Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mae West: Lurid, Often Stirring

On Tuesday, 10 April 1928, when The N.Y. Times reviewed the "drama of the underworld" by MAE WEST, the critic tip-toed into the first paragraph gently.  He began: Miss Mae West, at least one of whose previous dramatic productions was fraught with front-page consequences, came before her public last night as the star and author of a new piece entitled "Diamond Lil."
• • "'Diamond Lil' Is Lurid and Often Stirring — — "Mae West's Melodrama at the Royale Suffers From a Bad Third Act" • •
• • The Times wrote: As acted by a numerous company at the Royale, it turned out to be a lurid and frequently rousing melodrama of the Bowery and the 1890s, amply, if somewhat embarrassingly entertaining for two of its three acts.  The third one is pretty bad.
• • The Times continued: It starts and finishes in the back room of a saloon on the fringe of Chinatown, moving for its intermediate act up to the ornate bedroom of Diamond Lil herself.  Diamond Lil is a scarlet woman, if you will, attached at the moment to the boss of the district, who runs a saloon called Suicide Hall and does a little white-slave trafficking on the side.  She wears diamonds and takes life as she finds it and, as played by Miss West, is a pretty credible and interesting figure.  She is a good actress is Miss West, even though her playwriting is a bit thick.
• • The Times went on: Anyhow, it is all there — — a crowded and walloping play for two acts, which may distress you, but will certainly not bore you.  Mixed up in it are singing waiters and the songs and clothes of the 1890s, slumming parties, shooting affairs, dope selling, escaped convicts, fist fights, ...
• • How bad was the last act of the 1928 stage play? • •
• • My guess is that they were rushing the script into production and didn't bother much about tidying up Act III, not even when Mae released it as a novel four years later. One silly section occurs after Lil kills Rita during their fight.  Obliged to do her "Easy Rider" number, Lil goes downstairs to the dance hall. When she returns, the body is missing. The way that Diamond Lil finds out (a.) who moved Rita and (b.) what happened to the corpse only spoiled the next scene.  Another absurdity occurs when Chick Clark appears with a gun and begins shooting.  Though the Paramount film handled the scene smoothly, in the novel and stage version, Diamond Lil and Pablo Juarez begin doing the tango during this disruption until a policeman takes Pablo by the shoulders and tosses him out.  (Why, Mae? Why?) 
• • From a three hour script to a newly revised 85-minute version • •
• • The newly revised 85-minute version of Mae West's "Diamond Lil" massages away these flaws (and trims the cast) without purging the narrative of its heady fragrance of gin and sin. Come and see it this weekend.
• • On Sunday, 15 August 1993 • •
• • Molly Haskell wrote an article "Mae West's Bawdy Spirit Spans the Gay 90s" and it ran in The New York Times, Section 2, on Sunday, 15 August 1993.
• • Save the Dates: August 17th and August 18th • • 
• • What: two more events timed to celebrate the 120th birthday of Mae West, born in Brooklyn, NY on August 17, 1893
• • There are some seats left so tell your fun-loving friends about these special dates!
• • All of the sex and none of the censorship . . . • • 
• • The novel "Diamond Lil" closely follows the 3-hour production Mae performed onstage from 1928 — 1951, and it is much more exciting than the family-friendly screen version. Playwright LindaAnn Loschiavo massaged Mae's classic opus into an 85-minute adaptation featuring all of the sex and none of the censorship. No intermission. 
• • There will be two stagings of "Diamond Lil" on August 17th and August 18th in NYC.
• • On Saturday, 17 August 2013 at 7:30pm on West 38th St. • •
• • One night only! • •
• • Where: John Strasberg Studios, 555 8th Avenue, Suite 2310, New York, NY 10018;  accessible to wheelchairs 
• • What: "Diamond Lil" by Mae West in a new adaptation for the stage by LindaAnn Loschiavo — and costumed in 1890s Bowery style
• • Cast: Starring Darlene Violette as Diamond Lil, Queen of the Bowery and also featuring Sidney Myer, Anthony DiCarlo, Joanna Bonaro, Gary Napoli, Juan Sebastian Cortes, Kimmy Foskett, Jim Gallagher and live music by Brian McInnis
• • August 17th Mae West Raffle Tickets are free
• • August 17th  Admission: $10 — must be pre-paid!
• • RSVP: Advance sale tickets: you must email MaeWestDiamondLil (at) gmail (dot) com
• • Closest MTA subway stations: 42nd St./ Times Sq. via A, C, E, 1, 2, 3 
• • The public is invited (suitable for age 18 and over)
• • Updates: facebook.com/MaeWestDiamondLil
• • On Sunday, 18 August 2013 at 7:00pm on West 46th St. • • 
• • One night only! • •
• • Where: Don't Tell Mama, 343 West 46th Street, NYC 10036; T. (212) 757-0788
• • What: "Diamond Lil" by Mae West in a new adaptation for the stage by LindaAnn Loschiavo — and costumed in 1890s Bowery style
• • Cast: Starring Darlene Violette as Diamond Lil, Queen of the Bowery and also featuring Sidney Myer, Anthony DiCarlo, Joanna Bonaro, Gary Napoli, Juan Sebastian Cortes, Kimmy Foskett, Jim Gallagher and live music by Brian McInnis
• • August 18th Mae West Raffle Tickets are free
• • RSVP: August 18th  Admission:  $15.00 cover charge plus a two drink minimum
• • Reservations: www.donttellmamanyc.com
• • Closest MTA subway stations: 42nd St./ Times Sq. via A, C, E, 1, 2, 3 
• • The public is invited (suitable for age 18 and over). Join us as we turn the iconic NYC nightspot Don't Tell Mama into Gus Jordan's "Suicide Hall"!
• • Updates: facebook.com/MaeWestDiamondLil 
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I consider myself above changing. I haven't time to change. I'm not looking backward at what I've done or what success has come my way. The minute you do that and stand around on what's already come your way, you're headed back in the other direction."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Photoplay Magazine interviewed Mae West.
• • Kirtley Baskette wrote: Probably someone just learned her true weight and got excited — — for Mae, in spite of those ample hills and dells, isn't a heavy woman. Once in her life she reached a hundred and thirty-five pounds — — but it was when she deliberately tried to get fat, during the Broadway "Diamond Lil" era. Since she came to Hollywood, her weight hasn't varied by more than five pounds. Right now she's at a hundred and eighteen ...
• • Source: Article:for Photoplay Magazine; published in the issue dated for July 1934
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2717th 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/
________

Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xmlAdd to Google

• • Photo:
• • Mae West Diamond Lil

• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
  Mae West

No comments: