Unedited Transcripts

Vaudeville! with Miss Nika Thought-werk (Unedited)

Wildstar Beaumont: greetings all!
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: All right, I think the stragglers will have to depend on the aether-journal to catch up.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Let me thank you all for coming, and issue a few ‘housekeeping’ points of order.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 1) To ensure you can hear the speaker, stand or sit on the patterned carpet.
Myrtil Igaly: Hey Tepic!
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 2) If you do not have a wearable chair and wish one, please contact me in IM. We have a few set out this time as an experiment, feel free to sit there. The director’s chairs are for Tinies.
OldeSoul Eldemar: hello Lady Alexis
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 3) Please remove all lag-feeding thingamajigs you might be wearing.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 4) A tip jar is out for our speaker. Do please show your appreciation!
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 5) Any tips to help support the establishment will also be welcome – just click on one of the support signs or this handsome clank floating above us.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 6) If you are not a member of the AEther Salon group, there are signs that will let you join up. You’ll be most heartily welcome.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 7) Edited and unedited transcripts of these proceedings will be posted at aethersalon.blogspot.com.
Fauve Aeon: Hello sir
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 8) Tea and treats are set out – help yourself! Beware of lurking Hatchies guarding the sweet biscuits.
Lady Sumoku waves
OldeSoul Eldemar: Good to see you Admiral
Liz Wilner: hello everyone 🙂
Wulfriðe Blitzen waves at the new arrivals
OldeSoul Eldemar: Lovely to see you Your Grace Liz
Sera Puchkina waves
Nika Thought-werk curtsies to the audience.
Jimmy Branagh: Hoy Miss Nika!
Nika Thought-werk: Hello, Mister Jimmy.
Nika Thought-werk adds “Herr Baron, is the stage mine?”
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: To introduce our speaker today: Fraulein Nika Thought-werk has graced us with her presence and knowledge several times on a wide variety of subjects. She is a true citizen of the Steamlands, as she has a handsome home here, and has lived in Steelhead, Mondrago and elsewhere.
Stereo Nacht waves around so not to interrupt
Jimmy Branagh waves back
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Her postal service is acclaimed and always on time, and she is a published authoress. Today she will tell us about… Vaudeville!
Nika Thought-werk adds “I’m a hobo. I have lived everywhere.”
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Fraulein Nika, welcome.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach applauds
Sera Puchkina applauds!
Jimmy Branagh applauds
Russell A. Firecrest claps
Lady Sumoku cheers
Wulfriðe Blitzen applauds
Stereo Nacht *.¸.*´ APPLAUSE.¸.´APPLAUSE *.¸.*´ <b>Ceejay Writer</b> cheers loudly <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: So, question, ladies and gents, boys and girls, and animals of every shape and size ... <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Do you like to be entertained? <b>Jimmy Branagh</b>: Oy do! <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Ok! <b>Tepic Harlequin</b>: yes! <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: Heck yes! I mean.... certainly! <b>Russell A. Firecrest</b>: Indeed! <b>Stereo Nacht</b>: Of course! A little too much, maybe? ;-) <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: And Mister Jimmy, what entertains you? <b>Jimmy Branagh</b>: Rum <b>Jimmy Branagh</b> grins <b>Lady Sumoku</b> laughs. <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: Jimmy! Try again. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b> laughs ... <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Well ... with that, let's get on with the show ... <b>Jimmy Branagh</b>: Oy loikes it when normal things 'appen. It's so unusual! <b>Nika Thought-werk</b> giggles. <b>Ceejay Writer</b> nods. "Better answer" <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Dear friends, my name is <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>. Many of you know me as a little clockwork who loves mail. I am that, but I am so much more – when I remember. One of the things I am is real. In the time before now, one of the things I did was perform in a magic act in a vaudeville theater. I learned a thing or two about vaudeville during this time, and I’d like to share those things with you today. <b>Lady Sumoku</b>: Normal can be fairly odd. <b>Jimmy Branagh</b> thumbs up <b>Fauve Aeon</b> settles in, happily listening <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: What - is vaudeville? <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Vaudeville, as we know it, is the American answer to the many of the types of theater one might find in our times. No one really knows where the name vaudeville came from. There are equal parts conjecture that it is a region in France, the works of Olivier Basselin, or something else entirely. <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: I used to think it was a town name, like Smallville. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b> smiles "Not quite - though I will talk of small towns." <b>Wildstar Beaumont</b>: :) <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Wherever the name came from, what we do know is that it arose from the work of one B.F. Keith. Keith was an American, originally from New Hampshire. As a young man, Mister Keith worked many of the entertainment venues of his day – from dime-museums to traveling circuses. One can only guess that his work with these venues gave him a keen appreciation of an audience and an understanding of what makes them tick. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: In 1885, Mister Keith took over operation of a theater in Boston known as the Bijou. The theater has never been the same. What separates vaudeville from more traditional theaters, music halls, street plays and the like? A grand many things, I wager. Here are just a few … <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: For starters, vaudeville theaters are continuous affairs. Unlike a playhouse, where the acts are at set times throughout the day, vaudeville theaters organized their shows in acts. I’ll talk more about these in a moment. The thing about this is though that once the show began in the morning, it would progress through the program until it reached the end. Once at the end, the program would ‘loop’, replaying the first act and restarting the program in the process. It would do this loop until the theater closed at night. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: There was a psychology behind this - the way the programs were arranged, and I will talk about this more near the end. <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: Interesting! <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: What this means, for a theater-goer is that you can go into the theater at any time and stay until the program loops back to the first show you saw. Or, if you only have minutes to spare, you can wander into a theater on your lunchbreak, stay for ten minutes of a show, and wander back to work. Then, you can catch the rest of the program sometime during the week. With low ticket prices of pennies rather than more pricey ones at playhouses, there is no reason for an office worker looking for a kindly diversion not to do this. <b>Baron Klaus Wulfenbach</b>: Clever arrangement. <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: And now we have entertainment on demand.... but it existed before, I see. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: The second difference are the ticket prices. Vaudeville tickets are much cheaper than many playhouses. Vaudeville houses are able to stay open by making sure that their programs are lively, varied, and often changed. This helped ensure that the theaters are seldom empty. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: The typical vaudeville program presents a third difference. Unlike a playhouse, which might present one play a night, vaudeville theaters present programs of various acts to entertain its audience. No single act is allowed to take over thirty minutes in most theaters, and in the more successful theaters, the acts are rehearsed and drilled into their performers with military precision. Not a moment is wasted. It can’t be. Wasted time upsets the program, throws off the show, and costs money. A show program might open with a song and dance act. It might progress to a single singer doing a solo. It might then present a watered down version of a lengthier stage-play. After this, it could continue with an act to highlight exotic cultures and locales. African acts and South American performers might be brought in for this. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: People might see animal acts. Whatever the program, each program always ended with a real headliner – be it a play with a well-known cast, a virtuoso singer, or whatever is the best quality act the theater had on hand. The heart of vaudeville is its variety. Whatever is on the program on any given day, you know you are in for a real show. - at least more than what many other venues might offer you. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Now here ... I think it best to talk about the psychology aspect ... <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: The theaters WANTED to move you <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: They want to shake you <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: But not all at once. <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: Oooh. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Keith understood that by placing programs in a slow build ... entertaining lowbrain acts ... moving slowly to more upbeat fair ... <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: And ending with a real tear-jerking or comedic play, people are more likely to stay as the show progresses. <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: Smart guy. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: The longer you stay, the fuller the house ... the more successful a theater LOOKS <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: And in show business, APPEARANCE is everything. <b>Ceejay Writer</b> nods <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: What's more, the program arrangers work with writers to manipulate the emotions of the audience down to a science <b>Jimmy Branagh</b>: Spielberg <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: wow. I had no idea <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: This helps nudge people to laugh and cry and be scared together ... and vaudeville is a social experience if anything. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: With the variety, low-ticket prices, growth of a middle-class to enjoy it, few competing forms of entertainment with the mass-appeal of a well-constructed program, and so on, B.F. Keith and others that copied his style opened theater chains throughout the country. The chain-like nature of vaudeville theaters is a fourth difference. Performers might travel a circuit of theaters owned by one owner or distribution chain, performing the same act in different theaters owned by the same owner. It is a hard life, but the salaries men like Keith can pay to their performers helps keep performers under their control. In any given week, men and women spend over $1,000,000 in vaudeville ticket fees. The theaters spend in excess of $600,000 a week promoting and paying for their theaters and performers. Salaries make up a lionshare of vaudeville expenses. Still, the theater owners have more than enough left over at week’s-end to pad their own pockets. <b>Lady Sumoku</b> whispers "welcome back!" <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: There is a fifth difference. There is an adage in vaudeville. That adage is: “Will it play in Peoria?” The Peoria in question here is Peoria, Illinois. One might wonder why a person might care about a little corn town like Peoria. Do you? Have you been there? <b>Nika Thought-werk</b> looks around. <b>Jimmy Branagh</b>: Oy never 'ave <b>Nika Thought-werk</b> smiles. <b>Lady Sumoku</b> shakes her head sternly <b>Jimmy Branagh</b>: Oy loikes corn awlroight but not really a vacation item <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: My ghost has. Many times. It is a little corn-town on the Mississippi River. Peoria, Illinois does have something special about it – as it relates to entertainment. That ‘thing’ is its mores and cultural sensibility. Peoria represents the character that pervades the Union. Whatever a good, Christian audience might find enjoyable in Peoria will carry well throughout the nation. Theater-chains understand this – and they wish to profit from it. The following is a warning placed in the dressing area of one of the more popular theaters of the vaudeville circuits: <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: I've wondered why that saying was so ... iconic. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b> unfolds a piece of paper and begins to read ... <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: NOTICE TO PERFORMERS You are hereby warned that your act must be free from all vulgarity and suggestiveness in words, action, and costume, while playing in any of Mr.—’s houses, and all vulgar, double-meaning and profane words and songs must be cut out of your act before the first performance. If you are in doubt as to what is right or wrong, submit it to the resident all other words unfit for the ears of ladies and children, also any reference to questionable streets, resorts, localities, and barrooms, are prohibited under fine of instant discharge. GENERAL MANAGER ((Taken from the book From Traveling Show to Vaudeville, Theatrical Spectacle in America, from 1830 – 1910.)) <b>Tepic Harlequin</b>: bloomin heck! an this stuff were popular? <b>Jimmy Branagh</b> chuckles <b>Mosseveno Tenk</b>: americans... <b>Baron Klaus Wulfenbach</b> chuckles <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: Didn't know there were such strict rules! But now we know about.... PEORIA <b>Jimmy Branagh</b>: Primordial political correctness <b>Lady Sumoku</b> shakes fist at Americans. <b>Tepic Harlequin</b>: so... not like the British Music Hall then...... <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Keeping things clean made it fit for all ... and fit for all meant - and means dollars. Not at all like the music halls. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b> smiles. <b>Liz Wilner</b>: the first all-ages shows :) <b>Stereo Nacht</b>: Oh! So you can't say you've been to Hell's Gate and made it back? ;-) <b>Nika Thought-werk</b> blanches, swoons and half-collapses at the mention of the word ... Heck. <b>Stereo Nacht</b>: Oops! Sorry! <b>Jimmy Branagh</b> laughs <b>Ceejay Writer</b> hurls smelling salts at the stage <b>Baron Klaus Wulfenbach</b>: Tch. Do not damage the speaker, bitte. <b>Stereo Nacht</b>: Oh, I am sure Ms. Writer has excellent aim. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: I should say not, Miss Stereo ... Miss Writer ... my ears have been vexed, I say! <b>Jimmy Branagh</b>: >..right here in River City ... <b>Nika Thought-werk</b> winks at Miss Nacht and continues ... <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: The theater owners police their acts vigilantly. Something they find disagreeable might lead to a stern warning – or else. Future violations might lead to performers being booted from a circuit and being blacklisted from working the circuits ever again. Understanding this, most performers happily agree to censorship. The money is too good for the performers and the theater owners to do otherwise. <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: I threw carefully! <b>Mosseveno Tenk</b>: But regurgitators were okay? <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Not all theaters follow such strict guidelines, however. An exception of note are the theaters in San Francisco, California. San Francisco is a hive of ill-repute, and its theaters add to its disreputable character. There is a very high ratio of men to women in the city. Many of the men had money to spend. As such, prostitution, liquor, and vice are central to the city’s entertainments. Because of the relative scarcity of women, areas like the city’s Barbary Coast district allowed spaces for gay performers and theater employees to move about the audience selling liquor and themselves. