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PBS invites you to come up sometime and see a Mae West doc
Mae West - Biography - IMDb
It would have been unthinkable 25 years ago for thousands of openly gay fans to cheer openly gay athletes at Yankee Stadium, for openly gay artists to perform to the acclaim of openly gay audiences at Carnegie Hall, or for the mainstream media to provide extensive and sympathetic coverage of it all. Today's march and the Gay Games and Cultural Festival are testimony to the legacy of the Stonewall rebellion of June 28, -- when a police assault on a Greenwich Village gay bar turned a small civil rights campaign into a mass liberation movement. But the enshrinement of Stonewall as the genesis of gay culture threatens to deny the richness and resiliency of gay and lesbian life before the late 60's and to obscure the long history of gay resistance that made the gay-rights movement possible. Pre-Stonewall lesbians and gay men are often held up as passive victims of social hatred who lived solitary lives in the "closet" that kept them vulnerable to anti-gay ideology. Many gay people blame previous generations for not having had the courage to come out of the closet. Or they condescendingly imagine that their predecessors internalized society's hatred of homosexuality and became self-loathing. But the systematic suppression of the gay community was not due to some age-old, unchanging social antipathy, nor was it a sign of passivity and acquiescence by gay people.
Hollywood Legend Mae West Profiled in New PBS Documentary: 'She Was a Sexual Gangster'
Mae West born Mary Jane West ; August 17, — November 22, was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, comedian, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades. She was known for her lighthearted, bawdy double entendres and breezy sexual independence, and often used a husky contralto voice. West was one of the most controversial movie stars of her day; she encountered many problems, especially censorship. She once quipped, "I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.
In a way, they have roots in the same sorts of subcultures, the kind of underbelly of New York in their respective eras and particularly, with their involvement with gay culture and in infiltrating and imbuing that into their performances. They're also both very avid sexual agents, both in their private life, but in their pubic persona. Madonna's book, s, was called 'Sex', just like West's play, whether that was deliberate homage, I don't know, but it's suggestive. Not getting into that sense that you have to kind of turn yourself into a character performer as you get older, you have to strip away the layers of sex or you simply become ridiculous.