Friday, August 17, 2012

Mae West: 119th Birthday

MAE WEST fan and researcher R. Mark Desjardins wanted to salute the Brooklyn bombshell on 17 August 2012, her 119th birthday.
• • Musician Ramfis Diaz [1963 — 2011], who held the first Mae West Birthday Tribute back in 1984, as a small scale spaghetti supper, continued this festive tradition until 17 August 2010. That rooftop party was covered two years ago for The Mae West Blog by Mr. Desjardins, who also supplied photographs of the merriment.
• • Today R. Mark Desjardins writes:  Throughout her long life, Mae West sought out the company of  fun, unique and interesting  individuals.  Her Los Angeles apartment lair at the Ravenswood,  suite 611, was often  the gathering place of her entourage. She firmly believed in the magic of the number 8. 
• • R. Mark Desjardins states: A Mae West fan to the hilt, Ramfis Diaz lived in suite 701 at the Gramercy Towers.  August 17th, the date of Mae West's birthday, was an event  Ramfis felt was worthy of commemorating.   
• • R. Mark Desjardins explains: At these fabled annual events,  guests mingled in his apartment, a virtual shrine to Mae, and alternated  between the visual delights provided there, up the stairway  leading to the rooftop where tables laden with food, beverages of all kinds and live entertainment beckoned.  In the background, stately palm trees swayed, as if in beat to the music.  The iconic Hollywood sign in the distance added just the right surreal touch. 
• • R. Mark Desjardins continues: Los Angeles has experienced unfortunate events that have seemingly divided its citizens along ethnic lines.  Ramfis' legendary parties brought diverse groups of people together — — individuals who normally might not mingle together easily — — and the outcome was always a fabulous good time that people talked about and an invitation for next year for eagerly sought after. It didn't matter what your sexual preference, racial background, economic status, or body type was. Just as long as you loved Mae West, you were welcome.  West had a very similar philosophy at a time when there was much less tolerance for such open mindedness.   During recent times when there was  a conservative backlash to advances made on behalf of human rights, Ramfis' yearly gathering provided a warm and welcome respite. 
• • R. Mark Desjardins adds: Sadly, there will be no be Annual Mae West Birthday Party in Los Angles on August 17th, to celebrate what would have been the anniversary of Mae West's birth, 119 years ago.  Ramfis Diaz, Mae West fan extraordinare, hosted this much anticipated yearly event for many years, the last party being held on 17 August 2010.  Diaz was feeling ill at the time, and was worried he would not be able to host the event as lavishly as in the past.  A few well placed requests for help from friends resulted in the best, over the top tribute ever, to his beloved star, Mae West.
• • R. Mark Desjardins notes: After Ramfis died in May of 2011, it seems that no one else has been able to step up the plate and continue this long standing Los Angeles tradition of honoring Mae West on her birthday. Perhaps in the future, someone may continue holding up the flame, but for the time being, the torch has flickered out.
• • R. Mark Desjardins concludes with this:  Ramfis Diaz's lust for life and lusty appetites perfectly reflected those of his idol Mae West, and the legacy those two legends in their own right have left behind - live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment,  serves everyone of us well. 
• • Written by: R. Mark Desjardins of Vancouver, B.C. Canada exclusively for The Mae West Blog.
• • Brooklyn Tribute to Mae on Saturday, 29 September 2012 • •
• • The West Cafe will host an artistic Mae West-themed event on September 29th.
• • Owner Esther Bell (currently on vacation) will provide details shortly. Meanwhile, save the date.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I did it because I was scared. ... Getting pregnant was a great disgrace in those days.  I had a very beautiful close relationship with my mother and I never wanted to do anything that hurt her." [Mae West had this discussion with Karl Fleming for his book "The First Time" published in 1975.]
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • L.A. Times film critic Kevin Thomas wrote about Mae West in 2009.
• • Kevin Thomas wrote: Born in 1893, Mae West began performing in lodge halls in her native Brooklyn at the age of 5 and in time became the key support for her entire family, which she remained for the rest of her life. ...
• • Source: written by Kevin Thomas for The Los Angeles Times; published on 16 April 2009
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2397th 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:

Source: to Google

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • piano
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