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Archive for May, 2009

Lady Eve Marlowe has left Berlin and returned to her home.  I hope you enjoyed her month-long adventures in the city of Weimar Berlin in 1928. 

For Lady Marlowe, it was as if those days came alive again as I hope they did for you.  She has assured me she will return from time to time with more recollections of her fascinating life.  

Before she left, she was kind enough to assist me in making a book trailer (“You mean like the film trailers?  I’d be delighted…) about her adventures in Cleopatra’s Perfume”  during World War II in London, Cairo and Berlin.  

We shot the video and picked out a charming piece of music called “Paris” by Dan Graham.  When we looked at the final cut, Lady Eve turned to me and said, “It’s lovely, Jina, but so many great films during the Second World War were shot in black and white.” 

“You mean like Casablanca?” I asked, remembering the dramatic lighting and emotional tension so beautifully filmed by Michael Curtiz. 

Lady Eve nodded.  “What if we produced two videos–one in color and one in black and white?” 

And that’s what we did.  Here are two versions of the book trailer for Cleopatra’s Perfume:  one in color


  

And one in black and white.

 

Which do you prefer?

 

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February 2010: meet The Blonde Samurai
“She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

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Eve's Berlin Diary, her dancing shoes and her favorite souvenir: a doll from the Weimar era

Eve's Berlin Diary, her dancing shoes and her favorite souvenir: a doll from the Weimar era

Berlin is no longer the city of my youth, an erotic wonderland of sinful nights and carefree adventures. All that changed when the National Socialist movement came into power in 1933.

I shall not speak of those later years, for I perceived and touched the Berlin of the 1920s, a confection of sexual delights lighter than air. And just as fleeting after the first taste.

What wild days. Heated arousal everywhere. In the cabarets, nightclubs, cafés. I rushed into torrid love affairs, dared to defy society with the use of intoxicants, bared my breasts as well as my soul when I danced and never looked back. I can say that I don’t regret anything I did.

To this day, I retain strong emotional ties with Berlin, a deep seated empathy for the struggle of my jaded youth to forge my way in a world uncertain of its future. This diary is filled with those memories and, though written in the past tense, it lives forever in me in the present.

 

–signed

Lady Eve Marlowe
Berlin 1958
Cleopatra’s Perfume

 

I would like to share with you memorable moments from “The Berlin Sex Diary of Lady Eve Marlowe:”

 

From DAY 3:

Her body floated across the tiny nightclub floor with elegance and grace, her spirit ethereal and dreamlike, her steps as light as the gossamer notes of The Dying Swan played by the violinist, her art of dance shaped by a lifetime of diligence to her craft…but it was her passion that all who were there would never forget.

A beautiful swan who lives on… 

 

From DAY 8:

I never forgot the Brownshirts and their raucous nighttime political rallies with flaming yellow torches, billowing banners and red armbands tightening the noose around anyone who did not follow them. The Nazis claimed to offer the workers a path to self-glory and urged the men to stand up and fight for the Fatherland.

But it would be the mothers like Else’s who suffered.

 

From DAY 11:

I noticed he made notes on the menu as he spoke, then he went about his business; but not before reminding me that giving away my youth to an older man without love was just as fruitless as keeping a butterfly in a glass jar.

I have never forgotten that.

His name was Vladimir Nabokov and years later he wrote a novel called Lolita.

 

From DAY 19:

I shivered, my wrists pulled up over my head and fastened to the iron bars of the cage, my blond hair frizzed by the lions’ hot breaths, my breasts heaving up and down. The audience cheered each time Jürgen cracked his whip, his white scarf whipping around him. He never thought about what may or may not happen in the cage, he told me, but that moment and nothing else.

 

From DAY 25:

I saw a man’s reflection in the store window that still haunts me to this day.
Broad-brimmed hat, long overcoat, black boots. Eyes shadowed in dark glasses with thick gold rims, oily black hair cut unevenly and curling around his large ears. His head bent to one side in what must have been a painful position.

A creature so covered in black deeds from head to toe it was as if he partook in a Satanic sex ceremony with every heaving breath he took. An exile from all that was good, a man whose soul was so polluted with mortal sins the Devil himself cringed when this denizen of lust walked through the portal to evil and never looked back…

The scourge of Berlin.

 

Coming tomorrow May 31, 2009:

Cleopatra’s Perfume” video preview

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I shall not hold back the truth of what I felt when a madman held a knife to my throat in a darkened movie theatre on that Sunday afternoon in 1928.   

I sat rigid in my seat in the balcony.  What was happening to me was beyond fear, this evil monster seeking revenge upon me for something I didn’t understand.  I had to unmask him in the dark, not with a plea for my life but with defiance.   

“You won’t get away with this,” I insisted.  “I’m not alone.” 

“Your protector won’t come to your aid, Fräulein,” he said, laughing.  “He’s too busy chasing my shadow.”

What was he talking about?   

Still resisting him, I continued with: “You killed Else.  Why?” 

“Like all the others, she laughed at me,” he said.  “She had to die.”  

I could barely breathe when the man put his hand on my knee, lingering there before reaching up under my skirt, his rough fingers scraping the tender skin on my thigh before unsnapping my garter.  I didn’t resist when he reached under my stocking and stroked my bare skin.  How could I?  He continued to hold the knife against my throat.  My whole body convulsed. 

I detested his touch…

“I’m not laughing at you,” I said in a low voice.  I gripped the velvet seat, my fingers digging into the armrests and snagging the fibers with my nails.  

“But you will, Fräulein…and then you will die.”    

The anticipatory intonation in his voice made me suspect that he harbored an urgent need for the ghoulish sexual pleasure he found in watching the reaction of young women before he cut them.  A sadistic thrill that hung somewhere between a drunken stupor and a dream. 

Was he a member of the extensive criminal underground in Weimar Berlin that numbered more than sixty organized gangs?  Gangs that controlled illegal gambling, drugs, motorcar theft, much of the child prostitution as well as blackmail.  

I shuddered, knowing that even if he were caught and brought to trial, the German courts often listened to criminal psychologists who tended to gaze upon offenders of sexual violence as unfortunates with hormonal imbalances.

He forced me to leave with him through a rear exit and outside into the rain.  Dripping wet, he dragged me toward an alley.  I kicked and screamed, determined not to be an easy victim.  

Halt!  Polizei!” 

The man laughed and refused to stop.  A shot rang out, but it missed him.  I screamed.  He threw me against the wall, knocking the breath out of me. 

“You…can’t…escape,” I sputtered. 

“They’ll never find me, Fräulein,” the man vowed.  “But I can always find you.” 

With that, he ran out into the rain as I heard more shots fired.  Several policemen raced after him, but they couldn’t catch him.  I swear he disappeared into the rainy mist.  All I remember was hearing the haunting anguish of a creature that didn’t sound human. 

Days passed and they never found him.

Two more dancers quit and the box office receipts continued to fall.  The management decided the murderer’s threat was bad for business and closed the show.  

I was jobless and hungry over the next few weeks.  No wonder I was easy prey for the monocled gentleman with the secret fetish…    

 (contains adult subject matter 18+ only)

 

–signed

Lady Eve Marlowe
Berlin 1958   

Cleopatra’s Perfume    

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Over the following two weeks I lived under the threat of being murdered. A nervous, frantic existence. Panic, fear. Each night I raced home from the theatre, looking behind me at every corner, running away from him.

The man who killed Else…

Then rebellion set in and I decided I would run no longer.

I went to the police, showed them the handbill featuring the girls in the chorus with my picture circled and explained how I met the grotesque-looking man who left the death threat.        

I was grateful when they assigned an undercover plainclothesman to shadow me.  I performed the specialty act at the theatre every night without incident until–

Sunday afternoon. Light rain drizzling down the windowpanes in long liquid streaks that never ceased. Sitting in a café, I hummed along to the charming tune the violinist played, drinking coffee, aware the policeman was close by, though I didn’t know what he looked like.

For my safety, I was told. If I didn’t know who he was than I wouldn’t give away his presence to the murderer.

Still I did not feel safe in the city of Berlin. But where could I hide?

In a movie theater.

The Marmorhaus.  Marblehouse.

This wonderful old movie palace built in 1913 was nearly six stories high with a white marble façade. When it hosted the premiere of the silent film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, in 1920, the Golden Age of German Cinema began. No longer were films deemed unimportant since the number of movie theatres in Germany had grown from less than thirty in 1913 to two-hundred forty-five by 1919.

Soon after the government abolished all censorship and the moving pictures gave the public what they wanted: sex. Lost Daughters and Prostitution attracted big audiences during the era of Weimar Berlin, which also gave the world of cinema such classics as Metropolis, M and The Blue Angel.

Leaving my wet umbrella in the checkroom, I found my way upstairs and took a seat in the nearly empty balcony. I looked over my shoulder. No one was following me.

Where was the plainclothesman?

I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The air became heavy, my nerves frayed as I sat quietly, the projector grinding out the film in jerky movements, a silly costume drama I’ve long since forgotten. I became restless and was about to get up and leave the theatre when–

The sharp prick of a knife pinched the side of my neck, making me gasp. I took in a deep breath and the pungent scent of spicy cloves hung in the air like a pestilence creeping into my bones.

“Don’t move, Fräulein,” I heard a man’s unpleasant voice saying, profoundly disturbing me. “Or you shall not leave this theatre alive.”

