Monday, September 12, 2011

Mae West: In "Fabulous"

Come up and see MAE WEST in "Fabulous," which begins this week in Los Angeles.
• • This fascinating display commemorates the past decade of collecting at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising [FIDM] Museum. Curators have arranged a colorful exhibit that includes 175 donated and purchased garments and accessories worn by women, men, and children spanning 1800 to 2010. Highlights from two centuries of fashion are: platform heels worn by Mae West, Austrian composer Joseph Haydn's walking stick, an evening dress designed by Halston in 1974, a luxurious embroidered court suit worn by composer Johann Hummel, a Redfern court gown with regulation eleven–foot–long train, and a museum–commissioned lace peacock motif Alexander McQueen couture gown. This array of historical court costumes and documents, high fashion items, accessories, jewelry, and textiles has been photographed for their fully illustrated 375–page catalogue. "Fabulous!" is free and open to the public.
• • WHEN: Exhibition runs from 13 September 2011 — 17 December 2011
• • WHERE: FIDM Museum: 919 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90015; T. 213-623-5821
• • On 12 September 1993 • •
• • It was on 12 September 1993 that one Mae West fan's comment was printed in The New York Times.
• • Mae West's New York • •
• • To the Editor:
• • Mae West would have undoubtedly loved "Peel Me a Grape" (Aug. 22), Ron Alexander's account of her 100th-birthday celebration. However, some surprisingly omitted sidelights on the Mae West tour of New York need to be added. Mae's Broadway landmarks include the former Paramount Theater building, where the film "Night After Night" startled the world with her "goodness had nothing to do with it" rejoinder. And why not a note about the Biltmore Theater, where Mae tried to open a little opus called "Pleasure Man" but was restrained because of the then-licentious subject matter of gayness?
• • In reviewing one of Mae's later performances on Broadway, her revival of "Diamond Lil" at the Coronet Theater (another omission), Brooks Atkinson, the critic for The New York Times, called Mae West "the goddess of sex." She was one of a kind, and there's no one quite like her today.
• • Letter was written by Harold Smith of Quogue, N.Y.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West wrote this: "Sex is emotion in motion."
• • Mae West wrote this: “I was in a tight spot, but I managed to wriggle out of it.”
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Mae West gave interviews in England.
• • London's Evening Standard critic Milton Shulman [1 September 1913 — 24 May 2004] spoke to Mae in person in 1948 about her theatrical training as a young stock player. Mae discussed being cast as the neglected child Mary in "Ten Nights in a Bar-Room" as well as the princeling in "Richard III." But as she grew up, her sex appeal took over.
• • Mae West told Milton: "It wasn't until I got to Hollywood that I realized just what everybody was talking about. Then some psychologists told me I had this appeal physically and mentally — — in my eyes, my voice, my body movements." She felt the censors were especially hard on her. "I had to do most of my acting with my eyes," explained Miss West, rather plaintively. ...
• • Source: "How to Be a Celebrity" by Milton Shulman
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2051st 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 • • Las Vegas heels, 1953 • •
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