Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Mae West: Nowhere Neir

Jill Watts, biographer of MAE WEST, a distinguished professor at CSUSM, and a talented author of books on Father Divine [1879—1965] and Hattie McDaniel [1895—1952], which has inspired a new film about the Oscar winner, has kindly consented to an exclusive interview with The Mae West Blog. This is Part 7.
• • MW BLOG: QUESTION #3: Prologue:  Your biography gives Mae West’s birthplace as the Bushwick area of Brooklyn. Of course, Mae’s memoir said the same thing. Let’s explore the Woodhaven myths. The Mae West Blog has numerous posts on why Mae did not “start her career” in Woodhaven nor perform at Neir’s Tavern, etc. But let’s go over it again.
• • Woodhaven, Queens, NY • •
• • MW BLOG: QUESTION #3: When did the family move to Woodhaven? How long did they live there? Why is it simply untrue — — the foolish notion that Mae would have begun her “career” in a factory workers’ bar, an all-male hang-out, during the time the West family resided at 705 Boyd Ave. in Woodhaven?
• • Note: By 1927, the West family lived on Jericho Turnpike in Floral Park, Queens.
• • JILL WATTS: ANSWER #3:  Yes, I agree.  Mae did not get her start at Neir’s. By 1915, John and Matilda West's family had moved to the house on Boyd in Woodhaven, which they owned. They lived in Woodhaven into the 1920s.   
• • The West family changed addresses often • •  . . .
• • This exciting interview with Prof. Jill Watts will be continued on the next post.
• • Recommended Reading: “Mae West: An Icon in Black and White” by Jill Watts [Oxford University Press; paperback edition, 2003]; 400 pages.
• • On Friday, 8 August 1913 in Variety • •
• • Mae West was trying her best at Hammerstein's Victoria in early August 1913.  Though most of the reporters ignored the 19-year-old's attempts to woo the crowd and did not even mention her name in their reviews, at least Daily Variety's columnist Joshua Lowe [whose critique was published on Friday, 8 August 1913] noticed how hard she was working. "Mae West sang loud enough to be distinctly heard in the rear," wrote Joshua Lowe.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • James Pierce was lucky enough to work with Mae West twice — — as an admirer in "Belle of the Nineties" [1934] and as a cowboy in "Goin' to Town" [1935].
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "The man I don't like doesn't exist."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about legit theatres in London mentioned Mae West.
• • Where wrote:  Hollywood stars in the West End are nothing new.  Mae West and James Stewart started the trend at the Prince of Wales theatre in the early 1940s. ...
• • Source: Article in Where London; published in August 2008 
• • 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 14th anniversary • •  
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these past fourteen 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 4019th 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 • song sheet in 1913

• • Feed — —
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