Hi there! I'm Mae. I write things. Some of you probably know me from A Small Press Life, which I started in December 2011. My favorite blogging subjects are old books, dead writers, classic movies, tea, and random musings about whatever catches my fancy. Two months ago, I started a colossal real-world project: researching and … Continue reading Writing a Life Not My Own
When J was born in 1900, film was still in its infancy. She grew up with the "new" medium. By the time she graduated high school (1918), it was a true cultural phenomenon. Since starting this project, I've often wondered about her attitude toward the movies. Her love affair with stage theatricals, especially operettas, was … Continue reading J’s Celluloid Dreams: Publicity or Reality?
9 JULY 1922: Ninety-nine years ago today, J was in Louisville, Kentucky, preparing to open in a production of The Bohemian Girl. The opera, by M.W. Balfe and Alfred Bunn, premiered in 1843. J had the starring role of Arline, which gave her the opportunity to sing several arias, including the pivotal and well-known "I … Continue reading J on This Day: 9 July 1922
*Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all book reviews on Alternative Muses are for volumes I’ve read as part of my J biography research. I hesitated to use the word review, as this series heavily focuses on WHY I chose to read a book and what I got out of it research-wise. As a compromise, I’ll end each post … Continue reading [Book Review] Haunted Memphis
When not working my part-time day job or helping out at the family business, my head has been buried in book research. I've unearthed an absurd amount of information about J and her husband, R, especially as it relates to what I had previously thought of as a lost decade: the 1930s. Her scrapbook covers … Continue reading Never a Dull Day in Biographyville
25 MAY 1921: One hundred years ago today, J was still enjoying success in her big professional break: portraying Annabel (Dame Durden's daughter) in a famous touring production of Robin Hood, Reginald De Koven's comic opera masterpiece. The cast and crew were in Richmond, Indiana, for three performances. The star attraction for those dates was … Continue reading J on This Day: 25 May 1921
March 1926 found J in Dayton, Ohio. The Student Prince company gave four performances at The Victory Theatre (now known as The Victoria Theatre). It opened on January 1, 1866 as The Turner Opera House, was renamed The Victory Theatre in 1919 in honor of WWI, and was most recently remodeled in 1989. It went … Continue reading J’s Places: Victory/Victoria Theatre (Dayton, Ohio)
I can hardly believe that is has been a month since my last post! Totally unintentional. I've been incredibly busy, with both J and non-J pursuits. During my absence, I accomplished almost a ridiculous amount of research. I made working on "lists" my priority. Let's back up for a moment. I spent almost three months … Continue reading Catching Up
*Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all book reviews on Alternative Muses are for volumes I’ve read as part of my J biography research. I hesitated to use the word review, as this series heavily focuses on WHY I chose to read a book and what I got out of it research-wise. As a compromise, I’ll end each post … Continue reading [Book Review] A Brief History of Memphis
I finally finished cataloging the contents of J's main scrapbook (and my eyes are super relieved). I've already added the relevant items to her Master Timeline. This mini-project dates back to January and I'm glad that it's in the rear view mirror. It consumed a substantial amount of time. Moving forward, I can focus on … Continue reading Milestone! Milestone! Milestone!
I just found a wedding announcement for J + R. The information was printed in a newspaper hundreds of miles from her hometown of Memphis. It was tucked into an article about her new husband's theatrical pursuits in said other city. Here is a partial clipping.