Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mae West: Gained on Janet

An article once compared MAE WEST and October-baby Janet Gaynor [6 October 1906 — 14 September 1984].
• • According to Jack Jamison, it would be a hard job to imagine any greater contrast than Janet Gaynor and Mae West.
• • Jack Jamison recalled: On Broadway Mae's name used to stand for risque plays. No one admitted it with more alacrity than Mae herself. She wrote her own little dramas, and the critics joined in jeering at them, dubbing them Hokum for Hicks and Bait for Boobs. Yet even with the rural visitors Mae wasn't a success. She never got rich off her New York stage productions.
• • Jack Jamison continued:  Compare this with her unparalleled rise on the screen. Wherein lies the difference? Censorship! For there was censorship long before the Decency Drive was heard of, remember. On the screen, from the start, Mae played risque plays without actually being risque. It revealed her true appeal, a compelling, dynamic, sweeping feminine vitality that literally knocked us out of our seats. "It isn't the things she says, it's the way she says 'em." The lines in her pictures, whether they're routine wise-cracks turned out by Hollywood gag men or her famous catch-phrases, are really no funnier than the jokes in any other picture. It's what Mae herself puts into them. And what she puts into them is — — vitality.
• • Jack Jamison explained:  There were Mae Wests in ancient Greece. There were Mae Wests living in sod huts on the Kansas prairies a hundred years ago. There were Mae Wests in the days when men lived like wild animals in caves. Hearty wenches, broad in the waist and deep in the chest, who fought beside their men in war, were excellent mothers to incredible batches of kids; who lived, loved and died passionately. They had just what our Mae has today — — sheer animal strength. The irresistibility of healthy, pagan, dynamic human fleshliness.
• • Jack Jamison concluded: Wiser than Janet Gaynor in the ways of the world, Mae West knows what she has and turns it loose to run wild. She doesn't fight herself, she lets herself go. To the nth degree, she is herself. That this self happens to be one that is attractive and interesting is just plain good luck. 
• • Source: Article: "She's the Tops. Why? These are the five leading women stars. Each one shares the mysterious secret of success. What Is that Secret"? written by Jack Jamison for The New Movie Magazine; published in April 1935.
• • On Wednesday, 29 October 1930 • •
• • "Mae West is getting ready to shock the smaller burgs," noted Variety in its issue dated for Wednesday, 29 October 1930.  The touring company Mae assembled for her play "Sex" was already wrapping up its Chicago engagement. "Sex" was booked into theatres in Detroit, St. Louis, and Cleveland, where Mae starred onstage as Margy LaMont.
• • On Saturday, 29 October 1932 • •
• • The gala premiere on Saturday, 29 October 1932, revealed that "Night After Night" was only 73 minutes long. No one remembers anything about this film except for the hilarious moments when Mae West was onscreen.
• • On Thursday, 29 October 1959 in New Statesman • •
• • Mae West's memoir was reviewed by Maurice Richardson. His critique of "Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It" [NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1959] appeared on page 657 of the New Statesman on Thursday, 29 October 1959. Published when Mae was 66 years old, the sunny-side-up narrative focuses on her triumphs and downplays (or omits) any inconvenient setbacks.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • For the first time in her movie career, our buxom Mae West was called upon to take a location trip. All was well until the sun set and darkness sneaked up on the ensemble. In the distance, a coyote howled. Mae shivered. Again the animal turned loose one of those blood- curdling wails ... a little nearer, this time. "How do you like the wide open spaces? "M-mm-m . . ." Mae murmured, none too enthusiastically. "They're all right in their place, but, give me a roof garden where all the coyotes are the two-legged kind!"
• • See "Diamond Lil" This Autumn! • • 
"Darlene Violette channels Mae West to perfection!" — Stu Hamstra
• • By popular demand, actress Darlene Violette — — and the wonderful cast who brought the Bowery denizens and Suicide Hall’s ne’er-do-wells to life — — will return in “Diamond Lil” for several evening performances at Don’t Tell Mama [343 W. 46th Street] on these dates in 2013:
• • 7:00pm on Sunday November 3rd — vote for Gus Jordan for Sheriff Night.
• • 8:30pm on Sunday November 10th
• • 7:00pm on Sunday November 17th
• • 7:00pm on Sunday November 24th
• • Phone after 4pm to reserve a seat: 212-757-0788; RSVP online: 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"! 
• • The 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
• • Director: Co-directed by Dena Tyler, The Actors Studio, and Darlene Violette.
• • Come up and see for yourself. You might even win a swell Raffle Prize.
• • Watch a short clip: Diamond Lil meets Pablo, a gigolo
• • Read a Review of "Diamond Lil" • •
• • L'Idea Magazine's editors attended four times and had a lot to say. Here's the link: http://www.lideamagazine.com/usa-still-entertaining-mae-wests-diamond-lil-makes-new-fans-in-new-york-city/
• • Staying faithful to the gritty themes in the novel, LindaAnn Loschiavo trimmed the work to 85 minutes for a cast of eight.
• • Audience Comments about "Diamond Lil" • •
• • Gigi Garcone said:  Just saw "Diamond Lil" — — a very entertaining production! This tribute to the sultry, irresistible diva Mae West is a must see! All the actors are very talented and you can see they put their hearts into their roles. I especially liked Darlene Violette as Mae West and Joanna Bonaro as Rita, a madam from Rio. Darlene encompassed the whole persona of Mae and Joanna was sublime as the madam — — she really has such a presence on stage. Very enjoyable performance and it's worth the trip!
• • Rick Baynes of Baltimore said: I second Gigi's comments. "Diamond Lil" brings the fabulous Mae West back to life. The wonderful Darlene Violette is spot-on in her portrayal of the lusty, bawdy Mae. Do yourself a favor and go see this lovely production.

