Monday, February 28, 2011

Mae West: Jane Russell

MAE WEST commemorates the passing of another great Hollywood sex symbol today.
• • Jane Russell 1921 — 2011 • •
• • Howard Hughes liked her measurements: 38-25-36. None of these curves came from silicone. Carrie Rickey writes: Like Mae West, Jane Russell had a way of making sex seem like healthy fun. "I like a man who can run faster than I can," she says in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." [Source: Carrie Rickey is the film critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer; her column on Jane appeared on 28 February 2011.]
• • Another Mae Westian moment that comes to mind is Jane's quirky scene with the male Olympics gymnastic team, who dedicate themselves to exercising and posing as her character Dorothy Shaw sings "Ain't There Anyone Here for Love?" Whenever bodybuilders appeared onscreen with Mae, however, the fellows snapped to attention.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Mae West: Pistol in Your Pocket

The nimble mind of MAE WEST was always working.
• • According to The Yale Book of Quotations [New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, p. 809], Mae West was returning from Chicago. It was during February 1936. A Los Angeles police officer was assigned to meet her at the railway station to escort her home. The Paramount Pictures star alighted from the train and joked: "Is that a pistol in your pocket — — or are you just glad to see me?"
• • Mae West also delivered her popular line on film to George Hamilton in her last full-length feature, Sextette [1978]. Many parodists have copied it.
• • This incident in February 1936 — — 75 years ago — — is a nice way to close out February 2011. We will be back tomorrow.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mae West: Fitzroy Davis

One of MAE WEST's least favorite motion pictures was "The Heat's On" [1943].
• • It was Fitzroy Davis who got screenwriting credit for this mish-mash, a film so disjointed and disappointing that The New York Times review led off with this sally: "The heat is definitely off!"
• • Fitzroy Davis, an odd hyphenation of actor-singer-novelist, was born in Evanston, Illinois in the month of February — — on 27 February 1912. He made his stage debut in November 1935 in Chicago. A minor walk-on role was available for a "Romeo and Juliet" production starring Katharine Cornell as young Juliet. By 1942 his first novel Quicksilver had appeared in print. This roman a clef deals with a road company touring the USA in "Romeo and Juliet." There are four gay characters in the story including the lead actress. Hmmm. During the 1960s, Fitzroy Davis penned articles for gay publications in Switzerland using the pen name Hadrian.
• • Fitzroy Davis died in Putnam, Connecticut on 30 September 1980 at the age of 68.
• • Remembering Lee Kohlmar [1873 — 1946] • •
• • Lee Kohlmar was cast in the role of Jacobson in "She Done Him Wrong" [1932].
• • Born in Nuremberg, Germany in the month of February — — on 27 February 1873 — — he entered the young film industry in 1916, directing nine short silent movies between 1916 — 1921. Deciding he also wanted to act, he got himself involved in more than 50 cinema titles between 1916 and 1941, often cast in minor roles.
• • Lee Kohlmar died at age 73 in Hollywood from a heart attack on 14 May 1946.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mae West: John Leipold

Original music was written specially for "I'm No Angel" [1933], "Belle of the Nineties" [1934], "Goin' to Town" [1935], "Klondike Annie" [1936], and "The Heat's On" [1943] starring MAE WEST.
• • One of several uncredited collaborators for all of these motion pictures starring Mae was John Leipold, who worked on more than 250 projects in Hollywood from 1929 — 1953 for Paramount Pictures and other movie studio companies.
• • Born in Ulster County, New York during the month of February — — on 26 February 1888 — — John Max Leipold composed stock music as well as the score for many cinema stand-outs. His work amplified big screen documentaries, family entertainment, dramas, comedies, Westerns, mysteries, patriotic military-themed pictures, the "Blondie" series, and more. He also created atmospheric music for "Go West, Young Lady" [1941] released by Columbia Pictures — — a title that sounds suspiciously familiar. Leopold did not work on "Go West, Young Man," however.
• • John Leipold died at age 82 in Dallas, Texas on 8 March 1970.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Mae West: Sarasota, Florida

