Live Screening & Presentation: Film Forum NYC

“Soundies: Glamour, Gender and A Little More Libido”

Ed Coleman of Day, Dawn, and Dusk in “Faust”

In celebration of Pride Month, on Monday, June 20 at 6:30 p.m., I’ll be at Film Forum with another program pulled from the full Soundies catalog—this one featuring films that play with and push back on stereotypes of women and the exclusionary, emphatically heterosexual culture of the World War II era. 


Along with early-career glimpses of Dorothy Dandridge, dancer Cyd Charisse, and Fantasy Island star Ricardo Montalban, the program spotlights Soundies performers who reflect a looser, more expansive vision of 1940s America—including vocal trio Day, Dawn, and Dusk, the fabulous De Castro Sisters, and “dance impersonator” Arica Wild.  Monday, June 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Monday, JUNE 20 6:30pm
$9.00 Member
$15.00 Regular


Film Forum

209 West Houston St. west of 6th Ave.
Map and Directions
Box Office: 212-727-8110

Shortlisted for Prestigious Award

Exciting news! Soundies and the Changing Image of Black Americans on Screen: One Dime at a Time has been shortlisted for the 2022 Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award.

A joint project of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Clive Davis Institute at NYU, and the Pop Conference—and underwritten by the Wenner Journalism Fund—the award commemorates a defining figure in the music and pop culture landscape. Ralph J. Gleason (1917-1975) covered jazz, pop, and rock with passion and great insight, and—among other things—co-founded Rolling Stone magazine and the Monterey Jazz Festival.

The Soundies book is one of 15 titles chosen from close to 70 submissions, by a jury of distinguished music writers and scholars including Laina Dawes, Nelson George, Alisha Lola Jones, Greil Marcus, and Amanda Petrusich.

They’ve put together a terrific shortlist, and I’m honored to be part of it.

The award announcement is scheduled for June.

.Soundies bookcover

Soundies Book on “Archival Spaces”

Just catching up with the essay that Jan-Christopher Horak, former director of the UCLA Film and Television Archive, wrote about Soundies and the Changing Image of Black Americans on Screen: One Dime at a Time, which he posted on his Archival Spaces website in January. 

Calling it “a must-read for anyone interested in the history of African American popular culture,” he pulls together several of the book’s key points in a short, quick piece. (With a lot of images.)

Click here for the Archival Spaces website, then scroll down to entry #287.

Virtual Book Talk: Desmond-Fish Library

Desmond-Fish2 3 20 22

On Sunday, March 20 at 4 p.m. (Eastern time), nationally acclaimed jazz musician  Gwen Laster will join me for an online Soundies conversation.

The program is presented by the Desmond-Fish Public Library in collaboration with Split Rock Books in Cold Spring, where Hudson Valley readers can pick up the book before, during, and after the event. 

Can’t wait to hear Gwen’s thoughts on Soundies–especially the ones with women musicians. I hope you’ll join us for an hour of conversation, music, and Soundies.

Missed the conversation?   Watch it here.


4 P.M.
Desmond-Fish Public Library



Live Screening & Presentation: Film Forum


Background images: Dorothy Dandridge in "A Zoot Suit"
Background images: Dorothy Dandridge in “A Zoot Suit”

For friends in the New York area, on Thursday, February 10 at 6:50 p.m., I’ll be at Film Forum with a program pulled from the full Soundies catalog—part of the series “NYC’s Movie Renaissance 1945-1955.”


The program focuses on Soundies shot and set in New York, including many Black-cast Soundies filmed at the old Edison studios in the Bronx. On screen: Duke Ellington, Nat “King” Cole, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, among others, along with a teenage Doris Day and a very young Liberace. Thursday, Feb. 10 at 6:50 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 10 6:50pm
$9.00 Member
$15.00 Regular


Film Forum

209 West Houston St. west of 6th Ave.
Map and Directions
Box Office: 212-727-8110
Part of the series NYC’S MOVIE RENAISSANCE 1945 – 1955

Radio Conversation: WBAI


Courtesy Muzen Audio

On Friday, Jan. 28 at 1 p.m., I’ll be on the WBAI radio show “Lopate at Large,” talking about the book and the upcoming Feb. 10 Soundies program at Film Forum.


We’ll be joined by film historian Richard Koszarski, whose terrific new book on postwar New York filmmaking inspired the Film Forum series that my Soundies program is part of: “NYC’s Movie Renaissance 1945–1955.” Should be an interesting conversation!

Missed the conversation? Listen to it in the WBAI archive:


Friday, jan. 28             1 pm
WBAI 99.5 FM





Virtual Book Talk: Dora Maar House

On Sunday, January 23 (11 a.m. NY,  5 p.m. France), I’ll be Zooming with award-winning author Gwen Strauss, director of Dora Maar House—the writing residency where the book got its start. Whatever you might have in your cup—a morning coffee, an evening cocktail—I hope you’ll join us for an hour of conversation and Soundies.

Missed the conversation?  Watch it on the Dora Maar YouTube channel:


SUNDAY, Jan. 23
11 a.m. Eastern
5 p.m. in France
Dora Maar House logo

Flash! Soundies Book on Amazon


On Dec. 24, 2021, the Soundies book hit #1 on Amazon’s list of Hot New Releases in Music Recording and Sound–ahead of David Bowie and the Rolling Stones.

It didn’t last–the ratings are updated hourly–but it was a wonderful Christmas Eve gift.

And it happened again today, Dec. 30.

It’s been fun posting the news on social media. Look for the hashtag #beatingbowieforamoment.