A few of you were a bit scathing about my attempting to recast Kiss Me Kate as relevant to my 1930s NYC research. There can be no nay sayers to the following snippets of research.
First up the genius Duke Ellington & his Cotton Club Band with “Old Man Blues” from 1930:
Duke Ellington is far and away my favourite USian composer. Just for his & Billy Strayhorn’s “Far East Suite” alone. Oh, how I love “Isfahan”. Yes, I know they didn’t write that until the 1960s, but there was so much wonderful music before then. Including one of my favourite songs of all time: “(In My) Solitude” from 1934.
Next up a particularly nutty Busby Berkley number from Footlight Parade (1933):
Go, cats, go! The kid that shows up around the minute marks is SO disturbing. And I don’t want to be rude but Ruby Keeler? Not the world’s most impressive hoofer. She was no Eleanor Powell. Her singing wasn’t up to much either.
Footlight Parade’s one of my favourites of Busby Berkley’s insane extravaganzas. For some reason every single one of them features a woman putting on and taking of stockings very slowly. And many weirdo dance numbers. What is not to love? Added bonus: Footlight Parade has my favourite poster boy for ADD, Jimmy Cagney.
I’ve talked about Fredi Washington previously. If you haven’t seen Imitation of Life (1934) you really should and skip this next bit cause you wouldn’t want spoilers, would you? Reveals a lot about class, race and gender at the time. Plus I have a crush on Fredi Washington.
Here’s a pivotal scene with Fredi and Louise Beaver:
Lastly, more insanity. American fashion designers predict future fashions:
Oooh! Swish! Want. Pretty much every outfit. And the hair styles. Why aren’t we dressing like that? I sure would like to see Scott decked out in that last number. Bless!
Are you all starting to understand why I’m writing this book? Is just an excuse to swim about in an ocean of 1930s fabulosity. Music, movies, clothes, books. Everything really.