Category - 1920s

Photo Friday: The Roaring 20s and the Pansy Craze

Welcome to this week's Photo Friday. (This particular post is best viewed from the actual blog, as unfortunately Goodreads will do crazy things to the formatting and the video won't show up. Thanks!)

When we talk about the roaring twenties, most folks think about flappers, the Charleston, bootleggers, Jazz, moonshine, speakeasies, Charlie Chaplin and such iconic imagery. What many folks don't realize is that during the 1920s and early 1930s, there was something called the 'Pansy Craze'.

It's common belief that during this era, the LGBT community was buried, invisible, but in fact, it wasn't. Not in NYC and especially not in Manhattan. Many brave individuals were open about their homosexuality and participated in a lively and a surprisingly visible gay world.

A good deal of this was made possible through Prohibition, which changed and even disposed of old boundaries. Many "respectable" venues were forced to close, while others were forced to pay cops and mobsters in order to stay open. Suddenly, all classes of society were mixing together to get their kicks, and their booze.

It was in 1930 that Variety declared NYC as being swept away by the "Pansy Craze", drawing out some of the classiest lesbian and gay acts from the Village into Times Square. It was a time where people attended drag balls  by the thousands, and some of the biggest draws to nightclubs were their gay entertainers. Between 1931 and 1933, these entertainers brought gay subculture out onto the stages of midtown Manhattan.

Perhaps one of the most well known and influential gay entertainers of that time was Gene (Jean) Malin. Gene was a man of many talents. He was a costume designer who won many awards for his contribution to several of Manhattan's drag balls and later on an emcee who briefly became one of Broadway's top earners.

In his early twenties, Malin took NYC by storm, and under the name Imogene Wilson, was one of the Zigfield Follies' most famous showgirls. Malin's story is a fascinating and tragic one. He worked as a chorus boy but after losing one too many jobs for being too effeminate, he decided to become a professional female impersonator.  When impresarios keen to exploit the Pansy Craze brought Malin from small speakeasies into the big clubs of Manhattan, Malin changed all the rules. (At this time, many of the "Pansy Acts" were straight men portraying stereotypes of gay men).

Malin stopped appearing in drag and instead, emceed as himself--an openly gay male. He didn't just fascinate and entertain folks, he demanded their respect. He was over six feet tall and weighed two hundred pounds. When during one of his acts, a group of four tough guys threw a pitcher of hot water at him as he danced by, Malin not only fought back and pummeled three of the members, but when the fight was moved outside, two taxi drivers had to step in and assist the fourth member of the group. To many gay men who had experienced such hostile encounters, Malin was standing up not only for himself, but for them as well.

Given the inequalities of power in Times Square, Malin's act was exploited for amusement and entertainment, but he was determined to use his success to create more space for the gay members of his audience and for gay culture as a whole. In the early 1930s, he even made appearances in some Hollywood films. Tragically, he died in a freak car accident at the age of 25 the same year he appeared in the film below.

This is a video from 1933's Arizona to Broadway, Malin appears briefly as a female impersonator. You can read more about Malin here.

Jean Malin-Arizona to Broadway-1933 by redhotjazz

Karyl Norman the "Creole Fashion Plate" was a mistress of ceremonies and a star of the Vaudeville circuits in the US, Europe, and Australia. (Born George Peduzzi from Baltimore) Norman was a published songwriter, favorite of Tin Pan Alley, and host at the Pansy Club in the heart of Times Square. Norman was the nation's best-known female impersonator.      Harlem's elegant and lively nightlife also made it the Paris of New York, one of the city's most popular entertainment districts. At speakeasies where men and women engaged in sexually charged behavior, lesbians, gay men, and sometimes their "normal" male friends were likely to do the same in full view of the other patrons. This included dancing and kissing. Nowhere were men more willing to venture out in public in drag than in Harlem.

Julian Eltinge (Julian Dalton) was a stage and screen actor, as well as a female impersonator.

In 1917 Hollywood came calling and Julian answered. By then he was one of the highest paid actors of the American stage. He starred in the film The Isle of Love opposite Rudolph Valentino and Virginia Rappe.

Prohibition, Jazz, speakeasies, and bootlegged liquor are only a small portion of what makes this era so fascinating. The period of the 1920s and early 1930s changed the way society viewed homosexuality--a relatively new term at the time. It was a time of exploitation yet cultural growth for the gay community with far more going on than I could possibly hope to explore in this one post, but I hope to post more on the subject soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share just a few of the well known gay figures of the time.

