Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Mae West: Miseducation of Chuck Ross

MAE WEST wrote "The Drag" in 1926 but never included a role for herself nor did she "run around on stage with drag queens." The reason is simple: Mae was still onstage every evening in "Sex," another play she had written for Broadway in 1926. Characters in "The Drag" do voice varied and conflicting opinions about homosexuals. In a good play, characters will disagree and offer opposing views; opposition is what creates drama. It is queer that the arts curator Chuck Ross would say this about "The Drag": "[Mae] called gays perverts and freaks. That was kind of sad to learn, because gay men loved her [sic].”
• • Nevertheless, A. Sebastian Fortino, a careless columnist who has done no fact-checking whatsoever, also does a disservice to his readers by making numerous errors about gay Broadway history. Annoying misstatements mar his 457-word interview with curator Chuck Ross, who has emphasized to Mr. Fortino that "the the most interesting part of his research was learning new facts from theatre history." New facts, eh? How many mistakes can you spot in this small excerpt below (originally printed in the South Florida Gay News)?
• • A. Sebastian Fortino writes: The Wales Padlock Law wasn’t repealed until 1967. It gave police the power to shut down productions considered obscene. A dramatic example of the law’s stringency involves a play called "The Captive," which focused on a lesbian affair. Police raided and shut down the theatre despite it having been on stage for three months. ...
• • A. Sebastian Fortino credits this remark to Chuck Ross: Chuck Ross, who coordinated the exhibit running through 30 June 2011 at the Stonewall Library and Archives, says the most interesting part of his research was learning new facts from theatre history. For instance, Lillian Hellman’s iconic "The Children’s Hour" was based on an 1810 incident in Scotland.
• • A. Sebastian Fortino concludes: “Lillian Hellman never admitted a source,” said Ross. “Also, Mae West is often called an early champion of gay civil rights. Sure, she was willing to run around on stage with drag queens in "The Drag" 1929 to make money, but she called gays perverts and freaks. That was kind of sad to learn, because gay men loved her.” ...
• • How informative Chuck Ross's captions will be on his gay Broadway exhibition is debatable.
• • WHERE: Stonewall National Museum & Archives, 1300 East Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304; T. 954-763-8565. Exhibition on view through 30 June 2011.
• • Source: Article: "Curtain Up! Homosexual Characters on Broadway" written by A. Sebastian Fortino for South Florida Gay News on Tuesday, 3 May 2011.
• • Publisher: | 2520 N. Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors, FL 33305 | 954 - 530-4970 | |
• • May the Fourth • •
• • On 4 May 1886 the black composer Shelton Brooks was born. Mae and Beverly performed his dance novelty "Walking the Dog" when they toured with their act "Mae West and Sister." In her 1928 Bowery melodrama "Diamond Lil," Mae performed his jaunty song "Where Has My Easy Rider Gone?" and the number would be reprised in "She Done Him Wrong" [filmed in 1932].
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Watch Uma Thurman's oddly sexual ad for Schweppes. If you ever wondered what Mae West might do for some extra coinage in the year 2011, Uma is here to show you.
• • Source: New York Magazine, Cultue Vulture caption; posted on 3 May 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1920th 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:
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 2 February 1927 • •
• • Feed — —
Mae West.

No comments:

Post a Comment