Thursday, September 19, 2019

You're Invited! Presenting STYLE OF SIN: MARLENE DIETRICH at Aero Theatre 9/29


Sunday, September 29 is the next event in my
6-part Pre-Code speaker/screening series at the American Cinematheque!

THE STYLE OF SIN: MARLENE DIETRICH
Pre-Code Film with Kimberly Truhler

Sunday, September 29
Aero Theatre
Santa Monica, CA

Talk starts at 1:00 pm 
followed by screenings of Morocco (1930) and Shanghai Express (1932)


The Pre-Code era of Hollywood refers to the years between 1930 when the Production Code was adopted and 1934 when it was in full effect. The Code prohibited seeing many sins on screen, so Pre-Code films are beloved for how risqué and provocative they could be with their look and content.

This 6-part series that introduces you to some of the most popular actresses of the Pre-Code era - Barbara Stanwyck, Kay Francis, Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Blondell, and Joan CrawfordEach event will begin with one of my presentations followed by a double feature of films. There will be one event per month. 

Though costume design is important in film, it is particularly significant to the plot and production of the movies selected for this series. In each talk, you will also learn about the costume designers themselves - how they contributed to the style of the studios along with the evolution of the actresses' careers and personal style.

Upcoming events in the STYLE OF SIN series can be seen on the GlamAmor Events page. Carole Lombard will be Sunday, October 27 back at the Egyptian Theatre.


For THE STYLE OF SIN: JEAN HARLOW,
I wore a hot coral bouclé shift from the 1960s


Love the scale of the Egyptian Theatre courtyard,
which makes you feel like you're in an epic from Cecil B. DeMille


Friend Delta Burke once again came to celebrate Pre-Code film
and I introduced her to many of my classic film family



The courtyard of the Egyptian Theatre
still looks very much like it did at its opening in 1922

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Hired as Executive Director of the Historic Woman's Club of Hollywood


I am elated to announce that I am starting today as the Executive Director of the Woman's Club of Hollywood! It's been in the works for the past few months and I've been dying to share with you all. I will be leading the organization in many ways, from managing day-to-day operations to marketing, events, and fundraising. I am deeply honored to help preserve, protect, and promote its legacy.

As many of you know, the Woman's Club was founded in 1905 - a year when the entertainment industry had not yet made its mark in Los Angeles and women still didn't have the right to vote. Yet members were passionate about contributing to the culture of the city and made their first mission to create the Hollywood Public Library. They were also founding members of both the Hollywood Bowl and the Hollywood Studio Club, something of a dormitory for young women who were involved in motion pictures (famous residents included Marilyn Monroe and Kim Novak). From the beginning, stars such as Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks were involved in events at the Woman's Club of Hollywood.


In 1947, the Woman's Club moved a short distance from its original location at the crossroads of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea to its current address at 1749 N. La Brea Avenue. This new location was also once the Hollywood School for Girls - another organization the Woman's Club supported - where industry giants such as Cecil B. DeMille and David O. Selznick sent their children to be educated between 1908 and 1932. Famous faces associated with the school include Jean Harlow who was a student and Edith Head who was a teacher right before she got her job assisting head costume designer Howard Greer at Paramount. It's for all these reasons the Woman's Club of Hollywood is now on the National Register of Historic Places and a Historic Cultural Monument. 

My role as Executive Director goes hand in glove with all my work as a film historian - giving talks, hosting screening series, and of course writing my book on Film Noir Style. I will also be doing my own events at the Woman's Club, including my annual talk before the next TCM Classic Film Festival on April 14, 2020. It's a dream come true to now have my life completely focused on my passion.

I must give the hugest thanks to Rosemary Lord, the President of the Woman's Club, for this incredible opportunity. She deserves to be sainted for protecting it in so many ways over the years, especially from the greed of Hollywood developers. I look forward to working with her and all of my film family to protect this important Hollywood institution. Lots of great things to come!


