“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 24 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part X Ernest Hemingway 12th part Starting to sum up Mark Twain, Racial Equality Part 1,”Amazing Grace,” MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and Mark Twain )

HEMINGWAY:You like Mark Twain?

GIL PENDER:I’m actually a huge Mark Twain fan.I think you can even make the case that all modern American literature comes from Huckleberry Finn.-

The Book of Ecclesiastes pictures life UNDER THE SUN without God in the picture. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.”

Ecclesiastes 4:1 

 Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

Francis Schaeffer noted concerning this verse, “Between birth and death power rules. Solomon looked over his kingdom and also around the world and proclaimed that right does not rule but power rules.”

No better example of oppression can be given than that of slavery, but even though many Christians were involved as slave owners the abolition movement in the United States would not have been successful if it wasn’t for people like Mark Twain’s next door neighbor Harriet Beecher Stowe (the author of UNCLE TOM’S CABIN).

Who is Harriet Beecher Stowe?

Harriet Tubman & the Underground Railroad {Part 1}

Harriet Tubman & the Underground Railroad {Part 2}

A True Story, Repeated Word for Word as I Heard It

Mark Twain, 1874.

Unidentified black nursemaid with child. Photographer Bradley and Rudolphson, S.F.
Nursemaid with child
Courtesy California Historical Society

It was summer time, and twilight. We were sitting on the porch of the farm-house, on the summit of the hill, and “Aunt Rachel” was sitting respectfully below our level, on the steps, – for she was our servant, and colored. She was of mighty frame and stature; she was sixty years old, but her eye was undimmed and her strength unabated. She was a cheerful, hearty soul, and it was no more trouble for her to laugh than it is for a bird to sing. She was under fire, now, as usual when the day was done. That is to say, she was being chaffed without mercy, and was enjoying it. She would let off peal after peal of laughter, and then sit with her face in her hands and shake with throes of enjoyment which she could no longer get breath enough to express. At such a moment as this a thought occurred to me, and I said:

“Aunt Rachel, how is it that you’ve lived sixty years and never had any trouble?”

She stopped quaking. She paused, and there was a moment of silence. She turned her face over her shoulder toward me, and said, without even a smile in her voice: –

“Misto C –, is you in ‘arnest?”

It surprised me a good deal; and it sobered my manner and my speech, too. I said: –

“Why, I thought – that is, I meant – why, you can’t have had any trouble. I’ve never heard you sigh, and never seen your eye when there wasn’t a laugh in it.”

She faced fairly around, now, and was full of earnestness.

“Has I had any trouble? Misto C –, I’s gwyne to tell you, den I leave it to you. I was bawn down ‘mongst de slaves; I knows all ‘bout slavery, ‘cause I been one of ‘em my own se’f. Well, sah, my ole man – dat’s my husban’ – he was lovin’ an’ kind to me, jist as kind as you is to yo’ own wife. An’ we had chil’en – seven chil’en – an’ we loved dem chil’en jist de same as you loves you’ chil’en. Dey was black, but de Lord can’t make no chil’en so black but what dey mother loves ’em an’ wouldn’t give ‘em up, no, not for anything dat’s in dis whole world.

“Well, sah, I was raised in ole Fo’ginny, but my mother she was raised in Maryland; an’ my souls! She was turrible when she’d git started! My lan’! But she’d make de fur fly! When she’d git into dem tantrums, she always had one word dat she said. She’d straighten herse’f up an’ put her fists in her hips an’ say, ‘I want you to understan’ dat I wasn’t bawn in de mash to be fool’ by trash! I’s one o’ de ole Blue Hen’s Chickens, I is!’ ‘Ca’se, you see, dat’s what folks dat’s bawn in Maryland calls deyselves, an’ dey’s proud of it. Well, dat was her word. I don’t ever forgit it, beca’se she said it so much, an’ beca’se she said it one day when my little Henry tore his wris’ awful, an’ most busted his head, right up at de top of his forehead, an’ de niggers didn’t fly aroun’ fas’ enough to ’tend to him. An’ when dey talk’ back at her, she up an’ she says, ‘Look-a-heah!’ she says, ‘I want you niggers to understan’ dat I wasn’t bawn in de mash to be fool’ by trash! I’s one o’ de ole Blue Hen’s Chickens, I is!’ an’ den she clar’ dat kitchen an’ bandage’ up de chile herse’f. So I says dat word, too, when I’s riled.

“Well, bymeby my ole mistis say she’s broke, an’ she got to sell all de niggers on de place. An’ when I heah dat dey gwyne to sell us all off at oction in Richmon’, oh de good gracious! I know what dat mean!”

Aunt Rachel had gradually risen, while she warmed to her subject, and now she towered above us, black against the stars.

“Dey put chains on us an’ put us on a stan’ as high as dis po’ch, – twenty foot high, – an’ all de people stood aroun’, crowds an’ crowds. An’ dey’d come up dah an’ look at us all roun’, an’ squeeze our arm, an’ make us git up an’ walk, an’ den say, ‘Dis one too ole,’ or ‘Dis one lame,’ or ‘Dis one don’t ‘mount to much.’ An’ dey sole my ole man, an’ took him away, an’ dey begin to sell my chil’en an’ take dem away, an’ I begin to cry; an’ de man say, ‘Shet up yo’ dam blubberin’,’ an’ hit me on de mouf wid his han’. An’ when de las’ one was gone but my little Henry, I grab’ him clost up to my breas’ so, an’ I ris up an’ says, ‘You shan’t take him away,’ I says; ‘I’ll kill de man dat tetch him!’ I says. But my little Henry whisper an’ say, ‘I gwyne to run away, an’ den I work an’ buy yo’ freedom.’ Oh, bless de chile, he always so good! But dey got him – dey got him, de men did; but I took and tear de clo’es mos’ off of ’em, an’ beat ’em over de head wid my chain; an’ dey give it to me, too, but I didn’t mine dat.

Five Generations in Smith's plantation, Beaufort, South Carolina.
Smith’s plantation, Beaufort, SC. Courtesy Library of Congress

“Well, dah was my ole man gone, an’ all my chil’en, all my seven chil’en – an’ six of ‘em I hadn’t set eyes on ag’in to dis day, an’ dat’s twenty-two year ago las’ Easter. De man dat bought me b’long’ in Newbern, an’ he took me dah. Well, bymeby de years roll on an’ de waw come. My marster he was a Confedrit colonel, an’ I was his family’s cook. So when de Unions took dat town, dey all run away an’ lef’ me all by myse’f wid de other niggers in dat mons’us big house. So de big Union officers move in dah, an’ dey ask me would I cook for dem. ‘Lord bless you,’ says I, ‘dat’s what I’s for.’

“Dey wa’n’t no small-fry officers, mine you, dey was de biggest dey is; an’ de way dey made dem sojers mosey roun’! De Gen’l he tole me to boss dat kitchen; an’ he say, ‘If anybody come meddlin’ wid you, you jist make ’em walk chalk; don’t you be afeard,’ he say; ‘you’s ‘mong frens, now.’

“Well, I thinks to myse’f, if my little Henry ever got a chance to run away, he’d make to de Norf, o’ course. So one day I comes in dah whah de big officers was, in de parlor, an’ I drops a kurtchy, so, an’ I up an’ tole ‘em ‘bout my Henry, dey a-listenin’ to my troubles jist de same as if I was white folks; an’ I says, ‘What I come for is beca’se if he got away and got up Norf whah you gemmen comes from, you might ‘a’ seen him, maybe, an’ could tell me so as I could fine him ag’in; he was very little, an’ he had a sk-yar on his lef’ wris’, an’ at de top of his forehead.’ Den dey look mournful, an’ de Gen’l say, ‘How long sence you los’ him?’ an’ I say, ‘Thirteen year.’ Den de Gen’l say, ‘He wouldn’t be little no mo’, now – he’s a man!’

“I never thought o’ dat befo’! He was only dat little feller to me, yit. I never thought ‘bout him growin’ up an’ bein’ big. But I see it den. None o’ de gemmen had run across him, so dey couldn’t do nothin’ for me. But all dat time, do’ I didn’t know it, my Henry was run off to de Norf, years an’ years, an’ he was a barber, too, an’ worked for hisse’f. An’ bymeby, when de waw come, he ups an’ he says, ‘I’s done barberin’,’ he says; ’I‘s gwyne to fine my ole mammy, less’n she’s dead.’ So he sole out an’ went to whah dey was recruitin’, an’ hired hisse’f out to de colonel for his servant; en’ den he went all froo de battles everywhah, huntin’ for his ole mammy; yes indeedy, he’d hire to fust one officer an’ den another, tell he’d ransacked de whole Souf; but you see I didn’t know nufffin ‘bout dis. How was I gwyne to know it?

