Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mae West: Sylvia Syms

Born like MAE WEST in Brooklyn, New York, Sylvia Syms [2 December 2, 1917 — 10 May 1992] was a jazz singer whose birthname was Sylvia Blagman.
• • When she was a child, Sylvia contracted polio — — a disease that also afflicted Mae's sister Beverly and causes some sufferers to put on weight.
• • As a curious 15-year-old, Sylvia found her way to jazz joints on New York's "Prohibition Row" [West 52nd Street]. In 1941, the 24-year-old debuted at a club called Billy's Stable.
• • During 1948, Mae West went to performances at the Cinderella Club in Greenwich Village to see Rae Bourbon and listen to keyboard king Willie "The Lion" Smith. Fortunately for Sylvia Sims, Mae caught her act onstage there, too. Mae West gave her the part of Flo the Shoplifter in a Broadway revival of Diamond Lil.
• • Thanks to this big break and the exposure Mae West afforded her, Sylvia Syms appeared on the stage as Bloody Mary in South Pacific and as Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! — — and also acted in straight roles.
• • Among others who observed her in night spots was Frank Sinatra who considered her the "world's greatest saloon singer." Sinatra conducted her album "Syms by Sinatra" [1982].
• • Signed to Decca Records, she had a million-selling record in 1956 with an up-tempo version of "I Could Have Danced All Night" from the soundtrack of My Fair Lady. It was her one mega hit.
• • In a nightclub career that spanned 51 years, the New York rooms in which she performed included Bon Soir [on West 8th Street], Ruban Bleu, The Living Room, Village Vanguard [on Seventh Avenue], Cafe Carlyle, Freddy's, Michael's Pub, The Cookery [on East 8th Street], Marty's, and Eighty-Eight's [on West 10th Street].
• • She died on stage at age 74 in New York City from a heart attack.
• • Her New York Times obituary said: "With her deep, grainy contralto, I've-been-through-it-all air of sophistication, and sinuous phrasing that echoed her idol, Billie Holiday, Miss Syms was a quintessential saloon singer, a term she said she preferred to cabaret singer. In the saloon tradition of Mr. Sinatra, she treated everything she sang as an intimate personal communication."
• • Times staffer Stephen Holden wrote: "When you perform it's a one-to-one love affair with the people out there," she once said. "That's how it has to be."
• • On Sunday 17 August 2008, during the "Mae West's Walk on the Wild Side" walking tour, the group will visit the Cinderella Club and "I Could Have Danced All Night" will be sung live by a vivacious actress, a native New Yorker who has performed in many musicals.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West's protege • •
Sylvia Syms • •

Mae West.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mae West: Diamond Girl

Eighty years ago MAE WEST stepped into a glorious phase of her career. That was her big Broadway bonanza in 1928 — — and a gem it was.
• • "Diamond Lil" debuted at the Royale Theatre [242 West 45th Street, NYC 10036]
on 9 April 1928. It was a box office success as well as a favorite with drama critics.
• • Though Mae had worn contemporary styles as Margy LaMont in "Sex," she situated her 1928 script on the Bowery [New York City] during the Gay Nineties. Even after the show's run, Diamond Lil would become the actress's enduring persona.
• • Engaging gowns designed by the British costumer Dolly Tree [18991962] balanced Mae West's scarlet sisterhood style with a glamorous touch that made her more appealing to a middle-class audience.
• • Floor-sweeping creations
featured the hour-glass waist, revealing cleavage, frills and flounces, feather boas, and 1890-ish accessories that have meshed with Mae West's iconic image.
• • Dolly Tree also worked with Mae West on the costumes for another project staged on Broadway in 1928: The Pleasure Man.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • •
1928 • •

Mae West.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mae West: Find a magic

MAE WEST was dressed by Edith Head. Naturally, The Empress of Sex had an impact also on the actress who is currently starring on a British stage as the Oscar-winning designer.
• • Here's an excerpt from the article "Conversation With Edith Head: Susan Claassen" — —
• • Do you share Edith's passion for clothes and fashion?
• • Absolutely. Edith often quoted Mae West when she said, "Find a magic that does something for you honey — — and stick with it." I think that defines my sense of fashion. While in Edinburgh last summer, the Sunday Herald did a style piece that captured that philosophy.
• • Have you ever had a Hollywood diva moment?
• • I'd have to say the night my amazing London producers, Tony Field and John C. Causebrook came to see my performance in Edinburgh last summer. It was one of those magical nights in the theatre when all the ‘stars’ are aligned. Their reputation preceded them and when they introduced themselves after the show said they wanted to produce its West End premiere — — it was definitely a ‘Hollywood’ moment!
• • Why do you think A Conversation with Edith Head is going to appeal to a gay audience?
• • Because Edith Head represents style, class, and lots of sass! Oh, and did I mention Bette Davis?
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Article: "Conversation With Edith Head: Susan Claassen"
• • Byline: GaydarNation.com
• • Published in: www.rainbownetwork.com
• • Published on: 28 July 2008
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • •
none • •

