Spring 2015


Chicago historian and smart-aleck Adam Selzer
and Chicago-based independent filmmaker Michael Glover Smith will talk about their new book about early movie production in Chicago and show a few rare old films.

"Can you guess where the first film version of The Wizard of Oz was produced? Hollywood, 1939? What about the first newsreel? New York, maybe? Or, the initial screen adaptation of A Christmas Carol? Would London be a reasonable guess? What about the first movie to chronicle the story of Jesse James? The original film adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Or, the first biopic of Lincoln? The answer to all of these questions is not Hollywood, or New York, or London. The answer is Chicago."Susan Doll

Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the U.S. Film Industry tells the fascinating but little-known story of how Chicago served as the unlikely capital of film production in America in the years prior to the rise of Hollywood (1907-1913).

Tuesday, April 14, 5:30-8:30 pm

The Lounge at Iwan Ries
19 South Wabash Av, 2d floor

Cocktails at 5:30, presentation 6:00-6:30 followed by discussion and more cocktails.
$40 includes drinks, two cigars, and sandwiches.
Reservations are required.

Adam Selzer was born in Des Moines and now lives in Chicago, where he writes humorous books by day and researches history, ghost stories, and naughty playground rhymes by night.  Mr. Selzer's first novel was How To Get Suspended and Influence People, a 2007 Random House book that was included in the Chicago Public Schools 2007 Summer Reading List. It was also nominated for a Cybils 2007 Young Adult Fiction award, and, in 2009, made national news after attempts were made to have it removed from an Idaho library.  It was included in the American Library Association's Banned Books Week packet in 2010.  In 2013, his novel Sparks: the Epic, True-blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie (a young-adult novel about a sixteen-year-old lesbian's quest) was named a Stonewall Honor book and was placed on the ALA's "Rainbow List."  His Smart Aleck's Guide to American History (Random House, 2009) was nominated for a YALSA award for nonfiction by the American Library Association in 2011, and his novel for younger readers, I Put a Spell On You: From the Files of Chrissie Woodward, Spelling Bee Detective (which was based on Watergate) was nominated for a Great Lakes Book Award and short-listed for an Edgar Award nomination.  A 2009 short film he co-wrote with Michael Glover Smith, At Last, Okema!, won awards at several festivals.

Michael Glover Smith is an independent filmmaker, author, and film-studies instructor based in Chicago. He received a BA from Columbia College and an MA from Humboldt State University. His short films have won awards at film festivals across the United States, and his first feature, Cool Apocalypse, will have its world premiere in 2015.  Since 2009, Mr. Smith has taught film history and aesthetics at Oakton Community College, Triton College, Harold Washington College and the College of Lake County. Additionally, he regularly lectures at Northwestern University and Facets Multimedia. He is a regular contributor to Time Out Chicago, Cine-File Chicago, and is author of the very popular blog, whitecitycinema.com.  Flickering Empire is his first book.

About the Cigar Society of Chicago

ONE OF THE OLDEST AND greatest traditions of the city clubs of Chicago is the discussion of intellectual, social, legal, artistic, historical, scientific, musical, theatrical, and philosophical issues in the company of educated, bright, and appropriately provocative individuals, all under the beneficent influence of substantial amounts of tobacco and spirits.  The Cigar Society of Chicago embraces this tradition and extends it with its Informal Smokers, University Series lectures, and Cigar Society Dinners, in which cigars, and from time to time pipes and cigarettes, appear as an important component of our version of the classical symposium.  To be included in the Cigar Society's mailing list, write to the Secretary at curtis.tuckey@logicophilosophicus.org.