Excerpt from Oscar Wilde's essay, Impressions of America, "From Salt Lake City one travels over the great plains of Colorado and up the Rocky Mountains, on the top of which is Leadville, the richest city in the world. It has also got the reputation of being the roughest, and every man carries a revolver. I was told that if I went there they would be sure to shoot me or my travelling manager. I wrote and told them that nothing that they could do to my travelling manager would intimidate me.
Oscar Wilde recorded, in his Impressions of America, that when he visited Leadville, Colorado in April of 1882, he was lowered in a bucket to the bottom of one of Horace Tabor's mines and while at the bottom of the mine, he was treated to a three-course dinner hosted by a group of rough and ready miners. Dinner was described thusly, "The first course was whisky, the second course was whisky and the third course was whisky."
Based on this photo, you may not guess that the author and journalist, Eugene Field, had a wicked sense of humor. During his tenure as the editor of the Denver Tribune (1880-1883), he pulled many pranks on his friends and acquaintances and even visiting dignitaries.
If any music can be said to have charms to soothe the savage breast -- it just might be the ebullient sounds of Caribbean steel drums. Originally coming to the fore during WWII in Trinidad, steel drums were developed by African slaves who were brought to the islands of Trinidad and Tobago to work on French and Spanish plantations. The music of these instruments became a direct link to the music of their homeland.
This Saturday, Denver Public Library hosts Toco Bay, the Colorado duo that uses steel pans to create a beautiful and joyous concert.
Marlene Dietrich started her career as a film actress in 1930. Born in 1901, she was thirty before American audiences discovered her in Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel; she became a film superstar and yet she was past the age of ingenue -- a rarity in Hollywood. But she learned auteur and Hollywood lighting and makeup techniques from von Sternberg, who had pioneered 'butterfly lighting' to create perfect shadows on Dietrich's face when photographed in close-ups and medium shots.
Ernest Hemingway was once just a school kid with hopes and aspirations like every other kid. Yet he grew up to be a definitive American author with a distinctive style; and he lived a life that could have been torn from the pages of one of his own books. Author Nancy Sindelar, who once worked as a teacher in Hemingway's high school, has written a fascinating book about the people and places that made Hemingway into the author and man who culturally dominated the last century.
By the time Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins made the film, Old Acquaintance, in 1943, their feud was part of the publicity for their film showdown. The two actresses had apparently had a rivalry since their days on Broadway in 1928 when they were in the same acting troupe (except at this time, Hopkins was on top professionally).
Fresh City Life will be taking a brief detour from our regularly scheduled programming of high-minded, culturally significant fare to ring in Valentine's Day with a presentation of Xanadu. It is arguably one of the finest worst films ever made. And it is a ton of fun.