If you are spending this weekend in Sarasota, then come up and see MAE WEST in a gaudy, bawdy show featuring the striptease and the best of burlesque.
• • Mae West featured in "The Blue Review" • •
• • Graceful moves of the tap-dancing World War II veteran will make you look closer at 90-year-old show-stopper Cliff Bermann. The genial charmer has been cast in "The Blue Revue," where he will (among his other roles) impersonate W.C. Fields opposite 81-year-old Selene Hawkins' as Mae West. Doing a vaudeville style skit, they will banter with each other, saying things like:
• • Him: "Goodness! What beautiful diamonds!"
• • Her: "Goodness had nothing to do with it."
• • These agile and personable golden agers, members of a vivacious troupe called The Sarasota Senior Theatre, will entertain all weekend long in Florida in a pelvis-grinding variety extravaganza that features stripteasers, Sally Rand fan dance numbers, and lots of high kicking fun — — organized and produced by Bill Bordy.
• • What: The Sarasota Senior Theatre performs "The Blue Revue"
• • Where: Booker High School Theater, 3201 Orange Avenue, Sarasota, FL
• • When: February 25th — 27th, 2011 [Friday Feb. 25th and Saturday Feb. 26th at 8:00PM, Sunday Feb. 27th at 2:00PM]
• • Details: T. 941-755-6864
• • Tell them you heard about it on the Mae West Blog.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Mae West: Goodness

When he was hired in to help MAE WEST get her memoir together, ghostwriter Stephen Longstreet may have discussed autobiography's conventions — — the expected triumphs won after disappointments, the lessons learned from hard knocks, and the struggles along the way. Their collaboration during 1957 — 1958 produced a manuscript published in hardcover by Prentice-Hall on 14 January 1959. Using a well-worn line borrowed from Texas Guinan, Mae titled her life story "Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It."
• • Before the versatile New Yorker began writing about jazz and musicians, and before changing his name to Stephen Longstreet, he had worked as an illustrator using the byline Henri Weiner. Here is his cartoon version of Mae as Diamond Lil, which appeared in 1934. An upcoming column will offer a bit more on the engaging Stephen Longstreet who died in Beverly Hills, California in the month of February — — on 22 February 2002.
• • Cartoon: • • Mae West by Henri Weiner • • 1934 • •
• • According to the book reviewer from Time Magazine (who wrote this in 1959): With the "editorial assistance" of prolific Stephen (High Button Shoes) Longstreet, Mae makes a determined effort at total autobiography. The list of her male conquests seems to stretch to infinity: lawyers, politicians, theatrical agents, Wall Street brokers, film magnates, judges, operatic tenors, Mexican wrestlers, French importers, chorus boys, casual diners in a restaurant. Readers may get the impression that lovers lurk under every bed, in every closet, behind every curtain. Some of them showered Mae with diamonds, emeralds, and furs. Others gave more of themselves . . . [Source: Time Magazine 28 Sept 1959].
• • Mae-mavens who have read "Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It" followed the cosy diamond life version not the discordance and strife, nor the weighted failure of words to change an outcome. Mae West always triumphs is the underlying thesis, the projection of the perfect self, polished and presented without its human hesitations. It is the ultimate piece of theatre — — with anything unsightly left unlit and safely stuffed backstage, far from the footlights.
• • "An Evening with Mae West" has a different goal, however. Written as a one-woman bio piece for the stage by Ayshe Raif, and performed by Pene Herman-Smith, the whirlwind rites of Mae's days in April 1954 (when she was 60 years old) are shaded with sorrows, shudders, and secret sadness as well as the solutions the veteran performer would move towards. Handsome theatre-buff Ian Macnicol attended a performance this week in Glasgow. Here is a candid assessment from this seductive Scotsman and longtime connoisseur of rare Westiana, a critique written exclusively for the Mae West Blog.
• • • MAE WEST UNPLUGGED — A Review by Ian Macnicol • • •
• • Mae West — — a play by Ayshe Raif; Oran Mor Theatre, Glasgow; playing 22 and 23 February 2011
• • This is a play Mae West would not have wanted to be staged. But it is the one play I have seen which manages to get under the sparkle of Mae's highly polished star persona and gives us a glimpses of the woman who worked so hard to create and then sustain her legend for almost 60 years.
• • The play is set in 1954 at the time of and immediately after, the death of JIm Timony, her former lover, and her manager and stalwart friend since her early success in the 1920s. Mae has just turned 60, her career is in the doldrums and she is still reeling from the perceived insult of having been offered the part of Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder's “Sunset Boulevard.”
• • The action takes place in Mae’s Ravenswood apartment in Hollywood over the course of several days during which time Mae feels confined lest the outside world should think she is not grieving sufficiently for Timony.
• • Perhaps for the first time in her life Mae is plagued by self-doubt. Pinning her hopes on a part in the film of Pal Joey, these hopes are dashed when she is passed over in favour of Rita Hayworth. Rudderless without Jim, she doesn't know what to do career-wise and suffers guilt pangs over her feelings of personal release that he is no longer around to stifle her highly active love life.
• • She turns to "spirit," in fact the spirits of Jim and her dead mother, for direction. Mama tells her to "keep moving" and Jim encourages her to get her act together and follow through on his plans to take her to Vegas. The show ends with Mae reinvigorated and ready to begin again. As history shows, Mae’s Vegas act was a sensation and she toured it for several years to high acclaim, breaking box-office records wherever she went.
• • Pene Herman-Smith does a solid job of portraying Mae as a flesh and blood woman, and creates some moments of real pathos and high drama, well able to switch between the many facets of West's public and private personae. She manages to sustain a good American accent throughout but just misses in capturing West’s signature Brooklynese drawl.
• • The production benefits from the use of multi media which allows those unfamiliar — — and indeed those who are familiar — — with her work, to see the real Mae in action on screen. The costumes by Suzanne Field are good and highly evocative of those worn by Mae at the time.
• • Mae might not have approved of a play that focuses on her struggle to retain her star status but after the fact, this amazing achievement of hers is something that continues to fascinate, and this worthy play sheds a little light into some of the dark corners of her life.
• • The play was well attended and very well received by a highly enthusiastic audience.
• • • • Byline: IAN MACNICOL (writing from Scotland)
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mae West: Chickadee in BC