Mary Ann Cord.
Mary Ann Cord
Courtesy The Mark Twain House, Hartford

“Well, one night we had a big sojer ball; de sojers dah at Newbern was always havin’ balls an’ carryin’ on. Dey had ‘em in my kitchen, heaps o’ times, ‘ca’se it was so big. Mine you, I was down on sich doin’s; beca’se my place was wid de officers, an’ it rasp’ me to have dem common sojers cavortin’ roun’ my kitchen like dat. But I alway’ stood aroun’ an’ kep’ things straight, I did; an’ sometimes dey’d git my dander up, an’ den I’d make ‘em clar dat kitchen, mine I tell you!

“Well, one night – it was a Friday night – dey comes a whole plattoon f’m a nigger ridgment dat was on guard at de house, – de house was head-quarters, you know, – an’ den I was jist a-bilin’! Mad? I was jist a-boomin’! I swelled aroun’, an’ swelled aroun’; I jist was a-itchin’ for ‘em to do somefin for to start me. An’ dey was a-waltzin’ an a-dancin’! my! but dey was havin’ a time! an’ I jist a-swellin’ an’ a-swellin’ up! Pooty soon, ‘long comes sich a spruce young nigger a-sailin’ down de room wid a yeller wench roun’ de wais’; an’ roun’ an’ roun’ an’ roun’ dey went, enough to make a body drunk to look at ‘em; an’ when dey got abreas’ o’ me, dey went to kin’ o’ balancin’ aroun’, fust on one leg an’ den on t’other, an’ smilin’ at my big red turban, an’ makin’ fun, an’ I ups an’ says, ‘Git along wid you! – rubbage!’ De young man’s face kin’ o’ changed, all of a sudden, for ’bout a second, but den he went to smilin’ ag’in, same as he was befo’. Well, ‘bout dis time, in comes some niggers dat played music an’ b’long’ to de ban’, an’ dey never could git along widout puttin’ on airs. An’ de very fust air dey put on dat night, I lit into ‘em! Dey laughed, an’ dat made me wuss. De res’ o’ de niggers got to laughin’, an’ den my soul alive but I was hot! My eye was jist ablazin’! I jist straightened myself up, so, – jist as I is now, plum to de ceilin’, mos’, – an’ I digs my fists into my hips, an’ I says, ‘Look-a-heah!’ I says, ‘I want you niggers to understan’ dat I wa’n’t bawn in de mash to be fool’ by trash! I’s one o’ de ole Blue Hen’s Chickens, I is!’ an’ den I see dat young man stan’ astarin’ an’ stiff, lookin’ kin’ o’ up at de ceilin’ like he fo’got somefin, an’ couldn’t ’member it no mo’. Well, I jist march’ on dem niggers, – so, lookin’ like a gen’l, – an’ dey jist cave’ away befo’ me an’ out at de do’. An’ as dis young man was a-goin’ out, I heah him say to another nigger, ‘Jim,’ he says, ‘you go ‘long an’ tell de cap’n I be on han’ ‘bout eight o’clock in de mawnin’; dey’s somefin on my mine,’ he says; ’I don’t sleep no mo’ dis night. You go ‘long,’ he says, ‘an’ leave me by my own se’f.’

“Dis was ‘bout one o’clock in de mawnin’. Well, ‘bout seven, I was up an’ on han’, gittin’ de officers’ breakfast. I was a-stoopin’ down by de stove, – jist so, same as if yo’ foot was de stove, – an’ I’d opened de stove do’ wid my right han’, – so, pushin’ it back, jist as I pushes yo’ foot, – an’ I’d jist got de pan o’ hot biscuits in my han’ an’ was ‘bout to raise up, when I see a black face come aroun’ under mine, an’ de eyes a-lookin’ up into mine, jist as I’s a-lookin’ up clost under yo’ face now; an’ I jist stopped right dah, an’ never budged! jist gazed, an’ gazed, so; an’ de pan begin to tremble, an’ all of a sudden I knowed! De pan drop’ on de flo’ an’ I grab his lef’ han’ an’ shove back his sleeve, – jist so, as I’s doin’ to you, – an’ den I goes for his forehead an’ push de hair back, so, an’ ‘Boy!’ I says, ‘if you an’t my Henry, what is you doin’ wid dis welt on yo’ wris’ an’ dat sk-yar on yo’ forehead? De Lord God ob heaven be praise’, I got my own ag’in!’