To be continued…

 

–signed

Lady Eve Marlowe
Berlin 1958

Cleopatra’s Perfume

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I’d taken to wearing trousers during those uncertain days in 1928 when I walked around  the city of Berlin.  Soft cloche hat pulled down low over one eye, short jacket, white silk blouse, a square white handkerchief in my left pocket.  The only note of worldly sophistication I added was a white carnation in my lapel. 

A fashion statement?  I was more of the opinion I could blend easier into the crowd of Berlin women who had taken to wearing long, fur-trimmed coats, men’s hats and trousers along with knee-high boots.  I hoped my disguised appearance would make me less of a target and not attract the attention of–

The man who murdered Else…

I shall not deny his threat to kill me induced a wariness in me I’d not experienced before, an overpowering need to hide the curves of my female body from his decadent eye. 

I shivered, thinking about him watching me on stage, my nude breasts and hard nipples making him salivate, arousing him to search for his erotic orgasm through murder.  Cutting his victims in grotesque ways I deem too horrible to mention. 

Nude girls.  Always nude girls to satisfy his lust.  A violent man seeking his macabre pleasures with a relentless frenzy that cut to the core of his mad obsession.  His precise execution of his diabolical methods passionate and committed. 

I dug my hands into the deep pockets of my gray woolen trousers as I walked toward the theatre for rehearsal.  I enjoyed the casual style I had adopted that depended more on the cut and fit of my clothes than the frills so often seen in Berlin fashion mode shops.  

I stopped in front of a window display to admire a simple two-piece suit in mottled brown tweed when a deep seated cold radiated in my bones.  

I saw a man’s reflection in the store window that still haunts me to this day.  

Broad-brimmed hat, long overcoat, black boots.  Eyes shadowed in dark glasses with thick gold rims, oily black hair cut unevenly and curling around his large ears.  His head bent to one side in what must have been a painful position.  

A creature so covered in black deeds from head to toe it was as if he partook in a Satanic sex ceremony with every heaving breath he took.  An exile from all that was good, a man whose soul was so polluted with mortal sins the Devil himself cringed when this denizen of lust walked through the portal to evil and never looked back… 

The scourge of Berlin.     

I watched his reflected image holding up a piece of paper tainted a sallow yellow by the touch of his dirty fingers, his long nails catching in its soft fibers.  He smiled, then tossed the paper down onto the sidewalk. 

I turned around in an instant, but he was gone.  The paper remained.  

With trembling fingers, I picked it up.  The pungent scent of spicy cloves was overpowering as I looked at it.  It was a handbill from the revue featuring photos of all the chorus girls. 

My picture was circled.   

I knew then I could never escape him.  

 

–signed

Lady Eve Marlowe
Berlin 1958   

Cleopatra’s Perfume 

Lace evening dress from the closet of Lady Eve Marlowe

Lace evening gown from the closet of Lady Eve Marlowe

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I was in deep despair over finding the death threat written in blood red lipstick on my Carneval mask .

I couldn’t sleep and was prescribed a painkiller.  The next night I fell down the rabbit hole and found– 

White powder.  And the red queen.  Like Lewis Carroll’s Alice, I tumbled down into a wonderland where everything took on a blue-gray tinge like a girl’s nude body.  Cold and dead. 

I ignored the burning sensation stinging the delicate inner chambers of my nostrils, stupidly believing I wasn’t hooked.  Everyone else did it.  I could stop when I wanted.  Until then it solved all my problems. 

Cocaine.

In the 1920s in Weimar Berlin, pretty girls tempted customers with squares of white paper filled with white powder, veterans sold it on street corners and doctors prescribed it for pain. 

I shall not bore you with tawdry stories of my drug use during those Berlin days.  We all thought we were invincible, but we weren’t.  What is more important to me is the effect my drug use had years later on my marriage to Lord Marlowe. 

Though it is against my better judgment, I shall end my writing today with entries from an addicted young wife’s diary so that others may learn from my cautionary tale. 

From Cleopatra’s Perfume:

“I hid my secret well, securing my drugs from a trusted member of the local nobility in desperate need of cash.  I never partook of the stimulant when his lordship was at home and when he was I acted coy, teasing him like a scamp with my iridescent red lipstick brightening up my chalky face, such coloring being an adverse effect of drug use…”  

 

“…later that evening, I neglected to remove a large platinum brooch set with emerald-cut diamonds from the single shoulder strap on my gown.  In my rush to commence the act of pleasure I craved, I pricked my finger and dropped the brooch.  It broke open and out spilled white powder all over the plush scarlet carpet covering the shiny parquet.  Before I could scoop it up, Lord Marlowe bent down and dabbed white specks on his finger, then tasted it.  I swear his eyes bulged out, his face turned red, and he nearly crushed my arm when he grabbed me.  I still remember that moment, so clear it is in my mind.

