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Comedy History Marx Brothers Performing Arts Vaudeville Video

Home Again: The Marx Brothers in New York City

A Marxian multimedia adventure through New York City, in the company of its funniest sons and writer and performer Noah Diamond (I’ll Say She Is, Marxfest, The Marx Brothers Council Podcast). With special guests, a lot of laughs, a few tears, and a few surprises. Presented by Freedonia Marxonia.

What great fun I had watching this wonderful story assembled with so much care by the amazingly talented Noah Diamond!

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Cinema Comedy Film Marx Brothers Music Performing Arts Photography Vaudeville Video

The Marx Brothers Weekend – Sept. 9th – A Video/Photo Excerpt

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The Marx Brothers and World War I

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The Trivia Section of the day at 2:00 pm with Brett Leveridge

Noah Diamond displays one of the Prizes for Trivia winner. Marx Brothers Comic Book.

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Marx Brothers Sing-Along

Marx Brothers Singalong: “Alone”

There are two kinds of people: those who would enjoy a group singalong of Marx Brothers songs, and those who simply don’t know how to have fun. I assert that you have not truly lived until you’ve heard a room full of people singing Chico’s version of “Everyone Says I Love You,” in glorious unison. This video documents another of the Singalong’s many highlights: “Alone” (by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, from A Night at the Opera), led by Bill Zeffiro on the keys. (Noah Diamond contributed this and all other text for this post.)

Marx Brothers Singalong: “Dr. Hackenbush” and “Lydia the Tattooed Lady”

The Singalong concludes with a pair of Groucho specialty numbers. The penultimate selection is “Dr. Hackenbush” by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, one of Groucho’s favorite musical signatures, despite its unfortunate exclusion from A Day at the Races. The Singalong concludes with the immortal “Lydia the Tattooed Lady,” by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg, from At the Circus, led by Bill Zeffiro and me.
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Deep Dive Into Cracked Ice: Duck Soup Before Duck Soup!

Cracked Ice is an early draft of Duck Soup, written by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, and Grover Jones. It has some obvious similarities to the finished film, but it also reveals the more characteristically Marxian (and notably darker) comedy that was being planned before the director Leo McCarey imposed his vision on it. The first day of Marx Brothers Weekend ended with this cold reading, featuring Kathy Biehl, Melody Jane, Brett Leveridge, Jonny Porkpie, Matt Roper, Trav S.D., Seth Shelden, Matt Walters, and me. (Noah Diamond)
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Comedy Film Marx Brothers Photography Vaudevisuals Interview

Vaudevisuals interview with Noah Diamond – “Marx Brothers Weekend”

For those of us who are ‘huge’ fans of the Marx Brothers, this event is supreme!

Here is Noah Diamond talking about this special weekend and the upcoming ‘Fredonia‘ event as well. 

Noah Diamond as ‘Groucho’ in the 2016 production of ‘I’ll Say She Is’.

Both of these events promise to be hilarious for all that attend!

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Amercian Vaudeville Theatre Cinema Clown Comedy Film Marx Brothers Performing Arts Silent Film Television Vaudeville Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Chain of Fools”

CHAIN OF FOOLS by Trav S.D.

Chain of Fools traces the art of slapstick comedy from its pre-cinema origins in the ancient pantomime through its silent movie heyday in the teens and twenties, then on to talkies, television, and the Internet. As in his first book, the critically acclaimed No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, author Trav S.D. mixes a wicked wit, a scholar’s curiosity, and a keen critical appreciation for laugh-makers through the ages, from classical clowns like Joseph Grimaldi to comedy kings like Mack Sennett, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton . . . to more recent figures, from Red Skelton, Sid Caesar and Ernie Kovacs to Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey and Steve Carell . . . all the way down to the teenagers on YouTube whose backyard antics bring us full circle to slapstick’s beginnings. This valentine to the great clowns contains enough insights and surprises to open the eyes of even life-long comedy fans.

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Silent Film Music Composer Ben Model has this to say about the book!

“I have read a lot of books on silent comedy in film. A lot of them. “Chain of Fools” is not like any of these books, and in a refreshing way. Trav S.D. manages to combine a personal journey through the work of the various luminaries of wordless comedy with the act of also laying them chronologically end-to-end, and manages to do so in an entertaining and humorous way. As he did in his book on Vaudeville, “No Applause, Just Throw Money: the Book that Made Vaudeville Famous”, Trav traces the arc of silent comedy back further than most film historians do in their books, and follows it further into the present as well. “Chain of Fools” is not just about silent comedy itself but its place in our culture and how it’s been a consistent part of it. It’s a fun read, and accessible to both novice and seasoned historian. I thoroughly enjoyed it. (And if you’re not aware of it already, do pick up Trav S.D.’s No Applause–Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous)”

