MAE WEST

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This week's BAB is brought to you by TIM SULLIVAN, a BAB in his own right. 

There's ahead of your time, and then there's Mae West.

This fierce female was arrested for her Broadway debut in the play SEX, which she starred in, wrote, produced, and directed in 1926 (?!?!?!).

Her follow-up was called The Drag, which was about her opposition to gay conversion therapy (sorry Pencey, people found your suggestions laughably ludicrous even in the 20's), but this one didn't make it past the censors due to its flagrant depiction of homosexuality.

With her famous walk and look inspired by drag queens she met in the NINETEEN-TENS, Mae headed West, where she became one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Depression-era audiences were gagging for her risqué humor and deadpan wit, and by 1935, she was the second-highest paid person in America, behind only William Randolph Hearst. The song "Anything Goes" was literally written about her.

Every film she starred in was faced with opposition and often censorship. By the late 30's, she found herself on that same list of "Box Office Poison" as Katharine Hepburn.

She managed to get herself banned from radio after making a serious of ribald remarks including telling a ventriloquist's dummy "Charles, I remember our last date and have the splinters to prove it!"

She found legendary success as one of the first Las Vegas stars-in-residence in her, of course, racy act featuring dozens of bodybuilders ("Men come to see me, but I also give the women something to see: wall to wall men!").

An outspoken gay rights activist since the 1920's, she passionately supported women's and first amendment rights all her life. She died in 1980 at the age of 87.

Let's get to the quotes:

"Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home, I'm tired."

"An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises."

"Save a boyfriend for a rainy day - and another, in case it doesn't rain."

"I speak two languages: Body and English."

"A hard man is good to find."

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

"Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before."

"He's the kind of man a woman would have to marry to get rid of."

"I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond."

"I'll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure."

"I see you're a man with ideals. I better be going while you've still got them."

"Love thy neighbor - and if he happens to be tall, debonaire, and devastating, it will be that much easier."

"Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often."

"Personally, I like two types of men - foreign and domestic."

"When I'm good I'm very, very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better."

"His mother should have thrown him out and kept the stork."

"It's not the men in my life that count, it's the life in my men."

"Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution."

"I'm a woman of very few words, but lots of action."

"To err is human, but it feels divine."

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