Come up and see MAE WEST on Thursday, 24 February 2011 and release your inner chickadee.
• • In British Columbia a 10-foot screen awaits you at the Kitimat Public Library. Starting at 7:15 this evening, "My Little Chickadee" will be shown for free. This Mae West classic comedy from 1940 co-stars W.C. Fields. No pre-registration required, it seems.
What a euphonious appellation — — Kitimat hosts Chickadee.
• • WHERE: Kitimat Public Library: 940 Wakashan Avenue, Kitimat, BC V8C 2G3, Canada; T (250) 632-8985.
• • Tell them you heard about it on the Mae West Blog.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Despite on-going pressures from the censors, here are a few lines that made it into the final version, a screenplay that was a collaboration between Mae West and W.C. Fields:
• • Cuthbert J. Twillie: May I present my card?
• • Flower Belle Lee: 'Novelties and Notions.' What kind of notions you got?
• • Cuthbert J. Twillie: You'd be surprised. Some are old, some are new. Whom have I the honor of addressing?
• • Flower Belle Lee: Mmm, call me Flower Belle.
• • Cuthbert J. Twillie: Flower Belle, what a euphonious appellation. Easy on the ears and a banquet for the eyes.
• • Flower Belle Lee: You're kinda cute yourself.
• • Cuthbert J. Twillie: Thank you. I never argue with a lady.
• • Flower Belle Lee: Smart boy.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mae West: Danced Naked in Front

Babe “would not have known what a moral was if it could be made to dance naked in front of her,” wrote MAE WEST of her 18-year-old heroine in her novel Babe Gordon. As a publicity stunt, the publisher ran a contest asking readers to give this controversial bestseller a fresh title. Effie Mattison of New York won and the book was renamed with her suggestion: The Constant Sinner. Set in Harlem and first published on 5 November 1930, this work of fiction was reprinted as a paperback by Virago Press in 1995 [212 pages].
• • "A prizefighter's tart" who enjoys black men as well as Caucasians, Babe, the luscious blonde teenage protagonist, would now be 81 years old. The digits for 18 have been reversed.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • From Babe Gordon by Mae West [NY: The Macaulay Company, 5 November 1930] • •
• • • • "Well, it was a woman. A beautiful woman. She was seated at a table in a corner of the room with a big negro — — actually enjoying him, fascinated by him."
• • • • "Do you mean that stunning blonde woman in an ermine wrap?" asked Jack Rathburne. "I did notice her, but I didn't see the negro."
• • • • "Well, he came in later," explained Wayne Baldwin. "Come to think of it, you were at the opposite side of the table. Your back was to them. How in the name of all that's decent, Jack, could a woman like that, obviously a person of refinement, allow a black to make love to her?"
• • • • Jack crushed out his cigarette in a green-glass tray.
• • • • "A matter of taste, Wayne. In this case, a very depraved taste."
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Mae West on the Menu • •
• • Order the Mae West at Sticky Lips barbecue place and you will be served a tender 6-ounce chicken breast and your choice of pulled pork or beef brisket. This selection is $11.95 currently.
• • WHERE: Sticky Lips Pit BBQ: 625 Culver Road, Rochester, NY.
• • Tell them you heard about their menu on the Mae West Blog.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mae West: Scottish Delight

