The journalist Pamela Hutchinson is regularly writing about the history of silent film and its stars. For her column “Silent but deadly!“, appearing fortnightly in The Guardian, she has covered Clara Bow, Lotte Reiniger, and Rudolph Valentino. She also writes for Sight&Sound and Silent London. An interesting resource for any scholars of silent cinema!
The Royal Opera House in London is staging Brecht and Weill’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny as a parable on the current financial crisis. Philip Hensher has written an interesting background piece about the history of the opera in The Guardian.
In the current edition of German Studies Review, published in February, Maria Makela argues that the contemporary popularization of scientific knowledge about gonads and their hormonal secretions was an inspiration for much visual and literary culture produced in Germany in the 1920s: Continue reading
In March, the Konzerthaus on Gendarmenmarkt is hosting Festival Mythos Berlin, a series of concerts and events celebrating 1920s Berlin. The highlight of the festival is the European premiere of Marc Blitzstein’s 1928 one-act opera Triple Sec. Die Sünde des Lord Silverside.
Unfortunately, the organisers have missed the opportunity to include the Konzerthaus’s own role in Weimar history as the backdrop of Gustaf Gründgens‘ career in the early 1930s – the subject of Klaus Mann’s infamous novel Mephisto.
Kate Elswit’s new study Watching Weimar Dance puts the focus on the audience, bringing insights from Dance, Theatre, and Performance Studies to Weimar Studies and offering a new view on Weimar culture with a focus on spectatorship: ‘Watching Weimar Dance asks what audiences saw on stages from cabaret and revue to concert dance and experimental theatre in the turbulent moment of the Weimar Republic.
Spectator reports that performers died or became half-machine archive not only the physicality of past performance, but also the ways audiences used the temporary world of the theatre to negotiate pressing social issues, from female visibility within commodity culture to human functioning in an era of increasing technologization. Continue reading
In reading popular films of the Weimar Republic as candid commentaries on Jewish acculturation, Ofer Ashkenazi’s Weimar Film and Modern Jewish Identity ‘provides an alternative context for a re-evaluation of the infamous “German-Jewish symbiosis” before the rise of Nazism, as well as a new framework for the understanding of the German “national” film in the years leading to Hitler’s regime.’
–> Review (in German)