Tag Archives: Bertolt Brecht


The unconcerned sunbathers on the beach [in Los Angeles], their hairless bodies glistening and brown, the gigantic trucks rumbling on the highway, the supermarkets with their mountains of food, the studios with the oh-so-relaxed employees, the chatting extras pouring out from the stages at lunch time, the pompous executives marching to their “exclusive dining room” or the barbershop, stopping to chat with the endearing “young talent”—all these familiar scenes were a nerve-wracking contrast to the war horror…

What the [studio] producers want is an original but familiar, unusual but popular, moralistic but sexy, true but improbable, tender but violent, slick but highbrow masterpiece. When they have that, then they can “work on it” and make it “commercial” to justify their high salaries. — Salka Viertel

Salka Viertel was an Austrian actress and very early exile from Europe’s rising Fascist tide who settled in Santa Monica in 1928 to become a Hollywood scenarist, close friend of Greta Garbo, and catalyst behind an expanding West Coast salon of expats dubbed “Weimar on the Pacific” by Ehrhard Bahr.

As part of UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance virtual program L.A. Omnibus, Donna Rifkind—author of The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler’s Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood—will discuss Viertel’s achievements within her circle, which included Bertolt Brecht, Thomas Mann, Charlie Chaplin, Ernst Lubitsch, Sergei Eisenstein, Arnold Schoenberg, Christopher Isherwood, and Aldous Huxley. See link below for details.

As I began to read the histories of the two intersecting arenas where Salka Viertel rang up her accomplishments during the 1930s and 1940s—the film studios of Hollywood’s Golden Age and the gathering places of the antifascist emigration—I found myself asking again and again: where are all the women? I read dozens of thoughtful, entertaining, even groundbreaking works about Hollywood in which women who were not wives, secretaries, or movie stars scarcely make an appearance. Yet women worked in every department of the studios. They were screenwriters, editors, researchers, readers, publicists, costumers, hair and makeup artists. Often below the line and unglorified, women were nonetheless vital to the success of these vast, complex organizations, and some of them wielded genuine influence if not actual power. Where are their stories? — Donna Rifkind*


Center for the Art of Performance UCLA

Thursday, October 8.

7 pm on the West Coast; 10 pm East Coast.

*Donna Rifkind, from the introduction to The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler’s Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood (New York: Other Press, 2020).

From top: Salka Viertel (right) and Greta Garbo at Viertel’s house, 165 Mabery Road, Santa Monica; Viertel in Anna Christie (1931), photograph courtesy and © MGM, via Photofest; Salka Viertel, The Kindness of Strangers, cover image courtesy and © New York Review Books; Donna Rifkind, The Sun and Her Stars, cover image courtesy and © Other Press; Rifkind, courtesy and © the author; Sergei Eisenstein and Viertel in Santa Monica in the 1930s.


It’s great to be a provocateur. That’s what the world needs, this provocation. It stimulates thought and it stimulates ideas. It stimulates all kinds of conversations that don’t really have anything to do with the man himself. And who cares about the man himself? We’re looking at his art. — Charlotte Rampling

He was a little bit pervert, but so am I so it’s okay. — Grace Jones

I do consider myself a feminist, but I do consider the expression of machismo as an expression of a culture. Now, of course, Helmet wasn’t simply macho—it was more complicated than that—but he does look at a woman as a sexual object, and also an attraction and an anger toward herIt was actually extraordinary that Helmut was accepted by the industry because he was much more dangerous—much more ambiguous and frightening—than an Avedon or a Penn… Helmut photographed women the way Leni Riefenstahl photographed men. Isabella Rossellini

Susan Sontag: As a woman, I find your photos very misogynist. For me it’s very unpleasant.

Bernard Pivot: You find him unpleasant?

Sontag: Yes. Not the man, the work… I never thought the man would look like the work. To the contrary. Even if you live through your work, you can be nice. I don’t expect a person to look like their work. Especially when it’s about fantasies and dreams.

Helmut Newton: I love women. There is nothing I love more.

Sontag: A lot of misogynist men say that. I am not impressed.

Newton: I swear—

Sontag: I’m sorry, I don’t think this is the truth. There’s an objective truth. The master adores his slave. The executioner loves his victim. A lot of misogynist men say they love women, but show them in a humiliating way.

