Monday, August 14, 2006

Anatomy: Annual Mae West Gala

Why we come together on August 17th every year:

• • Welcome to the Roaring 20s when the speakeasy flourished, talking movies were trumping vaudeville, and Mae West was a convicted felon. Why was the Brooklyn bombshell sent to jail? Her sin: writing and producing two gay plays on Broadway — and casting homosexuals. During the Prohibition Era, Mae’s actions defied New York’s penal code and violated Actors’ Equity rules.
• • She broke the law — but the law couldn’t break her. The pre-trial publicity alone made her name notorious. Her Broadway play Diamond Lil won her critical acclaim and the audience’s adoration. During the Depression, when Hollywood needed a bolt from the blue to get them out of the red, Mae West boosted the bank account of Paramount Pictures. She Done Him Wrong grossed over $2 million at the box office.

• • To celebrate a trailblazer who penned, produced, and cast her own work for the stage, the Annual Mae West Gala was born. Always set in a location that Mae West actually visited, the Gala opens on August 17th (her birthday) and presents public events that entertain and educate.
• • • • Media inquiries welcome. • • • •
• • Images for 2006 exhibition: —
• • The Annual Mae West Gala always takes place in a New York club, restaurant, or courtroom that the actress spent time in.
• • • • COURTING MAE WEST, LLC, based in Manhattan, is an off-Broadway producing outfit whose mission is to increase opportunities for women and female-driven plays.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Source: Courting Mae West, LLC • •
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• • Illustration: Mae West by Alvaro • • from the COURTING MAE WEST collection • •

Mae West.

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