Monday, July 30, 2018

Mae West: Ribald Humor

Though still without a fan club, MAE WEST has been blessed with some talented, intuitive biographers such as the amazing historian Jill Watts, who has graciously consented to an exclusive interview. Before we start, let’s look back at her ground-breaking bio, now available in paperback. Among its many excellencies, her biography has the very best index.
• • “Mae West: An Icon in Black and White” by Jill Watts [Oxford University Press; paperback edition, 2003]; 400 pages.
• • Oxford University Press wrote: "Why don't you come up and see me sometime?" Mae West invited and promptly captured the imagination of generations. Even today, years after her death, the actress and author is still regarded as the pop archetype of sexual wantonness and ribald humor. But who was this saucy starlet, a woman who was controversial enough to be jailed, pursued by film censors and banned from the airwaves for the revolutionary content of her work, and yet would ascend to the status of film legend?
• • Oxford University Press wrote:  Sifting through previously untapped sources, author Jill Watts unravels the enigmatic life of Mae West, tracing her early years spent in the Brooklyn subculture of boxers and underworld figures, and follows her journey through burlesque, vaudeville, Broadway and, finally, Hollywood, where she quickly became one of the big screen's most popular--and colorful--stars. Exploring West's penchant for contradiction and her carefully perpetuated paradoxes, Watts convincingly argues that Mae West borrowed heavily from African American culture, music, dance and humor, creating a subversive voice for herself by which she artfully challenged society and its assumptions regarding race, class and gender.
• • Our exciting and exclusive interview with Professor Jill Watts begins tomorrow.
• • Professor Jill Watts has served as the Chair of the Department of History, co-chair of Women's Studies, and the Program Director of Film Studies.  She is currently the Graduate Studies Coordinator for the History Department and is working on a book project entitled “Black Cabinet, White House:  African American Braintrusters in the Age of Franklin Delano Roosevelt."
• • Professor Watts was awarded the CSUSM President’s Award for Scholarship and Creative Activity in 2007.
• • On Friday, 30 July 1937 • •
• • The headline read: "Marriage of Mae West — Court Order Sought." And the legal battle was ever so much longer than their relationship. 
• • Come see “The Drag” — a play by Mae West. • •
• • “The Drag” is onstage from July 27 through August 18, 2018
• • Directed by Taylor Jack Nelson
• • Mae West's infamous romp that lead to the arrest of the original 1927 cast.
• • Following its titular theme, this production of Mae West's then-shocking 1920s expose on homosexuality in the jazz age uses actors from a variety of genders to portray the men, women, queens, kings, and otherwise in this music-filled romp.
• • Approximately 1 hour 45 minutes.
• • Production by An Other Theater Company in Provo, Utah.
• • 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:
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Mae West surprised Director-Producer Gregory Ratoff on the first day of "Tropicana" shooting by doing a scene in one "take." Said Ratoff enthusiastically, "When better takes are made, Mae West will make 'em," To which Mae replied, "You're getting out of the mood, Greg. When better men are made, Mae West will take 'em."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: “Keep a diary and one day it will keep you.”
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A California daily mentioned Mae West.
• • In 1935 Mexico’s President Lázaro Cárdenas, shut down casinos across Mexico, including Tijuana’s famed Agua Caliente.
• • The opulent Agua Caliente Hotel and Casino had opened in 1928. The resort and race track attracted Hollywood stars including Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Mae West. Margarita Cansino — who changed her name to Rita Hayworth — was discovered while dancing in the Agua Caliente floor show. …
• • Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, page 1;  published on Monday, 22 July  1935

• • 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 4,000 blog posts. Wow!  
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started fourteen years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 4012th 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 • a biography you should buy

• • Feed — —
  Mae West

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