About IBKS

The International Buster Keaton Society

We love Buster Keaton.

Founded in 1992, the goals of the Society (a 501c3, non-profit organization) are to foster and perpetuate appreciation an understanding of the life, career and films of Buster Keaton, to advocate for historical accuracy about Keaton's life and work, to encourage dissemination of information about Keaton, and to endorse preservation and restoration of Keaton's films and performances. In our early days, we were proud to be supported by Eleanor Keaton, Buster’s widow, who attended several of our events. Today, we are thrilled to have Melissa Talmadge Cox, Buster’s grand-daughter, on our board, and Keaton Talmadge, his great-grand-daughter as an active member. We are an entirely volunteer-operated group, we love what we do, and are honored to help maintain Buster’s legacy. We hope that you will use the resources of this website, our social media presence, and the Society in general to learn more about the art of Buster Keaton. We also look forward to seeing how Keaton inspires you in your own life and work. We also hope that you’ll support us by becoming a member, which gives you access to the amazing Keaton Chronicle and store discounts. And your exclusive membership pin will make you the (silent) talk of the town.

An entirely volunteer-run organization.

From the board to the officers to the editors, merchandise-handlers, social media gurus and beyond, no one takes a dollar. Your membership fees and donations go straight towards the costs of our convention, online presence, preservation, and other activities and operations.
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Melissa Talmadge Cox

Board Member

Melissa Talmadge Cox is a California native who graduated from Santa Monica High School and the University of California at Davis.  She has lived for the last 38 years in a 116-year-old house in a small town in Northern California, where she has worked as a California Certified Nurserywoman, a landscape designer, a puppy-raiser for services dogs (44 of them), and a watercolor teacher and artist. She is married with three grown children and has been on countless committees in civic and school affairs. Roping her into being on the board of the Damfinos wasn’t very hard since she’s been a tremendous admirer of Buster Keaton since early childhood. She has the good fortune to be his granddaughter and spent her youth visiting Grandpa Buster and Eleanor in Southern California. She is currently on the Board of Directors of the Damfinos and is an honorary member of the Keaton Celebration committee in Iola, Kansas.

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Nina Roberts

Board Member

Nina Roberts is best known among her Damfino friends as Big Joe Roberts’ granddaughter. She was affectionately named after her grandmother, Nina Straw Roberts, who was Big Joe’s wife. Nina learned at an early age that her grandparents were vaudeville performers and Keaton’s neighbors in Muskegon. Big Joe then followed Buster to Hollywood to co-star in his silent films. When Nina attended her first Buster Keaton convention seven years ago, she brought many unseen photographs from her family photo album and later created a slideshow of Big Joe and Nina’s vaudeville and acting careers which she presented at the 2017 convention. Nina enjoys spending time with her adult children and eight grandchildren when she isn’t off exploring a new destination in the U.S. or internationally.

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David MacLeod

Board Member/Vice President

London-based Scot, David, is inordinately proud of the fact that he’s attended every Muskegon Convention and presented at every one as well. A long-time Secretary of the Society, he has now been ‘elevated’ to the Board. He’s also author of two Keaton books, ‘The Sound Of Buster Keaton’ and ‘Looking Back: Buster Keaton’s 1951 Music Hall Tour’, and edited a third, ‘The Buster Bulletin Big Bumper Booklet’. He also met his wife, Graceann at the 1997 Convention (we’ve just celebrated our 13th anniversary), so Buster’s been rather important in his life.

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Beth Pederson

Board Member/Treasurer

Beth Pederson first encountered Buster Keaton at a live organ theater performance in 2004. She has a BS in accounting, but went on to more entertaining pursuits, such as managing a board game store and later, starting Buster Stuff.  She has been a member of the Keaton Society for twelve years, and lives in Layton, Utah with the love of her life and husband of 37 years, Mark; and their three large Poodles. She has two grown and married children, but alas, no sign of grandchildren yet.  Her obsessions outside of Buster are managing the Salt Lake City shipping hub for Netflix DVD, camping in her pop-up trailer and building with Legos.

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Ruth Sharman

Board Member/Director of Social Media

Ruth E Sharman is an artist, artisan, writer and one-time performer (literally one time - ironically her first stand-up appearance was laughably bad). Whilst writing an as yet unpublished (and unfinished) novel on the subject of the supernatural, a silent movie ghost character insinuated itself on the plot.  Looking rather like a chap she’d seen before, Ruth began to research one Buster Keaton and fell down the rabbit hole! In her role as Director of Social Media she posts daily content across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Reddit as well as developing and maintaining busterkeaton.org #ThisKeepsHerVeryBusy #ButSheLovesMakingUpNewHashtags #KeepItKeaton

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Bob Borgen

President pro tem

Los Angeles native Bob Borgen discovered Buster Keaton through Blackhawk Films while in high school. He became a lifelong fan and student of all-things Keaton. In the 1970's he met Eleanor Keaton, and they remained close for the final 25 years of her life. As a collector of 16mm Keaton films in the days before home video, Bob was often called upon to screen films for writers, researchers along with a few famous comedians; as a result he's helped with dozens of Keaton books, documentaries and blu ray releases in the last 40 years. He was happy to serve as Damfinos President 2017 and 2018 and is happy to serve as Interim President in 2022.

