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Making up is hard to do

A rare pamphlet (there is only one for sale on Abebooks), The Secrets of Making-Up, co-edited  by two old stagers, J. Ainsley Brough and George M Slater, is 70 pages of very useful advice on how to transform yourself into anything from a man of ninety to an octoroon. It seems to date from around 1922, but for some reason a typeface is adopted that was current c 1903. There are some wonderful photos of actors from the Music Hall and Revue, all demonstrating the transformative powers of grease paint and powder.

Although politically very much of its time (the N word is one of a number of dubious references), essentially this is a practical and modern guide. The humour—especially in a lively article on Revue and Vaudeville by Slater ( 1870 – 1949), a theatre manager and prolific writer of pantomimes, whose archive is now at the V & A—is genuinely funny, even slightly ribald. The ads at the back also contribute much to modern theatrical history.

Some tips:
1) An actor should ideally shave off his moustache, not cover it with 'goldbeater’s skin' , whatever that is,  if portraying a clean shaven person.
2) Stage Character make-up is useless for film work, and when wigs are used they must on no account have a ‘scalp join’ . No explanation is offered.
3) When portraying a Chinese or Japanese person, 'do not line under the eyes, as Chinese and Japanese have small eyes’. [RR]

moniasoto

Mona’s 440 Club – dancing at the Lesbian Bar

Found, folded into an American thriller from the Donald Rudd collection of detective fiction, this napkin - a memento of Mona's 440 Club generally credited as being the first lesbian bar in the United States -'Where Girls Will be Boys.'

James R. Smith's San Francisco's Lost Landmarks (2004) says the following about Mona's:

Mona's 440 Club was another [club] that took advantage of the city's tolerance and tourism. Opening in a Columbus Street basement in North Beach in 1936, Mona Sargeant's tavern quickly hit the travelsheets as a place "where girls will be boys." The first openly lesbian club, Mona's female waiters and performers wore tuxedos and patrons dressed their roles. Within a couple of years, Mona's moved to 440 Broadway and took the address as part of the club's new name, Mona's 440 Club. Great entertainment, first local and later national talent, made a night at Mona's an event.

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