In March 2012, Madonna made a surprise appearance at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami alongside the twenty-three year-old Swedish DJ/producer Avicii. She had enlisted him to remix her latest single, ‘Girl Gone Wild’. “I’ve been here in spirit for many years, but it’s good to finally be standing on the stage, looking at all you people who have come here from all around the world,” Madonna told the crowd. “In my world the words ‘music’ and ‘dance’ are not separated. Electronic music has been a part of my life since the beginning of my career. I can honestly say that a DJ saved my life.” Continue reading
One of the finest movies ever made, Casablanca, celebrated its 75th anniversary last year. As I joined a nearly full house at the Duke of York’s in Brighton last Sunday, I wondered whom in the audience were watching it for the first time, and how many had seen it numerous times on television. Most chuckled in recognition of its oft-quoted dialogue, whether familiar from past viewings or references in popular culture. Continue reading
The latest edition of Art Decades quarterly is now available from Amazon stores worldwide (and for £11.14 in the UK.) At the heart of this issue is a tribute to cult cinema, with a profile of ‘sexploitation’ king Joe Sarno; an unpublished interview with Jess Franco, the Spanish filmmaker famed for his erotic horror flicks; and a roundtable discussion with the authors of a new book, It Came From the Video Aisle, including a special focus on director Charles Band, best-known for his horror comedies.
Elsewhere, there’s a short story from Les Bohem, set in the post-hippie California of the 1970s; a spotlight on Denver’s ‘totally rad’ nostalgia shop, Fifty-Two 80s; and extracts from Singin’ In French, a new anthology co-edited by Marcelline Block. For me, the highlight was ‘Suzie’s Zoo’, a very moving piece from Kelley Richey in which she explores childhood memories through film. She also contributes three photo-stories which celebrate nature, beauty and the coming of spring.
And finally from me, a review of Elizabeth Winder’s Marilyn in Manhattan, one of my favourite books of 2017; and an interview with Cy Forrest, author of The Punished, a ‘dystopian noir’ which alternates between the inhabitants of a ghost village during World War II and the corporate sexism of the 1980s.
Daniel Eagan, Dave Kehr, David Stenn, Film Journal, Jeanne Eagels, Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed, Louise Brooks, MoMA, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Now We're In The Air, Outcast, Silent Movies, Thanhouser, The World and the Woman, To Save and Project
The World and the Woman, the 1916 silent film starring Jeanne Eagels, will be screened today – preceded by a fragment from an early Louise Brooks comedy – at 4:30 pm in New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) as part of their ‘To Save and Project‘ series, curated by Dave Kehr and now in its fifteenth season, as Daniel Eagan reports for Film Journal. (And thanks to the Thanhouser Studio restoration project, you can also watch it here.) Continue reading
On a crisp Friday morning in the first week of January, I joined a handful of people at the Duke of York’s in Brighton – England’s oldest independent cinema – for a screening of How to Marry a Millionaire. It’s part of a regular series of classic movies aimed at an older audience, with tea and biscuits served beforehand, and a fifteen-minute interval – although I think it’s fair to say they could use some promotion. (Classic movie fans, please note: Millionaire is showing at Picturehouse cinemas across the UK throughout January, and looking further ahead, There’s No Business Like Show Business is scheduled for June.) Continue reading
As the curtain falls on 2017, this blog also approaches its tenth anniversary. I’d like to thank everyone who has read (and hopefully enjoyed) my posts. This month I’ve been thinking a lot about Christine Keeler, who inspired my first novel and so much more. Wishing everyone a beautiful 2018 – and whatever this new year may bring, keep a dream in your hearts.
A Beautiful Young Woman, Billie Holiday, Bright Air Black, Buchi Emecheta, David Vann, Elizabeth Winder, Emma Flint, Emma Reyes, Harriette Arnow, Jake Arnott, Jerry Dantzic, Joan Didion, Julian Lopez, Julie Buntin, Julie Lekstrom Himes, Karl Geary, Kathleen Collins, Little Deaths, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, Marilyn in Manhattan, Marilyn Monroe, Marlena, Medea, Montpelier Parade, Patricia Bosworth, South and West, The Dollmaker, The Fatal Tree, The Girl From the Metropol Hotel, The Master and Margarita, The Men In My Life, Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?
Set in 18th century London, The Fatal Tree is a rip-roaring saga laced with harsh truths, recreating the battle between Jack Sheppard, a young thief famed for his daring escapes, and the ruthlessly corrupt ‘Thief-taker General’, Jonathan Wild, from a very different perspective – that of Sheppard’s lover, the prostitute Edgworth Bess. Using historic slang to great effect, Jake Arnott evokes not only the criminal underworld, but also the parallel black and gay subcultures, as they collide with the double standard of high society and the literati. Continue reading
Anne Bancroft, Ava Gardner, Billie Holiday, Chuck Berry, David Lynch, Fats Domino, Fences, From the Land of the Moon, Harry Dean Stanton, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Jackie, Jeanne Moreau, Julie London, L.A. Witch, Lana Del Rey, Louise Brooks, Loving, Lust for Life, Mudbound, Pandora's Box, Star Wars, The Last Jedi, The Navigator, Twin Peaks
For me, this year was dominated by the return of Twin Peaks, reaffirming David Lynch’s status as the most daring filmmaker of our time. Dark, playful and thrilling, it once again pushed the outer limits of television. Continue reading
Upon hearing the sad news of Christine Keeler’s passing, here is the epilogue to my novel, Wicked Baby, in which I reimagined the years following the Profumo Affair, in her voice. The photo above, shared by her son on social media, shows Christine enjoying freedom after leaving prison in 1964. Continue reading
In 1991, Madonna’s fame was at its height. Truth or Dare, her behind-the-scenes documentary filmed during the Blond Ambition tour a year earlier, caused a sensation with its revealing take on the star. After reaching her pop apotheosis with Like a Prayer, she had struck out in new directions with ‘Vogue’ and ‘Justify My Love’ (a sultry, experimental track produced by Andre Betts, with a video banned by MTV.) Continue reading