Categories
Charlie Chaplin Cinema Film Photography

James Abbe – Celebrity Photographer 1920’s-30’s

James Abbe – 1883-1973

James Abbe deserves his place in the hall of fame of great photographers for the two important strands of his career: as portraitist to the glittering stars of the 1920’s world of theater and film, and as a pioneer American Photojournalist observing firsthand the dramatically changing European cultural and political situation in his various travels throughout the late 1920s and 1930s.

Abbe was lured to the limelight of the east and west coast film studios of America and the theater stages of New York, London and Paris. In each place, he managed to encapsulate the illusions of performance into still visions of enchantment.

Russian film director Serge Eisenstein 1927  ©2019 James Abbe Archive

The first film star Abbe photographed was Marguerite Clark. Although now more or less forgotten, Clark was one of the highest-paid and most popular stars of her day. The New York Times ranked his as one of “the big four”, her fame rivaled that of Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks Sr., all of whom Abbe also captured.

Charlie Chaplin in The Pilgrim ©2019 James Abbe Archive

Perhaps his most enduring relationship in the film world was with the Gish sisters. Lillian Gish is thought to be the greatest dramatic actress of the silent era, and her sister Dorothy, capable of a wide range of acting styles, was one of the greatest comediennes of the time.

Anna Pavlova ©2019 James Abbe Archives

Abbe visited Hollywood in 1920 and 1922 where he took portraits of Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, and also directed a film for Mack Sennett. After working for seven months on location in Italy with Ronald Colman – Lillian Gish film ‘The White Sister“(1923), Abbe made his base in Paris. His main reputation as a theater photographer preceded him and soon he was gravitating towards the best in French theatre and revue, including the Dolly Sisters, and Mistinguette, introducing them to a worldwide audience through his picture syndication.

George Gershwin ©2019 James Abbe Archives

Abbe soon became one of the leading celebrity photographers of the 1920s and is best known for these iconic portraits of both cinema and stage. He quickly established an international reputation, appearing in Vanity Fair, Ladies Home Journal, Vogue, British Tatler, French Vu, and many other publications.

Throughout the 1920s, Abbe made regular trips back and forth between London, Paris, and London to photograph theatre and film-making activities. He also traveled to Spain, Germany, Russian, the USA, and Mexico as a correspondent.

Louise Brooks ©2019 James Abbe Archives

For more information and to view additional Abbe photographs go here!

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Categories
Cabaret Performing Arts Photography Variety Arts Video Women

Breaking Records and Spinning Heart-Shaped Hoops

Being in the Guinness Book of World Records twice isn’t enough for hula hooper Dunja von K. In between performances and teaching hoops three times a week, she’s in training for her third world record – being suspended upside-down hula hooping with multiple hoops.

She failed by a narrow margin in her first attempt a few months ago. “I can do 10,” she revealed, “but I needed to do 20 with a minimum of 3 rotations. I failed by half a rotation.” She is trying again before April to be in the next book. Out of the 40,000 record holders in the Guinness World Records database, only about 10% are published in the book, and even a smaller number are featured with a photograph. Dunja is in the 2019 book with a photograph and she is determined to be in the 2020 book.

She wasn’t born with a hoop on her hip. Hailing from a small town in northern Germany, she didn’t pick up a hoop until after she moved to London.  There, she got involved in theatre to improve her English, but this didn’t entirely satisfy her penchant for the weird and unusual. Through a workshop at the Roundhouse, she discovered that cabaret was more her métier. Then she saw that the Roundhouse was offering a hoop workshop by the legendary Marawa the Amazing. “I took the workshop for fitness,” she confessed, “I never thought I could do any hoop tricks.”With the encouragement of Marawa, she persisted in hoop training and her efforts resulted in her becoming one of the original members of Marawa’s Majorettes. She performed at the Olympic Games in 2012 and then at Glastonbury FestivalBestival, the Secret Garden Party, and at Kensington Palace.

As part of Marawa’s Majorettes, Dunja was one of the ten women who collectively rotated 299 hoops and set a World Record for the Most Hoops Spun by a Group. Then she decided she wanted a World Record of her own and got one for spinning 43 hoops on multiple body parts. She has since broken her own record by spinning 59 hoops.

After nine years in London, she decided to move to Berlin. “I felt like I couldn’t go any further in London. I wasn’t really growing anymore,” she stated and adds with a laugh, “I also wanted my own flat.” In Berlin, she teaches hula hoop workshops three times a week and performs at burlesque clubs and major events. “If I would’ve known how great the scene was in Berlin,” she said, “I would have moved earlier.”

Dunja von K at the Full Moon Cabaret, photo by Steve Gregson.

Her acts are different than other hoopers who create routines to show off their skills, “I come from a theatre background and a cabaret background,” she explains, “Usually, my hoop acts tell a story. It’s not just amazing tricks.”

Most of her storytelling has a sense of the macabre that fits well with Berlin. In one act, she is a bloody Jesus with barbed wire wrapped around a hoop. Another act is a frenetic hooping homage to Pulp Fiction complete with a tray of cocaine. Though she can spin 80 hoops at once and simultaneously keep hoops going on all four limbs, she continually looks for ways to expand her skills. She started training in aerial silk and now has a silk-and-hoop act where she is a spider.