Mae-mavens will enjoy "An Evening with MAE WEST" tonight and tomorrow in Scotland. The one-woman show features Pene Herman-Smith as the sixty-something movie icon.
• • Pene Herman-Smith trained at Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, attained a BA in Dramatic Studies, and has worked professionally throughout Scotland both as a freelance actress, and with her own theatre company: Home is Where the Art Is. Her one woman show on the life of Mae West will be performed in Glasgow this week. Since 1995, she has been involved in roleplay and forum theatre. Since 1998 Pene has supplied all the actors for Glasgow University Medical School, Department of General Practice.
• • WHAT: "An Evening with Mae West"
• • WHERE: Òran Mór — Top of Byres Road in Glasgow G12 8QX Scotland
• • WHEN: February 22nd and 23rd, 2011
• • Tell them you heard about it on the Mae West Blog.
• • "Come on Up" starring Mae West opens • •
• • On 22 February 1947 "Come On Up" starring Mae West opened in Los Angeles, California at the Biltmore Theatre.

• • Memories and Mae West • •
• • How delightful to know that Mae West popped up in a memory experiment. According to the veteran journalist Jill Porter: Scientists from Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania discovered that a low jolt of electrical current to the brain improved name recall in young adults by 11 per cent, according to a study published in Neuropsychologia. . . . Thirteen of the 15 participants showed increased naming performance. (Most of them particularly struggled with Tony Blair and old-time vamp Mae West.) . . . [Source: "A Genuine Jolt to the Memory" by Jill Porter on 20 February 2011, Miller-McCune.com]
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Mae West: Jewel Caper

In reality, there really was a daring, dangerous jewel heist and MAE WEST was the victim. Months later on 16 January 1934 in Los Angeles, the movie queen gave testimony in the trial of Edward Friedman, who had robbed her. Mae said she knew Friedman as Harry Voiler (an alias he used). However, these crooks were actually two people. In February 1934, when Friedman was in jail, he refused to testify against Harry O. Voiler, therefore, Voiler was released from police custody.• • Thinking about trading on Mae's popularity and celebrity, a broadcast pioneer decided this would make a great episode. And in the month of February — — on 21 February 1934 — — the radio program "Calling All Cars" aired "The Mae West Jewel Robbery," a production put together entirely without Mae's participation.
• • According to J. David Goldin, "Calling All Cars" — — Program #13 — — was aired on CBS Pacific net (also known as the Don Lee network at this time). "The Mae West Jewel Robbery" was sponsored by the Rio Grande Oil Company. Goldin notes: "The story of the real robbery of Miss West's jewels and $3000 in cash is dramatized. Well done! Martha Wentworth impersonates Mae West. The program was broadcast on the day one of the robbers was caught. The script was used on "Calling All Cars" again on 19 March 1935." The run time is 28 minutes, 30 seconds.
• • Martha Wentworth as Mae West • •
• • Born on 2 June 1889 in New York City, voice actress Martha Wentworth certainly had the right regional accent and attitude for her Brooklyn bombshell impressions — — and she was also the voice of Jenny Wren (based on Mae) for that Silly Symphony cartoon "Who Killed Cock Robin?" [1935] as well as the "Calling All Cars" episode. After a long, busy career as "the actress of 100 voices," Martha Wentworth died at age 84 on 8 March 1974 in Sherman Oaks, California.
 
• • Availability of "The Mae West Jewel Robbery" • •
• • Currently, you can purchase this on Amazon.com for under $1. The segment featuring Mae West is on the album series "Calling All Cars, Vol. 6."
• • Thanks to the web site Radio Lovers [www.radiolovers.com], several of the "Calling All Cars" episodes have been archived. Go to their site and listen to Martha Wentworth cast as Mae West in this drama based on true events. It is free to listen.
• • You can also download an mp3 file of "The Mae West Jewel Robbery" [30 minutes long] from 1934 at this Old Time Radio site: www.freeotrshows.com
• • 21 February 1936 • •
• • On this date the motion picture "Klondike Annie" was released starring Mae West.
 
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• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mae West: Rudolph G. Kopp

