Texas: Think Fleurtation
“Onstage Outlaws: Mae West and Texas Guinan in a Lawless Era” opens to the public after a Gala Roaring-20s theme Press Preview on Mae’s birthday August 17, 2006.
French Accents Gild an Annual Tribute to an American Screen Queen
Gauloise Glamour at Mae West Gala Salutes the Actress’s Alsatian Heritage
New York, NY — She got it from her granny. MAE WEST [1893-1980] insisted that her passion for fashion and finery was instilled by her maternal grandmother Christiana Brimier, a native of the Alsace province of France, who also influenced her own daughter Matilda West [1870-1930]. Matilda taught Mae to speak French, which came in handy onstage. In 1919, for instance, Variety praised the 26-year-old’s vaudeville routine that included a French dialect number. In the Broadway show “The Mimic World of 1921,” Mae was cast as La-Belle, a Parisian damsel who aroused many ooo-la-las at the Century Roof, and a Proust-worthy coquette named Madelon. In 1922, Mae introduced her new act at the Riverside Theatre, portraying a French prima donna of temperament.
• • New Yorkers can feast on these rare archival images at Village Restaurant [62 West Ninth Street, NYC] during a free exhibition in August. “Onstage Outlaws: Mae West and Texas Guinan in a Lawless Era” opens to the public after a Gala Roaring-20s theme Press Preview on Mae’s birthday August 17, 2006. There is NO charge to view this historic installation.
• • Chef Stephen Lyle, born in Paris and trained at L’ Ecole Hoteliere in Nice, is sure to give the Annual Mae West Gala a French twist. In 2000, when he opened Village (after his long success at hipster-haven Odeon), Lyle began restoring the dining room to its original 1917 elegance when it had been Paul and Joe’s French-Italian Restaurant. During the Jazz Age, Mae West dined here many times. And while there are no written records of what she ordered at Paul and Joe’s, her old friends do remember her fondness for good champagne.
• • “Mae loved a good glass of bubbly,” said Van Panopoulos, owner of the former speakeasy Frankie and Johnny’s, who used to rub shoulders with Mae at Billy Reed’s Little Club during the 1950s. “I can close my eyes and picture her, savoring her lasagna, her champagne bottle ready in an ice bucket,” recalled Aldo Leone, manager of Bill’s Gay Nineties, who waited on Mae whenever she dined at his grandmother’s midtown eatery, Mamma Leone.
• • To commemorate Mae’s French roots and fine taste, Perrier Jouët Grand Brut will be served at the Press Gala. Imported to the United States since 1837, this brand unites the lightness of traditional Brut with the elegance and brightness of the finest Champagnes. Mae might very well have enjoyed its bouquet during her Broadway years. And chef Stephen Lyle chose Perrier Jouët Grand Brut to be served at his own wedding reception.
• • In honor of Mae’s love of exquisite fabrics and stylish fellows, a French blue silk twill bowtie will be inside the giftbags given to the news reporters, VIPs, and celebrities on August 17, courtesy of Beau Ties Ltd. of Vermont. A special limited edition of their pattern NEWSEUM, with its witty landscape of vintage typewriters, microphones, and radios, will enlist the heart of anyone who longs to put the “ME” in media. These bowties, enthusiastic exhibitionism at their most engaging, will be featured in photographs taken at this event and posted on the website, thanks to Beau Ties Ltd. of Vermont.
• • Many of Mae West’s secret loves will be revealed on Sunday August 20th during a walking tour followed by brunch at Village Restaurant. Fee [tour + brunch] will be $25. Brunch guests can enjoy the FREE exhibition with or without the tour. Information: 212-505-3355.
• • • • Media inquiries welcome. • • • •
• • Images: maewest.blogspot.com — texasguinan.blogspot.com
• • The Annual Mae West Gala always takes place in a venue that the actress had frequented.
• • • • COURTING MAE WEST, LLC, based in Manhattan, is an off-Broadway producing outfit whose mission is to increase opportunities for women and female-driven plays.
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• • Source: Village Restaurant [62 West Ninth Street, NYC] • •
• • Illustration: Texas Guinan [artist unknown] • •