In 1928, Djuna Barnes published The Ladies Almanack. Complete with illustrations and writing that has been described as “archaic”, Barnes’ book detailed the lesbian social circle that was based in Paris at the time.
And while many of the names have been changed in order to protect the women (some of whom include Natalie Barney, Radclyffe Hall, Dolly Wilde, and Janet Flanner), the events of The Ladies Almanack and the settings (such as Natalie Barney’s Paris salon) are very real indeed.
While The Ladies Almanack isn’t Barnes’ best known book (that title goes to Nightwood), it is still an incredibly important one.
With Barney, Hall and Flanner being some of the most important artists of their time, across poetry, literature and painting, the book offers a rare insight into their social and personal lives from someone who was actually right in the middle of it.
That’s why it’s especially good news that The Ladies Almanack has been turned into a film.
Having been in the works for three years by filmmaker Daviel Shy, it is described as “not just a movie, it is a movement.” The filmmaker explains that “the film takes place in an imaginary city comprised of Paris and Chicago, using architectural similarities to suggest that both cities are one and that “in Paris, the center of our creative community is a living room in Aubervilliers. (An inner-ring suburb just Northwest of the city proper.)” and “in Chicago, the spaces that have served and fed our artistic community for many years figure prominently in the film.”
The film, which mostly features non-professional actors (including Eileen Myles and Hélène Cixous), has already been filmed. However, there is still work to be done until it is totally complete, which is why The Ladies Almanack has a Seed & Spark page.
The goal is $15,000 (with just over a month to go) and pledges will go towards things such as final sound mixing, colour correction, and festival costs.