Courting Mae West

The play "COURTING MAE WEST: Sex, Censorship & Secrets" is based on true events during the 1920s when actress MAE WEST was arrested and jailed in New York City for trying to stage two gay plays on Broadway. Maybe she broke the law - - but the LAW couldn't break HER!

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Location: New York, New York, United States

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Annual Mae West Gala Moves Downtown

House of History Lifts its Petticoats - - Dramatically
- - For Immediate Release - -
New York, NY: Celebrity chef Stephen Lyle passes Barbra Streisand en route to his kitchen at Village Restaurant, across the street from Jefferson Market Library. A prominent photo of the songbird from her Broadway era graces the entry to the dining room because, in 1960, the teenager was discovered in this location - - then known as The Lion. In 1960 Joan Rivers launched her career here, too. And folks will learn that Mae West, visiting a famous gay cabaret here (Paul & Joe's - - a favorite nightspot of heavyweight champion JACK DEMPSEY, one of Mae's lovers) during the 1920s, based her play "The Drag" on the colorful scene. When The Society for the Suppression of Vice heard that Mae West was planning to bring "The Drag" to Broadway, they pressured the Mayor to charge Mae with obscenity and incarcerate her at Jefferson Market Jail in February 1927.

• • On August 17th - - Mae West's birthday - - Stephen Lyle invites the news media to join him in a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a press preview of "Texas Guinan and Mae West: Outlaws Onstage." This exhibition of rarely seen photographs, theatre memorabilia, and colorful illustrations will be open to the public in Greenwich Village from August 17th - 31st at Village Restaurant [62 West 9th Street]. There is NO admission charge to view the installation.
• • These vintage views [1909 - 1930] of the two friends will showcase the theatrical side of these two actresses who often performed on the same stages.
• • Though TEXAS GUINAN [1884-1933] is remembered as a speakeasy hostess, in fact, she starred in over two dozen films and had leading roles in musicals on Broadway. And though MAE WEST [1893-1980] is immortalized as an icon of the silver screen, she performed live in vaudeville and on Broadway.
• • Onstage MAE WEST and TEXAS GUINAN often tried to outdo other entertainers. Example: exhibitionist Texas Guinan performed at The Fifth Avenue Theatre suspended in an airship. And Mae West performed in drag and in blackface.
• • See a sampling online:
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• • In honor of MAE WEST’s August 17th birthday, this historic installation will have its official press opening at a gala 1920s-theme cocktail party for the NEWS MEDIA on that Thursday evening.
• • Sunday 20 August 2006 there will be a MAE WEST BRUNCH at Village preceded by a guided tour. August 20th tour and brunch: $25.00. [Reservations for $25 brunch + tour: phone 212-505-3355. Credit cards accepted.] However, the exhibition is FREE.
• • Sponsorship and media inquiries are welcome.

• • • COURTING MAE WEST, LLC, based in Manhattan, is an off-Broadway producing outfit whose mission is to increase visibility and opportunity for women and women-driven stories in the theatre.
• • Sponsorship Coordinator:
• • Conrad Bradford
• • 917-403-0890

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• • Photo • 62 West 9th Street • in 1918

Mae West.


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