Mae West.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mae West: Pyjama Party

They're back in style: those glamorous and practical pyjama pants and cocktail suits that were enjoyed by screen queens such as MAE WEST and Greta Garbo, who radiated a new and an intriguing mix of masculine and womanly sex appeal.
• • According to an article in London's Daily Mail, it was Coco Chanel who first put women in men's PJs. After World War I, she introduced a more practical, sporty look for women, replacing the restrictions of the corset and floor-length dresses.
• • Fashion journalist Stephanie Rafanelli writes: Pyjama trousers became the new loungewear for society femmes, worn at home, for a round of golf and frolicking on the beach. Paquin's Chinese printed pyjamas with embroidered satin jacket were the It-items of the day for bright young things.
• • Stephanie Rafanelli notes: Pyjamas (from paejama, the Hindi word for 'leg coverings') were brought over from the Far East in the 1890s — — and they soon became fashionable bed-wear for the British gentleman, replacing the traditional nightshirt. The popularity of pyjama pants heightened in the Thirties when the more tapered legs of the Twenties evolved into the wide-legged palazzo trouser that went from beach attire to day and eveningwear.
• • The British film "Brideshead Revisited" features seductive 1920s loungewear. Continue reading Ms. Rafanelli's article here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • •
none • •

Mae West.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Annual Mae West Gala

Invitation to the Annual Mae West Gala

In her 1935 release "Goin' to Town," MAE WEST's character — — newly rich Cleo Borden — — has an evening soiree and decides to impress the guests by "throwing an opera." Always envisioning herself as a seductress, Mae (hilariously costumed) performs an erotic French aria by Camille Saint-SaĆ«ns: "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix."
• • On 17 August 2008, the glamorous Diamond Divas invite you to an a-MAE-zing birthday celebration that includes a musical walking tour of historical sights near Washington Square Park. Join Metropolitan Opera singer Marlena De La Mora and tour guide Sharon Weinman and historian LindaAnn Loschiavo for a noteworthy Sunday afternoon in Greenwich Village.
• • Metropolitan Opera singer Marlena De La Mora will sing excerpts from arias associated with Mae West including Delilah's French aria. Sharon Weinman, who has a long background in musical theatre, will punctuate the walking tour with showtunes linked to Mae's career. Playwright LindaAnn Loschiavo will provide secret addresses tied to Mae West that have not been disclosed before.
• • This year the Annual Mae West Birthday Gala will also commemorate the 80th anniversary of "Diamond Lil," which Mae West wrote and brought to Broadway in 1928.
• • Soprano Marlena de la Mora has sung with both The Met & NYC Opera. A former winner of the New York Liederkranz Foundation's Wagnerian Vocal Competition, Madame de la Mora is a soloist at Fordham United Methodist Church.
• • Sharon Weinman has been leading walking tours for over a decade and performs in community theatre; she is also a Recreation Therapist with the New York State Recreation and Park Society.
• • LindaAnn Loschiavo's latest play "Courting Mae West" was onstage in July as part of the Fresh Fruit Festival; she is at work on a biographical travel guide "Mae West's New York, 1899—1959" and will show some of her rare vintage photos during the tour.
• • Walking Tour: "Mae West's Walk on the Wild Side"
• • When: 1:00 PM on Sunday — — 17 August 2008
— — rain or shine
• • Meet: Village Restaurant, 62 West Ninth Street, New York, NY 10011
• • Price: $20
• • Subway: E or F [IND] train to West Fourth Street; PATH to 9th Street station
• • Attire: why not wear a Mae West-inspired hat?
• • Info: Seesaw864@juno.com

• • This event
— — which is part of the Annual Mae West Birthday Gala — — is open to the public.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • 1935
• •