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“When I first saw the cover of the book I smiled. This was not Chaplin and Eric Campbell from “Easy Street” or something, it was Author Trav S.D.’s little joke. The principles of the cover were Billy West and Oliver Hardy, THAT introduced me properly to this wonderful book of other film comedians, some famous, some obscure. This is not a reference book, it can be read for pure joy and the author adds his opinions to these characters making them come to life again. You may consider me a fan of Trav from his first book “No Applause Just Throw Money,” for this author brings the same amount of joy and authority to enrich reader’s knowledge of the legacies of the unknown or forgotten. This is pure prose from cover to cover and it could pass for a course study…only this tome is too entertaining for dry lecture. The author has contributed something special in “Chain of Fools,” (Bearmanor Media). This is a five-star rating.” – William Cassara

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Book Shelf Cinema Clown Comedy Marx Brothers Photography Recommended Reading List Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Growing Up with Chico”

Growing Up with ChicoGROWING UP WITH CHICO – by Maxine Marx

Maxine Marx’s book about her experience as part of the family that gave us the Marx Brothers is deservedly well-known and much loved by classic movie fans.  Her anecdotes are funny, loving and revealing.  In some ways, the book doesn’t feel as though it were written by someone in such close proximity to these famous characters, but this jives with her description of the brothers’ closeness.  Even the immediate family came after the brothers, and nothing and nobody came between them.  Except maybe money.  
I enjoyed the tidbit describing Sam “Frenchie” Marx’s gentle nature, which has a lot to say about women in the Marx family.  Walking home after viewing The Scarlet Letter at the movies, young Maxine asked her grandpa “why they had put the A on the lady’s dress.”  “Pshaw,” he replied.  “Pshaw.”  After a bit, he added, “Don’t tell der Mamma vhat you saw, yah?”
I knew very little about Chico although he was always my favorite performer in all the movies what with the finger shooting and the  “Attsa boy, make a big slam! Make a big, big slam!”  Now I am in awe of  tough little Betty Marx for putting up with all his shenanigans.  Still, Chico manages to come across as charismatic.   I’m glad the mafia didn’t whack him after all.
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American Circus Big Apple Circus Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Cabaret Clown Comedy Marx Brothers Music Performing Arts Photography Variety Arts Vaudevisuals Bookshelf Women Writer Year in Review

Check out Vaudevisuals – Review – June 2016

Vaudevisuals – Year in Review – June 2016

June was quite an active month. Bindlestiff Open Stage at Dixon Place, The Big Apple Circus was losing it’s presence in NYC, Quick Change book was started and Conjuring in Asia got some attention.

EEPYBIRD – DIET COKE AND MENTOS – REVISIT

BINDLESTIFF OPEN STAGE VARIETY REVUE – JUNE 2016 – DIXON PLACE

“I’LL SAY SHE IS” – THE LOST MARX BROTHERS MUSICAL AT THE CONNELLY THEATER

VAUDEVISUALS BOOKSHELF – “MAGIC AND LOSS – THE INTERNET AS ART”

MY FATHER THE CIRCUS KING – A DOCUMENTARY FILM

THE BIG APPLE CIRCUS NEEDS YOUR HELP! NOW!

THE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF QUICK CHANGE – A PROPOSED BOOK PROJECT

VAUDEVISUALS BOOKSHELF – “CONJURING ASIA – MAGIC, ORIENTALISM”

I'll Say She Is at The Connelly Theatre

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Coming soon! July 2016

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Comedy Dance Marx Brothers Music Performing Arts Photography Video Women Writer

“I’ll Say She Is” – The Lost Marx Brothers Musical at The Connelly Theater

First of all…there is this wonderful NY Times review!

“Mr. Diamond himself plays Groucho, and he might as well be Groucho. Matt Roper’s Chico and Seth Shelden’s Harpo are also meticulous, and Matt Walters completes the quartet with the less well-known Zeppo, the male romantic lead in the story but certainly not the center of attention.”

Next..you better get tickets NOW before it is TOOO late!

I was delighted at be able to photograph the show early in the run. I did the NY Fringe Festival two years ago and again this year with the ‘full production’.

Here are some moments for this funny, charming, hilarious, musical, Marx Brothers show!

2016.06.01.MarxBros_026The chorus line is wonderful!

2016.06.01.MarxBros_074Matt Roper (Chico), Seth Shelden (Harpo) and Noah Diamond (Groucho) are great!

2016.06.01.MarxBros_248Singing and dancing and fooling around. What else would you want from an evening of theater?

2016.06.01.MarxBros_252Noah Diamond (Groucho) in a moment of distress.

2016.06.01.MarxBros_204 Melody Jane (Beauty) sits and watches in amazement at Seth Shelden (Harpo) and Matt Roper (Chico) dance a bit!