The Woman's Club of Hollywood -
pictures below are from my last event there before 
the TCM Classic Film Festival 2019


Two photos courtesy of Mikael Sharafyan



The lovely entrance of the Woman's Club of Hollywood



The salon of the Woman's Club



Woman's Club President Rosemary Lord leads one of the tours before my talk


With friends Isabella Miller and Casey Koester
in front of the piano Charlie Chaplin donated to the Woman's Club -
he even played it at events


Two of the original buildings from the Hollywood School for Girls -
photos courtesy of Mikael Sharafyan



Edith Head was a teacher at the Hollywood School for Girls before going to Paramount



Jean Harlow (top row, second from left) was a student at the Hollywood School for Girls


Jean Harlow flanked the stage and screen of my presentation -
photo above courtesy of Aurora Bugallo


The beautiful theater of the Woman's Club
and the crowd growing at this year's event



Starting my talk with a little background on my work
before kicking things off with Greta Garbo in A Woman of Affairs -
photos courtesy of Aurora Bugallo and Theresa Brown



Cheers from some of my film family - 
Kellee Pratt, Theresa Brown, and Aurora Bugallo


Lots of exciting things to come!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

You're Invited! Presenting STYLE OF SIN: JEAN HARLOW at Egyptian Theatre 8/25


Sunday, August 25 is the next event in my
6-part Pre-Code speaker/screening series at the American Cinematheque!

THE STYLE OF SIN: JEAN HARLOW
PRE-CODE FILM WITH KIMBERLY TRUHLER

Sunday, August 25
Egyptian Theatre
Hollywood, CA

Talk starts at 1:00 pm 
followed by screenings of Three Wise Girls (1932) and Red-Headed Woman (1932)


The Pre-Code era of Hollywood refers to the years between 1930 when the Production Code was adopted and 1934 when it was in full effect. The Code prohibited seeing many sins on screen, so Pre-Code films are beloved for how risqué and provocative they could be with their look and content.

This 6-part series that introduces you to some of the most popular actresses of the Pre-Code era - Barbara Stanwyck, Kay Francis, Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Blondell, and Joan CrawfordEach event will begin with one of my presentations followed by a double feature of films. There will be one event per month. 

Though costume design is important in film, it is particularly significant to the plot and production of the movies selected for this series. In each talk, you will also learn about the costume designers themselves - how they contributed to the style of the studios along with the evolution of the actresses' careers and personal style.

Upcoming events in the STYLE OF SIN series can be seen on the GlamAmor Events page.


For THE STYLE OF SIN: KAY FRANCIS,
I wore a 1930s inspired polka-dot dress from the 1960s


Several people fly in for the series, including my friend Isabella
who frequently channels Kay's style


For the Kay Francis event, 
we had Joseff of Hollywood jewelry on display from 1932's Jewel Robbery



This is the ring that Kay wanted so badly in the movie, a character in itself


Many thanks to Kristin and Tina Joseff,
who carry on the Joseff of Hollywood legacy


The courtyard of the Egyptian Theatre
still looks very much like it did at its opening in 1922

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Out and About - Taking a Tour of Historic Bullocks Willshire


In 1994, the Southwestern Law School purchased the landmark Bullocks Wilshire department store. Instead of tearing down the building or gutting its interior - which is far too often the case with developers in Los Angeles - Dean Leigh H. Taylor worked with preservationists to painstakingly restore the building and repurpose the space for the school. It took $29 million and ten years, but they achieved the dream and what a dream it is. One weekend each year, Southwestern opens its doors to the Friends of Bullocks Wilshire for tours. This year I was lucky enough to be invited by Bullocks historian Eric Evavold to take a journey back in time.

Designed in 1929 by architects John and Donald Parkinson - who were also responsible for other iconic LA architecture such as Union Station, the Coliseum, and City Hall - Bullocks Wilshire was known as the luxury department store for 60 years. Every star under the sun shopped there. Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, Dolores del Rio, Irene Dunne, and many many more. Some of the reason was that Irene Lentz Gibbons, who would soon be better known to the world simply as Irene, had a couturier at Bullocks from 1933 to 1942 when she then took over as head of costume design at MGM. 