“Oh, no, Misto C –, I hadn’t had no trouble. An’ no joy!”

The full transcript of “A True Story…” is available from The University of Virginia.

I have always felt strongly about racial equality myself. I remember my grandparents from Mississippi wondering what I was up to in the 1960’s when as a elementary kid I invited a black friend of mine to come over and spend the day with me playing at my home. Later in high school I convinced a black friend of mine from my church youth group to switch to our private Christian school in Memphis and later he became the first black graduate.
(Ben Parkinson pictured below)


When Mark Twain was courting his future wife Olivia Langdon she insisted that he read sermons by Henry Ward Beecher.


Mr. Beecher is a remarkably handsome man when he is in the full tide of sermonizing, and his face is lit up with animation, but he is as homely as a singed cat when he isn’t doing anything.
letter to the San Francisco Alta California, March 30, 1867What a pity that so insignificant a matter as the chastity or unchastity of an Elizabeth Tilton could clip the locks of this Samson and make him as other men, in the estimation of a nation of Lilliputians creeping and climbing about his shoe-soles.
– letter to Joseph Twichell, 14 March 1887. Reprinted in The Most Famous Man in America
Henry Ward Beecher
Henry Ward Beecher

Beecher biography
available from amazon.com

Henry’s relative was Mark Twain’s next door neighbor who became one of the greatest abolitionists of all time.

Harriet Beecher Stowe


PBS American Experience & The Abolitionists Part 3 1854 Emancipation and Victory

(Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee seen above)

God’s Not Dead 2 Official Trailer #1 (2016) – Melissa Joan Hart, Jesse Metcalfe Drama HD

Here is the link to this article below:

Gov. Mike Huckabee discusses the many issues raised in God’s Not Dead 2


The film God’s Not Dead was such a surprise hit that the producers were excited about the prospect of a sequel. The result, God’s Not Dead 2, is, as Gov. Mike Huckabee termed it, “like ‘The Godfather 2.’ It’s one of those rare cases where the sequel is better than the first, and I thought the first movie was excellent.” The movie also serves as a wake-up call for Christian and secular viewers alike. As Gov. Huckabee put it, “The secular audience is asked, ‘Is this where you want your country to go?’ I think it is a very powerful, timely movie.” Christian viewers hopefully will be emboldened to take action and stand up for their beliefs should the situation arise.

The film boasts a large cast of notable performers that viewers likely will recognize from their other projects, such as Melissa Joan Hart, Jesse Metcalfe, Pat Boone, Ernie Hudson, Hayley Orrantia, Robin Givens, Sadie Robertson and Maria Canals Barrera, to name a few. Some fan favorites from the first movie returned for the sequel, including The Newsboys. Gov. Huckabee has a cameo appearance in the movie, which he was thrilled to do when the producers approached him. He was a fan of the first movie and also liked that it was being filmed in Little Rock. “I thought it was a terrific screenplay.”

Gov. Huckabee explained that the ripped-from-the-newspapers story means “You don’t have to suspend belief to enjoy the movie; this is something that could be happening right now. It’s a very honest portrayal of what it is like to follow Christ. You may lose and suffer. Quite frankly, I don’t think a lot of Christians are willing to do that. Many tend to wave the white flag of surrender.”

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jesus Christ

In the film, a history teacher (Melissa Joan Hart) is accused of violating a student’s rights by answering that student’s question in class wherein she compared Gandhi and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s teachings to that of Jesus. She stands accused of “preaching the gospel” in class, which results in legal proceedings when she refuses to apologize since she does not feel she has committed any wrongdoing. If any viewer thinks this scenario is overly dramatic or far-fetched, pay attention to the closing credits. Although the specifics of the case in the film were fictionalized, the credits run a shockingly long list of actual court cases which inspired the screenplay. Yet, Dr. King was a Christian minister, so does it not stand to reason that his teachings would reflect that of Jesus? The film asks why would it be okay to quote Gandhi or Dr. King, but not Jesus?

