Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mae West: Male Gaze

MAE WEST staged "The Drag" in 1927 but her gay play was shut down by the authorities before it could reach the lights of Broadway. A British theatre director decided to dust it off and present it to an English audience this summer.
• • Polly Stenham wrote this article. This is Part 3.
• • "Brutal! Vulgar! Dirty! Mae West and the gay comedy that shocked 1920s America" • •
• • Mae West is compassionate as well as funny • •   
• • Polly Stenham  wrote:   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 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”.
• • Variety called it "brutal and vulgar" • •   . . .
• • This was Part 3.  Part 4 continues tomorrow.
• • Source: "Brutal! Vulgar! Dirty! ..." by Polly Stenham for The Guardian [U.K.]; published on Wednesday, 5 July 2017.
• • On Sunday, 23 August 1891 • •
• • Had she lived, darling little bundle of bliss Katie West would have grown up to be the older sister of Mae West. Instead Katie died in infancy. We commemorate her birth in Brooklyn to a young married couple Matilda and John West 121 years ago.
• • On Wednesday, 23 August 1922 • •
• • On Wednesday, 23 August 1922, the New York Clipper noted: "Mae West, who was with 'The Ginger Box,' which opened and closed rather suddenly, has returned to vaudeville, and opened at Proctor's Fifth Avenue on Monday."
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Miss West said it was untrue that the late boxer Chalky Wright lived in her apartment for a year.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "My, my! Those stories in Confidential Magazine are ridiculous."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An Asheville, NC paper mentioned Mae West.
• • Ken Hanke wrote:  "She Done Him Wrong" is the stuff of legend. It’s the film where Mae West scandalized the world by singing “I Wonder Where My Easy Rider’s Gone” and put her stamp on “Frankie and Johnny” (even if she doesn’t get to sing the whole thing). 
• • Ken Hanke wrote:It’s the film where she brought Paramount Pictures contract player Cary Grant to the attention of the movie-going world by giving him his best role to date — in one of the most popular films of the year. It’s delightfully pre-code in the way she bring sex out into the open and pokes fun at it — and makes no bones about her own appetite for it.  . . .
• • Source: This excerpt was taken from a review by Ken Hanke originally published on Tuesday, 10 August 2010
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 13th anniversary • •  
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these past eleven years. Not long ago, we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we reached a milestone recently when we completed 3,700 blog posts. Wow!   
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started thirteen years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3772nd 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.

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• • Mae West • in 1932

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