Archive for the EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES Category

Trav and Fields at Metrograph This Thursday

Posted in Comedians, Comedy, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, Hollywood (History), Movies, PLUGS, W.C. Fields with tags , , , on December 26, 2016 by travsd

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Fields Fest continues! Come see me and Dr. Harriet Fields (W.C.’s only granddaughter, a global health advocate) as we present the neglected 1935 WC Fields classic Man on the Flying Trapeze, this Thursday, January 29 at Metrograph. Information and tickets are here

Yesterday’s W.C. Fields Talk in Astoria, Queens

Posted in Comedians, Comedy, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, Hollywood (History), ME, Movies, My Shows, Silent Film, W.C. Fields with tags , , , , on December 11, 2016 by travsd
I love this one -- looks like I want to murder an audience member. yet this was one of those rare occasions when I didn't (want to do that)

I love this one — it looks like I want to murder an audience member. Yet this was one of those rare occasions when I didn’t (want to do that). Photo by DeeAnne Gorman.

We had a delightful afternoon yesterday addressing our friends at the Greater Astoria Historical Society on the subject of W.C. Fields silent film features. This was our third or fourth talk at the GAHS I think, and I’ve grown to love the warm, small-town feeling of the place. They have terrific collections and lectures — if you live anywhere nearby it’s well worth a visit. Board Member Bob Singleton showed me their latest major acquisition — a 19th century Steinway piano. (The Steinway factory is nearby, it’s a major part of the history of the area). Here, I am looking just a hair friendlier during the Q & A:

Photo by Bruce Shaffer

Photo by Bruce Shaffer

The talk was part of Fields Fest, our two-month tribute to the great comedian W.C. Fields. We’ll be posting the text of my talk here in a few days. Don’t miss our next entertaining lecture W.C. Fields: From Dime Museums to the Jazz Age, which is tomorrow at the Morbid Anatomy Museum! All the details here. 

This Monday: A Talk at the Morbid Anatomy Museum

Posted in Broadway, Comedians, Comedy, Dime Museum and Side Show, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, Jugglers, ME, My Shows, PLUGS, Vaudeville etc., W.C. Fields with tags , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2016 by travsd

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Monday, December 12, 7pm: “W.C. Fields: From Dime Museums to the Jazz Age” an illustrated talk by Trav S.D., sponsored by Zelda Magazine 

A look at screen comedian W.C. Fields’ growth from humble sideshow and dime museum juggler to sketch comedian and one of the biggest stars of sophisticated Broadway revues like the Ziegfeld Follies, George White’ Sandals and Earl Carrol’s Vanities. Along the way meet the glittering stars he shared the limelight with like Louise Brooks, Fanny Brice, Will Rogers and Eddie Cantor. Admission: $8. Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn NY. Tickets and information here. 

Tomorrow: W.C. Fields in Astoria!

Posted in Comedians, Comedy, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, Hollywood (History), Movies, My Shows, PLUGS, Silent Film, W.C. Fields with tags , , , on December 9, 2016 by travsd
"Sally of the Sawdust" (1925)

“Sally of the Sawdust” (1925)

Saturday, December 10, 1:30pm: “W.C. Fields in Astoria: The Paramount Silents”

Many people know that W.C. Fields had one of the most distinctive speaking voices of the classic comedy era. What they may not realize is that prior to the advent of talking pictures, Fields was a SILENT comedy star. From 1924 through 1928 he appeared in ten Paramount features filmed at that studio’s Astoria Queens facility. In this illustrated talk author and lecturer Trav S.D. takes you up close to this lesser known stretch of the Great Man’s career, and shows how much of Fields’ silent work presaged his better known talkies.

At Greater Astoria Historical Society, the Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor, Queens: www.astorialic.org

Two Exciting Talks This Coming Week — Plus More!

Posted in Christmas, Comedians, Comedy, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, HOLIDAYS/ FESTIVALS/ MEMORIALS/ PARADES, Indie Theatre, ME, My Shows, W.C. Fields with tags , on December 8, 2016 by travsd

Here’s what’s coming up the next few days in Fields Fest — and beyond!

 

"Sally of the Sawdust" (1925)

“Sally of the Sawdust” (1925)

Saturday, December 10, 1:30pm: “W.C. Fields in Astoria: The Paramount Silents”

Many people know that W.C. Fields had one of the most distinctive speaking voices of the classic comedy era. What they may not realize is that prior to the advent of talking pictures, Fields was a SILENT comedy star. From 1924 through 1928 he appeared in ten Paramount features filmed at that studio’s Astoria Queens facility. In this illustrated talk author and lecturer Trav S.D. takes you up close to this lesser known stretch of the Great Man’s career, and shows how much of Fields’ silent work presaged his better known talkies. At Greater Astoria Historical Society, Queens: www.astorialic.org

220px-wcfields36682u

Monday, December 12, 7pm: “W.C. Fields: From Dime Museums to the Jazz Age” an illustrated talk by Trav S.D., sponsored by Zelda Magazine 

A look at screen comedian W.C. Fields’ growth from humble sideshow and dime museum juggler to sketch comedian and one of the biggest stars of sophisticated Broadway revues like the Ziegfeld Follies, George White’ Sandals and Earl Carrol’s Vanities. Along the way meet the glittering stars he shared the limelight with like Louise Brooks, Fanny Brice, Will Rogers and Eddie Cantor. Admission: $8. Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn NY

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Art by Carolyn Stewart

Wednesday, December 21, 7:00 pm: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians! 

