Greetings to all you Dvorak devotees! Yes, it’s been Ann-light in these parts lately, but she’s never too far from mind. So, when I was invited to the Encino-Tarzana Branch Library to do a talk for Women’s History Month, I immediately thought of our girl.
I will be at the branch this coming Thursday (3/30) at 6:30pm discussing how I first encountered Ann Dvorak and why the heck it took so long to finish the biography.
Encino-Tarzana Branch Library
18231 W Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA 91356
Additional details can be found on the Los Angeles Public Library website.
Hope to see you there!
I love Los Angeles. It’s been home my entire life and as a fan and researcher of classic Hollywood, there probably isn’t a better place to be. However, there is one great deficiency in my years of living in the City of Angels – I have never seen an Ann Dvorak film at a theater in L.A. The closest I came was around 10 years ago when the American Cinematheque, who programs at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, scheduled a screening of Howard Hawks’ The Crowd Roars from 1932 with Ann, James Cagney, and Joan Blondell. Unfortunately, the theater received a print of the 1938 The Crows Roars with Robert Taylor which we did not find out about until the film rolled and the MGM lion mightily roared, to my extreme disappointment.
Now, this horrible wrong is going to be righted in the best possible way with a screening of Heat Lightning, one of my favorite Ann Dvorak films. This fabulous flick is part of a quadruple “proto-noir” marathon which is closing out the annual Noir City festival presented by the American Cinematheque in collaboration with the Film Noir Foundation at the Egyptian. Also on the bill are The Ninth Guest, Let Us Live, and Safe in Hell, three films I have never seen. All in 35mm!
What could be better than spending an evening watching a favorite Ann Dvorak film in a historic theater full of people? Why, introducing that film of course! That’s right, I’ll be joining Eddie Mueller and Alan K. Rode of the Film Noir Foundation in giving an introduction of my beloved Heat Lightning, which makes me giddy beyond belief.
The full line-up is posted on the Cinematheque’s website. Stop by and say hi if you can!
I have returned home from the TCM Film Festival (home being only 10 minutes away) and will give a full report as soon as I recover a bit. Who knew watching movies could be so exhausting?
In the meantime, I wanted to plug a lecture I’ll be giving at the Encino-Tarzana Branch Library. Last year, the fine librarians at the branch invited me to do some sort of talk for Women’s Heritage Month. I prepared a slideshow discussing the changing roles of women in the post-War era using images from the Los Angeles Public Library’s Valley Times Collection, which I happen to oversee. That topic drew a whopping 3 people, so when they invited me again this year, I wasn’t taking any chances.
This time I’ll be talking about the pre-Code era and focusing on a handful of actresses and illustrating film clips. If that doesn’t draw more than 3 people, than I don’t know what will! Narrowing down which actresses to spotlight was no easy task though Ann Dvorak was always a shoe-in (was there any doubt?).
The lecture will start at 6:30pm on Tuesday, March 31st. The branch is located at 18231 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA 91356. Full details can be found here.
Hope to see some of you L.A. locals there!
Out of the Shadows panel l to r: Richard Harland Smith, Alan K. Rode, Christina Rice, Tom Zimmerman, and Andrew A. Erish.
Yesterday turned out to be Ann Dvorak-filled one for me! First up was the discussion panel at the Los Angeles Central Library. “Out of the Shadows and Into the Spotlight: Resurrecting Hollywood’s Stories” put me in stellar company with Richard Harland Smith (TCM’s Movie Morlocks), Alan K. Rode (Charles McGraw: Biography of a Film Noir Tough Guy), Tom Zimmerman (forthcoming Maria Montez: Queen of Technicolor), and Andrew A. Erish (Col. William N. Selig, the Man Who Invented Hollywood). Each of these talented gents could have easily talked about their subjects for the whole program, so to have all of them together in one place was a real treat. Special thanks to Richard for taking the reigns and and moderating! If you weren’t lucky enough to attend the program, it was recorded and should be available on the library’s website within the desk couple of weeks.
