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Onstage Outlaws — — Mae West and Texas Guinan during the Lawless Prohibition Era
3 free events commemorate the Brooklyn bombshell’s August birthday in the room where she faced a judge who sent her to jail
• • During the 1920s, when Mae West was trying to build her career, the building all dramatists and actresses tried to avoid——Jefferson Market Court at 425 Sixth Avenue—— was the very site that made a little-known performer world famous. When N.Y. District Attorney Joab Banton had Mae West arrested and paddy wagoned to Jefferson Market Police Court on February 9, 1927, the controversial Brooklyn entertainer made global headlines for the first time. The actress-writer also served time in Jefferson Jail. At her side, covering the trial for the New York Journal American, was Texas Guinan, Mae’s friend and a frequent passenger in the police department’s Black Maria herself.
• • In the 1920s, though most Broadway headliners avoided negative publicity, these two diamond-draped divas flouted convention, defied police, and became as well known for being handcuffed as for blazing their way onto theatre marquees. They were “onstage outlaws” during the Prohibition Era.
• • When Mae West [1893-1980] and Texas Guinan [1884-1933] weren’t being chased by the purity police, they found time to enjoy the speakeasies, bookshops, restaurants, night spots, and theatres in Greenwich Village. In 1907, Texas-born Texas Guinan moved to New York, where she resided at 72 Washington Square South, then at 17 West 8th Street. The speakeasy queen owned bracelets set with 567 diamonds each and a fancy armored car that once belonged to the King of Belgium.
• • To celebrate Mae West's birthday on August 17, there will be an illustrated talk: " Onstage Outlaws — — Mae West and Texas Guinan during the Lawless Prohibition Era.” Rare vintage images will show you the buildings around Washington Square as these two headline-makers saw them. Sites include the Village speakeasies where Mae socialized and bent elbows with Texas Guinan, Walter Winchell, Jack Dempsey, George Raft, and Barney Gallant; significant theatres; court rooms where Mae and Texas fought City Hall; and off-beat addresses that made an impact. Rare Texas Guinan silent films will be shown and Mae West’s Jefferson Jail poetry will also be read.
• • 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.”
— — — — — — — — Who, What, When, Where — — — — — — — —
• • What: Onstage Outlaws — — Mae West and Texas Guinan during the Lawless Prohibition Era
• • When: Monday, 17 August 2015 — — from 6:30 — 8:00pm (doors open at 6:00pm)
• • Where: Jefferson Market Library, 425 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10011 (at West 10th Street)
• • Extra: to celebrate the birthday of Brooklyn bombshell Mae West, on August 3rd & August 10th, her films will be shown at 6:00pm. The August 17th event features 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.
• • Refreshment sponsor: East Village Cheese
• • Subway: IND line to West Fourth Street; PATH train to West 9th Street
• • Fee: FREE — — no entry fee for Mae West events on August 3rd, August 10th, and August 17th, 2015
• • Phone for publication:
• • Website for all things Mae West: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com
• • Mae West said: "I enjoyed the court room as any other stage."
• • Mae West told the jail matron: "Whaddya mean strip? I thought this was a respectable place!"