Photos in header by: Kelly Hofer and Michael Sturgeon

"Kiss me, my fool!"

- A Fool There Was (1915)

Project Name:

“The War Years” Gala Series

Project Type:

Production

Project Descriptor:

Full event design and production

Inspired by the monthly “Well, Basil My Rathbone!” film and performance series that Zoë created out of her love and knowledge of censorship era films (aka, Hays Code era), the Lougheed House commissioned RocketHouse to create an event series to commemorate, educate, and entertain audiences for the centennial of World War I. And so, the four-month War Years Gala series was born! Each month featured a popular film from one year of the war, paired with live piano accompaniment, themed performance by guest artists, themed treats and drinks from the Lougheed House Restaurant, themed artisan photo booth by Kelly Hofer Photography, and a prize for the best vintage costume. For those guests that didn’t own vintage clothes but wanted to get into the spirit of things, Cat’s Eye Vintage was on site with clothes and accessories to wear and (optionally) buy.

If you’re interested in seeing any of these “war year” films, you’re in luck – all motion pictures made before 1923 are now indisputably in the public domain so we’ve included links here for you to watch and enjoy.

November Gala

Theme: Magic

Pianist: Mark Edwards

Performance: Vaudevillian show by the renowned James Jordan

Best Costume Prize: Giraf Animation Festival tickets

Fun Fact: Mary Pickford (Cinderella) was married to Owen Moore (Prince Charming) in real life from 1911 to 1920.

Watch “Cinderella” (1914) on YouTube

December Gala

Theme: Vamps and Seduction

Pianist: Eric Heitmann

Performance: An aria from the exquisite Cowtown Opera

Best Costume Prize: Gift certificate to the Lougheed House Restaurant

Fun Fact: Only a handful of Theda Bara films still exist, the others being The Unchastened Woman (1925), The Stain (1914), East Lynne (1916), and two short comedies she made for Hal Roach in the mid-1920s.

Watch “A Fool There Was” (1915) on YouTube

January Gala

Theme: Steampunk

Pianist: Eric Heitmann

Performance: Concert by Hazel Grey and dance performance by Jass Parlour

Best Costume Prize: Tickets to Red Carpet Comedy

Fun Fact: George M. Williamson and J. Ernest Williamson developed a system of watertight tubes and mirrors, like an upside-down periscope so that the camera wouldn’t have to be submerged (a technology that did not yet exist).

Watch “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (1916) on YouTube

February Gala

Theme: Run, jump, flip!

Pianist: John Vooys

Performance: Breakdance and freestyle rap by the talented Jazzlib collective

Best Costume Prize: Entry passes to Breathe Parkour gym

Fun Fact: Huts were constructed for the African village scenes and 800 locals were hired as extras. The entire set was burned to the ground for the final village scene.

Watch “Tarzan of the Apes” (1918) on YouTube