Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Celebrate Mae West in Bohemia — — Gin, Sin, Censorship, and Eugene O’Neill

Courting Mae West Productions will commemorate the Brooklyn bombshell’s birthday in the room where she faced a judge who sent her to jail.

During the 1920s, dramatists monitored the arrests and unrest at 425 Sixth Avenue where new rulings or a decision by the play jury could sidetrack an author’s career. Eugene O’Neill was often a target of New York District Attorney Joab Banton, who stated that “Desire under the Elms” was “too thoroughly bad to be purified by blue pen.” The D.A. also tried to stop O’Neill’s plays from being performed in New York City on Sundays. And it was Banton who had Mae West arrested and hauled in to Jefferson Market Police Court in a paddy wagon; the actress-writer also did time in Jefferson Jail.

When Eugene O’Neill and Mae West weren’t being chastened by the purity police, they found time to enjoy the speakeasies, bookshops, restaurants, and theatres in Greenwich Village. Though the Brooklyn bombshell felt O’Neill’s plays were depressing, she attended performances with Texas Guinan. In 1922, “The Hairy Ape” inspired Mae to write a song: “Eugene O’Neill, You’ve Put a Curse on Broadway.” As she rehearsed the number for “The Ginger Box Revue,” Mae’s character was bellowing, Yank Smith-style, “She don me doit! Lemme up! I’ll show her who’s an ape!”

To celebrate Mae West’s birthday in mid-August, there will be an illustrated talk: “Mae West in Bohemia — — Gin, Sin, Censorship, and Eugene O’Neill.” Rare vintage images will show you the buildings and blocks around Washington Square as these two theatre people saw them. Sites will include the Village speakeasies where Eugene drank himself into oblivion and met the characters he would put in his plays; where Mae socialized and bent elbows with Texas Guinan, Walter Winchell, Jack Dempsey, and Barney Gallant; significant theatres; the court where Eugene and Mae battled against censorship; and off-beat addresses that made an impact.

The speaker LindaAnn Loschiavo is a Greenwich Village historian and dramatist; her plays include “Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets” and “Diamond Lil, Queen of the Bowery,” and is the English Language editor of L’Idea Magazine.

Who, What, When, Where
• • What: Mae West in Bohemia — Gin, Sin, Censorship, and Eugene O’Neill: An Illustrated Talk
• • When: Wednesday, 13 August 2014 — — from 6:30 — 8:00pm
• • Where: Jefferson Market Library, 425 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10011 (at West 10th Street).
• • Extra: to celebrate the birthday of the Brooklyn bombshell Mae West, this event will conclude with light refreshments and a raffle. You could win a rare reprint by The New Yorker’s caricaturist Alfred Freuh or by a famous N.Y. Times illustrator.
• • Subway: IND line to West Fourth Street; PATH train to West 9th Street
• • Fee: Free
• • Phone & email for publication: 212- 243-4334[email protected]
• • Website for all things Mae West: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com
• • Mae West said: “I got my own individual style. You can always tell Eugene O’Neill — — and you can always tell Mae West.”

Related Articles

- Advertisement -spot_img
- Advertisement -spot_img

L'angolo della poesia

- Advertisement -spot_img
- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles