Of course, The Lost Art of Being a Dame is not really lost at all. It is alive and well at these wonderful sites where you can find great content that is entertaining, informative, and dame-rific as all get out. I recommend you bookmark:
I love “old movies,” but ever since I was 12 and saw my first lascivious half-naked chorine frolic across my TV screen I have always especially loved pre-code movies. I also love Danny Reid, who came to pre-code much more recently, but shares my enthusiasm and like delights in that rarefied blend of innocence and salaciousness that make pre-code films so, well, delightful. His incredible site, Pre-Code.Com, is dedicated to reviewing and sharing the love of pre-Code Hollywood (1930 to 1934) with a steady influx of new reviews each week. It does my heart good to know people like Danny exist in the world.
Though I tend to be most devoted to and inspired by old school damery, there are plenty of contemporary women who carry the torch and fan the flames of the fierce and feminine. One such woman is Deb Stoller, founder and Editor of BUST Magazine. (Full disclosure: I have been writing for BUST since its early zine days, and Bust.com does sometimes re-publish blog posts from LABD, but it’s BUST’s mission and content that make me a rabid fan, not my relationship. The site’s great, but don’t let that stand in the way of your subscribing to the excellent print magazine.
I’d say the same about the existence of film scholar and kick ass writer Anne Helen Petersen, except that her awesomeness fills me with a certain amount of self-disgust and jealousy. For long, in-depth treatises on some of the Golden Age of Hollywood’s dame-iest dames, you cannot beat her site or her syndicated Classic Scandals of Hollywood content on Edith Zimmerman’s wonderful website for fierce and funny feministas, The Hairpin.
Of course all us classic film buffs owe a great deal to Turner Classic Movies, really the only reliable game in town for access to wonderful fare from the 20s – 50s. In addition to their programming, their website is a fount of information and one of television’s very best online sites.
“Where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide,” Karen Burroughs Hannsberry’s site has great content on what are the two most dame-intensive genres (and not surprisingly my two favorites): noir and pre-code. Karen really knows her stuff; in addition to her site, she’s written
Femme Noir: Bad Girls of Film and Bad Boys: The Actors of Film Noir, and is editor of the bi-monthly, hard copy film noir newsletter, The Dark Pages.
Self-Styled Siren is another delightful blog celebrating and critiquing films and femmes of yore. I love the detailed discussions of movies like Ball of Fire, and the comments sections are always half of the fun.
Kristina’s is another great movie blog oozing with passion. She loves “classic movies, Hollywood history, music and general retro pop culture, and fun,” which is evident when you dive into her site’s picture posts, songs, vintage ads, bios, playlists, and movie reviews. Like Karen from SHADOWS AND SATIN, Kristina is part of the team that puts together aforementioned Noir fanzine, The Dark Pages.
Have you read Caitlin Moran’s book How to Be a Woman? If you haven’t, why not?! Do so at once. Much like my enthusiasm for Anne Helen Petersen, my adulation for Ms. Moran is a bit tempered by my forehead slapping self-recrimination for not getting out there and doing this 20 years ago. But, like my envy of Anne Helen Petersen, my covetous crazy lasts the 5 seconds it takes for me to remember they do this much, much better than I ever could.
The name pretty much says it all, and if the monosyllabic “dame” isn’t code for “sexy feminist” then I don’t know what is.
If you’re looking for more blogs on vintage vixenry, check out:
And young dames-in-training need look no further than Tavi Gevison’s wonderful site, ROOKIEMAG.COM.