Original music was written specially for "I'm No Angel" [1933] starring MAE WEST.
• • One of several uncredited collaborators was Rudolph G. Kopp, who worked on more than five dozen projects in Hollywood from 1931 — 1955.
• • Born in Vienna on 22 March 1887, Rudolph G. Kopp composed the score for many cinema stand-outs. His work amplified big screen documentaries, family entertainment, dramas, comedies, mysteries, and more.
• • Rudolph G. Kopp died at age 84 in Woodland Hills, California during the month of February — — on 20 February 1972.
• • Walter Winchell died 20 February 1972 • •
• • Mae West received copious amounts of snarky press coverage for her 1926 show "Sex." For instance, Walter Winchell called it "a vulgar affair ... amateurish in script and cast."
• • Four years later, in 1930, when Texas Guinan was covering the "Pleasure Man" trial, she invited Mae to perform at a fundraiser she was co-hosting at the Imperial Theatre [249 West 45th Street], a spacious playhouse with 1443 seats. Jobless herself, Mae agreed to sing a few numbers to raise money at the "Give a Job Benefit" taking place on 12 April 1930.
• • Rudy Vallee and his orchestra backed Mae as she sang "Frankie and Johnny" and a few other favorites on the wide proscenium stage of the Imperial. Walter Winchell was one of several co-hosts in a group of luminaries such as Texas Guinan, Mark Hellinger, Jack Donahue, and the event's organizer Heywood Broun.
• • A native New Yorker, Walter Winchell [7 April 1897 — 20 February 1972] was a newspaper as well as a prominent radio commentator.
• • While Winchell was at The New York Evening Graphic (whose staff included reporter Ed Sullivan), he invented the gossip column.
• • While still in his teens, natural show-off Winchell was drawn to performing in vaudeville. His career as a journalist began with his fondness for posting gossipy notes about his acting troupe on backstage bulletin boards.
• • During the Prohibition Era, he became a journalist. Walter Winchell, who was a regular at Barney Gallant's Greenwich Village speakeasies and Texas Guinan's midtown clubs, credited his buddies with opening the insider Broadway scene and cafe society to him when he was starting out as a columnist. The gatekeeper of gossip, Texas Guinan claimed that scandals did not officially break unless they broke at her establishments.
• • By the 1930s, he was an intimate friend of ganster Owney Madden, owner of the Cotton Club and a backer of Texas Guinan's nightspots and Mae West's Broadway productions. backers.
• • Always ambitious, Winchell disregarded the media's taboo against exposing the private lives of public figures, permanently altering the shape of journalism and celebrity. He was a top gossip reporter, whose newspaper column and radio show could make or break a celebrity. He became influential for decades in shaping public opinion, notoriously aiding and ruining the careers of many entertainers.
• • In his heyday, Winchell's gossip column ran in more than 2,000 daily papers, written with the same frantic pace as his radio show. Fifty-five million radio listeners tuned in to hear his distinctive rapid-fire delivery of his column during the 1940s — 1950s.
• • In the 1950s, Winchell veered away from his leftist sympathies and supported the right-wing Senator Joseph McCarthy. As Joe McCarthy's Red Scare tactics became more extreme and unbelievable, Winchell lost credibility along with McCarthy. He had a weekly radio broadcast which was simulcast on ABC television until he left in a dispute with ABC executives in 1955. An attempt to revive his commentary program five years later proved to be a disaster and Winchell was canceled after half a dozen broadcasts.
• • He did, however, receive $25,000 an episode to narrate "The Untouchables" on the ABC-TV network for five seasons beginning in 1959.
• • His readership gradually dropped. When his home paper, the New York Daily Mirror, for which he worked for 34 years, closed in 1963, he faded from the public eye. He still holds a fascination and several actors have portrayed him on the big screen and on TV.
• • In 1972, Walter Winchell died of prostate cancer at the age of 74 in the month of February — — on 20 February 1972.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mae West: Genevieve & Glasgow

MAE WEST starred in (but could not save) the movie "Myra Breckenridge" [1970]. Before signing on to direct, did the shaggy haired Brit Michael Sarne read Gore Vidal's satiric novel? Perhaps he had many a chance to ponder this sentence: “All men have a lot to learn… I’ve taken it upon myself to teach you.” — Myra Breckenridge.
• • Michael Sarne's debut film had been the quirky "Joanna" (1968) with 20-year-old newcomer Genevieve Waite in the title role. He roped the pretty fashion model into a modest appearance as a dental patient in "Myra" two years hence. Her very short-lived cinema career ended with her third motion picture "Move" [filmed in 1970] — — released on her 23rd birthday on 19 February 1971.
• • Born in Cape Town, South Africa in the month of February — — on 19 February 1948 — — Geneviève Waïte went on to be the bride of the American singer-songwriter John Phillips [31 January 1972 — 1985]. The couple split after having two children with amusing names, one of whom is Bijou Phillips, born in 1980.
• • An Evening with Mae West in Glasgow • •
• • Trained in role-play, veteran actress Pene Herman-Smith creates this fascinating and complex character in the one-woman show Mae West, written by Ayshe Raif, directed by Leslie Finlay. Once the most famous sex symbol on the planet, Mae West is now alone in her hotel room — — having turned down Sunset Boulevard and watched it win Oscar glory for its star — — Mae is lost. What next? Even at 60, Mae sees “No point in a good body going to waste!" Come along to Oran Mor for a great night out and you'll also be helping support the RNLI. [Òran Mór — — meaning the 'great melody of life' or 'big song' — — is a cultural centre and meeting place in the heart of Glasgow's West End.] Pene Herman-Smith is a professional actress with her own theatre company.
• • WHAT: "An Evening with Mae West"
• • WHERE: Òran Mór — Top of Byres Road in Glasgow G12 8QX Scotland
• • WHEN: February 22nd and 23rd, 2011
• • Tell them you heard about it on the Mae West Blog.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Mae West: You Can Quote Me