After the panel, I rushed home to the Valley in order to make it in time for my spot on Hollywood Time Machine with Alicia Mayer Talk Radio Show. This was only the second episode in this new live internet show through LA Talk Radio , hosted by Alicia Mayer, grand niece of Louis B., and Will McKinley. This was the first time I had done a live interview, so I was seriously fretting some technical catastrophe or making a fool of myself, but all went smoothly and I had a great time. I seriously tip my hat to Will and Alicia for keeping everything moving along and within the allotted timeslot. We did a live giveaway for copies of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel, as well as the companion volume The Inseparables, which were bizarrely won by two different women named Christy. If you weren’t able to catch it live, the archive is already up on this site. My interview is around the half hour mark, but I encourage you to listen to the entire show, which is a lot of fun. Josh Mankiewicz (grandson of Herman, son of Frank, brother of Ben) is right before me and absolutely fascinating. Thanks to Alicia & Will for being such gracious hosts.
Now that the Ann Dvorak biography has been out for close to a year, it’s been awhile since I had the opportunity to talk about our gal. Having the opportunity to wax ecstatic about her in two different venues on one day was truly magnificent.
I am very excited to share that this evening I will be a guest on the Hollywood Time Machine with Alicia Mayer. It’s a new show focusing on classic film which aires live at 6pm on Saturdays through LA Talk Radio. This is only the second episode, so it’s a real honor to be invited on the show. Just in case you were wondering about Alicia’s surname, she is in fact the grand niece of Louis B. Mayer. Tonight’s episode will also feature Josh Mankiewicz, brother of Ben and grandson of Herman, so there is some serious Hollywood pedigree at work here!
Alicia will be joined by co-host Will McKinley, who somehow manages to watch classic films 24/7, so this should be a lot of fun. Just in case you’re not able to tune in at 6pmPST, the show will be archived for later listening. BUT, for those who listen live, we’ll be giving away a free copy of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel, as well as the companion volume The Inseparables, so it pays to listen live.
Take a listen, won’t ya?
This Saturday at 2pm at Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles, TCM Movie Morlock Richard Harland Smith will be leading a discussion about the challenges of resurrecting Hollywood’s lesser know stories with biographers Alan K. Rode (Charles McGraw: Biography of a Film Noir Tough Guy), Tom Zimmerman (forthcoming Maria Montez: Queen of Technicolor), Andrew A. Erish (Col. William N. Selig, the Man Who Invented Hollywood), and…yours truly (Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel).
The program is FREE and reservations are not required. For those of you who are not in the L.A. area, we will be recording the discussion and have it posted to the Los Angeles Public Library’s website in the near future.
Additional information about L.A. in Focus – Out of the Shadows and Into the Spotlight: Resurrecting Hollywood’s Stories can be found on the library’s website.
Hope to see you there!
Last weekend I spent a bit of time set-up to sell at the annual film festival, Cinecon. I have been hitting the Cinecon dealer rooms for well over a decade, so it was exciting to be participant. I lost count of the number of people who came up to my table to thank me for taking the time to write about Ann Dvorak and I even managed to sell a few books. My daughter joined me on Sunday and was doing free Ann Dvorak sketches for anyone who wanted, so if you weren’t there, you really missed out!
My deep desire is to one day find that poster or lobby card from The Strange Love of Molly Louvain at Cinecon. Looks like that will have to wait until next year since I only walked away with stills from Crooner and Racing Lady, along with a jumbo window card from a Carole Lombard film, just because the price was right.
And now for something completely different –
Ever since Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel was released, I have been asked what’s next. While I am still undecided about tackling another biography, I have been doing some writing the last few months and have even been getting paid for it. Next week, the first finished product of my recent labors will be released which is…My Little Pony comic books!
That’s right, I’ve gone from Ann Dvorak to Twilight Sparkle. In a bizarre twist, my daughter obsessively watching episodes of My Little Pony has translated into my writing multiple issues of the comic series from IDW Publishing. My first issue issue features Granny Smith and those troublesome Flim Flam Brothers and is coming out on September 10th. Tony Fleecs is a longtime friend of mine and my husband’s and both of us will be at Collector’s Paradise in Pasadena on Wednesday for a release party. I can’t say I ever expected to be doing this, but I have been having a great time writing about Ponies and my daughter is very impressed.