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b> eyes Mister Tenk. <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: I wonder if Seattle might have been a bit tawdry, too. <b>Lady Sumoku</b>: Might have been? <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: A bit, yes. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: The police, who would crack down on this anywhere else in the country turn a blind eye due to kickbacks from the bars and the brothels and the vaudeville stage. One of the other interesting things about the vaudeville venues in San Francisco is that female impersonators might as easily find themselves on the stage as an unimpersonated female. <b>Stereo Nacht</b>: Oh wow! Is that how California got to be so open later on? <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Yes ma'am. <b>Ceejay Writer</b> nods thoughtfully <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: This would probably not play in Peoria, but San Francisco doesn’t seem to mind. Here, too, the money is good. A performer, who might be expected to perform between the sheets as easily as on stage, can make up to $200 each week. On second thought, the performances in San Francisco probably WOULD play in Peoria. San Francisco is just open about it. <b>Stereo Nacht</b> tries hard not to interrupt anymore <b>Lady Sumoku</b>: Above the books, beneath the covers. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Now ... here is where I truly step out of bounds ... <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: Between the pages. <b>Ceejay Writer</b> holds breath <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Vaudeville - with its focus on money and mores ... increasingly turned to keeping seats filled as movies came of age in the 'teens and twenties. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: It increasingly moved to more and more exotic acts ... <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: Drat that Edison bloke, anyway. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Like dancing ... and very special types of dancing. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b> coughs. <b>Ceejay Writer</b> blushes <b>Lady Sumoku</b> tosses Miss Nika a lozenge. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: And here ... the American strip club was born. <b>Sera Puchkina</b> darts a look at Ceejay <b>Jimmy Branagh</b>: Oy seen machines were ya stick a twopenny in an' watch ... ummmm, dancers <b>Ceejay Writer</b> smiles angelically <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: BUT - moving back to the performers themselves ... <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: One of the ghost's favorite vaudeville acts is Laurel and Hardy. <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: :) <b>Lady Sumoku</b> cheers <b>Myrtil Igaly</b>: They danced well? <b>Jimmy Branagh</b> chuckles <b>Lady Sumoku</b>: In their own way... <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: They did all right, actually! There's some film clips <b>Liz Wilner</b>: Mickey Rooney started in vaudville <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: A new movie chronicling the last tour of these performers is going into production. Like Chaplin, I hope it showcases a bit of the flavor of what it was like to work on the vaudeville stage. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: And the Marx Brothers <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: And the Three Stooges <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: And most comedic film stars of the silent era. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: These are some of the elements of vaudeville as theater. I hope you have enjoyed this talk, and I would now like to open time up for questions. <b>Ceejay Writer</b> applauds happily <b>Jimmy Branagh</b> applauds <b>Jimmy Branagh</b>: YAY! <b>Lady Sumoku</b>: Who's on first? <b>Ethan Paul III</b>: Hello all its good to see so many of you <b>Liz Wilner</b>: There was also the famous Gypsy Rose Lee <b>Wulfriðe Blitzen</b> Applauds! <b>Jimmy Branagh</b>: Great Salon! <b>Stereo Nacht</b>.¸.´ APPLAUSE *.¸.*´APPLAUSE.¸.´
Sera Puchkina applauds
Bixyl Shuftan claps
Myrtil Igaly applauds applauds
Nika Thought-werk nods happily to Miss Wilner “Quite famous, indeed.”
Roman Chrononaia applauds
Ceejay Writer: I had no idea that the psychology aspect was so deliberate. Do you know if they hired writers with training… or simply as tools to do what they were told?
Nika Thought-werk: Tools, it seems
Nika Thought-werk: Keith was a master
Lady Sumoku: I’m sure some of the deliberation came from simple experience.
Nika Thought-werk: Keith laid the blue print
Ceejay Writer nods thoughtfully: I bet they learned what the bosses wanted to do, over time
Nika Thought-werk: Things grew as time went on
Lady Sumoku: If you try something and people walk out… Don’t try that again.
Tepic Harlequin: the blue pencil print, sounds like….
Nika Thought-werk nods at Lady Sumoku.
Fauve Aeon: Thank you Miss Thought-werk, a most interesting presentation
Liz Wilner: many of the theaters on the circuits were quite elaborate in decor
Nika Thought-werk: Absolutely
Lady Sumoku: You had to feel like you were somewhere special.
Roman Chrononaia: Were audiences boisterous?
Lady Sumoku: But not so special that you couldn’t afford it.
Nika Thought-werk: I hope to capture a bit of the beauty that is vaudeville in my next book.