Mae West.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mae West: Rosebud

The play "Courting Mae West" opens in one of the drag cabarets in the Village that MAE WEST used to visit. In Act I, Scene 1, Mae waves to a cigarette girl in drag known as Rosebud. Mae explains to her date, "I just cast Rosebud over there in 'The Drag'. . . ."
• • In 1923, Arthur C. Budd was 21 years old and residing at 25 West 52nd Street. Known as “Rosebud,” Arthur C. Budd worked as a female impersonator in “The Lady in Ermine” at The Century Theater.
• • A New York Times article published on 5 February 1923 — — “Village Raid Nets 4 Women and 9 Men: Detectives Thought They Had Five Females, but Misjudged One Person by Clothing” — — paints a picture of the Greenwich Village circles Rosebud traveled in.
• • The police continue to pay special attention to Greenwich Village, according to The N.Y. Times. Every tearoom and cabaret in the village was visited yesterday morning by Deputy Inspector Joseph A. Howard and Captain Edward J. Dempsey of the Charles Street Station, and a party of ten detectives.
• • Detectives Joseph Massie and Dewey Hughes of the Special Service Squad were at the Black Parrot Tea Shoppe Hobo-Hemia, 46 Charles Street, to witness what they had been informed would be a “circus.” They arrested what they thought were five women and eight men. It developed later, however, that one of the “women” was a man, Harry Bernhammer, 21 years old, living at 36 Hackensack Avenue, West Hoboken, N.J. He is familiarly known in the Village as “Ruby,” according to the police. The charge against him is disorderly conduct for giving what the police termed an indecent dance.
• • The other prisoners, all of whom were bailed out at the station house, were Lucy Smith, 22 years old, of 46 Charles Street, and Patricia Rogers, 24 years old, of 16 Charles Street, alleged proprietors of the establishment, charged with violating the Mullan-Gage law; . . . Arthur C. Budd, 21 years old, of 25 West Fifty-second Street; . . . Paul Warring, 21 years old, of 75 West Seventy-second Street; . . . . The real name of the Smith woman, according to the police, is Vera Black, and the real name of the Rogers woman is Nan Paddock.
• • Arthur C. Budd, according to the police, is known as “Rosebud,” and claimed when arrested that he is a female impersonator in “The Lady in Ermine” at The Century Theater.
• • Paul Warring, the police say, is pianist at the Black Parrot and was formerly employed at a Broadway cabaret. . . . Reilly is accused of doing “a suggestive dance.”
• • The detectives allege that before the raid early yesterday morning they bought eight drinks of whiskey at $1 a drink.
• • The “circus” did not actually take place, the detectives said, for just before the time for it to begin Patricia Rogers stepped out on the floor and announced: “There are two policemen here and I am afraid to put on the circus."
• • The joyful soiree at the Black Parrot Tea Shoppe Hobo-Hemia [46 Charles Street, New York, NY 10014] ended rather abruptly with a paddy wagon conveying the arrested individuals to Jefferson Market Police Court on Sixth Avenue on 5 February 1923.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • •
Jefferson Market Police Court • •

Mae West.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mae West: Skip to July 25

MAE WEST clashed on the set of "Night After Night" [1932] while she was in a couple of scenes with veteran actress Alison Skipworth.
• • The portly British-trained thespian, suspecting that the younger woman would steal the scene by injecting it with jolt of energy, told the director that Mae West's timing was off.
• • "You forget," she declared, turning to West, "I've been an actress for forty years."
• • "Don't worry, dear," West tartly replied. "I'll keep your secret."
• • Alison Skipworth was born in July in London, England on 25 July 1863.
• • Skipworth also died in the month of July on 5 July 1952 in New York City.
• • In August 1932, Paramount Pictures began production on "Night After Night"; the Prohibition-themed story, conceived as a vehicle for George Raft, was released in theatres on 30 October 1932. George Raft plays Joe Anton, a former speakeasy owner and gangster who longs to be a gentleman and is being tutored by Mrs. Jellyman [Alison Skipworth].
• • Mae West did her best to dress up a bland bit part with her witty lines, industrial strength charisma, and rapid-fire energy. Paramount Pictures realized that it was "love at first sight" between the studio and this box-office baby. Here's a humorous exchange:
• • Mrs. Jellyman: Do you believe in love at first sight?
• • Maudie Triplett: I dunno, but it saves an awful lot of time.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • •
1932 • •

Mae West.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mae West: An A-MAE-zing Actress