• • Mrs. Jean McLoughlin of NYC said:   I recently saw "Diamond Lil" and loved every minute. The entire cast was top-notch, and I was impressed with their creative use of the entire space. The characters really came to life and I was transported back to the raunchy days of Mae West. Darlene Violette gave a great performance as Diamond Lil  — — but Joanna Bonaro really shone as the sultry, venomous Rita. Joanna commands attention and I was more than willing to give it. Fantastic show, I highly recommend that everyone see it! Even my husband, who does not like theater, really enjoyed it.
• • At Jefferson Market Library in NYC next month • •
• • Mae West's legal woes inspired the stage play "Courting Mae West." See it on 23 November 2013 in the very same room where Mae faced off with Judge George Donnellan and 12 jurors. 

• • Darlene Violette stars as Mae West and the rest of the cast will soon be announced. 
• • The play, based on true events, is set during the Prohibition Era when Mae's plays were padlocked and she was sent to jail. Talk about a woman who climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong.. 
• • This free event is open to the public and there is ample seating. [Note: The humor and adult themes are not suitable for children under 13.]
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "My pianist — — I never could remember his name. I always introduced him as Harry Rikeman, or Reekman, or Rachman, so we decided to give him a name I couldn't forget: Richman. He's known everywhere now — — Harry Richman, King of the Vagabond Songsters."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The New Movie Magazine mentioned Mae West.
• • Barbara Barry wrote: Paramount News: Still worrying about gangsters, kidnapers and such, Mae West isn't taking any chances. She wouldn't even let us on the set.
• • Barbara Barry continued:  Anyhow, Mae has practically finger-printed everybody on the set, and, if the popcorn man goes for a drink of water, he has to be finger-printed all over, the print checked with the original, and then, if it's a tie, he can come in, and no questions asked!
• • Barbara Barry added:  You all know that Mae writes her own stories, and this one has to do with a gal who can take care of herself, and does, entertaining in a dance hall in a small, but tough, cattle town.  . . .
• • Source: "On-the-Set Reviews" by Barbara Barry for The New Movie Magazine; published in April 1935 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2775th 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 Diamond Lil returned for Mae's birthday

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

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