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Eryn Leedale-Merwart

President

Thanks to her Fisher Price Movie Theatre with it's hand crank, a determined curiosity, and with Laurel and Hardy as her gateway drug, Eryn Merwart has been a lover of silent film history since the age of 5. Besides being an avid researcher of the American film industry, Eryn spent 23 years as owner and head designer at Take to the Sky Jewelry. She has also co-chaired more than 5 of the Keaton Society's annual conventions and has happily volunteered for over 20 years. She will forever maintain that Canadian chocolate is way better. She is also extremely grateful for her role in the Society and looks forward to connecting Keaton fans and sharing the laughter of Buster's work.

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Molly Race

Secretary

Molly Race first encountered Buster Keaton when her dad showed her a funny train movie in elementary school. After wearing her library’s VHS threadbare, she became obsessed with silent film comedy as a whole, earned a history degree, and attended her first convention on a whim in 2015. She reunites with the DamFam whenever she can. Since she’s been teaching ESL in South Korea for five years now, it happens less often than she likes, but she loves to contribute by dusting off her degree for the occasional article or review. In her free time, she grows plants, bakes, reads biographies, studies languages, dabbles in critical theory, and strongarms students, friends, and family members into watching the classics.

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Val Billingsley

Merchandise

Valerie was born in Arizona and loved growing up in an area so rich with history of the old west. She now lives in central Texas where it isn't anything like Arizona but rich in its own history. After discovering Buster, like so many of the friends she has made since, she fell in love with his films and life story. She began researching his vaudeville years and with a small group of newly found friends, and started a chronology of all of the performances of the Keatons starting with Myra when she was with her dad Frank Cutler in his show. Valerie has also helped with the research for his family tree. She has a particular fondness for Go West because it takes her back home... and who doesn't love Friendless? Valerie helps plan the annual convention and runs the Damfino merchandise site.

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Jill Abernathy

Membership

A few short years ago while exploring a new interest in silent films, Jill happened upon a showing of Our Hospitality and was hooked.  This was the beginning of an obsession with all things Keaton, and she has since acquired a collection that would rival the typical BK fanatic.  She has been a loyal Muskegon convention attendee since 2015 and has had the privilege of attending the 90th anniversary celebration of the filming of The General in Cottage Grove, Oregon.  Heeding a call for volunteers, she began providing clerical assistance to the society, which in turn led to her current position as membership coordinator. With Buster as her muse, an unrealized artistic talent has also been gratefully revealed, leading to her love of experimenting with several art mediums.  Jill is grateful for the lovely people she has meet thru this association and is honored to serve the International Buster Keaton Society.

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Anthony Zicari

Editor, Keaton Chronicle

Anthony Zicari is an award winning full time professional freelance writer and editor and has been working in the entertainment industry for 25 years and counting. Anthony has written and edited for a wide number of international companies, comic books, magazines, online web sites, other publications and much more. He owes his life long love of silent films to his Mother who exposed him to them at a very young age - specifically, Buster Keaton. In addition to his regular writing/editing work load, he continues to work on many personal projects, as well as branching out into writing novels/short stories, films, TV and animation. In his new role as Editor of The Keaton Chronicle, Anthony has many new and big plans featuring Buster Keaton and is currently working on bringing them all to life for old and new generations of fans alike. He wants to stay true to the essence of Buster and his wealth of work to honor him as he adds his vision to Buster's overall legacy. Anthony currently lives in New York State with his wife and four daughters, thoroughly outnumbered but loving every minute of his life.

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Kristin Nalesnik

Art Director, Keaton Chronicle

Kristin Nalesnik is an artist and designer from a small town in Pennsylvania. She discovered Buster Keaton in college (well, actually in Sherlock, Jr.) and has been an ardent admirer ever since. She works across a variety of artistic mediums, including embroidery, textiles, and paint. Her art often draws inspiration from classic cinema, and of course Buster himself! Working on The Keaton Chronicle has been the perfect way to combine her interest in a certain stone-faced silent film star with her graphic design experience. She is grateful for the role Buster has played in her life, has met some dear friends through the Keaton community, and is glad to have a small hand in preserving his legacy.