Archive for January, 2012

Vaudephone #13: Juliet Jeske

Posted in Burlesk, Comediennes, Comedy, Contemporary Variety, Singers, Singing Comediennes, Vaudephones, Vaudeville etc., Women with tags , , on January 31, 2012 by travsd

And now, here’s the dynamite Princess Sunshine (Juliet Jeske) , the next installment in our Vaudephone series. Sunshine rocks the accordion and sings her signature number  “Backup Plan”.  Juliet’s also a popular (possibly notorious) columnist for the Huffington Post (for my full profile on her go here).

ALSO: please note the swell theme music, by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. Don’t miss Vince and his swingin’ band for dinner and dancing every Monday and Tuesday at the Edison Hotel! (Details are here).

Vaudephone is a co-production of Travalanche/ the American Vaudeville Theatre, and Vaudevisuals.com.

To find out about  the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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Stars of Vaudeville #430: Kara

Posted in German, Jugglers, Vaudeville etc. with tags , , on January 31, 2012 by travsd

Kara (born Michael Steiner on this day in 1867) was one of the first and most prominent of the “gentleman jugglers”. A native of Nuremburg, Germany he began by juggling stones as a child and became famous for his ability to juggle several diverse household objects or radically different shapes and weights: a cigar, a chair and a cane, for example. He became professional at around age 20 and normally worked the European circuits, although there were several tours of America, in 1892, 1900, 1906, and 1921. He was forced to wait out World War One in a French Prisoner of War camp but reemerged to rebuld his career after a four year internment. He retired in 1927, passed way in 1939.

 

To find out more about  the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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Trav S.D.’s Gallery of Grotesques #24

Posted in ME, My Shows with tags on January 30, 2012 by travsd

Will Marion Cook

Posted in African American Interest, Broadway, Dance, Music, Ragtime, Vaudeville etc. with tags , , , , , on January 27, 2012 by travsd

Today is the birthday of Will Marion Cook (1869-1944).  He was emphatically not a vaudevillian, although there’s nothing about a serious musical training (he studied with Dvorak among others) that would have prevented that.  He rates a shout-out here for composing several seminal African American musical theatre shows, many starring important artists like Walker and Williams. Among them: Clorindy, or the Origin of the Cakewalk (1898) and In Dahomey (1902), the first all African-American show on Broadway.

What’s the “cakewalk”, you say? Why, this is the cakewalk:

Your ancestors would be astounded to learn you didn’t know! At any rate, as it happens, February is Black History Month. Please check in here starting next Wednesday and throughout the month for daily posts on African Americans in vaudeville!

To find out more about these variety artists and the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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Princess Raja Dances with a Chair in her Teeth

Posted in Asian, Dance, Silent Film, Vaudeville etc., Women with tags , , , on January 25, 2012 by travsd

This 1904 Biograph film records the “Oriental” dance of one Princess Raja, whose wow finish has her swinging furniture around in her jaws. Good thing no one’s sitting on it!

To find out about  the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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Vaudephone #12: Bob Greenberg

Posted in Comedy, Contemporary Variety, Impressionists, Stand Up, Television, Vaudephones, Vaudeville etc. with tags , on January 24, 2012 by travsd

Photo by Judith Jarosz

And now, here’s a hilarious routine by funny man Bob Greenberg, the next installment in our Vaudephone series. Bob cuts up big time with his killer impressions of classic comics — he’s so old school, it’s thrilling. Taping this one was a treat, and if you listen carefully I think you’ll hear the Vaudephone team wheezing with suppressed laughter in the background.

ALSO: please note the swell theme music, by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. Don’t miss Vince and his swingin’ band for dinner and dancing every Monday and Tuesday at the Edison Hotel! (Details are here).

Vaudephone is a co-production of Travalanche/ the American Vaudeville Theatre, and Vaudevisuals.com.

To find out about  the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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Stars of Vaudeville #429: Mae Barnes

Posted in African American Interest, Blues, Broadway, Singers, Vaudeville etc., Women with tags , , , , on January 23, 2012 by travsd

Mae Barnes (born on this day in 1907, according to some sources) was a popular singer and dancer who got her start at age 12 in the chorus of Harlem’s Plantation Club. After five years of working the TOBA circuit (black vaudeville), she was cast in the show Running Wild (1924), which introduced the world to the Charleston. Her performance in a touring production of Shuffle Along prompted Bill Robinson to call her “the greatest living female tap dancer”. She was also often billed as the “Bronze Ann Pennington“. Sadly, injuries from a car accident forced her to cut the dancing portion of her career short in 1938. Thereafter, she was a familiar sight in New York night clubs, often singing funny and risque songs.  She passed away in 1997.

Now here she is, singing the racially-charged “I Ain’t Gonna Be No Topsy”

To find out more about  the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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