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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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mae West: "Little Flower"

MAE WEST and Fiorello LaGuardia have a curious connection.
• • In his column "A New Yorker at Large," Mark Barron shared insights about the Brooklyn bombshell and the ambitious politician Fiorello LaGuardia [11 December 1882 — 20 September 1947]. This installment of Barron's column was published on 28 January 1934.
• • Mark Barron wrote: New York — Mayor LaGuardia turned on the producers of risque shows, charging them with deliberately inviting police interference for the publicity it would bring.
• • Mark Barron noted: What is interesting in an ironic sort of way is the fact that it was an off-color show which led to the movement that by increase and addition eventually elected LaGuardia to his office. And, for that, some might say he owes thanks to Mae West.
• • Back in 1927, Miss West produced a play that brought a squadron of police censors tumbling about her with the turmoil of a Union Square red riot. As a result, Miss West was invited to spend a short vacation in the Welfare Island calaboose. [Mae's 1927 arrest and trial in Jefferson Market Court are dramatized in the play "Courting Mae West," which is based on true events during the Prohibition Era.]
• • Despite the avalanche of publicity, Mae was shocked, thinking that her attorney a Tammany district leader would be able to keep her this side of the steel bars.
• • A girl reporter was sent to interview Mae. In jail [i.e., Jefferson Jail then located on Sixth Avenue], the reporter had a conversation with a girl prisoner who charged she'd been "framed" because she would not pay a bribe to a detective on the vice squad.
• • The resultant story started the inquiry into the women's courts, and it was this inquiry that brought Judge Samuel Seabury into such high esteem in the public mind. And it was Seabury whose master minding helped put LaGuardia in the mayor's office.
• • On Sunday 17 August 2008, during the "Mae West's Walk on the Wild Side" walking tour, the group will visit the little flower and a number from "Fiorello!" will be sung live by a vivacious actress, a native New Yorker who has performed in many musicals.
• • On 17 August 2008, the glamorous Diamond Divas invite you to an a-MAE-zing birthday celebration that includes a musical walking tour of historical sights near Washington Square Park. Join Metropolitan Opera singer Marlena De La Mora and tour guide Sharon Weinman and historian LindaAnn Loschiavo for a noteworthy Sunday afternoon in Greenwich Village.
• • Metropolitan Opera singer Marlena De La Mora will sing excerpts from arias associated with Mae West including Delilah's French aria. Sharon Weinman, who has a long background in musical theatre, will punctuate the walking tour with showtunes linked to Mae's career. Playwright LindaAnn Loschiavo will provide secret addresses tied to Mae West that have not been disclosed before.
• • Walking Tour: "Mae West's Walk on the Wild Side"
• • When: 1:00 PM on Sunday — — 17 August 2008
• • Meet: Village Restaurant, 62 West Ninth Street, New York, NY 10011
• • Price: $20
• • Subway: E or F [IND] train to West Fourth Street; PATH to 9th Street station
• • Attire: why not wear a Mae West-inspired hat?
• • Info:


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• • Photo: Mae West
• • February 1927 • •

Mae West.

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