MAE WEST said it best.
• • A hard man is good to find.
• • Such a big issue — — over a little tissue.
• • Diamonds? Diamonds is my career!
• • Beulah, peel me a grape!
• • Goodness had nothing to do with it.
• • I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
• • He who hesitates is a damned fool.
• • It's the fairy princess, ya mug!
• • When I'm bad, I'm better.
• • I like restraint, if it doesn't go too far.
• • I'm single because I was born that way.
• • Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.
• • It's better to be looked over than overlooked.
• • I didn't discover curves; I only uncovered them.
• • When women go bad, men go right after them.
• • It's not the men in my life. It's the life in my men.
• • An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.
• • Is that a gun in your pocket? Or are you glad to see me?
• • Give a man a free hand and he'll run it all over you.
• • A dame that knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up.
• • Cultivate your curves. They may be dangerous but they won't be avoided.
• • Don't marry a man to reform him — — that's what reform schools are for.
• • Don't let a man put anything over you except a umbrella.
• • Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can't figure out what from.
• • Mmmm! Tall, dark, and handsome!
• • He's the kind of man a woman would have to marry to get rid of.
• • His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.
• • I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.
• • Marriage is a great institution. But I'm not ready for an institution.
• • A woman in love can't be reasonable — — or she probably wouldn't be in love.
• • All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.
• • I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.
• • I'll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.
• • Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.
• • I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.
• • I only like two kinds of men — — domestic and foreign.
• • I see you're a man with ideals. I better be going while you've still got them.
• • I speak two languages — — body and English.
• • I'm no model lady. A model's just an imitation of the real thing.
• • Any time you've got nothing to do and lots of time to do it come on up.
• • Come up sometime and see me. I'll tell your fortune.
• • Come up sometime when I've nothing on but the radio.
• • My right leg is Thanksgiving. My left leg is Xmas. Come up and see me between the holidays.
• • Mae also has terrific and original one-liners in the play Courting Mae West.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • on the cover of Theatre Arts, 1950 • •
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mae West: Bobby Dean Loner

The Clipper often announced that MAE WEST would be bringing a new act to vaudeville and where she would be opening.
• • A laugh-getter who appeared with Mae in "Myra Breckinridge" [released in the USA on 24 June 1970] also had ties to variety. Chicago native Kathleen Freeman made her vaudeville debut at age 2, becoming a part of her parents' act.
• • Born in the month of February — — on 17 February 1919 — — the heavy-set comedienne portrayed Bobby Dean Loner in the screen version of Gore Vidal's bestseller. Kathleen Freeman often chuckled about working with every "tough bitch" in the film industry. After this motion picture had been released, she often recalled the clash between the film's two leading ladies: "Mae West was not an actress; she was not a star; she was the most incredible phenomenon I ever encountered. Place that against the starlet Raquel Welch, who had an enormous ego, and boom — — there were fireworks. And I made darn sure that I wasn't caught up in the cross-fire."
• • The UCLA graduate's first goal had been to shine as a professional pianist but, after thoroughly enjoying her work with several stock productions, she changed gears. Kathleen Freeman once said: "I think comedy is more powerful than drama in the long run. Comedy is more difficult. It's very easy to make people cry."
• • Kathleen Freeman made her first motion picture appearance in 1948 at 29 years old. The reliable character actress was used as a comic foil by Jerry Lewis in several of his films. Her stocky figure, expressive face, energetic laugh, and supple voice-craft served her well, keeping her in demand and busy juggling parts on the silver screen, TV, and also on Broadway.
• • Kathleen Freeman, 82 years old, was cast in a Broadway production when she died in New York City on 23 August 2001 of lung cancer. Engaged on stage until the very end, the octogenarian had given her final Tony nomination performance for her role as the piano player in Broadway's musical hit "The Full Monty" on August 18th, and five days later she was gone.
• • John Garcia, Executive Director/ Producer of "The Column" Awards, created an award in her honor. This prize is given to individuals who overcome personal, physical, or other major problems in their lives and continue to work in theater, whether behind or in front of the curtain. Kathleen Freeman embodied the true spirit of the Broadway gypsy: "The show must go on." Applause!
• • Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre • •
• • Designed by the Rapp Brothers and initially named the New Palace Theatre in 1926 — — a baroque, lavishly appointed vaudeville venue until it became a place to show motion pictures — — for quite a number of years the auditorium attracted major stars such as Mae West, Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope, and Jack Benny.
• • Now known as the Cadillac Palace Theatre, and still looking splendid with its Italian marble polished and spiffy, this Randolph Street showpiece can be toured every Saturday.
• • For details on the 75-minute walking tour of the Cadillac and one other opulent Loop theater (the Oriental) designed by the same architects, phone 800-775-2000.
• • Tell them you read about it on the Mae West Blog and ask to see the old programs and stagebills featuring her in the archives.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • Buck Loner and Letitia Van Allen on the set, 1970 • •
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mae West: Century City

