Had she lived, MAE WEST (born in 1893) would have been enjoying her 116th birthday on 17 August 2009.
• • Happily, bi-coastal celebrations of her life and legacy have not stopped for the Mae-mavens among us.
• • Perhaps the Empress of Sex, who resided in a modest two-bedroom unit in the Ravenswood from 1932 — 1980 (where the blinds were always drawn), loved best her confined and old-fashioned white-and-gold living quarters, which made her feel safe. Similarly, some devotees have decorated their abodes in a retro style that must be labeled "Way Out West." Ramfis Diaz, a lifelong collector and MAE-niac, is in this number, enjoying his unique wall-to-wall Mae-Westian in a Los Angeles location so secret that anyone who attempts to enter is immediately pre-screened for waspish Jayne Mansfield tendencies. Or so we hear.
• • This Mae-flavored Mecca was the scene of a festive annual gathering just days ago when the screen queen's faithful congregated on Ramfis's roof under a balloon-studded birthday sign. [See photos.]
• • "It was the best party we ever had!" proclaimed Damon Devine, a handsome Hollywood heart throb. "All the essentials were present: catered Chinese cuisine, a full bar, a sumptuous cake, and a very nice crowd. Mae West photos were everywhere along with big number 8s. Party-goers grooved to the sounds of cool late 1950s, early 1960s lounge music — — and, of course, lots of Mae West covers. The guest list was notable for its diversity in age and race. Once again, the red-headed nudist was there! He has become a fixture now! Chris Basinger (a friend of Mae West's and Ravenswood front desk clerk in the early 1970s) made it this year, as well as Kevin Thomas of the L.A. Times. In our midst was also a Mae West impersonator. I hope next year can match this!"
• • Damon Devine added: "During our celebration, several Angelenos were logging on to your Mae West Blog via their i-Phones and PDAs. They love this site."
• • On to the buffet. Help yourself to a slice of eye-candy — — photographs sent courtesy of the devastatingly delightful Damon Devine, who crafted the beautiful Mae West doll in the center of the last photo.
• • Pictures are the property of Damon Devine and were used with permission. So show some respect or else you'll have to answer to Owney Madden, chump.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West's L.A. party 2009 • • courtesy of Damon Devine • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest