A birthday shout out today to Adrian Scott, progressive producer, member of the Hollywood Ten, principled American. A man of both enormous creative vision and great personal integrity, Scott was at the cutting edge of a new political filmmaking in the 1940s, producing a flurry of films addressing fascism, anti-Semitism, class inequities, and the horrors… Read More Happy Birthday, Adrian Scott
You can’t win it if you’re not in it. When I worked in the UC humanities institute world, this is the advice I routinely gave the scholars I coached on proposals for research funding. Two years ago, almost by accident, I began taking my own advice — and I learned some valuable lessons along the… Read More Power of a Proposal
I’ve been working on a chapter that involves Margot Black’s flight from fascist Europe in the summer of 1940, following the German invasion of France that spring. In the novel, Margot is aided by American journalist Varian Fry and his network of diplomats and do-gooders who worked, often extra-legally, to help leading Jewish and/or radical… Read More Your Papers, Please
This is some marketing copy I wrote in 2012 or 2013, in a crime fiction class with Lynne Hightower. Thousands of words later, much has changed, and yet the general outline still holds. At that point, I imagined I was writing a genre novel and that I would bang it out quickly and…. Of course,… Read More Margot Black Is Back!
I’ve been participating off and on in National Novel Writing Month for close to a decade. I absolutely love the idea that for thirty days in November hundreds of thousands of writers around the world are throwing their hearts and minds into the writing of a novel. Even though I’ve only hit the 50,000 word… Read More NaNoWriMo: Serious Fun
My book Caught in the Crossfire grew out of my lifelong passion for novels and movies (especially crime fiction and film noir), a commitment to progressive politics past and present, and a critical moment of archival serendipity. As I was beginning my dissertation research, I took a trip to the State Historical Society in Madison, Wisconsin. At… Read More How I Got Caught in the Crossfire
Originally posted on December 13, 2018 at creative-egghead.com Last winter I came to the Fountain of Youth intending to jumpstart — and hopefully finish — The File on Margot Black, the historical novel project inspired by my academic work on the 1947 film Crossfire and the House Un-American Activities investigation into Hollywood radicalism. Even as I was working… Read More Auf Wiedersehen, Margot Black
CROSSFIRE @ 70 Seventy years ago today, Crossfire – Hollywood’s first postwar film to tackle the problem of anti-Semitism in America – premiered at the Rivoli Theatre in New York City in a “blaze of glory.” The Radio Flash, RKO studio’s in-house exhibitor newsletter, crowed over eager movie-goers forming lines around the block, standees in the back of… Read More Le Plus Ca Change: