So if this was a normal spring, I’d be attending the San Francisco Silent Film Festival right now, sitting in my usual spot in the darkened Castro Theater. But just in case you haven’t heard, it’s not a normal spring, and my lovely festival has been postponed until November (fingers crossed me and my pals will all be there!). This is doubly sad since I usually head to Hollywood for a few day afterwards. Indeed, my soul cries out for those palm trees, that smell of blooming jasmine, those Walk of Fame stars, even that weird jumble of street performers and tourists on Hollywood Boulevard getting bottlenecked by dumb sidewalk vendors selling cheap toys no one ever, ever needs.
You can’t see me because a vendor took up half the sidewalk to sell foam plastic emojis and I got trampled.
So in lieu of film festival revelries, I thought it’d be fun to share some of my fondest silent film-related travel memories (so far)! I love, love, love to travel, and some of my favorite trips have involved visiting sites related to the silent era. If there’s even a slight chance to stand on a street corner where Harold Lloyd once filmed or take in a rare exhibit of German Expressionist memorabilia, I’m there! So here are my reminisces. And please, when you’re done reading feel free to share some of your silent-themed travel experiences too! Continue reading →
In my recent review of TheAliceHowellCollection I mentioned that the 101-year-old actress Fay McKenzie, who appeared as a baby in Distilled Love (1920), got to enjoy a special screening of the short thanks to historian Stan Taffel and relative Bryan Cooper. Isn’t that just the best? Well, the news broke recently that Fay passed away peacefully in her sleep on April 16, just two weeks after I posted my review. Amazingly, she had been in films on and off throughout her whole life, starting with infant/child roles in silent films starring such luminaries as Colleen Moore, and eventually becoming known as Gene Autry’s leading lady in the 1940s.
So thanks to several carefully-planned Hollywoodtrips, I’ve been very fortunate to visit some really cool silent-related locations, such as the site of the former Keystone studio, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Roosevelt Hotel, the Chaplin studio, Buster Keaton’s gravesite, the Egyptian Theatre, Musso & Frank’s, and the closest a stranger can legally get to Buster’s Italian Villa.
About this close (before the guard comes out).
I’ve also had priceless experiences at both the Buster Keaton Convention in Muskegon, Michigan and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. For a classic film lover, each and every one of these experiences was a dream come true–from the big festivals to the little moments like relaxing in L.A.’s Echo Park and thinking, “That’s the same lake all those Keystone comedians had to jump into!”
If the water wasn’t…questionable, I would totally jump in too.
But there’s still several places I’m bound and determined to visit one day, and as of right now these sites are in my top 6: Continue reading →
Here’s the first in a few posts recapping the highlights of my recent week in Hollywood. Hope you enjoy!
As you may remember, after attending the San Francisco Silent Film Festival earlier this month I also went on a good long trip to Hollywood. This time, not only did I revisit some beloved locations like Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Chaplin studio (I finally achieved my goal of having Breakfast at Charlie’s), the Cahuenga alley and Echo Park (which to me is actually Keystone Comedy Park), but I sought out some new places too (like finally making it to the Griffith Observatory, 10/10 would recommend). And after being asked by about 50,000 people handing out fliers on Hollywood Boulevard if I wanted to go on a tour, I decided that yes, actually I would like to try out a tour.
Ah, but little did the 50,000 flier-touting people know that I already had a tour booked. And not just any tour–the TCM Movie Locations bus tour!