euro). I think it's worthwhile listening to again."

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry X-Mas from the Louise Brooks Society

Happy Christmas from the Louise Brooks Society.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays, including Christmas

There is a swell new book out from Schiffer, Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays: 1920-1970, by Karie Bible and Mary Mallory. Fans of silent film, of early Hollywood, and the studio era will all want to get a copy. At nearly 200 pages, this pictorial is chock-full of images you'll delight in looking at again and again. That's not a cliche, it's just the plain and simple truth.

The book description: "Marvelously illustrated with more than 200 rare images from the silent era through the 1970s, this joyous treasure trove features film and television’s most famous actors and actresses celebrating the holidays, big and small, in lavishly produced photographs. Join the stars for festive fun in celebrating a variety of holidays, from New Year’s to Saint Patrick’s Day to Christmas and everything in between. Legends such as Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, and Audrey Hepburn spread holiday cheer throughout the calendar year in iconic, ironic, and illustrious style. These images, taken by legendary stills photographers, hearken back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, when motion picture studios devised elaborate publicity campaigns to promote their stars and to keep their names and faces in front of the movie-going public all year round."

Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays: 1920-1970 includes Louise Brooks in a Christmas themed pic. The book also includes many of Brooks' contemporaries and co-stars on various pages, including these Christmas themed pics. The LBS recommends this new book.

About the Authors: Film historian and photo archivist Mary Mallory is the author of Hollywoodland and the eBook Hollywoodland: Tales Lost and Found. She writes on Los Angeles and film history for the blog The Daily Mirror and serves on the board of Hollywood Heritage. Karie Bible is the official tour guide at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and co-author of Location Filming in Los Angeles. She has lectured at numerous venues, including the RMS Queen Mary and the Homestead Museum, and has appeared on Turner Classic Movies.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New book: Menus for Movieland: Newspapers and the Emergence of American Film Culture

I just received a copy of a new book I am especially excited about. It is Menus for Movieland: Newspapers and the Emergence of American Film Culture, by Richard Abel. The book is published by the University of California Press.

Richard Abel is Emeritus Professor of International Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Michigan. He has authored and edited a number of books, including two which belong on the shelf of anyone seriously interested in early film, The Ciné Goes to Town: French Cinema, 1896-1914 (1998) and Encyclopedia of Early Cinema (2010). Other key books include The Sounds of Early Cinema (2001), Americanizing the Movies and “Movie-Mad” Audiences, 1910–1914 (2006), and Flickers of Desire: Movie Stars of the 1910s (2011). 

The publisher description for his newest book reads thus: "At the turn of the past century, the main function of a newspaper was to offer “menus” by which readers could make sense of modern life and imagine how to order their daily lives. Among those menus in the mid-1910s were several that mediated the interests of movie manufacturers, distributors, exhibitors, and the rapidly expanding audience of fans. This writing about the movies arguably played a crucial role in the emergence of American popular film culture, negotiating among national, regional, and local interests to shape fans’ ephemeral experience of movie going, their repeated encounters with the fantasy worlds of “movieland,” and their attractions to certain stories and stars. Moreover, many of these weekend pages, daily columns, and film reviews were written and consumed by women, including one teenage girl who compiled a rare surviving set of scrapbooks. Based on extensive original research, Menus for Movieland substantially revises what movie going meant in the transition to what we now think of as Hollywood."

Why am I excited about this new book? Because, it is a film researcher's delight. Even though I am primarily intersted in the films of the 1920's, there is much to be learned from this study focusing on the filmworld of the mid-1910s. In other words, not all that much changed in the way American newspapers covered Hollywood a decade later.