“I think that’s one of the most powerful elements of the film,” Huckabee explained. “People like to focus on Dr. King’s civil rights work, but he would correct those people and be the first one to say he was, first and foremost, a preacher of the gospel. I spent hours in seminary studying Dr. King. Look at his letters from the Birmingham jail. Look at his speeches. They are basically all sermons that start off quoting scripture. He took the gospel as Jesus taught it and applied it to human rights. Yet people think they can separate his civil rights work from his Christianity. It’s not possible.”

Below are just a few words from MLK’s famous letter:

April 16, 1963


While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.”

…I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid….

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience….

(Below is painting of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and King Nebuchadnezzar)

But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist: “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.” And John Bunyan: “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” And Abraham Lincoln: “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” And Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal …” So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime—the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists….

I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,

Martin Luther King, Jr.



ZELDA FITZGERALD: I know what you’re thinking.This is boring. I agree!I’m ready to move on.Let’s do Bricktop’s!- Bricktop’s?-

SCOTT FITZGERALD: I’m bored! He’s bored! We’re all bored.We. Are. All. Bored.Let’s do Bricktop’s.Why don’t you tell Cole and Linda to come with, and…um…uh…Gil? You coming?

[Cole Porter’s”You’ve Got That Thing”]

You got that thing- You got that thing The thing that makes birds forget to sing  Yes, you’ve got that thing, that certain thing You’ve got that charm,that subtle charm that makes young farmers desert the farm

[Joséphine Baker’s “LaConga Blicoti”He has lost And has it To dance And feel Yes, The world of people see In the heart Music ]

This is one of the finest establishments in Paris. They do a diamond whiskey sour.Bon soir, tous le monde! (Good evening, everyone!) Un peu tir de bourbon, s’il vous plaît .(A small shot of bourbon, please.)

SCOTT FITZGERALD: Greetings and salutations.You’ll forgive me. I’ve been mixing grain and grape.Now, this a writer. uh…Gil. Yes?- Gil…

GIL PENDER: Gil Pender.- Gil Pender.

In 1925 in the United States and across the world racism was widespread but in Paris there were a great deal of racial freedom and that is exactly what we see in Woody Allen’s film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS which takes us back to 1925 in Paris at the club called  BRICKTOP.

Ada ‘Bricktop’ Smith -St Louis Blues (1970)

Published on Oct 23, 2014

Ada Smith, better known as Bricktop was an American dancer, singer, vaudevillian, and self-described saloon-keeper who owned the nightclub Chez Bricktop in Paris from 1924 to 1961, as well as clubs in Mexico City and Rome. St. Louis Blues,Song written by William Cristopher Handy in the 1917.Recorded in Italian studio TV

Ada “Bricktop” Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This page is about the early 20th Century singer. For the modern-era politician see Ada Smith
Ada “Bricktop” Smith
Ada Bricktop Smith.jpg

Born August 14, 1894
Alderson, West Virginia
Died February 1, 1984 (aged 89)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Other names Ada DuConge
Known for Dancer, singer, vaudeville performer, nightclub owner

Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Virginia Smith, better known as Bricktop, (August 14, 1894 – February 1, 1984) was an American dancer, jazzsinger, vaudevillian, and self-described saloon-keeper who owned the nightclub Chez Bricktop in Paris from 1924 to 1961, as well as clubs in Mexico City and Rome. She has been called “…one of the most legendary and enduring figures of twentieth-century American cultural history.”[citation needed]


Published on Jun 18, 2013

Bricktop describes how Cole Porter brought his song Miss Otis Regrets to her in Paris.

Early life[edit]

Smith was born in Alderson, West Virginia, the youngest of four children by an Irish father and a black mother. When her father died, her family relocated to Chicago. It was there that saloon life caught her fancy, and where she acquired her nickname, “Bricktop,” for the flaming red hair and freckles inherited from her father. She began performing when she was very young, and by 16, she was touring with TOBA (Theatre Owners’ Booking Association) and on the Pantages vaudeville circuit. Aged 20, her performance tours brought her to New York City. While at Barron’s Exclusive Club, a nightspot in Harlem, she put in a good word for a band called Elmer Snowden’s Washingtonians, and the club booked them. One of its members was Duke Ellington.[1]

Her first meeting with Cole Porter is related in her obituary in the Huntington (West Virginia) Herald-Dispatch:

Porter once walked into the cabaret and ordered a bottle of wine. “Little girl, can you do the Charleston?” he asked. Yes, she said. And when she demonstrated the new dance, he exclaimed, “What legs! What legs!”

