Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Mae West: Overt Sexuality

Like MAE WEST, Diane Arbus was a native New Yorker. A stage play, inspired by their Los Angeles meeting and photo session, was widely reviewed. To commemorate Arbus’s untimely death, age 48, in the month of July, let’s ponder some of those critiques.
• • Let’s hear from The N.Y. Times critic first. This is Part 2 of 7 excerpts.
• • Theater Review — — “When Mae West Met Diane Arbus” • •
• • “Arbus and West” doesn’t feel insubstantial • •
• • Laura Cappelle wrote: One of Australia’s leading playwrights, Mr. Sewell is known for works tackling politics and power, among them “Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America.” But “Arbus and West” doesn’t feel insubstantial by comparison: The women at its center are taken seriously as artists and as individuals.
• • Laura Cappelle wrote: It’s especially true of the larger-than-life Mae West, as famous for her sharp tongue as for her overt sexuality in strait-laced times. Her flamboyant style is a writer’s dream, and Mr. Sewell rises to the occasion.
• • Mae’s quotes and bon mots are used • • . . . 
• • Laura Cappelle’s review will be continued on the next post.
• • Source: N.Y. Times, stage review; published on Thursday, 21 March 2019.
• • On Monday, 3 July 1933 • •
• • Production of Mae West's motion picture "I'm No Angel" began on Monday, 3 July 1933 in Hollywood (and concluded in September 1933). 
• • July 2004: Mae West Blog launches • •
• • What are we up to, writing about the Brooklyn-born bombshell for fifteen years now?
• • We’re here to keep Mae mavens up to date, correct errors, celebrate each revival of a play she wrote, post the latest Westian stage and book reviews. And answer our fan mail!
• • The light’s still on. Come up and see Mae every day.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • The type of humor you think of as typical of Mae West comes from her most spontaneously when she is in the mood of her screen roles. "I have to get in the mood," she told me once when I asked her to "gag" an interview. She saves for her "public" life all the fire and passion that other movie stars burn up in their personal romances.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Every woman has good beauty points, and others not so good. The secret is to take advantage of what is good and get along with the bad."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Guardian [London] mentioned Mae West.
• • Though Mae West was not as well known in Italy as she was in England, the ill-fated Wilma Montesi [3 February 1932 — 9 April 1953] was a huge fan of the Brooklyn bombshell.
• • Book critic Ian Thomson wrote: Wilma Montesi, a plump and pretty carpenter's daughter, wanted only to be like Marina Berti and the Tinseltown starlets who visited from Hollywood.
• • Wilma Montesi adored Mae West • •
• • Ian Thomson continued: Like the young Fellini himself, in fact, she adored Mae West and the "impossible whiteness" of Jean Harlow's skin. Soon she was out of her depth in a demi-monde of narcotics, hoodlum financiers, and sugar-daddy politicians. As a saga of ill-gotten money and mink, the Montesi affair foreshadows the "bunga bunga" parties of the Italian prime minister today. As well as being a thriller, “Death and the Dolce Vita” provides an excellent account of the virtues and misdeeds of Europe's most foxy political class. ...
• • Source: Book Review in The Guardian [U.K.]: "Death and the Dolce Vita” by Stephen Gundle — — A fascinating book reveals the real-life scandal that lay behind Federico Fellini's film La Dolca Vita"; posted on Friday, 22 July 2011
• • 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 15th anniversary • •  
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these past fifteen years. Not long ago, we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we reached a milestone recently when we completed 4,200 blog posts. Wow!  
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started fifteen years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 4248th 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 • on the cover of Life in 1969

• • Feed — —
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