The chapters:

1. The Industry Goes to Town (and Country)

Entr’ acte Local and Regional Newsreels

2. “Newspapers Make Picture-Goers”

Entr’ acte Newspaper Movie Contests

3. “In Movie Land, with the Film Stars”

Entr’acte Cartoons and Comic Strips

4. “Film Girls” and Their Fans in Front of the Screen

Entr’ acte Motion Picture Weeklies

5. Edna Vercoe’s “Romance with the Movies”
“As richly packed as an early twentieth-century Sunday newspaper but infinitely better researched, this is an authoritative and comprehensive account of the connections between newspapers and the movies in the mid-1910s. Blending local close-ups and sweeping nationwide panoramas, Abel offers a richly textured view of emergent film stardom, advertising campaigns, early film criticism, and even fan activities—all crucial aspects of American film culture that were enabled and shaped by the nation’s countless newspapers.”—Gregory A. Waller, editor of Film History and author of Main Street Amusements: Movies and Commercial Entertainment in a Southern City, 1896–1930

“An essential study that provides an urgently needed context for historians of film culture before 1920. Readers will discover how, when, and why newspaper coverage of the movies took the forms it did, as talented newspaperwomen helped national media industries engage varied local audiences. Abel not only identifies and fills a significant gap in the literature but also clears a space for further investigation.”—Mark Cooper, author of Universal Women: Filmmaking and Institutional Change in Early Hollywood

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Best new films books of 2015

It's been a great year for film books, with biographies and studies of key individuals dominating the field in 2015. Among trade publishers, Pantheon continues to issue "must read" books, while one smaller publisher, Chicago Review Press, is emerging as a leading publisher of film biographies. On the academic side, the University Press of Kentucky continues to carry the banner for film history, having issued a shelf full of outstanding works under the editorship of film historian Patrick McGilligan, who also happened to pen one of the best books of the year.

Admittedly, there are a lot of books mentioned here. But that's because there are so many worth highlighting. And so, without further ado, here are the books every film buff or film historian will want to know about.

Michelle Morgan's The Ice Cream Blonde: The Whirlwind Life and Mysterious Death of Screwball Comedienne Thelma Todd (Chicago Review Press) tells the story of the delightful comic actress who started in silents and found success in the talkies only to have it end when she was found dead in a garage near her own popular Hollywood café. Morgan details the dangerous world the actress inhabited, and offers new evidence on Todd's mysterious death, long suspected but never proven to be a murder

Ice Cream Blonde is a great read, and also timely. The building which once housed Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Café was threatened with demolition, but has now been saved.

In graceful prose, Tracey Goessel's The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks (Chicago Review Press) recounts the life of the actor who became an icon of his age. Fairbanks not only pioneered the swashbuckling adventure film—The Mark of Zorro (1920), Robin Hood (1922), The Thief of Bagdad (1924), The Black Pirate (1926)—he also helped shape Hollywood itself. This actor, screenwriter, director, and producer co-founded United Artists, a turning point in Hollywood history. He also helped organize the Motion Picture Fund to assist those in the industry who could not work, was a founding member of The Motion Picture Academy, was elected the first President of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, and hosted the first Oscars ceremony. Fairbanks also married "America's Sweetheart," film's first superstar, Mary Pickford. The celebrated couple were the first to place their hand and foot prints in wet cement at the then newly opened Grauman's Chinese Theatre. With exclusive access to Fairbanks's love letters to Pickford, Goessel illuminates how Fairbanks conquered not just the entertainment world but also the heart of the most famous woman on earth. The First King of Hollywood is a royal read.

Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel (Pantheon) by William Wellman Jr. is an impressive book, a labor of love and an intimate portrait of a father by his son. 

And what a father! Wellman Sr. directed the first film to win an Oscar for Best Picture, Wings (1927), and also wrote and directed what many regard as the greatest movie about Hollywood, A Star Is Born (1937). A WWI hero (who got his start in Hollywood in large thanks to Douglas Fairbanks), Wellman also helmed such great and near-great works as Beggars of Life (1928, starring Louise Brooks), The Public Enemy (1931), Night Nurse (1931), Nothing Sacred (1937), Beau Geste (1939), Roxie Hart (1942), The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) and others. It's all here in this first-ever biography.