Helmut actually loved strong women. — Nadja Auermann

When you’re 20 years old, 1.80 meters tall with blonde hair, you feel like a hunted deer. And Helmut Newton’s pictures made me stronger. I controlled the situation. I wasn’t the deer. I was equal to the hunter. I could decide what to do. I think a lot of people misunderstood that. — Sylvia Gobbel

I was very shy; I’d just turned 17. There was never a moment where I felt uncomfortable. I was just an amazing experience where I walked away saying, “This man is incredible.” He had a sort of twinkle in his eye—nothing serious, everything understated and very witty… Definitely, when I look at the pictures, it’s not me. It’s his imagination… I love the fact that I can be this different, through his lens.— Claudia Schiffer

I think he was Weimar. That’s how I think of him—connected to Brecht and Weill and George Grosz, that wonderful period of German Expressionism—that was Helmut. — Marianne Faithfull

Berlin for him was the very best of the Weimar Republic. Everything is possible, everything is allowed… What he liked about me was my guttersnipe style. I was not the usual elegant glamorous woman, but rather I had a portion of originality that comes from the lower classes of society. I suppose he also really like the eroticism of maids… It’s related to this Berlin period. — Hanna Schygulla

I loved my parents, they were great—very different influence on me. My mother was a very spoiled woman and quite hysterical in many ways, but pretty wonderful. And she encouraged me very much to become a photographer. My father was horrified by the idea. “You take pictures on the weekend for a hobby, my boy. You’ll end up in the gutter, my boy.” He was right, I did. But I had a good time in the gutter. — Helmut Newton*

The aesthetic of Helmut Newton—whose era is more distant from us now than the inspirational Weimar years were to Newton’s 1970s heyday—still provokes and intrigues, even in our less frivolous times.

In the excellent new documentary feature HELMUT NEWTON—THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL—now streaming on Kino Lorber’s Kino Marquee—filmmaker Gero von Boehm captures the great photographer’s obsession with the female form pushed to the edge of submission or absolute triumph.


Laemmle, Los Angeles.

Lumiere Cinema at the Music Hall, Los Angeles.

*Quotations and dialog from Gero von Boehm, Helmut Newton—The Bad and the Beautiful, courtesy of the filmmaker, Kino Lorber, and Nadja Auermann, Marianne Faithfull, Sylvia Gobbel, Grace Jones, Charlotte Rampling, Isabella Rossellini, Claudia Schiffer, and Hanna Schygulla. Susan Sontag segment originally from Apostrophes, 1979.

Helmut Newton, from top: Grace Jones and Dolph Lundgren, Los Angeles, 1985; Gero von Boehm, Helmut Newton—The Bad and the Beautiful (2020), still, Grace Jones; Grace Jones; Helmut Newton—The Bad and the Beautiful, still, Isabella Rossellini; David Lynch and Isabella Rossellini, Los Angeles, 1988; Faye Dunaway, 1987, Vanity Fair cover shoot; Charlotte Rampling, Arles, 1973; Paloma Picasso, St. Tropez, 1973; Elsa Peretti in Halston Bunny Costume, 1975; Newton in Berlin in the 1930s (2), shortly before leaving Germany; A Cure for a Black Eye, Jerry Hall, 1974; Alice Springs and Newton, Us and Them (Helmut and June Newton). Images courtesy and © the Helmut Newton Foundation, June Newton, Gero von Boehm, Lupa Film, and Kino Lorber.


Is there a through line from Capone’s Chicago and Hitler’s Germany to the current Washington interregnum? Director Frédérique Michel and producer Charles Duncombe make a good case in their City Garage production of Bertolt Brecht’s THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI, featuring a very strong performance by Andrew Loviska in the title role.



Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm. Sunday matinees at 3 pm.

Additional matinee, Saturday, July 21, at 4 pm.

CITY GARAGE, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica.


Above: Andrew Loviska (standing) and Lindsay Plake in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.

Below: Loviska (foreground) with (left to right) Trace Taylor, Gifford Irvine, Beau Smith, and Michael Cortez.

Image credit: City Garage.







The literary quarterly ANTÆUS was founded by Paul Bowles and Daniel Halpern, and bankrolled by Drue Heinz—the Pittsburgh literary patron and philanthropist who founded Ecco Press, and who died earlier this year.

Publisher of Bertolt Brecht, Adrienne Rich, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Thom Gunn, Richard Howard, Jane Bowles, James Merrill, Margaret Atwood, Russell Banks, Ann Beattie, Muriel Rukeyser, James Purdy, Gore Vidal, Sandra Cisneros, Don Delillo, Richard Ford, Nadine Gordimer, William Burroughs, R. K. Narayan, Jane Smiley, Tennessee Williams, Paul Goodman, William Trevor, Tobias Wolff and many others, ANTÆUS was published from 1970 to 1994.

See: nytimes.com/drue-heinz-a-philanthropist-of-literature-dies-at-103

See: dreamersrise.blogspot.com.tr/antaeus-1970-1994