Born on 12 January 1884 in Waco, Mary Louise Cecilia "Texas" Guinan played a gun-slinger and rode bareback in silent films, took New York by storm in 1906, and earned a salary of $700,000 as a speakeasy hostess. Here are highlights from a life led at full speed until 5 November 1933. Meet TEXAS GUINAN!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Texas Guinan Fans and Mae-Mavens

Many publications announced the Texas Guinan and Mae West walking tour and also saluted the August 17th birthday of Mae.
• • Playbill, marking "this date in theatre history," has managed to get her birth year wrong (again) and also tripped up on the stage plays in which she appeared. No, Mr. Playbill, Mae West wrote The Drag but did not star in this 1927 production since she was still appearing in her play Sex at the time.
• • Other news outlets recognized the writer and comedienne as "an actress from the 1930s," erasing her long career in vaudeville and on Broadway, which preceded her 1932 Paramount debut when Mae was an "overnight sensation" at 39 years old.
• • A more faithful close-up was offered on Sunday in the Brooklyn blonde's hometown when a group of Mae-mavens gathered along Shubert Alley to learn how she forged her dreams of deliverance in Times Square along with her diamond-draped colleague Texas Guinan.
• • Attendees posed for pictures in the same spot where the graceful, well-groomed Bucephala, Texas Guinan's horse, was mounted 82 years ago — — that magnificent creature who carried the queen of the night scene up the center aisle of the Shubert Theatre and deposited her onstage as the red velvet curtain was raised for
Padlocks of 1927.
• • Ah, Longacre Square, the legitimate theatres, those expensive playhouses built to look like a palazzo, a Tuscan hillside hideaway, a marble mansion, a Venetian villa, a Georgian fantasy — — where little Mae held her mother's hand as they waited for an usher to seat them, lavishly spending each moment of a matinee, drinking in the illusion of the drama in which the mountain of self might have no top, and each encounter might be a reckoning with fleet-footed fate.
• • On Sunday August 16th, the patient assemblage viewed vintage news clippings that decorated the disappointments of another century — — front page humiliations, the raids, the padlocks, the prison sentences, and the losses of a $200,000 advance for Pleasure Man after the purity police shuttered the show on 1 October 1928. They genuflected and strolled down the aisle of St. Malachy's, the church where Texas Guinan and Mae West examined Rudolph Valentino's coffin in August 1926 and mutually agreed the hardy 31-year-old must have been poisoned.
• • On West 54th Street, thanks to a gracious doorman, the tour takers paused in the same vestibule where Mae West entered and exited in 1927 as she was writing Diamond Lil and getting better acquainted with Owney Madden and others who bulleted the headlines.
• • Perhaps West 54th recalls the roll calls of absent names, first kisses, the confetti victory parades in an era when Mae West's latest show was billed as "hotter than the Armistice."• • • • Prizes • • • •• • And the group has something else to remember as well — — a handful of raffle prizes. A number of individuals each won a colorful Mae West magnet, a few screened with film posters, stage plays, or her one-liners. Two lovely ladies — — Denise from Manhattan and Karen from Pittsburgh — — each won a "Gaudy Girls" CD, courtesy of Maggie Worsdale and Anne Marie Finnie, who perform live as Sophie Tucker and Mae West. Everyone received a "Gaudy Girls" flyer announcing their next racy performance at Monticello Raceway and Casino on 21 October 2009. And two lucky lasses won a treasured set of Texas Guinan's silent films — — fashion model Gwen Bucci from Manhattan and art curator Frédérique Joseph-Lowery from Fairlawn, New Jersey — — courtesy of an avid Texas Guinan archivist.
• • Exciting news is on the horizon. More anon.
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• • Photo: Texas Guinan fans
• • tour group on 16 August 2009 • •

Texas Guinan.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Texas Guinan: August 1928