“Cocaine” was all he said.

“So?” I admitted.  We were newly married but I still retained a wildness in me he had yet to tame.  “I’m not hooked.”   

“Aren’t you?”  He jerked my head back and pulled on my hair, his searing gaze startling me, glaring at my telltale pallor, but I didn’t flinch.  He could see through my artful makeup job.  “How long have you been hiding this from me?” 

I twisted in his grasp, sneering.  “You knew what I was when you married me.  A cabaret girl in glossy eye shadow who haunted the nightclubs, smoking, drinking–”   

“I forbid you to touch that accursed drug ever again.”  

“Forbid me, Lady Eve Marlowe?” I boasted, emphasizing my new title.  “I can do as I wish.” 

“Not in my domain.  I’m your husband and you’ll act in a manner befitting your station.”

Taunting him I said, “I imagine you’re fearful what your vapid friends would say if they found out your wife is both a commoner and an addict.” 

“I don’t care what my friends think or say about us.” 

Curious, I studied his face, his clear gray eyes revealing a most unusual thing to me.  He was telling me the truth.  He didn’t care what smart society thought about him or me.  I also saw a man filled with confidence, a man willing to take control of any situation, even a wayward young wife on drugs.  I realized then my husband was indeed lord of the manor.  When he looked at me, I instinctively felt I should run from him, but I didn’t.   

I asked, “Then why are you acting like this?” 

“Because I love you, Eve Charles.”

 

–signed

Lady Eve Marlowe
Berlin 1958   

Cleopatra’s Perfume  

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Adapting Anita Berber’s signature trait of wearing nothing under her fur coat, I arrived at the theatre that night wearing little underneath my coat since I was running late. 

I dashed into the dressing room and sat down at the makeup table, elbowing my way among twelve–I mean ten girls–all vying for the best lighting.  (If you recall after Else’s murder, a second dancer had been killed, a victim of Lustmord, lust murder.)

Tonight I would take Else’s place in the specialty act. 

We were all on edge, smearing greasepaint on our faces, bare breasts, grabbing our masks for the Carneval number, trying to keep our nerves steady. I had to borrow a lipstick from another girl since I’d left my round navy blue hatbox with my makeup backstage the night before after we heard the terrible news.  

I looked everywhere, but I couldn’t find it. 

When it came time for me to do the specialty number, I took my place atop the fake pedestal on the three-tiered-stage.  Wrapped up in a long red velvet cape, underneath I wore tight, silky red trunks, sparkling gold powder on my bare breasts and laced up red boots studded with rhinestones. To complete my costume, I fastened a white and gold carnival mask in place. 

The music came up, giving me my cue.  Standing on top of the pedestal, I opened my red velvet cape and danced and danced… 

Tap, tap…

I performed the number with wild, erotic passion as if it were a fairytale ballet, a tempest of art and motion fueling the energy of the dancing shoes that didn’t want to stop… 

Exhausted, dripping with sweat, I whipped off my carnival mask at the end of number and pulled the red velvet cape around me as the pedestal descended.

I disappeared beneath the stage and– 

Darkness greeted me, pulling me off balance.  Where was the stage hand who was supposed to guide me out of here?  When I reached out into the dark, a man’s strong hands grabbed me around the throat.  Kicking, flailing my arms around in the dark, I tried to scream but he gagged me with strips of strong muslin then tried my hands together.  

Tossing my cape aside, he dragged me through the gloomy underground passageway with dim lighting then fastened me to an old rafter, the rotting wood creaking as he wound a black silk cord around and around the post until I couldn’t move. 

Breathing hard, he said nothing.  I couldn’t see his face clearly, but I could smell him.  A strange scent that reminded me of cloves…overpowering. 

Then he laughed, his loud, booming voice echoing through the underground chamber.

I pulled on the rope but I couldn’t loosen myself.  I tensed, waiting for him to do something. 

Then the laughter died… 

The stagehand found me a short time later–someone had hit him on the head, he said.  

Afterward, I sat in the stage manager’s office littered with tea cups and old newspapers, the steam pipes hissing in my ears as I gave my statement to the police.  They warned me to be careful and ordered a uniformed officer to take me home.  I was about to leave the theatre when– 

“Eve, wait!” 

I turned to see one of the chorus girls holding up my navy blue hatbox.  She’d found it under the makeup table, she said.  How did it get there?  I didn’t give it much thought until I returned to my pension and opened it.  There on top was– 

Item from the closet of Lady Eve Marlowe circa 1928

Item from the closet of Lady Eve Marlowe circa 1928

My white and gold carnival mask.

 

I turned it over and scrawled on the back was a message in red lipstick: 

“You’re next.”

 

–signed

Lady Eve Marlowe
Berlin 1958   

Cleopatra’s Perfume     

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