Reggie Lucas 1953-2018

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Reginald Grant Lucas was born in Queens, New York in 1953, the son of a doctor and a teacher. “Although no one in the family was a musician or singer,” he recalled, “music was an important and natural part of our lives.” He began taking piano lessons aged six, and was given an electric guitar for his eleventh birthday. Enthralled by the “music explosion” coming from Motown and England in the Early 1960s, it was “the beginning of a lifelong romance.” Continue reading

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Urban Myths: ‘It’s Me, Sugar’

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“She was the biggest star in the world; she had a lot of attention on her, a lot of pressure… there is a scene, when she comes to the door, she says, ‘It’s me, Sugar.’ It took forty-seven shots to make this scene. The film is about that moment, the crisis she had. It’s funny because it’s stupid not to be able to say ‘It’s me, Sugar’… It’s tragic too.” Continue reading

When Avicii Met Madonna

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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

‘Casablanca’ at the Picturehouse

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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

Art Decades 13: Marilyn in Manhattan, The Punished and More

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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.

 

To Save and Project: Jeanne Eagels at MoMA

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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

How to Marry a Millionaire

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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

Happy New Year To All My Readers

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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.

2017: A Year In Books

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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