Friday, August 05, 2011

Mae West: Off-beat

One of Scotland's newspapers The East Lothian Courier interviewed the Fringe folks and found that "The Life and Times of MAE WEST" was a top pick. Pene Herman Smith recreates the role of this complex American actress and writer, portraying Mae in her later years after the death of Jim Timony, on Tuesday 9 August 2011.
• • The Scottish journalist Kirsty Gibbins writes: Fringe by the Sea 2011 kicks off on Monday [8 August 2011] and organisers have vowed that this year's festival will be the best ... Other highlights of the seven-day programme . . . 'The Life and Times of Mae West', a one-woman show delivering two performances in the Masonic Hall on Tuesday .... [Source: Article: "A Fringe full of benefits" written by Kirsty Gibbins for The East Lothian Courier; posted on 4 Aug 2011]
• • Mae West & Eugene O'Neill: Off-beat Links • •
• • Cole Porter [1891 — 1964] wrote the novelty "You're the Top" for the musical "Anything Goes." The song mentions numerous bold-faced names such as Mae West, Eugene O'Neill, Strauss, Vincent Youmans, Mahatma Gandhi, Greta Garbo, Calvin Coolidge, Fred Astaire, Dante, Jimmy Durante, Botticelli, Keats, Shelley, Irving Berlin, and others. Out-of-town try-outs began on 5 November 1934 at the Colonial Theatre, Boston. The Broadway hit premiered at the Alvin Theatre on 21 November 1934. Here's an excerpt:
• • • ... You're the top!
• • • You're an arrow collar
• • • You're the top!
• • • You're a Coolidge dollar,
• • • You're the nimble tread
• • • Of the feet of Fred Astaire,
• • • You're an O'Neill drama, ...
• • • ... You're Ovaltine!
• • • You're a boom,
• • • You're the dam at Boulder,
• • • You're the moon,
• • • Over Mae West's shoulder, ...
• • On Sunday afternoon, 14 August 2011 • •
• • "Mae West in Bohemia — — Gin, Sin, Censorship, and Eugene O'Neill"
• • Mae West's birthday is August 17th. Join us at 3:00 pm on Sunday afternoon, 14 August 2011. The title of this illustrated historical theme walk is "Mae West in Bohemia — — Gin, Sin, Censorship, and Eugene O'Neill." Rare vintage illustrations will show you how the buildings and blocks looked as these two theatre people saw them.
• • Where: This illustrated walking tour begins at 62 West Ninth Street, NYC (near Sixth Avenue).

• • Mae West on the Newsstand • •
• • "The Successful Career of Mae West on the American Stage" written by Yvonne Shafer was published in The Journal of American Drama and Theatre [JADT, Volume 12, Number 3, Fall 2000]. To order a copy of this back issue, contact the editors: JADT c/o Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10016-4309.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West wrote this movie dialogue for her character Mavis Arden ["Go West Young Man"]:
• • Morgan: You mean I'm practically your slave.
• • Mavis Arden: You're not. Slaves are generally useful.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • It was the legitimate theatre season of 1926 — 1927. When the short-eyed critics assembled a list of the ten dirtiest shows, "Sex" by Mae West was in this number. Well, heck, no wonder ticket-buyers saw the show numerous times.
• • Robert Rusie writes: In April of 1926, Mae West opened in Sex, which Variety defined as a "nasty red-light district show." Miss West would be arrested and serve ten days [sic] in the Women's Workhouse on Welfare Island — — but not until after the show ran for 375 performances. Miss West's comment on the ordeal? The uniforms were uncomfortable. In Sex, Miss West played a Montreal Madame. This wasn't the only show on Broadway at the time with a prostitutes as a main character. The Shanghai Gesture, starring Florence Reed (331 performances), and Lulu Belle (461 performances) were also playing. The difference is that in the later two shows old Victorian "righteousness" won out. Even The Easiest Way, from the preceding decade, had a moral overtone. The (anti)heroine couldn't help but be morally disposed to "the easiest way." In fairness, though, it must be told that Lulu Belle was listed with Sex as one of the ten (yes, ten) dirtiest shows on Broadway. ...
• • Source: Broadway 101: The History of the Great White Way written by Robert Rusie; this excerpt comes from his section 1920 — 1930, The American Theater, Part 3
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2013th 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 • • with Lyons Wickland in "Sex" 1926 • •
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