• • Fan magazine columnist Aileen St. John Brenon wrote: At this juncture it might be amusing to hear the story of her first beau. Tired of the knickerbockered lads of her acquaintance, she longed to have a date with a boy who wore long pants. She plotted and schemed, and finally achieved a date with a likable young man who eager to please the volatile and exacting Mae, went so far as to buy a pair of long pants in order to find favor in the fair damsel's violet eyes.
• • Aileen St. John Brenon added: His name was Joe Schenck, and he, too, eventually became a great theatrical favorite in the team of Van and Schenck.
• • Aileen St. John Brenon continued: Miss West and Schenck became inseparable pals. Joe was a wizard on the piano, and they would spend hours singing, dancing and playing in the brownstone-fronted house of the West family. Their first date nearly ended in a fiasco because Mae, due home at nine, strutted about with her long-trousered youth until eleven, while Papa West, the prize- fighter, waited in the parlor to give that young whipper-snapper of a Schenck a lesson. Mama West, however, intervened at the crucial moment, and Joe Schenck's hide and her daughter's pride were saved. . . .
• • Source: Article: "The Real Mae West" written by Aileen St. John Brenon for The New Movie Magazine; published in July 1938.
• • By 1923, Joe Schenck [1891 —1930] had married his first wife but he and Mae West kept in touch. When Gus Van [1886 —1968] and Joe Schenck opened The Silver Slipper, a new night spot on Broadway, Mae was in the audience.
• • Despite the professional heights the vaudeville team hit for 18 years, there was one unfortunate circumstance. Joe had developed heart disease. Schenck died while working in Detroit on 28 June 1930. He was only 39 years old.
• • On Friday, 23 October 1931 • •
• • It was on Friday, 23 October 1931 that the New York City tabloid Evening Graphic reported on the very strange fan letters Mae West was receiving.
• • On Thursday, 23 October 1986 in New Scientist • •
• • The British publication New Scientist was greatly troubled by the new technology that could add color to vintage black and white motion pictures.
• • New Scientist wrote: "Nowadays, less and less is left to the imagination . . . Now Mae West's eyes will glint in colour as she delivers her barbed line, "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you pleased to see me?"
• • If this hilarity amuses you, then you must read the rest in New Scientist's issue dated for Thursday, 23 October 1986 on page 65.
|PHOTO by Wayne Takenaka|
"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:
• • 7:30pm on Sunday October 27th — Hallowe'en Party — come in 1890s costume!
• • 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 by Brian McInnis
• • 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 • •
• • Asked if every woman is a rake at heart, Mae West said: "Certainly! It's all a question of how you direct your energy. I'm sure I could be a very bad woman if I weren't too busy doing other things."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • CV Independent mentioned Mae West.
• • Brian Blueskye wrote: After moving to San Francisco, Irene Soderberg won a Mae West look-alike contest. “I was working on a show at the same time called Men Behind Bars, and I was playing a fairy godmother,” she remembered. I made my entrance onto the stage from a wire 40 feet above the stage. While we were rehearsing, they said there was a Mae West look-alike contest, and ‘that you should enter.’ I made my own outfits and everything, so I said, ‘Sure, why not?’ People always said I could do Mae West better than anyone. Lily Tomlin was a judge.”
• • Brian Blueskye wrote: Irene said she managed to make the entire audience laugh with her comedy and acting talents; in fact, she said she managed to win the contest before she even sang her own parody of a song from the 1920s, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” . . .
• • Source: Article: "When She's Bad, She’s Better: Irene Soderberg Kicks Off Palm Springs Pride With a Free Show" written by Brian Blueskye for CV Independent; posted on Monday, 21 October 2013
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2770th 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/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • Diamond Lil returned for Mae's birthday • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
NYC Mae West