Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mae West: Aero Dynamic

MAE WEST loved Santa Monica — — and bought a beach house there. On Wednesday evening, 25 May 2011, the screen queen will be celebrated with a Mae West Double Feature at the Aero Cinema.
• • Aero announced this: The month of May calls for the sass and sexy double entendres of writer and film star Mae West! She stars with W.C. Fields in "My Little Chickadee" and with a young hunk named Cary Grant in the pre-code "She Done Him Wrong."
• • WHERE: Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403. Contact Aero for run-times and showings.
• • On 24 May 1929 • •
• • It was 1929 and Broadway star Mae West was feeling fine, touring from coast to coast with "Diamond Lil" — — specifically on Friday, 24 May 1929. And when a news man for a Midwestern tabloid approached, she agreed to an interview. She told him that she had performed with Van Tenni's Arab Acrobatic Troupe. "I lifted three of the Arabs in the pinwheel formation," Mae affirmed, "and did other acts which required great strength." She credited the hands-on training in gymnastics and acrobatics she received, coached by her father to develop her strength to the point where (she would claim later on) she was able to lift 500 pounds and support three athletes.
• • Where They Lived — — Irving Berlin • •
• • The Ziegfeld Follies of 1911 had featured the Bear Dance performed by Fannie Brice.
• • During her vaudeville days, Mae West also enjoyed treating the audience to a sultry "Dance of the Grizzly Bear." And a rousing backlash by the Dance Police only served to keep The Bear quite popular.
• • Cashing in on the craze, several composers put together their own variation of it — — including Irving Berlin [11 May 1888 — 22 September 1989], who wrote the lyrics for "The Dance of the Grizzly Bear," partnering with George Botsford, who published the music in 1912. Since Sophie Tucker appeared on their song sheet, naturally she introduced their version to her vast vaudeville audience.
• • Deliberately rough and clumsy, the dance imitated the motions of a trained bear. Imagine taking a very heavy step to the side, like a grizzly might, while executing a decided bending of the upper part of the body from one side to the other, hilariously ungraceful and undignified.
• • The Chatsworth was built in 1904 on West 72nd Street [346 W. 72nd]. A starry-eyed pair of newlyweds, 24-year-old Irving Berlin and his wife Dorothy Goetz, moved here in 1912. Unfortunately, the bride died a few months later when she was 20 years old. On their honeymoon, she had contracted typhoid fever. The young widower continued to compose music and live in his luxurious apartment, alone, for the next ten years.(After 1930 Mae, too, would move to the Upper West Side with her sister Beverly.)
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Noticing the young actor Cary Grant strolling along on a Paramount Pictures back lot, Mae West supposedly told a movie executive: "If he can talk, I'll take him!" In the Spanish language, that would have been expressed this way: "Si sabe hablar, me lo quedo!"
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Mulling over one mega-star in the pop music galaxy, Melinda Newman offers her opinions on Lady Gaga: Mae West once said “too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” We’d say Lady Gaga surpassed that dictum months ago. Fatigue long since set in... not for her, for us. Go on a promotional march that lasts as long as a presidential campaign, but don’t expect us to hang in there with you. Tuning in to see Lady Gaga appear on TV is no longer appointment TV. If you miss one performance, she’s just like a bus, there’s another one right around the corner. ...
• • Source: Article: "Commentary: What have we learned from Lady Gaga?" written by Melinda Newman for Hit Fix; Monday, 23 May 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1940th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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