Glen Heroy is Santa Claus by way of W.C. Fields! Noah Diamond and Matt Roper as the funny members of the Marx Brothers who talk! Melody Jane as a beautiful martian princess! Trav S.D. as an evil martian Emperor! Zero Boy on sound effects and narration! And many, many more TBA in this holiday reading of Trav S.D.’s mash-up up of the kitchy Grade Z Christmas classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, along with Laurel and Hardy’s Babes in Toyland a.k.a March of the Wooden Soldiers, Rankin-Bass specials, and the socialistic writings of Bertolt Brecht and Jack London! Can Elves and Bogeyman truly band together to thwart the hostile take-over of Earth by an Orange Faced Oligarch from Outer Space? Beats me, you sure won’t find out in this play! Plus music and variety TBD! Please come help us seriously cut loose and exorcise this terrible year. More intoxicating than a cup of cocoa with a shot of Peppermint Schnapps! It’s all happening at the Kraine Theatre, East 4th Street, Tickets $10: Get ’em here.

 

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Thursday, December 29, 7:00: The Man on the Flying Trapeze

A screening of W.C. Field’s often overlooked 1935 Paramount classic The Man on the Flying Trapeze at Metrograph. Celebrity guest speaker TBA.

 

Pix of Thursday’s Talk at the NYPL

Posted in Comedians, Comedy, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, ME, My Shows, W.C. Fields with tags , , , , on December 3, 2016 by travsd

As promised, here’s a little photo record of Thursday’s talk at the NYPL main branch on “W.C. Fields in Vaudeville”. As they say on social media, “Pictures — or it didn’t happen!” This batch was taken by the talented and generous Jonathan Smith (except for the one he appears in below of course). I’ll be converting the talk into an essay and sharing it here later this month. As always, the NYPL staff were impeccable hosts and they brought me a terrific crowd of interested civilians. This event was part of Fields Fest, our celebration of the life and career of W.C. Fields. For info on upcoming Fields Fest events go here.

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Previous to the talk. They don’t have a green room, you just have to stew in your own juices in full view of the audience. I tried to think of nice thoughts like young fawns and bunnies frolicking in a glen. Oh, wait, no! That’s “Bambi”! [BLAM!]

Hawkin' the merch. Ya know, like you do

Hawkin’ the merch. Ya know, like ya do

 

Dr. Harriet Fields. W.C.'s one and only granddaughter was om hand, to add magic to the proceedings

Dr. Harriet Fields. W.C.’s one and only granddaughter was on hand to add magic to the proceedings

 

I like this close-up because you can see her grand-dad on screen behind her

I like this close-up because you can see her grand-dad on screen behind her

 

The Happy Glow of Aftermath

The Happy Glow of Aftermath

 

Photobombed by Smith! But he's earned a bow for taking these excellent pix. Thanks, Jonathan!

Photobombed by Smith! But he’s earned a bow for taking these excellent pix. Thanks, Jonathan!

Last Night’s “Marx Brothers on Broadway” Program

Posted in Broadway, Comedy, Comedy Teams, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, Marx Brothers with tags , , , , on December 1, 2016 by travsd

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A good time was had by all last night at Noah Diamond’s “Marx Brothers on Broadway” talk at the Morbid Anatomy Museum, sponsored by Zelda Magazine. The capacity crowd was full of hard-core Marxian fans. The reason I know? This was far from a talk for beginners: this was about a lesser known phase of the comedy team’s career, and the crowd was fully engaged, laughed at the right parts, and asked knowledgeable questions. I always review the audience, and this one got an A grade.
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Don Spiro, publisher and editor of Zelda, introduced the program:

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Then came Noah:

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Noah’s talk knocked my socks off. Apart from the content, it may have been the best, most artful and animated Powerpoint presentation I’ve ever seen. But the talk itself was fascinating, taking us all the way from the Marx Brothers later vaudeville days when they were expanding to tab musicals (and outgrowing them), through their three Broadway smashes, I’ll Say She Is, The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers. He spoke of the evolution of the team and their familiar characters and exploded many of the famous myths about them (e.g., the misrepresentation of Margaret Dumont as a clueless woman who didn’t get the Marxes’ humor, and the idea that the New York critics had never heard of the Marx Brothers until their Broadway debut). There was a humorous explication of the lyrics of “The Monkey Doodle Doo”. And, because yesterday happened to be the anniversary of Zeppo’s death, there was a moment of respectful contemplation of the much-maligned Marx, which initially provoked a guffaw, but turned out to be quite moving. He also did a purposely (and hilariously) mangled version of the usual capsule version of their history — a kind of inside joke for long time fans of the team.

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Other special treats: video of the Napoleon scene from the recent revival of I’ll Say She Is, and performances of two scenes from the Broadway shows The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers which were cut from their movie versions, with Noah as Groucho of course, Matt Roper as Chico, Matt Walters as Zeppo, with Melody Jane and Kathy Biehl. Another special treat was a recorded rendition of the Animal Crackers song “Four of the Three Musketeers”, one of the great Marxian lost treasures. This was just the top of the iceberg really. Noah Diamond works very hard.

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Greeting the fans, and (gasp!) signing autographs!

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Two hard core classic comedy buffs — funnyman Dave Konig and actor director Allan Lewis Rickman

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A beaming Biehl

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Walters with Sarah Lahue, ISSI SM.

Author and Marxfest founder Kevin Fitzpatrick with the one and only Melody Jane

Author and Marxfest founder Kevin Fitzpatrick with the one and only Melody Jane

This talk was part of a regular series at the Morbid Anatomy Museum sponsored by Zelda. The next one is December 12, and the speaker will be my humble self, and my text will be “W.C. Fields: From Dime Museums to the Jazz Age“. I hope you can attend! Stay tuned!

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