Liz Wilner: hence the tiered seating like the older theaters of Europe
Stereo Nacht: Would you say “varieties” are a descendant of vaudeville?
Nika Thought-werk: The other way around
Lady Sumoku: The tiered seating was more a method to cram more people into the same space.
Stereo Nacht: Oh? Interesting…
OldeSoul Eldemar: some of the old theaters still exist in “downtown” areas
Ceejay Writer: Nika and vaudville…. this should be interesting reading.
Nika Thought-werk: There was a variety theater in America before vaudeville – vaudeville just perfected it.
Nika Thought-werk smiles at Miss Writer.
Myrtil Igaly: Did Vaudeville steal audience from the circuses?
Nika Thought-werk: It did
Myrtil Igaly: Awww!
Lady Sumoku: El Paso finally renovated their Plaza Theater a few years ago. After rebuilding the Wurlitzer that belonged there first.
Stereo Nacht: I see…
Nika Thought-werk: From practically every form of entertainment of the day.
OldeSoul Eldemar: they were so accessible
Myrtil Igaly: they were like supermarkets, doing a bit of everything
Liz Wilner: some circuses added vaudville shows in side tents I believe
Blossom Love: Hiiiiii!
Nika Thought-werk: Here’s the thing though – vaudeville grew to dominate the country from 1885 – 1915, or so.
Ceejay Writer: Stealing from circuses! Gasp!
OldeSoul Eldemar: I wondered if you heard that my dear Ms. Writer
Nika Thought-werk: Their variety never wholly replaced playhouses
Nika Thought-werk: circuses
Nika Thought-werk: or the like
Nika Thought-werk: They just showcased bits
Ceejay Writer: Adding to the Variety of entertainment
Nika Thought-werk: If you wanted a circus – vaudeville couldn’t truly give that to you.
Nika Thought-werk nods.
Nika Thought-werk: Circuses downsized and adapted.
Ceejay Writer: Choices are good – and the country was beginning to get more of them
Nika Thought-werk: And survived.
Nika Thought-werk: So did playhouses
Nika Thought-werk: How many vaudeville theaters still operate in the US?
Liz Wilner: and the expansion of the train lines helped
Nika Thought-werk nods.
Nika Thought-werk: They were general purpose affairs – and if you wanted general purpose entertainment …
Nika Thought-werk: Movies were more cost-effective for everyone.
Lady Sumoku: Welcome back, Baron!
Nika Thought-werk curtsies to the Baron.
Stereo Nacht *.¸.*´ APPLAUSE.¸.´APPLAUSE *.¸.*´ <b>Russell A. Firecrest</b> claps <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Any other comments or questions? <b>Baron Klaus Wulfenbach</b> nods appreciatively <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: Movies took away the human-error element from the performers. Get it right once, you are set. <b>Nika Thought-werk</b> nods. <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: You have put me in the mood to seek out a current vaudville theater. I may need to go on a quest <b>Lady Sumoku</b>: Now they don't even bother with the getting it right. <b>Stereo Nacht</b>: Hehe! <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: With that, I bid you all a very happy Sunday. <b>Lady Sumoku</b> hugs Nika <b>Baron Klaus Wulfenbach</b>: Vielen dank, Fraulein Nika. <b>Stereo Nacht</b>: Have a great one, Miss Thought-Werk! <b>Jimmy Branagh</b> applauds again <b>Nika Thought-werk</b>: Thank you for joing me today! <b>OldeSoul Eldemar</b>: Thank you so much Fraulein Nika ! <b>Blossom Love</b>: Bravo! <b>OldeSoul Eldemar</b>: it was very enjoyable <b>Jimmy Branagh</b>: Thenks Miss Nika! <b>Lady Sumoku</b> cheers <b>Ceejay Writer</b>: i very much enjoyed this talk! <b>Stereo Nacht</b>:.¸.´ APPLAUSE *.¸.*´APPLAUSE.¸.´
Nika Thought-werk curtsies and begins to clean up.
Sera Puchkina applauds. This was most entertaining! Well done
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Any last tips for our speaker?
OldeSoul Eldemar claps loudly!
Bixyl Shuftan claps
Wulfriðe Blitzen claps
Ceejay Writer: YAY!
Tepic Harlequin: still can’t believe they took out all the mucky bits an people still went an saw it…..

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