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    Why Mae West Still Matters on the 120th Anniversary of Her Birth!

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    August 17, 2013 is the anniversary of the birth of Miss Mae West, the finest woman I never met. Her long career spanned all the milestones of 20th century entertainment; Vaudeville, Broadway, Talkies [[as early sound motion pictures were called), records, Radio, Television, and her last motion picture at the age of 83.

    Mae West championed equal sexual expression for women, with her first stage play "Sex," which rattled moralists decades before Madonna. She spoke up for gays and supported civil rights for racial minorities long before others of her status. Although she demurred from publicly endorsing any political party, she often quipped, "I know a good party man when I see one." Another one of her enduring witticisms was, "Those who are easily shocked, need to get shocked more often."

    Throughout her long life, Mae West avoided members of the Hollywood "A list," seeking out the company of fun, unique and interesting individuals. Her Los Angeles apartment lair at the Ravenswood, suite 611, was often the gathering place of her entourage.

    Over the years that I was fortunate enough to make friends with some of Mae West's inner circle of men she befriended during the last decade of her life.
    The late Ramfis Diaz, hosted one of L.A.'s Name:  DSCF3098.jpg
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    At these fabled annual events, guests mingled in his apartment, a virtual shrine to Mae, and alternated between the visual delights provided there, up the stairway leading to the rooftop where tables laden with food, beverages of all kinds and live entertainment beckoned. In the background, stately palm trees swayed, as if in beat to the music. The iconic Hollywood sign in the distance added just the right surreal touch.

    Over the years, Los Angeles has experienced unfortunate events that have seemingly divided its citizens along ethnic lines. Ramfis' legendary parties brought diverse groups of people together — individuals who normally might not mingle together easily, and the outcome was always a fabulous good time that people talked about and an invitation for next year for eagerly sought after.

    It didn't matter what your sexual preference, racial background, economic status, or body type was. Just as long as you loved Mae West, you were welcome. West had a very similar philosophy at a time when there was much less tolerance for such open mindedness.

    During recent times when there was a conservative backlash to advances made on behalf of human rights. Ramfis' yearly gathering provided a warm and welcome respite. His thirst for life and lusty appetites perfectly reflected those of his idol, Mae West.

    During her lifetime, Mae West sought to bring people from all races and backgrounds together in fun and merriment, and mutual acceptance. Her philosophy of living life to the fullest and enjoying every moment, serves everyone of us well.

    She loved to quip, ....."Ooooohh, they all think I'm twenty-six, but I'm really twenty-sex!" Not a day goes by that a reference to Mae West, recalling her blonde, hour glass figure, and saucy repartee isn't made in the press, a passage in a book, or on television. Long may Mae West be remembered as one of the most important and influential woman of the 21 century!

    Last edited by R. Mark Desjardins; 08-17-2013 at 12:03 PM.

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Ralph Terrana

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