Louise Brooks (Society)

For some time now, I have been deeply interested (some would say obsessed) with the iconic silent film star Louise Brooks. To channel my interest, and as a means of connecting with others of like mind, I founded the Louise Brooks Society, an online archive and international fan club. It’s known around the world. Today, the LBS has more than 1500 members in 50 countries. (Read more about the LBS here.)

The mission of the LBS is to advocate for a greater awareness of the actress, be it through the internet, social media, articles, books, exhibits, events, or other activities. To this end, have naged the drum for the actress for more than 20 years. I have also penned dozens of articles about the actress and her films, and authored or edited three books, pictured below. (See my BOOKS page for more info.)

three books

Since 2002, I have also kept a LBS blog, which is now approaching its 3000th entry! That same year, I even started an online “radio station” called RadioLulu; it’s a streaming music channel which I program with Louise Brooks and silent film related music. (Read more about the station here. In 2017, I guest DJ’ed on a college radio station playing selections from RadioLulu.) Additionally, I have curated exhibits about the actress and put on various events, including author talks and film screenings. It has also been my honor to have introduced the actress’ films around the world.

at SFPL
At one of my three San Francisco Public Library exhibits.

In 1998, inspired by the popularity of the LBS website, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) commissioned the Emmy nominated documentary Louise Brooks Looking for Lulu. The part played by the LBS in bringing this documentary to television was acknowledged by a TCM spokesman as well as the director of the documentary. (See Steve Silberman’s article, “Fan Site Sparks Biopic,” in Wired magazine.) Additionally, in the year 2000, following a grass-roots campaign, the LBS helped bring both a biography of Brooks as well as the actress’ own book, Lulu in Hollywood, back into print through the University of Minnesota Press. The LBS is acknowledged in each edition.

In Paris
At my event in Paris, with translator Aline Weill (left) & film critic Rolland Jaccard (right)

Launched online in 1995, the Louise Brooks Society was one of the very first websites devoted to silent film or a silent film star. Today, it is certainly one of the longest lasting. Only a few pages at first, the LBS has since grown, and so has its acclaim as a resource for fans of the actress and early cinema. What started as a pioneering fan-site has now become one of the largest and most visited sites on the web devoted to any early film star. The LBS has been praised by the likes of Roger Ebert and Leonard Maltin, referenced or cited in a handful of books, and mentioned in newspapers and magazines from around the world. In 2002, the Stuttgarter Zeitung, a German newspaper, called the LBS site “vorbildlichen” or “exemplary.”

What follows is a short checklist of some of the world-wide media about or referencing the Louise Brooks Society. A more comprehensive checklist can be found HERE:

Cone, Nathan. “After Wings, Hollywood’s Wellman Rode The Rails For Beggars Of Life.” Texas Public Radio, August 16, 2017.
— referenced on NPR piece

NitrateVille.com. “Cinecon • Beggars of Life, with author Thomas Gladysz.” NitrateVille Radio, August 11, 2017.
— podcast interview

King, Susan. “The Eternal Louise Brooks.” Movies on the Big Screen, May 17, 2017.
— interview on the blog of the American Cinematheque

Tanner, Becky. “Wichita’s silent movie star is subject of upcoming documentary.” Wichita Eagle, April 3, 2016.
— “Even today, Brooks has a devout following that includes the Louise Brooks Society, which promotes her life as a star and dancer.”

Mack, Megan. “Connections: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of Louise Brooks.” WXXI, December 2, 2015.
— in studio interview on NPR affiliate in Rochester, New York

Smurthwaite, Nick. “The Archive: Louise Brooks – something of an enigma.” The Stage, September 1, 2015.
— “One of the most luminous stars of the silent era, Louise Brooks has been all but erased from cinema history. Only a handful of movie buffs keep her memory alive, mostly through the 20-year-old Louise Brooks Society, whose aim is to honour the charismatic actor and stimulate interest in her life and work.” — referenced in UK publication

De Jesus, Janice. “Orinda author turns fascination into novel.” San Jose Mercury News, February 26, 2014.
— referenced in California newspaper

Toole, Michael T. “Reopening Pandora’s Box in San Francisco.” Film International, August 22, 2012.

Rombeck, Terry. “A cut above: Local author’s novel generates national buzz.” Lawrence News-Tribune, June 10, 2012.
— referenced in Kansas newspaper

LaSalle, Mick. “Diary of a Lost Girl to be screened at main library.” San Francisco Chronicle, November 12, 2010.
— referenced in California newspaper

K., A. “Stoletni dnevnik prostitutke, oče avtobiografskih izmišljotin?” RTV Slovenia, November 4, 2010.
— Slovenian TV news site

Blackburn, Gavin. “Forgotten book by Margarete Boehme to be revived in US.” Deutsche Welle, November 3, 2010.
— German news site

SiouxWire. “Interview: THOMAS GLADYSZ, founder of the LOUISE BROOKS Society.” SiouxWire, April 5, 2007.

Matheson, Whitney. “Happy birthday, Louise!USA Today, November 14, 2006.
— “My favorite Louise Brooks site belongs to the Louise Brooks Society.”

Maltin, Leonard. “Links We Like: Louise Brooks Society.” Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy, August 1, 2005.

Caloudas, Constantine. “Louise Bobs Her Hair.” Washington City Paper, July 22, 2005.
— Washington D.C. alternative weekly

Pattenden, Mike. “An era of glamour.” London Sunday Times, April 27, 2003.
— “Louise Brooks was perhaps the ultimate flapper icon. A screen star to rank with Bacall and Hepburn, Brooks’ career straddled the silent era and early talkies. She bucked the system to make movies in Europe, notably Pandora’s Box, which lends its name to www.pandorasbox.com, dedicated to her remarkable life.”

O’Connell, Pamela Licalzi. “Dreaming Celebrities and the Earth’s Eye Candy.” New York Times, August 29, 2002.
— “… an excellent homage to the art of the silent film as well as one of its most luminous stars.”

Anderson, Jeffrey M. “Thirteen great film sites.” San Francisco Examiner, November 29, 2001.

Garner, Jack. “Movie buffs can find trivia, reviews online.” Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, September 12, 2000.
— described as “A fine example of a fan page, a thoughtful, artful site devoted to the life and times of a fabled silent movie legend” in New York newspaper

E! Entertainment. “Louise Brooks” episode. E! Mysteries & Scandals (TV Series), November 16, 1998.
— as Director of the Louise Brooks Society, I was one of the talking heads (along with Roger Ebert, Hugh Hefner, and film historian Frank Thompson) on this TV show hosted by A.J. Benza.

Evenson, Laura. “Lovely Lulu Lives Again.” San Francisco Chronicle, May 3, 1998.

Farrant, Darrin. “Programs – Sunday.” Melbourne Age, April 16, 1998.
— described as “… an exhaustive web site about this fascinating siren” in leading Australian newspaper.

Roberson, Fontaine. “Flapper Has ‘Virtual’ Fan Club in Noe Valley.” Noe Valley Voice, September, 1997.

anonymous. Net Directory, issue 7, 1996.
— named one of five best websites devoted to actresses in UK mag

Meddis, Sam Vincent. “Net: New and notable.” USA Today, May 23, 1996.