"Myra Breckinridge" starred MAE WEST, John Huston, Raquel Welch, Rex Reed, Farrah Fawcett, Jim Backus, and Tom Selleck.
• • Little loved in Hollywood, this flop is rarely written about so it was surprising to come across Richard Carradine's well-informed columns about cinema history in Century City, California. Referring to one scene in "Myra B," Richard Carradine writes: This very Hollywood centric (both in the actual geography and as subject) suddenly switches gears, and moves to Century City for Myra's big death scene. Why? . . . [Source: Shot in Century City: 'Myra Breckinridge' — — Avenue of the Stars has a cameo in this star-studded film, one of the worst ever made by a studio | By Richard Carradine | on 16 February 2011 | http://centurycity.patch.com]
• • Eddie Foy • •
• • Born as Edwin Fitzgerald on 9 March 1856 in Greenwich Village, New York City, Eddie Foy, Sr. became an actor, comedian, dancer, and vaudeville star.
• • As an amateur preparing herself to be an entertainer, Mae West did impressions of Eddie Foy, George M. Cohan, Bert Williams, and Eva Tanguay.
• • It was on 25 June 1926 that Mae West appeared with Eddie Foy — — as well as Houdini and other entertainers (such as George M. Cohan, Fanny Brice, the Marx Brothers, Ann Pennington, Hazel Dawn, Al Jolson, etc.) — — at the Polo Grounds on West 155th Street in Manhattan's Washington Heights area [zipcode 10032]. The fundraiser, organized for the benefit of the United Jewish Campaign, was staged by Mae's old dancing teacher Ned Wayburn.
• • Eddie Foy died in Kansas City, Missouri in the month of February — — on 16 February 1928 — — almost two years after he had appeared at the same Benefit with Mae West.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mae West: Inspires Lulu Guinness

The Red Perspex Lips Clutch by the 51-year-old British handbag designer Lulu Guinness was inspired by Salvador Dali's iconic MAE WEST Lips sofa, an original built in 1937. Created in a dazzling red poppy perspex, it is lined with black grosgrain. The Brooklyn bombshell continues to be a style icon all over the world.
• • Films to Get You in the Mood • •
• • "I'm No Angel" — Not a romantic comedy by contemporary standards, notes Jimi Izrael of NPR.org. Mae West stars as Tira, the burlesque performer with a good heart who finds love despite herself. Cary Grant sets this film off as Jack Clayton, the respectable socialite who falls for the shake-dancing lion tamer. Jimi Izrael adds: West brings a sexy performance — completely clothed — that leaves little wonder to how she pulled Paramount Studios out of bankruptcy. HOT. [Source: "Films to Get You in the Mood" by Jimi Izrael, NPR, 15 February 2011]
• • Mae West's Leg • •
• • An American group of female vocalists from the state of Washington calls the band Mae West’s Leg. The group is made up of Tina North, Kat Bula, and Amanda Kalkwarf.
• • Kathleen Clifford • •
• • Born in Charlottesville, Virginia in the month of February — — on 16 February 1887 — — Kathleen Clifford was an American vaudeville and Broadway stage and film actress of the early twentieth century.
• • As with "Baby Mae," Kathleen Clifford's career acting was initially built on the vaudeville stages as a comedienne. Renowned for her impersonations of men, Kathleen Clifford was often humorously billed as "The Smartest Chap in Town."
• • In 1912, a large cast was hired for the Florenz Ziegfeld musical production "A Winsome Widow" [staged on Broadway from April — September 1912]. Kathleen Clifford was hired to play a male role: Willie Grow. Mae West won acclaim as La Petite Daffy in the same production.
• • Miss Clifford died on 28 December 1962 at age 75.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • clutch inspired by the Mae West Sofa • •
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Mae West: George Jean Nathan