The store was designed for its visitors to spend the day there. Women could shop for their entire wardrobes - not hung on racks as they are today, but shown to them in luxurious surroundings on live models. They could also visit the Beauty Shop so they could be taken care of from head to toe. The men were taken care of as well with a full Men's Department and even a Saddle Shop in case they needed equipment for their stables. The clientele included actors like Clark Gable and Gary Cooper. William Holden was another client both on and offscreen. The scene in Sunset Boulevard (1950) where Joe Gillis gets his new wardrobe from Norma Desmond, including a vicuna coat, was filmed in the Men's Shop at Bullocks. And if men were not in the mood to shop, Mr. Bullock had his own apartment in the building and shared a room with gentlemen who would rather sit and smoke cigars. They could drink, too - even during Prohibition, there were hidden compartments on either side of the fireplace that hid the liquor.

Each floor, each department, each space in Bullocks Wilshire has its own feel and its own set of near infinite details. The amount of work that went into the exterior and interior seems impossible to achieve today, even more so considering it only took workers one year from the moment of it being designed to opening day. It then took a decade to bring it back, which included restoring original pieces in some cases or finding ones that closely approximated the originals in others.

Dean Taylor and the other leaders of Southwestern Law School - past and present - deserve every award and accolade they receive for this achievement. In contrast to how badly most behave in Los Angeles today, they deserve sainthood for the dedication, strength, and perseverance it took to restore and repurpose this legendary building.

The building still needs our support to survive, so to learn more, donate, and become part of its history, please visit the Friends of Bullocks Wilshire. You can also find out how to join next year's tours. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy some of the photos from my recent visit.


(Above) The mighty Bullocks Wilshire today
courtesy of the Southwestern Law School


Dressed for the occasion in a 1950s white silk shirtdress,
1940s brown croc purse (shown later), and brown croc pumps


Construction on Bullocks Wilshire only lasted one year


Bullocks Wilshire was a giant in many ways,
including along Wilshire Boulevard in 1929


The beauty of the building today


The Entry Hall of Bullocks, which was once the Perfumery



The Perfumery back in the heyday of Bullocks




The Louis XVI Salon on the second floor is where
wealthy women chose their wardrobes from live models




La Directoire is off of the Louis XVI Salon
and originally where evening gowns were sold, then changed to furs




Jean Harlow modeled for George Hurrell's lens in several places at Bullocks,
including in front of the fireplace in La Directoire





Looking inside the changing room



The Chanel Salon, where the designer's clothes were sold,
was also where visiting royalty and dignitaries held court in private



Irene's Salon on the second floor


Irene Lentz Gibbons (above, right) was given her own couturier at Bullocks in 1933
where she designed for every star in Hollywood until she became
head of costume design for MGM in 1942 when Adrian retired


Marlene Dietrich in one of her Irene gowns 
for her USO tours during World War II






Standing in the entry of Irene's Salon where others like
Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, and Dolores del Rio once shopped



A label from a vintage woman's suit designed by Irene


Continuing through Irene's Salon



The Tea Room on the fifth floor


April and I enjoying the details, view, and lovely light filtering into the Tea Room



Mr. Bullock had an apartment at the department store that had space to entertain 
the husbands of the ladies who spent a day of beauty at Bullocks,
which included hidden liquor cabinets on either side of the fireplace during Prohibition



The restoration involved removing dirt - some from all the cigar smoke -
from the wood in the office ceiling to floor



Mr. Bullock's office also had an outdoor patio 
complete with working water fountain



April (also in vintage) and I enjoying the view of 
both the building and the city from the patio



The view from Mr. Bullock's office




The Cactus Lounge on the 5th floor, which leads to the Ladies Lounge


Look at all the detail that went into just one drinking fountain



April and I taking a moment to rest in the dimly lit Women's Lounge


The Men's Department back on the first floor




This is the exact location where William Holden gets a whole new wardrobe -
including a vicuna coat - from Gloria Swanson in 1950's Sunset Boulevard




Bullocks Wilshire even had a Saddle Shop








The front doors of Bullocks Wilshire
and Southwestern Law School


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