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MDPL presents FREE Screening of Footlight Parade
(released 6/20/2005)

Presented by Julio Vera, archivist for the Science and Technology Council, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Fountain Unfrozen: Hollywood and Art Deco in Motion will spotlight Hollywood and Art Deco, twin phenomena that flourished in the 1920s and 1930s, popularizing each other.

The lecture and post-lecture reception, both free and open to the public, will take place at the Art Deco Welcome Center Auditorium — 1001 Ocean Drive, on Miami Beach. RSVP's are recommended by calling 305.674.1736.

According to Vera, the Moderne style we now call Art Deco came into being precisely at the same time as the birth of motion pictures and Hollywood. Both phenomena celebrated the fusion of art and technology exploring the same territories and contrasting themes: the primitive past, the utopian future, exotic realms, wealth and luxury, sexuality and speed.

The lecture will explore the strong influence of Art Deco in set designs, costumes, jewelry, movie posters, theater architecture, Hollywood landmark buildings, studio logos, and even in the design of the industry's technology equipment. The style's evolution will also be traced from its early angular, static and highly decorated forms to the later sleeker, streamlined look. Additionally, the lecture will reveal how the Art Deco frozen fountain motif became unfrozen and was ultimately set into motion by its best showplace: Hollywood.

Julio Vera received his Master of Library and Information Science from the University of California, Los Angeles, his Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles Film School and his Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing & Spanish from Carnegie-Mellon University. A member of the Writers Guild of America since 1983, he has written professionally for studios including CBS, ABC, and Warner Bros. as well as for the bilingual show Que Pasa, U.S.A.?, which aired on PBS. He also invented and produced the board game Hollywood Studio: The Classic Movie-Making Game, a finalist in the 1998 Toy of the Year Awards.

As an added bonus that complements the theme of Vera's lecture, MDPL will host a free film screening of Footlight Parade (1933) on June 21, the Tuesday before the lecture, at 7:00 p.m. at the Art Deco Welcome Center Auditorium. Directed by Lloyd Bacon and choreographed by Busby Berkeley for Warner Bros., the film stars James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell.

Fast paced dancing and dialogue tell the story of stage producer Chester Kent (Cagney), left jobless by motion pictures and rejected by his wife and agents. Aiding him in his comeback plans to produce live pre-picture numbers are his secretary (Blondell), tap dancing Keeler, and college heartthrob Powell. When Kent’s plans take off requiring him to produce three shows in three days, the plot line provides three memorable production numbers: "Honeymoon Hotel," "Shanghai Lil," and "By a Waterfall."

The Fountain Unfrozen: Hollywood and Art Deco In Motion and Footlight Parade are part of a series of free lectures, films and exhibits presented by the Miami Design Preservation League throughout the year.

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