Monday, June 25, 2018

Mae West: A Dirty Matter

Since “The Drag” by MAE WEST was onstage all weekend in the Montmartre section of Paris (the Left Bank), let’s look back at an article published in Great Britain in 2017 that discussed her two gay plays.
• • Brutal! Vulgar! Dirty! Mae West and the gay comedy that shocked 1920s America • •
• • Polly Stenham wrote: The Drag was inspired by her many gay friends. She knew their daily struggles to be open about their relationships, and to be accepted for who they were. When casting the play, she actively sought out gay actors. As a playwright she is compassionate, but also very funny. From performing in stage revues and burlesques, West had gained a reputation as a sex symbol and, as someone who was subjected to it herself, she had a particular understanding of the male gaze. This gave her an interesting angle when writing from a homosexual man’s point of view.
• • Polly Stenham wrote: West’s casting of gay men was incendiary at a time when the actors’ union barred them from parts with lines. Likewise the manner in which she auditioned them: open casting calls at a gay bar [that is, Paul and Joe’s, 62 West 9th Street] in Greenwich Village. In her autobiography, she claimed to have “helped a lot of gay boys along” by casting them at a time when “producers never gave speaking parts to homosexuals.”
• • “capitalise on a dirty matter for profit” • •
• • Polly Stenham wrote: When it opened in Connecticut, The Drag was a success with audiences, although Variety called it “an inexpressibly brutal and vulgar attempt to capitalise on a dirty matter for profit.” West had hoped it would run on Broadway but it never made it. One Broadway producer said it was “the worst possible play I have ever heard of contemplating an invasion of New York” and that it “strikes at the heart of decency”. . . .
• • Source: article by Polly Stenham for The Guardian; published on Wednesday, 5 July 2017.
• • On Thursday, 25 June 1970 • •
• • "Myra Breckinridge" opened in wide release on June 24th.
• • An article written by Howard Thompson was printed in The N.Y. Times on page 54 on Thursday, 25 June 1970:  "Mae West, 76, Still Finding New Generations of Fans."
• • Nope! Mae West never performed at Neir’s • •
• • Mae West never performed at Neir's — — nor did she ever set foot in this all-male bastion of sweaty factory laborers.
• • For decades, laborers went to bars to drink, relax, spit, smoke cigars, curse, discuss politics, and (most importantly) to get away from wives and women.
• • Learn more about Woodhaven, a factory hub during the brief time the West family resided there.
• • LINK: The Truth about Mae West and Woodhaven
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • The word is that Mae West’s exotic night club act was now short on one well-built gladiator. 
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Sex is emotion in motion."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about Hollywood stars going to prison mentioned Mae West.
• • Bill Bell and Donna Rosenthal wrote: So, Sean Penn goes to the slammer. Big deal. Steve McQueen was there, on bread and water yet. Even Sophia Loren and Mae West did time.  ...
• • Source: Article: "Sean Penn Not Only Star to Do Jail Stints" written by Bill Bell and Donna Rosenthal for N.Y. Daily News; posted on Thursday, 25 June 1987
• • The evolution of 2 Mae West plays that keep her memory alive • • 
• • A discussion with Mae West playwright LindaAnn LoSchiavo — — 
• •
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 13th anniversary • •  
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these past thirteen years. Not long ago, we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we reached a milestone recently when we completed 3,900 blog posts. Wow!  
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started thirteen years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3987th 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:


• • Photo:
• • Mae West • arrest after "The Drag," 1927

• • Feed — —
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