But one of her favorite activities is hula hoop training. “I love teaching beginners who never thought they can hoop, because I felt like that,” she said, “It took me three months to keep the hoop up. I was really shit in the beginning.” From one beginners class in Berlin, her workshop series has now expanded to three classes per week and the addition of an intermediate hoop class.

Back in London for Full Moon Cabaret at the Vault Festival this past weekend, she strutted on stage with heart-shaped hoops in her high-energy Summer of Love act. Then she picked up four LED hoops and the audience went wild as the lights went off, leaving nothing other than the psychedelic flashing pink, yellow, and green lights of the hoops. For a grand finale, she picked up a massive stack of hoops and gleefully flung her arms up, wildly gyrating all the hoops at once. Revolutionary in more ways than one, Dunja von K is sure to set several more world records.

Here’s a video of Dunja setting her World Record.
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Categories
59E59 Theater Comedy Performing Arts Vaudevisuals Interview

Vaudevisuals interview with Jake Broder – “His Royal Hipness Lord Buckley”

I have always enjoyed the work of Lord Buckley and the people who have been inspired by him.

When I saw that Jake Broder was doing a show about Lord Buckley at 59e59 Theatres  (one of my favorite NY venues) I had to get an interview.

 

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North Coast Repertory Theatre presents

 HIS ROYAL HIPNESS LORD BUCKLEY

By JAKE BRODER
Directed by DAVID ELLENSTEIN
Starring JAKE BRODER
With MICHAEL LANAHAN
Musicians MARK HARTMAN, BRAD RUSSELL, DANIEL GLASS
Following sold-out runs in London and Los Angeles, Jake Broder returns to New York with his critically acclaimed salute to counter-culture icon Lord Buckley. The largely forgotten comedian of the 1940s and 50s, who was described by Frank Sinatra as “the most sensational comic of our time,” is cited as having inspired a myriad of entertainers including Robin Williams, Johnny Depp, Whoopi Goldberg, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce, and Bob Dylan, among others.
In His Royal Hipness Lord Buckley, Broder and his be-bop jazz trio will transport audiences back to an exciting reimagining of a Buckley performance in a swirling mix of comedy, be-bop, and cabaret.
“STUNNING! EXTRAORDINARY!”
-The Evening Standard

“IT WAS F*CKING AWESOME!”
-Kevin Spacey

“THE MESMERIZING JAKE BRODER INCARNATES THE 1950S CULT LOUNGE PERFORMER LORD BUCKLEY ON A HEADLONG RIDE THROUGH THE LATE BEAT PHILOSOPHER’S OEUVRE.”
-The New Yorker

“THE COOLEST, GROOVIEST, GRANDEST COMEDIAN WHO EVER FLAPPED HIS CHOPS ON THIS SWEET SWINGING SPHERE.”
-Washington Post

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Go HERE for more information/tickets

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Here is Lord Buckley performing one of his wonderful pieces ‘The Nazz” in 1960 at The Gate of Horn, Chicago.

Categories
59E59 Theater Comedy Music Performing Arts Puppetry Story Teller Vaudevisuals Interview

Vaudedevisuals interview with Collapsing Horse Theater – Dublin

Bears in Space at 59E59th St. Theater

Collapsing Horse presents

 BEARS IN SPACE

By EOGHAN QUINN
Directed by DAN COLLEY
With JACK GLEESON, AARON HEFFERNAN, CAMERON MACAULAY, and EOGHAN QUINN
@
59E59 Theaters

Sept 6th – Oct 2nd

After playing to sold-out crowds in Dublin, Edinburgh, and London, the cult hit showBears in Space arrives in New York City with its acclaimed original cast.

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Two cosmonaut bears on a spaceship hurtle toward the impossibly distant limits of the universe while chased by villainous beings. An ethereal adventure that considers the perils and wonders of a journey across space and time to nowhere.

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“A BATSHIT-CRAZY COMEDY PUPPET SHOW ABOUT A COUPLE OF BEARS IN SPACE… A RIOTOUS, HILARIOUS, TRIPPY JOURNEY TO INFINITY AND BEYOND.”
-Time Out London

“A HONEY POT OF COMEDY, THICK WITH WIT AND ABSURDITY!”
-Broadway Baby


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For more information and to buy tickets go HERE!

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Categories
Bouffon Clown Comedy Performing Arts Physical Theater Women Workshop

Red Bull Theater presents – 2 Day Clowning Workshop

2 Day Clown Workshop

 

Spend two intensive, fun-filled days exploring the world of clowning in this ridiculously fun and surprisingly profound workshop. With instruction by master clown teachers, you’ll unlock your sense of abandon and expressivity, as well as your unique sense of humor – with big ramifications for your general acting technique and your classical comedy work.
Discover unadulterated joy in your craft!

Manhattan Theater Club
311 West 43rd St, 8th floor
New York, NY 10036
For more information go here!
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Categories
Cabaret Music Performing Arts Photography Rock & Roll Video

Jimi Hendrix on German Rock TV show “Beat Club” 1967


Jimi Hendrix played on March 2nd, 1967 at The Marquee Club in London. The performance was broadcast on German TV show ‘Beat Club’. THE MARQUEE CLUB was one of the most important venues in the history of ‘pop’ music in Europe.
Hendrix show included the performance of the songs “Hey Joe” and “Purple Haze”.