Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mae West: Brazen Attack

MAE WEST and her play "The Wicked Age" were cited in a book on beauty pageants. 
• • The curtain clanged down on "The Wicked Age" on Saturday, 19 November 1927.
• • Coincidentally, an article "Women Open Fight on Beauty Pageant" appeared in The New York Times; published on Friday, 18 November 1927.
• • Kimberly A. Hamlin wrote: I have been unable to find any explicitly feminist protest of the pageant.  ... The only protest I came across that could be considered feminist was a 1927 play written by Mae West. "The Wicked Age, or the Contest," was essentially a satire of modern beauty pageants. West's play was not published, so I must rely on secondhand sources for a description of it, but, by all accounts, it was a brazen attack on the increased commercialization of the female body. West decried the exploitation of women in beauty contests, an avenue of exploitation of which women themselves were not in control.  ...
• • Source:  Chapter 2 "Bathing Suits and Backlash" written by Kimberly A. Hamlin, citing Carol Ward's comments about Mae West; included in the book "There She Is, Miss America: The Politics of Sex, Beauty, and Race in America's Most Famous Pageant" edited by Elwood Watson; published in 2004.
• • On Tuesday, 18 November 1913 • •
• • Mae West had devised original material for herself and Beverly, an 18-minute routine booked as "Mae West and Sister" and sometimes "Mae West and Beverly."
• • Biographers often explain this as Mae's attempt to develop a new routine to help her sister break into vaudeville.  I doubt it.  I sense the familiar fingerprints of Matilda West all over this short-lived enterprise.  Behind the scenes, Mama West was trying to break up the union of her favorite daughter and accordionist Guido Deiro by distracting Mae and keeping her performing closer to home.
• • admired for her persistency • •
• • But on Tuesday, 18 November 1913, Variety gave her a scathing review: "Mae West in big time vaudeville may only be admired for her persistency in believing she is a big time act and trying to make vaudeville accept her as such. ..." Pfffft.
• • On Wednesday, 18 November 1936 • •
• • It was a busy time for the screen queen when "Go West Young Man" was released on Wednesday, 18 November 1936 in he USA.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Film critics are predicting that you will see another new and sensational star — — none other than Mae West, the "Diamond Lil" of Broadway.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I harmed no one."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Billboard Magazine mentioned Mae West.
• • San Francisco, Club Lido: Next — George Corteillo and his trained dogs mimic movie personalities such as Mae West, Popeye, Stepin Fetchit, Ginger Rogers, etc.   ...
• • Source: Item in Billboard; published on Saturday, 6 November I943 
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. The other day we entertained 1,223 visitors. 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3050th 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 in 1927

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