Joe Franklin has always enjoyed MAE WEST. During 1951 1999, when he was the host of television's first talk show "Joe Franklin's Memory Lane," the king of nostalgia invited Mae West to be featured six times on his popular program broadcast from New York City on WABC-TV and on WOR-TV.
• • In 2005, Joe Franklin enjoyed seeing scenes from Courting Mae West — — and this month he had a chance to get acquainted with the current cast when he popped in on a performance at the Kaufman Theatre [123 East 24th Street] on Monday 21 July 2008.
• • Before coming to the play, Joe Franklin plugged the show during the "Potpourri" section of his broadcast on Bloomberg Radio.
• • Here's Joe Franklin during Intermission, enjoying some refreshments. "With her whip cracking dialogue," Joe Franklin told theatre manager Mark Sportiello, "the playwright shows she is as much of a word jockey as Mae West."
• • An expert on vaudeville and a member of a prestigious sheet music society, Joe Franklin is no stranger to the lawless decade — — the Prohibition Era — — when Courting Mae West takes place.
• • According to Joe Franklin, what he enjoys about this serious-minded comedy is the sense that what happens in Act I and Act II is spontaneous and yet inevitable. And he enjoys the characters: the ambitious women and the complex, lovable scoundrels around them.
• • Joe Franklin was completely mesmerized by the star of Courting Mae West — — Yvonne Sayers, who relished the opportunity to play such a unique woman in American history.
• •
"She's a high-wattage actress," said Franklin. "She has the skill to keep her performance as acting and not an impersonation of Mae West."
• • A lifelong theatre buff, Joe Franklin has seen many performers try to portray Mae and fail. "I feel that, ultimately, you have to love the individual you are playing. You have to have a certain feeling. You have to have passion for the person. I can see that Yvonne Sayers is the type who prepared for the part by trying to understand why Mae did what she did, defending it, and getting behind it."
• • According to Joe Franklin, Yvonne Sayers is destined for stardom. "She's got what it takes — — just like Mae."
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West cast • •
Yvonne Sayers illustration • •
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • author of "Courting Mae West" with Joe Franklin and Mae • •

Mae West.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mae West: Backstage

Ronni Reich of BackStage came up to see MAE WEST at the Fresh Fruit Festival last week.
• • Courting Mae West would not be without its excitement — — nor is LindaAnn Loschiavo's play of the same name, writes Ms. Reich.
• • "Loschiavo adopts Mae's language with ease and intelligence. . . and the vibrancy of Mae's world [the Prohibition Era] comes across," writes Ms. Reich.
• • "[Yvonne] Sayers's Mae West has several show-stopping moments," adds Ms. Reich. "Sarah Kanter Emanuel gives a stand-out performance as Beverly [West]."
— — excerpt: — —
• • Byline: Ronni Reich
• • Published in: BackStage Magazine
• • Published on: 21 July 2008
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • •
• •

Mae West.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mae West: Praise for a Play

MAE WEST's gay play "Pleasure Man" had a $200,000 box office advance when it premiered at the Biltmore on 1 October 1928. The police raided the show, however, and shut it down the same night. Perhaps this was an easy target, since the theatre was on the same block as the precinct: 47th Street, west of Broadway.
• • The infamous raid at the Biltmore is dramatized in the play "Courting Mae West," which will have its final performance on Tuesday 22 July 2008 at the Algonquin Theatre [123 East 24th Street] in Manhattan.
• • The Algonquin's manager Mark Sportiello, who attended two performances, has become a big fan of both the play and the talented cast. "Courting Mae West is what great theatre is supposed to be!" said Sportiello, whose brother Tony is an award-winning playwright.
• • In "Courting Mae West," Texas Guinan [portrayed by Eileen Glenn] visits Mae West [portrayed by Yvonne Sayers] backstage at the Royale Theatre to warn her about the raid.
• • MAE WEST: Tex, isn't there a way to trouble-shoot this?
• • TEXAS GUINAN: Honey child, the problem with trouble-shooting is that, invariably, trouble shoots back!
• • In addition to battling a hex by legal voodoo, Mae West was in enormous physical pain during 1928.
• • The usually healthy, resilient, durable actress had begun to experience fierce abdominal agony, perhaps from stress. When the infamous raid at the Biltmore Theatre occurred, New York's bulldog of a district attorney was threatening her with another jail term.
• • Seized by the talons of legal eagles, Mae was rescued (somewhat) and got a jolt of good news from her savvy attorney Nathan Burkan. Burkan had convinced a judge to allow Mae to continue touring in "Diamond Lil."
• • Adding more relief to Mae's life was the fact that the Shuberts had just bought out Mark Linder, who had staked a claim on "Diamond Lil" because he suggested the locale.
• • Info and showtimes are here — — and we invite you to come up and see Mae.
• • "COURTING MAE WEST" opens at 6 o'clock on Saturday night July 19, 2008 at the Algonquin Theatre [East 24th Street and Park Avenue South].
• •
"COURTING MAE WEST" — — showtimes
• • July 19th, 2008 — — 6:00 PM
• • July 20th, 2008 — — 2:00 PM matinee
• • July 21st, 2008 — — 6:00 PM
• • July 22nd, 2008 — — 9:00 PM
• • Tickets to "COURTING MAE WEST" are $18 per adult.
• •
Theatermania.com sells the tickets — — http://www.theatermania.com/content/show.cfm/show/144297
• • Phone 212-352-3101 and get a ticket.
• • The play is 95 minutes.

• • Get ready to come up and see Mae West, Texas Guinan, and the gang onstage in mid-July 2008.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml

• • Photo:
• • Mae West cast • •
Yvonne Sayers and Eileen Glenn • •

Mae West.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mae West: Clairvoyant

MAE WEST move over, declared Ward Morehouse III.
• • After seeing "Courting Mae West" at the Kaufman Theatre [123 East 24th Street, New York, NY 10010], Morehouse said: Please welcome another first-class clairvoyant to the swelling ranks of those who dazzle by channeling dead celebrities on the stage and screen. Resurrecting the iconic screen queen, Yvonne Sayers easily matches the achievements of Oscar winners Philip Seymour Hoffman (who portrayed Truman Capote in "Capote") and Reese Witherspoon (June Carter Cash in "Walk the Line").
• • Like Mr. Hoffman and Ms. Witherspoon, Morehouse added, Ms. Sayers embodies a once living figure of distinctive style with a radiant conviction and finesse that turn surface mimicry into fine-grained portraiture. Ms. Sayers does a fine job of speaking "Brooklyn," shimmying across the stage, and channeling the original blonde bombshell.
• • Info and showtimes are here — — and we invite you to come up and see Mae.
• • "COURTING MAE WEST" opens at 6 o'clock on Saturday night July 19, 2008 at the Algonquin Theatre [East 24th Street and Park Avenue South].
• •
"COURTING MAE WEST" — — showtimes
• • July 19th, 2008 — — 6:00 PM
• • July 20th, 2008 — — 2:00 PM matinee
• • July 21st, 2008 — — 6:00 PM
• • July 22nd, 2008 — — 9:00 PM
• • Tickets to "COURTING MAE WEST" are $18 per adult.
• •
Theatermania.com sells the tickets — — http://www.theatermania.com/content/show.cfm/show/144297
• • Questions? Phone 212-779-3051.
• • The play is 95 minutes.

• • Get ready to come up and see Mae West, Texas Guinan, and the gang onstage in mid-July 2008.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • •
Yvonne Sayers • •

Mae West.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mae West: "The Drag" in Utah

A scene from MAE WEST's play "The Drag" will be performed in the heart of Mormon country at 7:00 PM on Monday 21 July 2008.
• • Who gets to decide what works are suitable to be offered to the public? That is the question on the minds of the interesting people who run Utah's Plan-B Theatre Company.
• • Plan-B's sixth annual fundraiser — — "And the Banned Played On" — — has gathered together several literary, musical, theatrical, and artistic works that, through the years, have been banned. This year's Benefit will focus on theater — — spanning back to the 1500s. . . .
• • NPR's Doug Fabrizio is one of the show's hosts. Fabrizio will introduce the presenters and will also act a scene from a banned 1927 Mae West play called, "The Drag." . . .
• • Check out Plan-B Theatre Company's 6th annual fundraiser — — And the Banned Played On.
• • Where: Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • •
none • •

Mae West.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mae West: Dell on West 9th

During the early 1920s, MAE WEST spent time in the company of Mother Superior.
• • A top-shelf drag queen, Mother Superior was a mainstay at the most popular gay nightspot — — Paul and Joe's on West Ninth Street — — famous for its drag cabaret. In coded language, Paul and Joe's (run by two Italian family men who lived in New Jersey) was careful to drop hints about being a place for pansies. These skillfully worded pansy ads appeared in The New York Times and elsewhere.