When she was 44 years old, TEXAS GUINAN was still very much in demand.
• • On 15 August 1928 Texas signed a contract in the offices of Warner Brothers Pictures, Inc., then located at 321 West 44th Street, New York, NY. True to type, the nightlife hostess was cast in the starring role in "The Queen of the Night Clubs," a Vitaphone talking picture.• • The New York Times reported that one of H.M. Warner's reps confirmed "Miss Guinan would leave New York the last week in September to start work on the film, which will be directed by Bryan Foy" [N.Y. Times, 16 August 1928].• • Planned as a black and white musical and a suspense drama, Texas would be portraying the successful speakeasy proprietoress Texas Malone. For some reason, not too many newspapers reviewed this talkie after its release.
• • Walk in the footsteps of Texas Guinan and Mae West this weekend — — starting on West 44th Street. See below.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Join us for a lively afternoon focused on Mae West & Texas Guinan!
• • On 16 August 2009, come up and enjoy an a-MAE-zing experience — — a walking tour of historical sights in the Times Square area. This year the Annual Mae West Birthday Tour also commemorates speakeasy hostess Texas Guinan, the generous friend who backed all of Mae’s Broadway shows during the 1920s.
• • During April 1929, the Feds padlocked the CIub Intime at the Hotel Harding, where Texas Guinan was the principal attraction. On August 16th, attendees will visit this speakeasy, which is doing brisk business these days.

• • Walking Tour: "Gaudy Girls on The Gay White Way: Mae West & Texas Guinan in the Theatre District"
• • When: 4:00 PM on Sunday — — 16 August 2008 — — rain or shine
• • Meet: Shubert Alley, 44th Street, West of Broadway, New York, NY 10036
• • Price: $10 [this walking tour lasts about 90 minutes]
• • Subway: N or R [BMT] train to West 42nd Street; 1 [IRT] train to Times Square
• • Attire: why not wear a Mae West-inspired hat?
• • Info: T. 212-614-9683 — — or post your RSVP or tour question here
• • Online: — —
• • Who: Playwright LindaAnn Loschiavo makes the tour educational and entertaining.
• • LindaAnn Loschiavo's history play "Courting Mae West" was onstage in July 2008 at the Fresh Fruit Festival. She is working on a biographical travel guide "Mae West's New York, 1899—1959" and will show some of her unusual theatre memorabilia and vintage photos during the tour and reveal secret addresses tied to Mae West that have not been disclosed before. These rare pictures show the area as it looked during the 1920s when Mae West and Texas Guinan had their name on several marquees.
• • Surprises: Prizes and other nice things are part of the fun.
• • Members of the press may attend on August 16th as our guest. RSVP required.

• • • • Mae West Walking Tours You Might Have Enjoyed • • • •
• • 2006 TOUR: Our regular Mae-mavens will recall seeing the historical exhibition "Onstage Outlaws: Mae West and Texas Guinan in a Lawless Era,” which opened to the public after a Gala Roaring-20s theme Press Preview on Mae’s birthday 17 August 2006. And on Sunday afternoon 20 August 2006, more than two dozen beautiful people gathered on West Ninth Street to enjoy a special treat — — "Washington Square Women: Mae West and Texas Guinan in Greenwich Village" — — followed by a Jazz Era brunch served with champagne and the Cos-MAE-Politan cocktail, garnished with two strategically placed plump raspberries.
• • 2007 TOUR: On Friday evening 17 August 2007, a fascinating guided adventure — — "The Mae West Side Story" — — escorted numerous intrepid walk-abouts to three of Mae's former residences along with other sites linked to the Brooklyn bombshell.
• • 2008 TOUR: On Sunday afternoon 17 August 2008, the captivating Diamond Divas led a group of over two dozen Mae-mavens to several locations in Greenwich Village linked to her stage career, gay themes, courtroom woes, and the work of individuals she admired such as Lillian Russell, Tony Pastor, Texas Guinan, Eugene O'Neill, and Rae Bourbon. The 2008 walking tour — — "Mae West's Walk on the Wild Side" — — celebrated the 115th birthday of the Empress of Sex with an extravagant musical program, performed live by Met Opera soprano Marlena de la Mora and Sharon Weinman, which included these numbers: "Everything's Coming up Mae West"; "Mon Coeur S' Ouvre a Ta Voix"; "The Prisoner's Song"; "Frankie and Johnny"; "Come Down Ma Evening Star"; "I Could Have Danced All Night"; "Gentleman Jimmy"; and a grand finale taken from the score of "Diamond Lil."
• • Tour photos can be seen on the Mae West Blog.
• • For more details, do read this blog and/ or post your email. [Your info will not be posted nor available so that miscreants and rascals can access it.]
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• • Photo: Texas Guinan
• • on a 1928 menu in her night club • •

Texas Guinan.

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