One high-profile journalist wrote memorably about MAE WEST.
• • Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in the month of February — — on 14 February 1882 — — George Jean Nathan [1882 — 1958] was an American drama critic and editor who once remarked that Mae looked more like "the Statue of Libido." This has been repeated so often that it has drowned out other statements he made. Here are some paragraphs from his book "Passing Judgments" [1935]:
• • . . . Mae West, this Mae West, was the only woman that the talking pictures, since their advent, had disclosed to their audiences! What the movie audiences had uniformly been privileged to see before, over a period of years, has been nothing but an endless succession of imported Lesbians, spindled-shanked, flat- chested flappers, forty-year-old Baby Dolls, beauty parlor imitations of women, and Sylvia-massaged string beans, in not one of whom there was enough real, genuine, honest-to-God female quality to interest even a vegetarian cannibal. In the midst of this dearth, the Mlle. West came like a rainfall, a veritable torrent, upon a dry desert. Here, unmistakably, whatever anyone might think of her art, was a woman, a female. No little dried-up cutie, no pretty little narrow-shouldered skeleton of a chicken, no parched and skinny pseudo-vamp, no trumped-up, artificial siren, but a good, large, full, round, old-time, 1890-model woman, with "woman" up and down and sidewise written plainly on her every feature — — and all other places.
• • Like some rare and strange freak, therefore, La Belle West descended upon the screen and audiences galloped to see the phenomenon. ...
• • Mae West appears in "The Kind One" • •
• • Our intrepid Canadian Mae-Mountie Mr. R. Mark Desjardins writes from his luxurious perch in the Pacific Northwest: Thought I'd share this sympatico moment with you. I was at the Vancouver Public Library and spotted a book, "The Kind One" by Tom Epperson, on the "recommended shelf." The flap copy promised this would be a page-turner on the dark Hollywood of the 1930s. Imagine my delight when I checked out the book and read the following on page 114:
• • "So I'm living downtown near Pershing Square, and I'm taking a trolley car out to the beach, and there's this guy in a bowtie looking at me. I think he's trying to pick me up, and I'm ignoring him, then he says, Mae West has only got one thing that you don't have. An agent. And I says, are you an agent, and he says yeah. And I says how do you know that I don't have an agent, and he says if you had an agent you wouldn't be riding in some dumpy trolley car. And I says you're riding in a trolley car, who kinda lousy agent does that make you, and he says it makes me a very good agent, 'cause I just discovered the next Mae West." ...
• • Thus does Mae West's memory continue to live on in popular literature!
• • "Queen of Hearts" image designed by: R. Mark Desjardins, Canada
• • Written by: R. Mark Desjardins, Canada
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • . . . From incomprehensible assignments, like dressing up as Mae West, to group-project headaches to a workload that robs time from family, almost every aspect of homework has been under scrutiny for decades. But an unprecedented outpouring of frustration in Wheaton's Community Unit School District 200 has opened a new window into the debate in local homes and schools. . . . [Source: "Worked up over homework" by Diano Rado, Tribune Reporter in The Chicago Tribune, 12 February 2011]
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mae West: New Book

There is a new book out inspired by MAE WEST.
• • WestWays is the fifth in Rita McBride's continuing "Ways" series of collaborative novels, this time with writer and climber Matthew Licht. We follow Mae West from her childhood in 19th-century Brooklyn through her adventures with W.C. Fields at the 1931 Oktoberfest to a Sapphic encounter with Leni Riefenstahl on a safari in the 1970s, picking up a fighter pilot, Salvador Dalí, and Billy Wilder for the ride. Published to coincide with the completion of McBride's 52-meter-high "Mae West" public commission at Munich's Effnerplatz, the artist's Mae West is actress, inflatable vest, sculpture, exhibition, and now finally a book.
• • This new publication [softcover, 94 pages] is part of the series of artists' projects edited by Christoph Keller. The title WestWays was released in January 2011.
• • Rita McBride is a prominent American artist based in Dusseldorf, whose sculptures and installation deal with fiction and public space and often provide a set for performances and lectures. She has edited a series of books for which she invited other artists and writers to write short stories involving constraints and a relationship to the art world. Each of the books corresponds to a sub literary genre (crime novels, SF, soft-eroticism…). Rita McBride created Westways, a new novel, in collaboration with writer Mathew Licht. Matthew Licht is a writer, artist, and filmmaker educated in New York City.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • Rita McBride poses with her Mae West prototype • •
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