Monday, February 20, 2012

Mae West: Corset at FIDM

An FIDM exhibit is featuring a corset worn by MAE WEST in her show "Diamond Lil" and you can come up and see it until 28 April 2012.
• • Writing for Pasadena Star-News Patt Diroll explains that there was a star-studded guest list on 11 February 2012 in California when the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) staged its reception for the annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition in the FIDM Museum & Galleries.
• • Patt Diroll continued: The FIDM exhibition, a collaboration between the Costume Designers Guild, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the film studios and some stars themselves, also features Colleen Atwood's Oscar-winning creations from last year's "Alice in Wonderland," along with iconic treasures from the FIDM archives such as Mae West's corset; Rudolph Valentino's "suit of lights" from "Blood and Sand"; Mabel Normand's tiara; and Fred Astaire's tap shoes.
• • The exhibition is open to the public from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm through 28 April 2012 at FIDM, 919 S. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles. Admission is free.
• • Ramfis Diaz [20 February 1963 — 15 May 2011] • •
• • Mae West collectors are everywhere but a most extraordinary West Coast Mae-devotee has, unfortunately, left us last year.
• • Born in Tucson, Arizona, Ramfis Anthony Diaz [20 February 1963 — 15 May 2011] began his extensive acquisition of Westiana around the time that Mae starred in "Myra Breckinridge" [1970], when he was quite young. Around 1994, Ramfis, then a 31-year-old musician, instituted a yearly tradition of having a festive open house in the Hollywood area to honor Mae West on August 17th. On that first occasion, Ramfis served spaghetti. The menu broadened as the guest list grew.
• • The final shindig was held Chez Ramfis on 17 August 2010 in grand style. It seems that no one has decided to continue that joyful tradition (which lasted for 16 years) in California.
• • While many stars from Hollywood's golden era still have a fan club and/ or have been honored with a postage stamp, Mae West is not in that number.
• • If you wish to honor this extraordinary woman by starting a Mae West tradition in your city, please let us know.
• • It's interesting that certain residents in Woodhaven, Queens, NY
who have gone to great lengths to promote the ridiculous bit of misinformation that Mae's birth took place there have never bothered to institute an annual celebration (or even so much as a yearly sneezing-at-truth contest). Clearly, a touch of "reflected glory" is enough for the denizens of Woodhaven, where Mae briefly resided as an adult woman during the early 1920s. Mae's parents moved often and boundary maps have been altered since they resided in the boroughs. However, the John West family addresses included blocks in Bushwick, Greenpoint, and Williamsburg as well as in Middle Village, Floral Park, Glendale, and Woodhaven.
• • It's quite sad that residents in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood, where Mae was born with the aid of a mid-wife in August 1893, have done absolutely nothing to commemorate her.
• • Why?
• • On Thursday, 20 February 1936 in Hollywood • •
• • There is a Joseph Breen PCA office memo, dated 20 February 1936, in the "Klondike Annie" PCA case file. Alas, Breen felt that Mae West was "censorable" and he never let up.
• • On Thursday, 20 February 1936 in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette • •
• • Many newspapers including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on the script disputes and disagreements between Joe Breen and Mae West over "Klondike Annie" and these articles were published on 20 February 1936.
• • On Saturday, 20 February 1937 • •
• • The headline from London, England was "PARIS FASHIONS MAE WEST CURVES."
• • London, February 20 — The British United Press correspondent in Paris says that fashions are going all buxom, after the style of Mae West, with curving hips and busts tending towards the styles of the "Naughty 'Nineties." Two of the leading stage and film suppliers have definitely fattened their mannequins, and even Schiaparelli is outlining the curves of the body in the form of a modified hourglass by pinching the waist. Generally, it seems that the days of slimming are ending.
• • Source: UPI and reprinted on Tuesday, 23 February 1937 in Western Argus (Kalgoorlie, WA) on page 15 of that Australian newspaper.
• • On Friday, 20 February 1998 in Seattle • •
• • "Sex" written by Mae West and directed by Ed Hawkins was onstage in Washington. It was performed at Annex Theatre, 1916 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA.
• • Until 20 February 2011 • •
• • Jann Haworth's soft sculptures such as "Mae West's Dressing Table" and "Mae West, Shirley Temple & W.C Fields," her 1967 creation made from fabric, wood, and plastic [131 x 91 cm] was being displayed as part of this show in Vienna. "Power Up — — Female Pop Art" was on view at Kunsthalle Wien, 5 November 2010 — 20 February 2011.
• • Jann Haworth's soft sculpture of Mae posed with Shirley Temple and W.C. Fields was illustrated in color on page 217 in the show catalogue.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "It just breaks my heart when the censors take out my best cracks. So in writing the screen play and dialogue for 'Go West, Young Man,' I had to be pretty careful."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on a revival of "Sex" in Seattle mentioned Mae West.
• • Mae West went to jail for "Sex."
• • In 1927, when West's bawdy melodrama was enjoying a successful run on Broadway, it was raided and shut down by the New York City police. West went on trial and ended up serving time for a play that was deemed "obscene, indecent, immoral and impure entertainment."
• • As it turns out, those supposedly obscene, indecent, immoral parts (graphic physical movements, double entendres) are the most entertaining aspects of this fun, if rather hackneyed, piece. This Annex staging is the first time the play "Sex" has been produced since it was shut down 71 years ago. ...
• • ... The show features an energetic cast that excels at giving the right inflections to lines such as: "You have the kind of beauty that makes a savage of any man," and "Baby, you'd make a bulldog break its chain." As Margy LaMont (the Mae West role), Heather Hughes gives a lusty, commanding performance, swaggering around the stage, mugging delightfully and lip-synching to a Judy Garland song-and-dance number that's completely gratuitous — — and completely fun. . . .
• • Source: Theater review "Sex," by Mae West. Directed by Ed Hawkins. Annex Theatre, 1916 Fourth Ave., Seattle. Thursdays — Sundays through March 14, 1998. 206-728-0933.
• • Review — — Mae West's 'Sex': Honey, You Should See This Play Sometime — — written by Janet I-Chin Tu, Seattle Times Theater Critic; published on Friday, 20 February 1998 Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2215th 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 • as Diamond Lil in 1928 • •
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