Coney Island Ask the Experts

Coney Island USA Events

Saturday, August 6, 5:00 pm

Ask The Experts:

Cezar Del Valle
Author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III

In this lively presentation, Del Valle explores a forgotten aspect of Coney Island history–theatre.
He will discuss not only the architecture, of which very few buildings are still extant, but also the entertainment culture going back to the late 1800s.

Talk is Included with Museum Admission. $5 for Adults,
$3 for Seniors, Kids (under 12) and residents of Zip Code 11224, at the door.

Coney Island Museum

1208 Surf Avenue

Brooklyn, New York 11224

Email: museum@coneyisland.com

Review of January 2015 talk

0031` loew's
Loew’s Coney Island

 

Legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle celebrating 20 years of theatre talks and walks, 1996-2016. Currently accepting bookings for historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.  Details of independent walks will be published this fall.

Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

Selling  on Etsy and Amazon

Theatre Talks Returns to WordPress

After a brief hiatus, Theatre Talks returns to WordPress with news and updates since our last posting of November 20, 2014.

Amusing the Zillion reviews The Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III

 

2015-01-19_145002_peSunday, December 14, 2014
Book Launch and Talk: The Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III
440 Gallery, 440 6th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Review: Travalanche
Photograph: copyright Betty Sword, all rights reserved

Inman_pe

Saturday, January 10. 2015
Book Reading and Signing: The Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III
Coney Island Museum, 1208 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Review: Coney Island Blog
Photograph: Karen Seiger

New Required Coney Island Reading
The Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III is now available at the Coney Island USA Gift Shop.
Their website has not been updated but the book is available. Please ask.

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society Final volume published in September 2014.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc

Now selling “vintage” on Etsy.

 

 

 

 

Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III

Announcing  publication of

The Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III
Coney Island including Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach

Available on Amazon* or from the Author

coneyThe first two volumes chosen 2010 Outstanding Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society

*For those in the UK

Cezar Del Valle is available for theatre talks and walks in 2014-15: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

 

The Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume III

Update April 2014

Integrative Ink is now formatting for publication:

The Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III
Coney Island Including Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach

The book will be available in June 2014, just in time for the summer at Coney Island.

Bowery

 

Excerpts from the New York Sun, October 31, 1931:

“In the old days the music halls of the Bowery ran early and late. The girls on a stage at the rear could be seen from the street, but only their legs were visible. A curtain drop shielded the rest of the body. If you wanted to see more you went inside at the earnest solicitation of a barker who would not permit a crowd to block the entrance.”

“If you wanted to see more of the Bowery girls and witness their performance you entered and took a seat to be waited on at a table by a waiter who wore an apron and whose arms were bare. He was a busy fellow working on commission, and if you did not buy his beer fast enough to suit him, he did not hesitate to tell you some persons were waiting to take your seat.

“The show in these places would not satisfy today, but it was the real thing then. There were other places of entertainment outside these girl shows. Motion pictures then a little crude were shown, and Stauch’s dance hall had one of the largest floors in the country, where music was supplied by two bands.”

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2014, historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

The Birth of A Nation at Brighton Beach

“When the history of motion pictures is written, ‘The Birth of a Nation‘ must head the chapter of the first great development in film productions” (  The Brooklyn Eagle, July 3, 1915).

In 1915, William H. Kemble, manager of the Brighton Beach Music Hall, bid $65,000 for the “next set of films” of Griffith’s Civil War spectacle, inching out a theatre in Philadelphia  by $2,000. Theatrical circles considered it a coup for Kemble since the  film was still playing to capacity in Manhattan and theatres in all the big cities of America were bidding for it.

When the film made its début as The Clansman at Clune’s Auditorium, in Los Angeles, an “augmented orchestra” of 70 provided accompaniment. William Kemble arranged for a “special orchestra of fifty” led by Louis Reinhard, musical director for B.F. Keith’s Orpheum Theatre. Reinhard, in turn, engaged George May, the musical director of Hammerstein’s Theatre in Manhattan, to assist him.

The Birth of A Nation made its Brooklyn début on the evening of July 2, 1915, with the Twenty-Third Regiment of the Old Guard of the Civil War Veterans and the Officers of the Ninth Coast Artillery marching pass the Brighton Beach Hotel.  Mayor John Mitchell and Borough President Lewis H. Pounds were suppose to review the troops but both failed to show. This left Public Works Commissioner Edmund W. Voorhries to represent the city at the special performance. Setting the martial tone for the evening, the troops filled the Music Hall balcony and marched out in unison at the end. An audience of “considerable distinction” gathered afterwards at the Brighton Beach Hotel for a reception and dance arranged by the Music Hall management.

The Brooklyn Eagle, July 18, 1915The Brooklyn Eagle, July 15, 1915

The Brooklyn Eagle, July 3, 1915, lavish in its praise: “It is the first picture to place the work of the camera on a plane where it commands consideration as a distinct art, combining the essentials of dramatic and pictorial art, and revealing possibilities almost unbelievable a few years ago.”

The racists overtones of the film were not lost on the Eagle, commenting on the Klu Klux  Klansman in their “spotless robes” and spreading the “sins of a portion of blacks over a whole race”. “The ends of civilization and of justice are not to be served by perpetuating ignorance.”

They felt that D.W. Griffith could  “largely be absolved from blame.” The fault rest with the original play by Thomas Dixon and was “impossible to completely overcome.”

The Birth of a Nation played to packed houses that summer, extra trains and free parking added to accommodate a crowd willing to pay up to $2.00 for an evening ticket, an extraordinary  amount at that time.  By mid-July, the Music Hall was selling tickets “four weeks in advance.” Telephone reservations could be made. Tickets ordered through the mail or purchased at several Brooklyn locations. Originally scheduled to end in the beginning of September, it was held over to October 4th. People returning from summer holiday requesting to see the film. The motion picture had moved on beyond the storefront nickelodeons and the one-reeler, in the words of the Brooklyn Eagle “revealing possibilities almost unbelievable a few years ago.”