John Steinbeck was once thrown out of her club for “ungentlemanly behavior.” He regained her affection by sending a taxi full of roses.

Cafe society[edit]

By 1924, she was in Paris. Cole Porter hosted many parties, “lovely parties” as Bricktop called them, where he hired her as an entertainer, often to teach his guests the latest dance craze such as the Charleston and the Black Bottom. In Paris, Bricktop began operating the clubs where she performed, including The Music Box and Le Grand Duc. She called her next club “Chez Bricktop,” and in 1929 she relocated it to 66 rue Pigalle. Her headliner was a young Mabel Mercer, who was to become a legend in cabaret.

Known for her signature cigars, the “doyenne of cafe society” drew many celebrated figures to her club, including Cole Porter, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald mentions the club in his 1931 short story Babylon Revisited. Her protégés included Duke Ellington, Mabel Mercer and Josephine Baker. She worked with Langston Hughes when he was still a busboy. The Cole Porter song, “Miss Otis Regrets“, was written especially for her to perform. Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli wrote a song called “Brick Top”.[citation needed]

She married singer Peter DuConge in 1929.[2] Though they separated after a few years, they never divorced, Bricktop later saying that “as a Catholic I do not recognize divorce”.[3] According to Jean-Claude Baker, one of Josephine Baker’s children, as recorded in his book about his mother’s life, titled Josephine: The Hungry Heart, Baker and Bricktop were involved in a lesbian affair for a time, early in their careers.[4]

Bricktop broadcast a radio program in Paris from 1938–39, for the French government. During WWII, she closed “Chez Bricktop” and moved to Mexico City where she opened a new nightclub in 1944. In 1949, she returned to Europe and started a club in Rome. Bricktop closed her club and retired in 1961 at the age of 67, saying “I’m tired, honey. Tired of staying up all night.” Afterwards, she moved back to the United States.

Later life[edit]

Bricktop continued to perform as a cabaret entertainer well into her eighties, including some engagements at the age of 84 in London, where she proved herself to be as professional and feisty as she had ever been and included Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale” in her repertoire.

Bricktop made a brief cameo appearance, as herself, in Woody Allen‘s 1983 mockumentary film Zelig, in which she “reminisced” about a visit by Leonard Zelig to her club, and an unsuccessful attempt by Cole Porter to find a rhyme for “You’re the tops, you’re Leonard Zelig.” She appeared in the 1974 Jack Jordan’s film Honeybaby, Honeybaby, in which she played herself, operating a “Bricktop’s” in Beirut, Lebanon. In 1972, Bricktop made her only recording, “So Long Baby,” with Cy Coleman. Nevertheless, she also recorded a few Cole Porter songs in New-York City at the end of the seventies with pianist Dorothy Donegan. The session was directed by Otis Blackwell, produced by Jack Jordan on behalf of the Sweet Box Company. The songs recorded are: Love For Sale, Miss Otis Regrets, Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe, A Good Man Is Hard To Find, Am I Blue and He’s Funny That Way. This recording was never released as of today. She preferred not to be called a singer or dancer, but rather a performer.[citation needed](See external link below to YouTube “Bricktop tells about Cole Porter and her singing”)

She wrote her autobiography, Bricktop by Bricktop, with the help of James Haskins, the prolific author who wrote biographies of Thurgood Marshall and Rosa Parks. It was published in 1983 by Welcome Rain Publishers (ISBN 0-689-11349-8).


The grave of Bricktop

Bricktop died in her sleep in her apartment in Manhattan in 1984, aged 89. She remained active into her old age and according to James Haskins, had talked to friends on the phone hours before her death.[5][6] She is interred in the Zinnia Plot (Range 32, Grave 74) at Woodlawn Cemetery (Bronx).

This series deals with the Book of Ecclesiastes and Woody Allen films.  The first post  dealt with MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT and it dealt with the fact that in the Book of Ecclesiastes Solomon does contend like Hobbes  and Stanley that life is “nasty, brutish and short” and as a result has no meaning UNDER THE SUN.

The movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS offers many of the same themes we see in Ecclesiastes. The second post looked at the question: WAS THERE EVER A GOLDEN AGE AND DID THE MOST TALENTED UNIVERSAL MEN OF THAT TIME FIND TRUE SATISFACTION DURING IT?

In the third post in this series we discover in Ecclesiastes that man UNDER THE SUN finds himself caught in the never ending cycle of birth and death. The SURREALISTS make a leap into the area of nonreason in order to get out of this cycle and that is why the scene in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and Luis Bunuel works so well!!!! These surrealists look to the area of their dreams to find a meaning for their lives and their break with reality is  only because they know that they can’t find a rational meaning in life without God in the picture.

The fourth post looks at the solution of WINE, WOMEN AND SONG and the fifth and sixth posts look at the solution T.S.Eliot found in the Christian Faith and how he left his fragmented message of pessimism behind. In the seventh post the SURREALISTS say that time and chance is all we have but how can that explain love or art and the hunger for God? The eighth  post looks at the subject of DEATH both in Ecclesiastes and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. In the ninth post we look at the nihilistic worldview of Woody Allen and why he keeps putting suicides into his films.

In the tenth post I show how Woody Allen pokes fun at the brilliant thinkers of this world and how King Solomon did the same thing 3000 years ago. In the eleventh post I point out how many of Woody Allen’s liberal political views come a lack of understanding of the sinful nature of man and where it originated. In the twelfth post I look at the mannishness of man and vacuum in his heart that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God.

In the thirteenth post we look at the life of Ernest Hemingway as pictured in MIDNIGHT AND PARIS and relate it to the change of outlook he had on life as the years passed. In the fourteenth post we look at Hemingway’s idea of Paris being a movable  feast. The fifteenth and sixteenth posts both compare Hemingway’s statement, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know…”  with Ecclesiastes 2:18 “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” The seventeenth post looks at these words Woody Allen put into Hemingway’s mouth,  “We fear death because we feel that we haven’t loved well enough or loved at all.”

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Hemingway and Gil Pender talk about their literary idol Mark Twain and the eighteenth post is summed up nicely by Kris Hemphill‘swords, “Both Twain and [King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes] voice questions our souls long to have answered: Where does one find enduring meaning, life purpose, and sustainable joy, and why do so few seem to find it? The nineteenth post looks at the tension felt both in the life of Gil Pender (written by Woody Allen) in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and in Mark Twain’s life and that is when an atheist says he wants to scoff at the idea THAT WE WERE PUT HERE FOR A PURPOSE but he must stay face the reality of  Ecclesiastes 3:11 that says “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” and  THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING! Therefore, the secular view that there is no such thing as love or purpose looks implausible. The twentieth post examines how Mark Twain discovered just like King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes that there is no explanation  for the suffering and injustice that occurs in life UNDER THE SUN. Solomon actually brought God back into the picture in the last chapter and he looked  ABOVE THE SUN for the books to be balanced and for the tears to be wiped away.

The twenty-first post looks at the words of King Solomon, Woody Allen and Mark Twain that without God in the picture our lives UNDER THE SUN will accomplish nothing that lasts. The twenty-second post looks at King Solomon’s experiment 3000 years that proved that luxuries can’t bring satisfaction to one’s life but we have seen this proven over and over through the ages. Mark Twain lampooned the rich in his book “The Gilded Age” and he discussed  get rich quick fever, but Sam Clemens loved money and the comfort and luxuries it could buy. Likewise Scott Fitzgerald  was very successful in the 1920’s after his publication of THE GREAT GATSBY and lived a lavish lifestyle until his death in 1940 as a result of alcoholism.

In the twenty-third post we look at Mark Twain’s statement that people should either commit suicide or stay drunk if they are “demonstrably wise” and want to “keep their reasoning faculties.” We actually see this play out in the film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with the character Zelda Fitzgerald. In the twenty-fourth, twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth posts I look at Mark Twain and the issue of racism. In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS we see the difference between the attitudes concerning race in 1925 Paris and the rest of the world.

The Life Of Mark Twain


The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 4 Ernest Hemingway)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 3 Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 2 Cole Porter)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 1 William Faulkner)

MUSIC MONDAY Cole Porter “Let’s Do it, Let’s Fall in Love” in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS


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