William Cameron Menzies: The Shape of Films to Come (Pantheon) by James Curtis tells the story of Hollywood's first and greatest production designer, a job title David O. Selznick invented for Menzies' all-encompassing, Academy Award–winning work on Gone With the Wind (1939). Menzies, winner of the first-ever Academy Award for Art Direction, also contributed to such films as Fairbanks' The Thief of Bagdad (1924), as well as Things to Come (1936), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Kings Row (1942), The Pride of the Yankees (1943), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), It’s a Wonderful Life (1947), Invaders from Mars (1953), and Around the World in 80 Days (1956). In the words of Martin Scorsese, "For anyone seriously interested in filmmaking, this is a book you’ve been waiting for, whether you know it or not."

At 820 pages, Patrick McGilligan's Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane (Harper) is another big book on an ambitious over-achiever (or was Welles an underachiever)? The wunderkind of 20th century American entertainment (he appeared on the cover of Time magazine at age 23) gets his due in this biography of just his early years—from his first forays on the stage (including the Mercury Theater) and radio ("The War of the Worlds") to the inspiration and making of the motion picture now ranked as the greatest ever, Citizen Kane (1941).

The book of the year is The Charlie Chaplin Archives (Taschen) by Paul Duncan. As is befitting it's subject, this huge volume—measuring 18.2 x 12.8 x 2.8 inches and weighing more than 15 pounds—examines the career of the one filmmaker many consider the greatest ever. Drawn from the Chaplin archives and featuring much new material, this remarkable book reveals the process behind Chaplin's cinematic genius through its 900 images which include stills, memos, storyboards and on-set photos, as well as images for unmade films, press clippings which span the length of Chaplin's long career, and interviews with the Little Tramp's closest collaborators. 
Paul Duncan holds his massive The Charlie Chaplin Archives
All together, it's an impressive coffee-table type book which could almost double as coffee table. But wait, there's morefirst edition copies include a 12 frame strip from City Lights (1931), cut from an original 35 mm print in Chaplin's archives, which serves as  handy bookmark or just something cool to have. 

Also out this year is another not quite as large but still noteworthy pictorial, Charlie Chaplin: The Keystone Album: The Invention of the Tramp (Editions Xavier Barral), edited by Carole Sandrin, Sam Stourdzé and Glenn Mitchell.

There are other notable book well worth checking out. Among them are Bela Lugosi in Person (BearManor Media) by the devoted Lugosi scholars William M. Kaffenberger Jr. and Gary D. Rhodes, Larry Semon, Daredevil Comedian of the Silent Screen: A Biography and Filmography (McFarland) by Claudia Sassen, and Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed (BearManor Media) by Eric Woodard and Tara Hanks. The latter tells the tragic story of the beautiful, Academy Award-nominated film and Broadway star.   

Along with actors, notable new books on directors include Hitchcock Lost and Found: The Forgotten Films (University Press of Kentucky) by Alain Kerzoncuf and Charles Barr, which looks at the Hitchcock oeuvre except for his well known masterpieces. There are also titles on two forgotten figures, Lois Weber in Early Hollywood (University of California Press) by Shelley Stamp, and Albert Capellani: Pioneer of the Silent Screen (University Press of Kentucky) by Christine Leteux. The latter includes a foreword by the Oscar honoree Kevin Brownlow, which for many film buffs represents a recommendation in itself.

Dietrich & Riefenstahl: Hollywood, Berlin, and a Century in Two Lives (Liveright) by Karin Wieland looks at the careers of the two Germans, Marlene Dietrich and Leni Riefenstahl, one an actress and recording artist, the other an actress and then director allied with the Nazis. This fascinating dual biography examines lives that began in similar circumstances but ended on opposite sides of WWII.

