Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Here our birthday gal Mae West sings My Old Flame backed by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra in the 1934 film Belle of the Nineties.
West, of course, was one of the most controversial cultural figures of the 20th Century; unlike many of her colleagues, who enjoyed the thrill of being shocking just for the sake of it, West was actually jailed for presenting plays such as Sex, which she'd also written. Not only did she walk the walk and talk the talk, she wiggled the wiggle and barbed the barbs as well.
While her attitudes towards social issues such as homosexuality and sex education seem rather quaint today, the fact that she not only held them but openly advocated them when she did have ensured that she is as remembered today for her advocacy of free speech as she is for the seemingly involuntary way she had with a double entendre.
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