Saturday, August 01, 2009

Mae West: Rae in August

An amusing article appeared about Rae Bourbon, who performed on Broadway with MAE WEST.
• • "Eventually Rae Bourbon had his own club on Sunset Strip in L.A., where he hobnobbed with Hollywood elite such as Mae West and Bob Hope. He released dozens of comedy and bawdy-song records on several labels, including his own, UTC (Under The Counter, where one often found the risqué records in a shop)," writes Nick DiFonzo [Houston Press, "Cutout Bin: Rae Bourbon — — Let Me Tell You About My Operation," Friday, 31 July 2009].
• • Born in Texas as Hal Wadell, the vaudeville comedian and female impersonator called himself either Ray or Rae Bourbon [11 August 1892 — 20 July 1971] onstage. Not unlike that other not-very-beautiful entertainer born during August — — Madonna — — Bourbon kept his bookings going by navigating a shifting terrain of social attitudes about gender, censorship, bisexuality, transgression, transvestism, bawdiness, and sheer snark.
• • A memorable date for Rae Bourbon took place 65 years ago — — the Broadway debut of "Catherine Was Great," when Mae West portrayed the Empress of Russia and Bourbon had a minor role as Florian.
• • Let's imagine the crowds that gathered on 2 August 1944 in front of the Shubert Theatre [225 West 44th Street] to celebrate this grand premiere.
• • An enthusiastic group will gather in the same spot on 16 August 2009 for a walking tour — — "Gaudy Girls on The Gay White Way: Mae West & Texas Guinan in the Theatre District" — — and we hope to see you, too, at 4 o'clock that Sunday.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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