Along with the biographies and studies of key individuals, works of film history also stand out. One is The Dawn of Technicolor: 1915-1935 (George Eastman House) by James Layton and David Pierce. Published to coincide with Technicolor's centennial in 2015, this sumptuous over-sized tome recounts the beginnings of one of the most widely recognized names in the American film industry. It's remarkable. 

Also out this year is the not unrelated Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema (Amsterdam University Press) by Tom Gunning, Joshua Yumibe, Giovanna Fossati, and Jonathon Rosen, and with a foreword by Martin Scorsese. Track down a copy and prepare to have your mind blown.

In recent years, renewed attention has been paid to the emergence of early black cinema. One recent book on the subject is the excellent Envisioning Freedom: Cinema and the Building of Modern Black Life (Harvard University Press) by Cara Caddoo. A scholarly work, it's both readable and revelatory. 

Another fascinating scholarly work is Menus for Movieland: Newspapers and the Emergence of American Film Culture (University of California Press), by Richard Abel. 

Also, don't miss these two general interest titles, each of which are fascinating and a lot of fun, My First Time in Hollywood (Asahina & Wallace) by Cari Beauchamp, and Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays: 1920-1970 (Schiffer) by Karie Bible and Mary Mallory. Each would make the perfect stocking stuffer for the film buff on your list.

A slightly different version of this piece appeared on Huffington Post.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Louise Brooks in Beggars of Life w Dodge Bros at Royal Albert Hall

The sensational 1928 William Wellman film, Beggars of Life, starring Louise Brooks, will be shown at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England on March 7, 2016. The Dodge Brothers will provide live musical accompaniment. More info and a link to tickets HERE.

"Experience classic silent films with world class live music accompaniment in the Royal Albert Hall’s intimate Elgar Room.

The Elgar Room’s silent films live music series continues with a special screening of the Louise Brooks classic Beggars of Life with live music accompaniment from The Dodge Brothers.

The Dodge Brothers are an Americana-drenched quartet comprising:

Aly ‘‘Dodge’ Hirji (acoustic guitar, mandolin)

Mike ‘Dodge’ Hammond (lead guitar, lead vocals, banjo, dobro)

Mark ‘Dodge’ Kermode (double bass, harmonica, ukulele, accordion, vocals)

Alex ‘Dodge’ Hammond (washboard, snare drum, percussion)

and featuring special guest Neil Brand (piano).

Their motto, ‘death and trains a speciality’, has never been more appropriate than to William Wellman’s legendary 1928 film Beggars of Life, a tale of depression-era, rail-riding hobos played by the iconic Louise Brooks, Richard Arlen and the great Wallace Beery.

    '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.' -- Bryony Dixon, curator of silent film, British Film Institute

    'Wistful, sometimes mournful, sometimes dangerous, sometimes galloping blue-grass … my advice to anyone is buy your ticket early!' -- Richard O’Brien (Rocky Horror Picture Show)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Two Louise Brooks postcards from France #2

Here are two more Louise Brooks postcards from France dating from the 1990s. The front and back of each card is depicted.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Two Louise Brooks postcards from France #1

Here are two Louise Brooks postcards from France dating from the 1990s. The front and back of each card is depicted.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Diamond, a work of historical fiction with a Louise Brooks cover

How I missed this I don't know, but one year ago today a work of historical fiction was published which featured Louise Brooks on the cover. The book is Diamond, by Cynthia L. Jordan. It is from Emerald Eagle Publishing (self-published?). The book seems to be a follow up, as it were, to Jordan's earlier work, Pearl, from 2013.

