Talking celebrity gender politics with Dr Hannah Yelin

I’m very pleased to be involved in an exciting upcoming event, on Friday 2nd October.

Celebrity Culture Club is a dedicated space where Celebrity academics, media folks, and the public to analyse celebrity culture, and on October 2nd at 2pm, it will be hosting a book launch for Celebrity Memoir: from Ghostwriting to Gender Politics published by Palgrave Macmillan and written by Dr Hannah Yelin (Oxford Brookes University).

I’m thrilled to have been invited to be part of the panel speaking with Hannah about her fantastic book, alongside Dr Oline Eaton (Howard University, Washington DC) and Nels Abbey (media executive and author of Think Like a White Man)

Having received an advance copy I can say with authority that I think it is great. For me, the work around authenticity and celebrity was superb and really resonated with work I do around classic era stardom. Equally there’s some really sound work around class and cultural distinction, which I suspect is a frequently overlooked element of the reception (and often the rejection or even ridicule) of particular stars.

I didn’t think I’d be interested in Pamela Anderson’s auto biography, or indeed those of Jordan, or Paris Hilton but I really was!

I’ve always liked Hannah’s writing style. It’s lucid and rich and she uses great examples. Whilst her work is academic, certainly, it doesn’t feel hard work to read. That’s effective scholarship.

I remember inviting Hannah to come and talk to a group of my taught MA students about celebrity, one afternoon, when we both worked at the University of East Anglia and seeing how quickly and effectively she connected with students.

If you’d like to join us at the celebrity culture club book launch and hear Hannah talk about her work for herself, then sign up to attend this free event at eventbrite here . All welcome.

 

For more information about Hannah’s book, Celebrity Memoir: from Ghostwriting to Gender Politics, click here

 

Here’s Looking At You Podcast #20 Archive Trouble with Desirae Embree

This podcast is intended to sit alongside the Midlands Four Cities-funded Dialogue Days event I co organised with my De Montfort University colleague, Prof Justin Smith and Prof James Chapman and Dr Claire Jenkins at University of Leicester. The event, ‘Delving into the Archives: A Screen History Workshop,’ took place online, on Tuesday 10th of November 2020 and was a half-day event aimed at aspiring and existing postgraduate students whose research interests in Media History involve using archival sources. From leaders in the field to current PhDs, our expert presenters explored a range of skills and approaches to archival screen history, offered opportunities to engage with different kinds of material, and advised on research design and dissemination.

You’ll see how Desirae’s kind participation in this podcast, where she discusses, in detail, her rich archival research experience, fits beautifully into this remit as she offers some excellent advice for aspiring archival researchers.

Desirae is an extremely impressive scholar and researcher whose work I encountered for the first time, some time ago in the eminent journal Feminist Media Histories. Technically still an early career researcher herself, who (as she discusses in the podcast) is currently putting the finishing touches to her PhD, her experience is already considerable and her interventions in the fields of pornography/sexuality studies, social history, women’s/gender studies and archival studies are timely and extremely valuable.

I very much enjoyed talking with her about her work.

Feel free to comment below on the podcast or the subjects it covers, ask questions, raise points or make suggestions for further podcasts and blogs. You can sign up to receive email notifications when subsequent podcasts and posts become available. Simply enter your email at the ‘Follow Blog’ notices at the foot or sidebar of the page. You can also access previous podcasts by clicking here or the ‘Podcast’ toggle at the top any page.

Music is by kind permission of The Shannon Reilly Trio. The full version of the song Trouble can be found along with its video here, and purchased on the Shannon Reilly Trio album also called Trouble.

The podcast was produced thanks to the post-production expertise of John Ashbrook of Radio Pictures.

The opinions expressed on this blog are mine, and do not reflect the opinions of the De Montfort University or any other employee thereof. Nor is De Montfort University responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied within this blog

Strong Female Leads… talking on the radio about feminism in film for TV.

I was very pleased today to be interviewed alongside Millie Bobbie Brown on Mid-Morning with Kirsten O’Brien about the current rise in female lead roles and its historic roots and precedents, following the release of Netflix’s new film Enola Holmes starring Millie Bobbie Brown as Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister.

The interview can be heard on BBC Sounds for the next month with the section beginning around 39mins in.

 

‘Chesty Swimmers with their Chins Up’: Esther Williams, the Aquacade and Sex – a new chapter in a new book

I’m pleased to have a new chapter on Swimming Film Star Esther Williams in this new book from the Routledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society series Sport, Film and National Culture edited by Seán Crosson.

This chapter focuses primarily upon all-American Williams, exploring discourse around MGM’s Million Dollar Mermaid (1952) and the promotional materials (posters, marquee displays, photographic pin-ups, etc.) for her and her films. This is supplemented with a range of other contemporaneous materials that engaged with the American cultural phenomenon of the aquacade, such as pornographic comics, known as Continue reading

Teasearama

I was very pleased to be asked by the delightful Dr. Kino (aka Dr Toby Reynolds) to take part in his podcast series Dr. Kino’s Film Emporium to talk about an under the radar film gem – and I chose the perhaps more under-the-counter classic Teaserama, by Irving and Paula Klaw, and starring burlesque legend Tempest Storm and pin-up star Bettie Page as my entry for the film emporium.

Toby’s work around Lacanian theory and cinema is really fascinating stuff and he’s a corking podcaster

 

Murder at the Windmill

It was only a matter of time before the highly entertaining Soho Bites podcast got around to examining the Windmill Theatre and the latest episode is the second of three episodes on the Windmill in film – featuring myself and former Windmill girl and longtime friend of the Here’s Looking at You podcast Jill Millard Shapiro.