Thank you so much, Victor, for reminding me about this tune. In the late 1920s, the song Masculine Women, Feminine Men - by Merrit Brunies & his Friars Inn Orchestra was a very popular song. This video shows some amazing footage taken during the "Pansy Craze".

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Resource: Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey.

In His Corner and Writing Update

In His Corner CCochetHello all! As some of you may have noticed, In His Corner is currently unavailable. Its one year contract with Torquere Press came to an end a few days ago, as my story was part of their Charity Sip Blitz. So what's going to happen to my little story now? Well, I hope to make it not so little, and get it re-published. Why? Because the original word limit was 8000, and as I was writing it, Jessie and Eli really grew on me--as my fellas have a habit of doing.

I'd done a good deal of research regarding 1920's boxing, much of which I didn't really get to use, and I kept thinking about how much more I could do with the story, how it could really benefit from being longer.

While I loved the short story, I only just managed to dip into Eli and Jessie's personalities, not to mention their history. With Jessie especially, I felt there was a great deal more to him than what I was able to fit in with the original word count. I really want to go more in-depth with him and what he went through when he lost everything, how it wore him down, stripped him of his confidence, and then how everything changed when Eli came back into his life.

Once I wrap up some of the stories I'm working on, I hope to give Eli and Jessie the opportunity to tell their story without a word count limit. I'm thinking novella, but who knows, it may even become full length. For those who enjoyed the short story, don't worry, none of it will be lost, it will just be incorporated into the new story but with a lot more added in.  Boxing during the 1920s was fascinating, with its legendary figures, celebrities attending matches, and the gangsters and bootleggars of the time trying to muscle in on the action. There was excitement a plenty, and I hope to capture a little bit of that.

On the writing front, Johnnie's third edits are going back today, so *fingers crossed* next should be the galley. I've got some fun stuff to share with you regarding the book as soon as it hits Dreamspinne's 'Coming Soon' page which I hope will be... er coming soon. I imagine Jack's book will be in soon for first edits as well. I don't have a release date for Johnnie's book as of yet, but I'll be sure to let you all know when I do. I'll also be posting more about the story soon, so stay tuned!


A Rose by Any Other Name Cover Reveal & Giveaway!

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A Rose by Any Other Name by Charlie Cochet

Genre: Gay Historical Romance, 1920s Length: Novel, 270 pages Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Blurb

Nights in the roaring city remind bright young things that life’s too short to take for granted. Tucked away in Times Square hides the Pantheon: a secret cabaret for wealthy gay men. Pretty young men in elaborate costumes and rouged lips are eager to please, and the champagne flows all night long. It’s a world of frivolity, fantasy, and debauchery. As Eros, the most sought after performer at the Pantheon, Julius uses his beauty and charm on enthusiastic patrons, but growing weary of superficial love, he longs to make a better life for himself.

Five years after being declared mentally unfit after surviving the trenches of No Man’s Land, Edward Joseph Clarence Junior pieced his shattered life back together. Now he’s ready to take on the family empire. To celebrate his thirtieth birthday, Edward’s cousin takes him to the most posh nightclub in town, the Pantheon. Falling under the sway of Eros, Edward and Julius find a love they’ve never imagined and the chance for a future they had only dared to dream about. But as Ares, a notorious gangster and Julius’s most important—and dangerous— client watches them, the threat to their love and their lives grows by the day.

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Pre-order from Dreamspinner Press in eBook and Paperback

 Available September 12th, 2014

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Excerpt

“There you are. I’ve been looking for you two for—” Eros stopped in his tracks and stared at Edward. “You’re here. Again.”

Edward stood and took Eros’s hand, giving it a kiss. “I thought maybe after the second or third night you would have believed me.” The young man looked absolutely stunning as always, the gold cloth wrapped low on his slim hips working a now familiar magic.

Eros wasted no time in removing his hand from Edward’s grasp. “What reason do I have to believe someone who broke into my dressing room and then lied to me about who he was?”

Well, this was certainly news to him. “I said I was an executive for Clarence and Company Department Stores, which I am.”

Eros leaned toward him, his voice lowered. “You seemed to have conveniently left out the tiny detail concerning you also being heir to the Clarence and Company multimillion dollar fortune.”