Lastly, for those of you who fell under the spell of former Disney engineer Herman Schultheis when I mentioned him here last year, I’ll be doing a program at the library with Schultheis biographer and Disney historian John Canemaker on Thursday, September 11. Canemaker’s book, The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis & the Secrets of Walt Disney’s Movie Magic, which is partially a biography with the other part being an in-depth study of Schultheis’ extensive animation effects notebooks is fantastic. I am thrilled to be sharing a stage with him.
Between Ann Dvorak, Ponies, and Herman Schultheis, I like to think I’ve got a little something going for everyone.
See you around town!
Next weekend I will be set up at Cinecon 50, selling and signing copies of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel and The Inseparables: Images of Ann Dvorak & Leslie Fenton’s 1932 Honeymoon From Their Personal Scrapbook. I have been attending this annual film-lovers event in Hollywood for countless years, so it’s exciting to finally be a participant.
I’ll be at a table on Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31 from 11:30am-2:30pm just outside the dealer rooms at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, located at Hollywood & Highland. If you have already purchased a book, please feel free to bring it by to be signed. Even if you just want to shoot the breeze about Ann Dvorak, I’ll be all ears.
Full details about the show can be found on the official Cinecon website.
Hope to see you there!
It’s true what they say about Chicago – it IS one hell of a town. Specifically one hell of a film town. I am still dumbstruck that I was invited to introduce two Ann Dvorak films on consecutive nights at two different movie palaces in the Windy City. On both nights I was welcomed with open arms by appreciative classic film fans and even managed to sell a few books.
First up was The Strange Love of Molly Louvain at the Patio Theatre in the Portage Park neighborhood. The screening was sponsored by the Northwest Chicago Film Society who secured a restored 35mm print from the Library of Congress, which was gorgeous. Around 250 people showed up, and it was exciting to see this film on the big screen for the first time with an appreciative crowd. The only damper on the evening was that this was the last screening at the Patio for the foreseeable future, as the owners are having trouble maintaining the operating costs.
Night two brought us to the Pickwick Theatre in the suburb of Park Ridge for Scarface, sponsored by the Park Ridge Classic Film Series. At least 100 people came to this gorgeous theatre to watch this 1932 classic. This was the third or forth time I have seen the gangster flick on the big screen and it never gets old. Even though I have seen Scarface countless times over the years, I never made the connection that the play Muni and his gang are watching shortly before gunning down Boris Karloff in a bowling alley is Rain. As I’ve noted before, Howard Hughes made every attempt to secure the film rights for Rain in order to have Ann Dvorak star as Sadie Thompson. It didn’t pan out and Joan Crawford ended up with the role. I’m not sure if this was something Hughes requested of director Howard Hawks or if it were just a coincidence.
I need to extend my sincere gratitude to Kyle Westphal of the Northwest Chicago Film Society and Matthew C. Hoffman of the Park Ridge Classic Film Series. They were the ones responsible for pulling the two nights together and were incredibly hospitable to me and my family. Kyle and Matthew were at both screenings, handled logistics and took care of the book sales. Chicago film fans are very lucky to have these two!
Over the course of the two nights, I was able to meet up with old friends and new ones and it was wonderful to see so much attention focused on Ann Dvorak. As if the screenings themselves were not grand enough, me and the family had a blast at the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Adler Planetarium, many pizza places and a productive weekend for my husband at the C2E2 convention.
I have to admit it was difficult to leave such a beautiful city, though the 80+ degree temperatures in Los Angeles were a nice welcome home present. Just in case you missed them, I did interviews all about Ann-D over at the Chicago Reader and the Cine-File blog.
Thanks a bunch Chicago!
Just a reminder that I am in Chicago for the next two nights (well, the next five nights technically) introducing Ann Dvorak pre-Code films in classic movie houses!
First up is tonight’s 35mm screening of The Strange Love of Molly Louvain at the Patio Theatre at 7:30. I’ll be giving a brief introduction to the film and signing books before and after. The is going to be the last event at the theatre for the foreseeable future, so come on down if you’ve never been. Full details are here.
Tomorrow, I’ll be over at the Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge for Scarface where I will again be giving a brief introduction to the film and signing copies of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel. You can get the lowdown on this screening here. Ann Dvorak screenings on consecutive nights at different theaters doesn’t happen often (if ever), so stop by and say hi if you can!
For those of you who cannot make it to the screenings, here is an interview I did over at the Chicago Reader.
Hope to see you tonight and tomorrow!!