Go WEST, young men has been their clarion call for fifteen years now. In Los Angeles, California a group of Mae West celebrants are among the faithful who congregate, annually, on August 17th to remember her unique presence.
• • Usually the festivities are organized by Hollywood resident Ramfis Diaz — — a 45-year-old musician adorned by a Fu Manchu mustache and impressively sculpted sideburns that snake around his jaw. A lifelong hoarder of Mae West memorabilia, Diaz has his walls peppered with spicy images of the movie queen at her most liquorous.
• • The merrymakers — — about 40 to 50 guests — — track back to the "come up and see me sometime" gal via various connections.
• • Los Angeles Times reporter Kevin Thomas, a close comrade of the late actress, always attends along with Chris Basinger (a good buddy of Mae's during the 1970s, who worked at the Ravenswood and lived across the street from her), and Damon Devine, a Mae-West-iana collector since age 11 and, like Mae, born under the zodiac sign of Leo.
• • According to the divine Mr. Devine, "The rest of the revellers are mostly there out of curiosity, or attracted by the food, cake, and booze. Also a red-headed nudist seems to show up each year!"
• • A toast to Mae West — — and the memories she stage-managed for each of her fans.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo courtesy of Damon Devine: • • Mae West's birthday cake • • 2007 • •