2016.06.01.MarxBros_327Melody Jane (Beauty) sits with Kathy Biehl (Ruby) in the drawing room ‘love chair’.

2016.06.01.MarxBros_404Melody Jane (Beauty) with Matt Walters (Zeppo) singing one of the original songs from the show.

So many other great shots of the show BUT I suggest you see it for yourself!

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Musical Direction and Arrangements: Sabrina Chap
Choreography: Shea Sullivan
Directed by: Amanda Sisk

“it reminds us how brightly the Marx Brothers’ brand of lunacy once blazed.”

NY Times

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ONLY UNTIL JULY 2nd, 2016

Tickets and more information here!

 

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Amercian Vaudeville Theatre Book Shelf Cinema Clown Comedy Film Marx Brothers Performing Arts VAudephone Vaudevisuals Interview Video Writer

The Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Gimme a Thrill” by Noah Diamond

I usually post ‘The Vaudevisuals Bookshelf’ once a week but this week is ‘Special’.

The publication of Noah Diamond’s new book “Gimme A Thrill“.

I will let you read the text on Amazon since I am a photographer mostly!

A BROADWAY LEGEND OF 1924 Includes more than eighty rare photographs, some published here for the first time. Before they made the films which are their principal legacy, the Marx Brothers were the stars of three Broadway musicals in the 1920s. Two of these, The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers, are popular classics, familiar from the Brothers’ immortal film versions, and from numerous stage revivals. But the boys’ 1924 Broadway debut, I’ll Say She Is, was never filmed or revived, and it slipped through history’s fingers. Although it was the most successful thing the Marx Brothers ever did on stage, it was unseen for ninety years after the original production closed, and has been considered a lost work. In 2009, writer, performer, lyricist, and Groucho Marxist Noah Diamond began a seven-year odyssey which led to the restoration, adaptation, and finally the historic first revival of this legendary entry in the Marx and musical theatre canons. Gimme a Thrill tells the whole story for the first time—the complete history of I’ll Say She Is from 1923 to 2014. Noah Diamond adapted the book and lyrics for I’ll Say She Is and has a long history of playing Groucho, on and off the stage. He is among the organizers of Marxfest New York City’s Marx Brother’s festival and has written and lectured widely on the Marxes and their work. With his partner Amanda Sisk, he wrote and produced the Nero Fiddled musicals, a series of political satires. His previous books are 400 Years in Manhattan and Love Marches On.

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I first met this very talented Mr. Diamond while shooting an episode of the wonderful series ‘Vaudephone‘ which I co-produced with Trav SD. Here is Noah performing for us “The United Nations Song” for that series.

So now you can see why you should buy this book! Noah is brilliant in whatever he puts his mind to. And by the way you would be doing yourself a great disservice if you didn’t see the show coming this year.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.41.54 PMClick here for more information on this show!

Here is Noah talking about the Marx Brothers and I’ll Say She Is during a Vaudevisuals interview.

OK! Go see the show when it opens and here is the information for you to buy his new book!

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Art Cinema Comedy Film Marx Brothers Music Performing Arts Story Teller

“Words” by Chuck Workman – A 1987 Compilation of Hollywood Films

This short film, released by the Writers Guild Foundation in 1987, honors the craft of screenwriting and the writers behind our favorite lines and cinematic moments. Written and directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Chuck Workman, it was screened at film festivals and college campuses around the country to inspire writers and celebrate the importance of the written word in entertainment.

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Book Shelf Clown Comedy Film Marx Brothers Performing Arts Photography

The Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – Groucho Marx: The Comedy of Existence

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Born Julius Marx in 1890, the brilliant comic actor who would later be known as Groucho was the most verbal of the famed comedy team, the Marx Brothers, his broad slapstick portrayals elevated by ingenious wordplay and double entendre. In his spirited biography of this beloved American iconoclast, Lee Siegel views the life of Groucho through the lens of his work on stage, screen, and television. The author uncovers the roots of the performer’s outrageous intellectual acuity and hilarious insolence toward convention and authority in Groucho’s early upbringing and Marx family dynamics.
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 “Lee Siegel’s brilliant analysis of the glorious, scary, beyond-funny humor of Groucho and his brothers made me feel as if I were watching their movies for the first time. In this hugely enjoyable and stimulating book, Siegel shows how Groucho became an impossibility: an immortal comedian.”—Ian Frazier, author of Great Plains and On the Rez
Ian Frazier
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 “Spirited and revealing . . . An astute psychological profile of the man whose biting, nihilistic comedy broke so many barriers.”
John McMurtrie, San Francisco Chronicle
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Groucho Marx with Margret Dumont
Groucho Marx with Margaret Dumont in “The Cocoanuts” from 1929.
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Great article by Lee Siegel in the Wall Street Journal here!
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