Here is the book's description from "Corsets are out. Freedom is in. The 20's are ROARING! Movies are silent and Hollywood is shaping American culture. From coast to coast young girls like Heather Smith dream of becoming a movie star. One day two men shooting a western film near San ANgelo, Texas come to Pearl's Parlor for some fun. Is this Heather's big chance? Wyatt Earp, Mae West, John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin, Louise Brooks, Barbara Stanwyck...their stories will astound you. DIAMOND reminds us that when we remove the glitzy glamour, smoke and mirrors it is our human nature and the need to be loved that makes us all the same. PROLOGUE Ever since she was a little girl, Heather had dreamed of being an actress. While growing up in Illinois, the porch of the farmhouse had served as her stage, and her younger siblings, dolls and pets were her audience. Heather had spent all morning preparing for this interview. After examining herself carefully in the mirror, and after trying on seven different outfits, she had finally decided the royal blue was best. Simple and elegant, the dress showed off Heather’s trim waistline, as well as the fact that this homegrown farm girl was a lady with class. “I believe there must be some mistake. I was told this was an interview to set up a screen test for a part in the new western movie, Rio Concho. I am an actress and I also sing.” “Listen, Sweetheart…if you wanna play in the big leagues, you gotta play by the rules! Now take your clothes off!” Leaning forward, the man rested his elbows on the large oak desk standing between him and his newest conquest. He knew she wanted to be a star. They all did. His eyes glared at Heather’s breasts with appreciation and desire as he chewed on his smelly, unlit cigar. “Oh…I see,” Heather affirmed. “May
I please sit down for a minute, Mister Stein?” “Ok, but just for a minute. I am a very busy man.” Heather had heard the Hollywood stories of casting couches and girls being put in compromising situations. She had rehearsed this scene for months. Looking down at her soft white hands gently folded on her lap, Heather slowly bit her bottom lip. After a moment, she dramatically looked straight into the eyes of a man who had the power to make her dreams come true. With full confidence in her ability to charm, Heather smiled. Locking the man into her hypnotic gaze, she spoke slowly and deliberately. “So this is business? What are your terms? What do I get when I take off my clothes?” The man folded his arms and leaned back in his chair. “It depends on how friendly you want to be,” he smirked, licking his fat lips. The man’s lines had been predictable and Heather was more than ready to perform her part. Heather made her eyes big. “Don’t you want me to read for you or sing you a song?” she asked with profound innocence. “Take your clothes off, Missy. We’ll start there.” “Will you guarantee I get a part? If this is business…” “I can make you a star, Sweetheart!” For a long moment Heather stared at the man behind the desk. A woman with experience, she was a master at reading a man and knowing his deepest desires. Coyly, Heather grinned and began speaking seductively in a slow, sultry voice. “All right then, Mr. Stein. Today is your lucky day. I brought a girlfriend with me. Ginger wants to be in the movies too. Can I ask her to join us? Ginger can be extremely friendly. In fact together we can give you quite a show! She is waiting for me just outside the door.” The man quickly laid down his slimy cigar. “Yes in-deedy! Invite her in!” “I’ll be right back,” Heather smiled."

About the author (also via Cynthia believes every woman is like a precious pearl that deserves to be respected, appreciated and loved. Growing up in Redondo Beach, California the ocean was her playground and playing music was her passion. A classically trained pianist, Cynthia wrote the 1983 country song of the year, JOSE CUERVO and went on to compose beautiful piano CDs for Page Music in Nashville. BUTTERFLY MOMENTS is her autobiography. In doing research for her new musical PEARL, Cynthia uncovered astounding facts about women in history and found a new passion in writing historical novels to tell their stories. Ada and Minna Everleigh, Mae West, Suzy Poontang, Emily Morgan, Pearl DeVere, and Louise Brooks are just some of the characters in her historical fictions she calls the GEM SERIES. Her books are "real page turners" full of history, humor and deep sentiment. "In understanding our human nature we learn that each one of us is equally the same with the potential to live their life in bliss."

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Quick Study into the Present‐Day Location of the former Staaken Studios, by Philip Vorwald

Military historian and author (Battle of the Bulge Through the Lens) and Louise Brooks' fan Philip Vorwald has created a remarkable document, "A Quick Study into the Present‐Day Location of the former Staaken Studios," which he has allowed to be shared on the Louise Brooks Society blog.

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