• • Floyd Dell's book Love in Greenwich Village (and many other books) described this former speakeasy on West Ninth Street. In 1920, the regulars filed through a dark-panelled portal three steps down from the pavement. Paul and Joe's was a place where people wanted to be delivered to temptation — — or wanted sin to stay in touch.
• • Since Floyd Dell died in July, let's give him a few lines here.
• • Floyd Dell [born 28 June 1887 in Barry, Illinois — died 23 July 1969 in Bethesda, Maryland] was a radical journalist and novelist whose fiction examined the changing mores in sex and politics among American bohemians before and after World War I.
• • From 1910 until 1920 Floyd Dell was a major force in American literature. In Greenwich Village, with hs buddy George Cram Cook, Dell was at the center of the Provincetown Players who fostered the career of Eugene O'Neill and invented the modern American drama.
• • Mae West might have heard of Floyd Dell via the Provincetown Players, where she and Texas Guinan attended the plays of O'Neill. The theatre was a short walk from Guinan's West Eighth Street apartment and the popular Paul and Joe's.
• • The Pansy Craze was a period during the Prohibition Era when gay clubs and performers (known as pansy performers) experienced a surge in underground popularity in the USA. Socialites, politicians, and even athletes (such as Jack Dempsey) frequented Paul and Joe's where they liked to sit on the mezzanine level and observe the spectacle from a discreet distance.
• • The gay clientele included Greenwich Villagers who were drag community leaders such as the Duchess and Mother Superior. The Duchess was the expert on drag deportment; it was the Duchess who instructed young drag queens on in-group codes of dress, style, speech, and etiquette.
• • The Duchess and Mother Superior (who were very helpful to Mae when she conceived "THE DRAG") were well-known activists who often wrote in the daily papers to protest gay bias.
• • This was the gay cabaret that inspired MAE to write her controversial play "THE DRAG," a work that kicked New York's legal machinery into gear on 9 February 1927. MAE spent that evening in Jefferson Market Police Court and was forced to stay overnight in Jefferson Market Jail.
• • Act I, Scene 1 of "COURTING MAE WEST" opens in Paul and Joe's on West Ninth Street. In the play the speak is called "Cafe Giovanni" and the wait-staff and the cigarette "girl" are in drag.
• • "COURTING MAE WEST" opens at 6 o'clock on Saturday night July 19, 2008 at the Algonquin Theatre [East 24th Street and Park Avenue South].
• •
"COURTING MAE WEST" — — showtimes
• • July 19th, 2008 — — 6:00 PM
• • July 20th, 2008 — — 2:00 PM matinee
• • July 21st, 2008 — — 6:00 PM
• • July 22nd, 2008 — — 9:00 PM
• • Tickets to "COURTING MAE WEST" are $18 per adult.
• •
Theatermania.com sells the tickets — — http://www.theatermania.com/content/show.cfm/show/144297
• • Questions? Phone 212-779-3051.
• • The play is 95 minutes.

• • Get ready to come up and see Mae West, Texas Guinan, and the gang onstage in mid-July 2008.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • Paul and Joe's on West 9th Street
• •

Mae West.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mae West: Playful

In March 1921, MAE WEST mailed her slim playscript "The Ruby Ring" to the Library of Congress. At 20 pages, this manuscript was more of an extended "sketch" than a play. Gloria, the female lead, is a man-trap who is able to pick the gents off with ease.
• • Her parents were living in Woodhaven, New York during 1921 [705 Boyd Avenue] and Mae used this Queens/ Long Island address when she registered the copyright.
• • In 1922, 29-year-old Mae added a full-length play — — "The Hussy" — — to these Washington, DC archives. Nona, the female lead, likes generous fellows who demonstrate their devotion to a gal by dropping jewelry on her.
• • Nona says: "Most men value you by what they spend on you."
• • Joking that she was never a gold-digger, Mae West liked to say: "I take diamonds. We may be off the gold standard someday."
• • But speaking of little gems, here's a true story from Mae West's neighbor Vinny, who was born in 1925 and who still lives in Woodhaven on 89th Street — — around the corner from where she lived. For years Vinny has been trying to take a picture inside Neer's, a saloon where Mae West used to perform, and also a photo of Mae's former residence which is a block away from his own 19th century dwelling.
• • "Mae always spoils my photo," he laughed. "Either she blanks the entire roll on me or she pulls another prank."
• • Like what?
• • "Well, last winter after a snowfall, Mae's house looked so picturesque with the trees covered in white. Around noon it was sunny and absolutely clear when I took my photo. But when the film was developed, there was interference in front of the house as if a storm were raging," explained Vinny. And on the left, there was a strange orb of light in every frame. It seems like she's watching and resisting me."
• • "I like two kinds of men," Mae used to say, "domestic and foreign." However, she said nothing about amateur photographers.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • none
• •

Mae West.