“Does it matter?” It wasn’t as though Edward wished to go about advertising his wealth, but he wouldn’t have thought Eros had any reason to be discreet about it.

“Does it—?” Eros shook his head and let out a humorless laugh. “I don’t have time for this.”

Perhaps it was time for Edward to get to the heart of the matter and the reason why Eros was doing his best to avoid Edward to the point of being brazen with him when every chorus boy, cupid, and Ancient Greek deity seemed to be in a constant state of frenzy each night in the hopes of roping themselves a wealthy patron.

“Have I done something to offend you?” Edward took hold of Eros’s hand again, refusing to let it go. After the second tug, Eros let out a sigh and left his hand in Edward’s grip. Eros was absolutely enchanting, even when he was irritated.

“No, nothing. I apologize.”

Then it struck him. How could he not have seen it? He’d been looking at this all wrong. The thought had Edward smiling from ear to ear. “It’s not me you’re upset with, is it? You’re upset with yourself.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Eros scoffed. “I happen to be quite fond of myself.”

“You were hoping I’d be here.”

Eros tugged at his hand again. “Well, aren’t we sure of ourselves. For Pete’s sake, would you let go of my hand?”

“You’ve been curious about me since we met. Only now you know the extent of my wealth, you feel threatened. You believe I’ll be no better than the others, wanting nothing more from you than what I pay for, and it’s disappointed you.”

Eros narrowed his eyes at him, at which point Edward promptly let go of his hand. For a love God, Eros certainly had one hell of a murderous glare. Edward was pushing his luck, but he went with his gut feeling.

“Edward, if I felt threatened by a man’s wealth, I would hardly be in this line of work. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. I feel empowered.”

Eros closed the distance between them and ran his hands slowly up Edward’s chest, over his shoulders, and down his back, smiling triumphantly when Edward gave a start at the feel of Eros’s fingers digging into his backside.

“You see, you may have wealth, but I have the power to take it away.”

Eros gave a low, sultry moan before running his tongue over his bottom lip. Pressing himself against Edward, one hand discreetly moved around the front to grip Edward through his trousers. Edward shut his eyes, willing himself to breathe.

“I can feel how hard you’re getting, Edward. Don’t play games with me, or I will make you wish you never set foot in here. Do you think I haven’t come across men like you before?”

His hand slowly started to stroke Edward through his trousers.

“Jesus,” Edward breathed, his hands going to Eros’s shoulders. He had to put a stop to this madness. It was clear Eros was willing to take this as far as he needed to in order to get his point across, and Edward was foolish enough to stand here and let him.

“Honey-sweet words mean little to me, Edward. Do you know how many men have offered to whisk me away from my filthy, devious life? Put me up in some Fifth Avenue penthouse, pay me an allowance, and give me anything I wish for? Do you want to make me your personal whore?”

Edward gently pushed Eros away, drawing a look of surprise from him. “Enough. I neither believe so little of you nor of myself. I won’t have my character insulted. If you have the power to take my wealth as you say you do, why didn’t you take it? You saw how eager I was, yet you continually push me away.”

“You turned him away?” Pothos asked, gaping at Eros.

“Of course not.” Eros lifted his chin defiantly and took a step back. “He stated he would make an arrangement with Aphrodite, and I didn’t object.”

“Only after I refused to leave,” Edward reminded him. “You had ample opportunity to take what you wanted from me, yet all you wanted was for me to leave. Why? What are you afraid of?”

Eros rolled his eyes. “Being bored to death. Honestly, why aren’t you doing Vaudeville with your act? I choose my clients, Edward, and I didn’t choose you. Your bruised ego will simply have to get over it. Now if you will excuse me.”

“Why haven’t you told anyone else who I am? Do you refuse to share me, or are you protecting me?” Edward held back a smile when Eros spun around and marched back to poke him in the chest.

“You seem to have developed this ridiculous notion I care about what you do, Edward. I haven’t spoken of it to anyone as it’s not my place to do so. I pride myself on my discretion and integrity. However, if you wish to announce your wealth to the whole damned club, be my guest! And you’re right; you aren’t like the others, because no one is as infuriating as you are!”

Eros threw his arms up in frustration and stormed off.

“Did I mention you look stunning when you’re angry?” Edward called after him.

Eros grabbed a champagne glass off a passing waiter’s tray and hurled it at Edward. “Go fly a kite!”

With a laugh, Edward managed to jump out of the way in the nick of time, the glass shattering on the floor where he’d been standing. By the time he looked up, Eros was nowhere in sight.

“I think he likes me.”

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Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the author

CCochet100Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Charlie's Website facebook twitter pinterest goodreads tumblr Charlie's Amazon Page Charlie's Dreamspinner Page 


A Rose by Any Other Name blog tour kicks off at The Novel Approach!

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Hello all! The blog tour for A Rose by Any Other Name kicks off today over at The Novel Approach with a fab interview! Drop by to check out the interview and enter the rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card and a swanky red and gold feather pendant bracelet!

For tour stops and info, check out the blog tour page for A Rose by Any Other Name here: http://www.charliecochet.com/blog-tours/a-rose-by-any-other-name-blog-tour/ Divider

A Rose By Any Other Name is the building of a sweet romance that’s tempered by fear, jealousy, and danger. The descriptions and details Charlie Cochet offers make it easy to picture the Pantheon in one’s imagination, and its atmosphere, combined with its 1920s setting, plays like a classic film in the heyday of Hollywood’s most decadent days.

Read the rest of Lisa's wonderful review here: http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/2014/09/10/review-a-rose-by-any-other-name-by-charlie-cochet/

A Rose by Any Other Name Release Day & Party!

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Hello all! Today's the release of A Rose by Any Other Name, my Roaring Twenties historical Romance!! Wooot! Join me over at the Dreamspinner Press blog for a little behind the scenes info, inspiration, snippet, and giveaway! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/blog

There are all kinds of events going on to celebrate the release, including a blog tour, Facebook chat, interview, Twitter Takeover and more! Check out the events below. You can also find the blog tour info here: http://www.charliecochet.com/blog-tours/a-rose-by-any-other-name-blog-tour/

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Blog Tour & Events for A Rose by Any Other Name

11th Sept – The Novel Approach (Interview) 12th Sept – Dreamspinner Press Blog Release Day Party (giveaway) 13th Sept – Hearts on Fire 15th Sept – Joyfully Jay (Exclusive excerpt) 16th Sept – Attention is Arbitrary 17th Sept – Prism Book Alliance 19th Sept - Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews (Exclusive giveaway) 20th Sept – The Blogger Girls 21st Sept – Author Chat on the Dreamspinner Press Facebook page. (giveaway) 22nd Sept – Bookwinked 23rd Sept – Twitter Takeover with Lex Chase DividerDivider A Rose By Any Other Name Fallen Rose: Book 2 Genre: Gay Historical Romance, 1920s Length: Novel 270 Pgs Published: Sept 12, 2014 Publisher: Dreamspinner Press ISBN eBook: 9781632160300 ISBN Paperback: 9781632160294

Nights in the roaring city remind bright young things that life’s too short to take for granted. Tucked away in Times Square hides the Pantheon: a secret cabaret for wealthy gay men. Pretty young men in elaborate costumes and rouged lips are eager to please, and the champagne flows all night long. It’s a world of frivolity, fantasy, and debauchery. As Eros, the most sought after performer at the Pantheon, Julius uses his beauty and charm on enthusiastic patrons, but growing weary of superficial love, he longs to make a better life for himself.

Five years after being declared mentally unfit after surviving the trenches of No Man’s Land, Edward Joseph Clarence Junior pieced his shattered life back together. Now he’s ready to take on the family empire. To celebrate his thirtieth birthday, Edward’s cousin takes him to the most posh nightclub in town, the Pantheon. Falling under the sway of Eros, Edward and Julius find a love they’ve never imagined and the chance for a future they had only dared to dream about. But as Ares, a notorious gangster and Julius’s most important—and dangerous— client watches them, the threat to their love and their lives grows by the day.


A Rose by Any Other Name Blog Tour over at Hearts on Fire Reviews

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Hello all! Today the blog tour for A Rose by Any Other Name stops by Hearts on Fire Reviews where I'm chatting about one of the key "characters" of the story, the Pantheon where most of our story takes place, including a whole lot of scandalous activity. Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win some swanky prizes!

http://heartsonfirereviews.com/

A Rose by Any Other Name Blog Tour over at Joyfully Jay with an Exclusive Excerpt

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Hello all! Today the blog tour for A Rose by Any Other Name stops by Joyfully Jay with an exclusive blog tour excerpt filled with jealousy, fisticuffs, and more! Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win some swanky prizes!

http://joyfullyjay.com/

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