Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Mae West: Honolulu Glow

MAE WEST is a character in a rollicking new project afoot in Honolulu. Maybe she'll sing her wonderful "Hula Lou," a tune by Jack Yellen and Milton Ager.
• • According to Brian Lee Sackett, Producing Artistic Director of Kaua‘i Repertory Theatre Company, they will offer a complimentary concert reading of “Hawaii’s Comic History,” a 90-minute comedy that will feature over five dozen historical figures performed by three actors. These characters include President Obama, who was born in Honolulu, along with Mae West, The Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello, FDR, Don Ho, Elvis ["Blue Hawaii"] Presley, the goddess Pele, Queen Lili‘uokalani, Ozzie and Harriet, Bob Fosse, Gilligan, Captain Cook, and a boatload of notable names. The characters will offer an entertaining trip through 1,700 years of Hawaiian history. A formal production of this musical comedy will be staged this coming autumn. Reservations required.
• • WHEN: Wednesday evening, 8 June 2011 at 6:30.
• • WHERE: Aston Aloha Beach Hotel in the Historic Ali‘i Theater.
• • Mae West's Hawaiian Eyes • •
• • During her marriage to handsome Guido Deiro — — a popular accordionist also in demand as a recording artist — — Mae became aware of the financial rainbows that brightened the lives of the top singers and musicians. But as her own career prospects continued to sink during 1923 and 1924, and since no record companies pursued her, Mae gamely trouped on and continued to entertain the southwestern wheel of the vaudeville circuit — — trying to sell sheet music with her picture on the front cover. Which swings the conversation around to "Hula Lou."
• • Holy Honolulu! Not for Mae the gooey romantic yearning numbers such as "My Hawaiian Melody" nor "Honolulu Eyes." Nor would she have ever chosen a lightweight love ballad such as "Honolulu Honey" nor a harmless hula tempo such as "Hawaiian Sandman." The girl had gumption and looked for lyrics suitable for a flirt, a self-confident seductress who could put across a sultry kootch onstage. Could any chart-topper be as suitable for the singing comedienne as this come-hither bragging and posing?
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The date was 8 June 1979. Vincent Canby, then the film critic of The New York Times, pursed his lips and gave "Sextette" starring Mae West a sound spanking.
• • Vincent Canby wrote: The story, based on a play written some years ago by Miss West, is about a world-famous movie star and her attempts to consummate her sixth marriage to Sir Michael Barrington (Timothy Dalton) despite repeated interruptions by former husbands, lovers, dress designers, secret agents, publicity people and delegates attending an international peace conference just upstairs. It's a plot that Miss West has often favored, and it freely reprises a lot of lines from earlier pictures. The movie was directed by Ken Hughes ("The Small World of Sammy Lee," "Cromwell," and so on), a fellow you might think had better things to do than to prop up the Tower of Pisa. In addition to Mr. Dalton, "Sextette" features a number of other people who, in happier circumstances, are decent actors. These include Tony Curtis, George Hamilton, Ringo Starr, George Raft, and the incomparable Dom DeLuise. There are some original songs and some old ones, a couple of which sound as if they'd been lip-synched by Miss West to old recordings . . . .
• • Source: Film Review, The N.Y. Times; published on 8 June 1979
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 1955th 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:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1924 • •
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