Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Mae West: Mae West y Yo

A quirky new novel published in Spain focuses on the healing powers of MAE WEST.
• • Written in Spanish by 63-year-old Eduardo Mendicutti, "Mae West and Me" [“Mae West y Yo"] was published in Madrid in September.
• • Reviewing the book in English, critic Catherine Mansfield had this to say about the plot: Felipe Bonasera is an openly gay retired diplomat in his early 60s who has decided to spend the month of July alone at his family’s summer home after being diagnosed with an unidentified life-threatening illness. As an amateur ventriloquist, Felipe is used to entertaining his friends with performances using puppets of golden age Hollywood film stars: Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, and Marlene Dietrich. Despite having left his puppets back in Madrid, the voice of Mae West travels with him; Felipe has named the initially unidentified cancerous part of his body — — at the end of the novel we learn that it is his prostate — — after the famously sharp-tongued actress, who keeps him company with her witty and often obscene comments on life during his self-imposed exile. ...
• • Catherine Mansfield continued: The novel is divided between two first-person narrators: Felipe and ‘Mae West’ — — Felipe’s prostate personified as the Hollywood star. The chapters alternate between these two narratives, with a new chapter for each day spent at Villa Horacia. In the sections narrated by ‘Mae West,' the narrative voice mimics the quick-fire, gossipy wit of the real-life actress in a very conversational style. She scatters her observations with anecdotes about other stars of her time such as Grace Kelly, Rita Hayward, Audrey Hepburn, James Dean, and Cary Grant. ‘Mae West’ compares everything that Felipe experiences with plots of films or the experiences of golden age actresses, and constantly interrupts Felipe’s part of the narrative with witty, wry, and sometimes obscene comments. The sections narrated by Felipe tend to be more reflective, with his mind regularly returning to his anxiety about his illness, which he tries to forget by becoming involved in village life and spying on his neighbours.
• • Catherine Mansfield added her own opinion of the narrative: The relationship between Felipe and ‘Mae West’ — — his glamorous imaginary friend — — is interesting. Instead of hating and fearing his cancerous prostate, Felipe gives it a name and an imaginary life of its own, and a strange friendship develops between them. By giving his prostrate a name and a personality, Felipe is no longer suffering alone. Whenever he gets frightened or morbid, ‘Mae West’ snaps him out of it with a witty comment, transporting him to a glamorous fantasy world of film stars and intrigue. It is a strangely affectionate relationship, with ‘Mae West’ calling Felipe ‘my man.’
• • Author Eduardo Mendicutti was born in Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz) in 1948. In 1972 he moved to Madrid, where he obtained a journalism degree, and where he makes his home.
• • "Mae West y Yo" was published by Tusquets [September 2011]; the Spanish language paperback is 264 pages. Perhaps a very nice bi-lingual person will translate it and bring this novel to the USA for an American audience. We wish the author mucho éxito — — much success.
• • In November, Let's Remember Robert Homnas [1877 — 1947] • •
• • Mae West starred in "She Done Him Wrong," and Robert Homans was seen as Doheney.
• • Born in Malden, Massachusetts in the month of November — — on 8 November 1877 — — Robert Edward Homans was raised by sensible native New Englanders but somehow the crazy acting bug bit. He and his wife and young daughter spent time in New York City before heading to the West Coast. Cast in a silent film in 1917, the five-foot-eleven performer decided to pursue a screen career. Between 1923 — 1946 he racked up 385 featured appearances. His height and very serious look made him a natural for bit parts of uniformed men such as a fire chief, doormen, sailors, policemen, detectives, and assorted judges and lawmen. A useful skill was his ability to affect an Irish brogue and he was busy working on one picture or another until he was 69 years old.
• • Robert Edward Homans died of a heart attack on 28 July 1947 — — at the Motion Picture Country House in Los Angeles where he had been residing. He is buried next to his beloved wife in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
• • On 8 November 1933 • •
• • Published in NYC in The Nation [edition of 8 November 1933] was an article discussing the motion picture "She Done Him Wrong" starring the Brooklyn bombshell. William Troy wrote the lengthy piece: "Mae West and the Classic Tradition."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I heard the applause — — applause just for me, and I knew they really liked me, and I knew then there wasn’t any other place I ever wanted to be.”
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about Ho Chi Minh [1890 — 1969] mentioned Mae West.
• • Petri Liukkonen writes: Ho Chi Minh was born on Nguyen Sinh Cung in the village of Kimlien, Annam . . . . It is believed, that he lived in Harlem for a while. The American actress Mae West has told in an interview, that she met "Ho... Ho... Ho something" at the Carlton Hotel. "There was this waiter, cook, I don't know what he was. I know he had the slinkies eyes though. We met in the corridor. We — — well..." ...
• • Source: Article: "Ho Chi Minh" written by Petri Liukkonen for Amazon.com; posted in 2008
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2108th 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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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • circa 1943 • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

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