Here I discuss the Windmill in film generally, and the production context and marketing of Val Guest’s 1949 Murder at the Windmill (aka. Mystery at the Burlesque) in particular, with the lovely Dom Delargy.

For more details of Soho Bites and the history of Soho, or the for the shownotes (Shoho Notes) click the links here, or listen to the podcast below:

‘Coming Attractions’ – new Tijuana bibles chapter in new book.

This new book, Mapping Movie Magazines – a reader on film magazines and their archives features a chapter by myself and Phyll Smith ‘”Coming Attractions”: Tijuana Bibles and the Pornographic Reimagining of Hollywood’, giving an overview of Tijuana bibles and their uses to film and cultural historians.

The book can be ordered now at eye watering cost – but due to the covid pandemic hardcopies will not be distributed until later in the year – so those ordering physical copies will be given immediate access to an ebook copy until the physical books are produced.

 

Frozen and the Star City fight, Censorship and the Blue Story backlash

In the wake of the fight at Star City Birmingham, and the decision by Vue Cinemas to pull the film Blue Story from all its cinemas nationwide at the weekend, I went on the Phil Upton Show on BBC radio Coventry and Warwickshire to discuss the validity of claims that the films content may have provoked violence, or that those involved were even there to see Blue Story – and question why Vue chose not to pull Frozen from its cinemas when it appears that the trouble in its cinema began with customers queuing for that film, and whether institutional racism and financial convenience played their part in the reporting of and reaction to events.

Podcast #18: ‘A Real Rock ‘n’ Roll Cinema’: Talking cult film and cult spaces with Jane Giles of London’s former Scala Cinema

scalacinema86

In the latest Here’s Looking at You podcast Dr Ellen Wright talks with Jane Giles, programmer between 1988 and 1992 at the former doyenne of British repertory cinemas, The Scala cinema.

Located initially on the site of an old concert hall in Tottenham Street, Fitzrovia, it moved later to its legendary second home in the heart of Kings Cross but very much retained its carnivalesque roots.

For those who are not familiar with this unique, anti-establishment institution, the Scala was THE British repertory cinema, specialising in midnight movie marathons and showing an eclectic range of classic and cult films during its all too brief existence, from high art to pure trash and all in between.

We talk about the cinema space itself, about the turbulent times through which this distinctive cinema existed and much more.

An excellent article in The Guardian, by former owner, Stephen Woolley, about the iconic cinema can be found here and further details about Jane’s book SCALA CINEMA 1978-1993 can be found here

*NOTE* Jane has asked me to point out that I made an error as to the names of the Scala cats. They were in fact called Huston and Roy NOT Huston and Lee! Thanks Jane and apologies!

Feel free to comment below on the podcast or the subjects it covers, ask questions, raise points or make suggestions for further podcasts and blogs. You can sign up to receive email notifications when subsequent podcasts and posts become available. Simply enter your email at the ‘Follow Blog’ notices at the foot or sidebar of the page. You can also access previous podcasts by clicking here or the ‘Podcast’ toggle at the top any page.

Music is by kind permission of The Shannon Reilly Trio. The full version of the song Trouble can be found along with its video here, and purchased on the Shannon Reilly Trio album also called Trouble.

The podcast was produced thanks to the post-production expertise of John Ashbrook of Radio Pictures.

The opinions expressed on this blog are mine, and do not reflect the opinions of the De Montfort University or any other employee thereof. Nor is De Montfort University responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied within this blog.

Cockettes Screening and director Q&A with David Weissman

It’s very exciting to hear that the University of East Anglia in Norwich are hosting a screening of the wonderful 2002 documentary ‘The Cockettes’ alongside an introduction and Q&A with it’s co-director David Weissman.   The film uses historic material alongside contemporary interviews with the surviving Cockettes to tell the story, and legacy, of this outrageous and idiosyncratic troupe of revolutionary transvestite performers and activists.

Their late night performances in San Francisco midnight movie theatres were drug-fuelled drag pantomimes of Hollywood Serials, B-Movies and Musicals, which prefigured (and out-did) the Rocky Horror Show; their films mobilised drag as a tool for political subversion, in a manner that was embraced and absorbed by the east coast ‘Dreamlanders’ Divine and John Waters whom the Cockettes gave both inspiration and support; the Kailflower commune they grew out of and the Free Press which operated alongside and to promote the Cockettes (and allied groups such as the Angels of Light) ran Free Food and social activist agendas comparable to the Black Panthers’ community programmes only with a healthy dose of LSD tinged neo-Situationism.  If that sounds like a heady 60s/70s brew, you’re beginning to get the idea.  

All the key players in the Cockettes – Hibiscus, Sylvester, Pam Tent, John Rothermel, Link Martin, Scrumbly Koldewyn, Irving Rosenthal, Rumi Missabu, Divine, Bambi Lake, Tomata du Plenty, Miss Harlow, Pristine Condition and others too numerous to mention, pop up as key footnotes in multiple countercultural movements over the following 50 years from hippies through Disco, Punk and Electro, the gay-rights and trans-rights movements, to Neo-burlesque and the new cabaret, while everyone who was anyone in the late 60s and early 70s wanted to be associated – or to distance themselves from – these lynch pins of the SF Haight Ashberry scene.

Untitled 5

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-cockettes-qa-with-david-weissman-tickets-75671721155