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Monday, November 26, 2007

Dorothy Kilgallen on Elsie Houston 

EH was mentioned in Dorothy Kilgallen's Broadway gossip column at least three times. Each mention is enlightening.

1940, November 15. "Elsie Houston, the Rainbow Room singer, is so psychic it is embassarring (sic) to her. She can read people's minds, and although she tries not to, she frequently finds herself blushing."

1942, March 25. "Elsie Houston, the Brazilian soprano and her husband had an unpleasant encounter with the police in Charleston, N.C. last week--they were speaking French and an officer picked them up as 'spies.' Payoff is that Elsie, who is half-American, is a descendant of the famous American Sam Houston."

1943, March 3. "Friends prevented Elsie Houston from throwing herself out of a window only a week before she killed herself with a sleeping potion. She had two motives, intimates said--she was heavily in debt and had quarreled with her beloved."

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Elsie Houston tracks at Instituto Moreira Salles 

A heathly sample of Elsie Houston 78s are available for a listen at Instituto Moreira Salles. Just enter "elsie houston" into the search box. The site retrieves 20 hits in the "musica" category, but alas, some are just duplicate copies of the same record. Nevertheless, if you have not found a copy of Elsie Houston: A Feminilidade do Canto,
now you have a chance to hear many of the tracks on it (plus a couple from her US Victor releases). An additional bonus: a chance to hear some of the non-EH sides from her 1930 Brazilian 78s. For example, Januário de Oliveira singing "Tristeza" (the A-side of EH's "Macumbagelê.")

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

L'Association des amis de Benjamin Péret 

An emailer informs me that the L'Association des amis de Benjamin Péret dates the separation of EH and Péret as happening in 1933. This would mean a decade between the split and EH's passing, thus reinforcing my opinion that it was a more recent love that triggered her suicide. Meanwhile, I checked out the Association's website for the first time in several years and was pleased to find entries on both EH (a translation of her New York Times obit) and Geyser Péret.

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