Josephine Baker: The Danse Sauvage & The Art Deco Dildo By Mike Marino The Jazz Age!

The Roaring Twenties! It was the age of the Lost Generation of Ger trude Stein's salon in Paris, the Left Banke lefties of literature and artists t hat included the man's man, Ernest Hemmingway, tolling Spanish bells in the thic k of the battle, while Pablo Picasso misplaced breasts on canvas, a cubist butch er of body parts that somehow made sense in a mad way as they hung framed in the salons and galleries. Diego Rivera's industrial murals mouthing socialist messa ges to the working class, while Frida Kahlo self-portraited herself as though co mmitting portraiture masturbation. Gertrude Stein enjoying the lesbian fruits of her lover, Alice B. Toklas who could whip up a batch of brownies to die for, an d to fuck for. It was an age of dazzling flappers in fringed skirts with too many sequins, hips ters with booze in a hip flask wearing raccoon coats as they 23 skiddo'd and boo la boola'd. The Charleston, booze and sex. Women started wearing pants and knew how to hunt with a shotgun and learning how to control their own lives. It was n ow the Age of the Machine and Industrialization, and the Great Gatsby was gaspin g for more. It was an era of selfish over-indulgence, extremes and experimentati on in literature, art, sex and architecture. The era reached a climatic orgasm around 1925 when two icons collided to create the visual and artistic voice of the age - Josephine Baker and the Art Deco Move ment. Take a sexy American born Parisian dancer, dress her up in a skirt of dang ling banana's with sexy bare brown breasts bared to an appreciative cabaret crow d, and you have Josephine Baker. Not merely a symbol of the Jazz Age..she define d it. She was born in St. Louis in 1906. She left home at a young age, living on the mean streets as a homeless teenager living in cardboard boxes. She danced f or money on the street and was so mesmerizing that she was eventually "discovere d" and after time in the states in clubs, was taken to Paris to hit the cabaret circuit where she wowed the crowd as the "Bronze Venus" and as the "Creole Godde ss" and took Europe by storm. She not only defined the jazz age with all it's se xuality and experimentation but in fact with her gyrating hips she fuel injected it. Before we get into Art Deco orgasm mode, a few side notes about Ms. Baker. She m ay have bared all, or nearly all, and many think that she was merely an entertai ner that could elicit a male erection at 20 paces, but she was more. During WWII she worked as a spy for the French Resistance against Nazi tyranny. Shuttling c oded messages from different regions of occupied France. Her work as an entertai ner allowed her this freedom of travel. Also, what man could resist having a dri nk with her, and in the case of Nazi officers the alcohol loosened them up just enough to give some minute, yet important information of value to the Resistance which she would pass along in code. Admittedly bi-sexual, Josephine, had many a ffairs, with men and women, including one with Freda Kahlo among others. As a bi -sexual, participants from both genders appealed to her and lucky were those tha t did! She eventually became a French Citizen, renouncing her American citizenship, som e say, proudly. but when it came to civil rights, there were no patriotic bounda ries. She spoke side by side with Martin Luther King at rallies and when he was assassinated, Coretta King asked Josephine to take over the helm of his civil ri ghts organization. Baker declined as she had twelve adopted mixed race children and didn't want to leave them without a mother! If the stage performance art of Josephine Baker was Jazz Age foreplay, then the subsequent Art Deco movement was the machine age dildo, the Steely Dan of the Lo st generation applicable for use on both genders. The stars were aligned in 1925

..the year Baker performed the Danse Sauvage and also the year of the Exhibition des Artes Decoratifs in Paris and it was the official birth of the art deco mov ement that included graphics and art work, many of them featuring the face and b ody of Baker who became synonymous with that particular art movement. Art Deco is in effect the inbred child of many artistic forms of expression, mod ernism, cubism, the arts and crafts movement and most notably the Art Noveau mov ement that flourished in the last years of the 19th Century which coincided with the birth of the machine age..the Industrial Revolution. Other influences inclu de the tribal art of Africa, Aztec and Mayan architecture and Egypt-mania around the time the tomb of King Tut was discovered with it's plentiful artistic and h and crafted artifacts, priceless beyond measure. African animals in art and smoo th finely toned jewelry found in Egypt influenced an explosion of what became kn own as Art Deco in architecture, art, graphics, furniture, metal work, lighting, home appliances and jewelry to name a few. For decor ideas of what art deco was all about just study the stage sets in any film noir movie from the 30's and ea rly 40's and look at the office furnishings. Art Deco to the max. It was an erot ic art form and movement. An intercourse of the artist and the public. It was vi sual fornication at it's finest. Art Noveau was nature inspired, while Art Deco was more "Industrial" in nature. The term art deco wasn't actually in use until it was coined in the 1960's..like the word "beatnik" which was not coined by Jack Kerouac but John Clellon Holmes in a magazine article, where the term "beat" was used as a generational descrip tive. Beatnik some say originated with Herb Caen, San Francisco columnist who co ined the term in the age of "sputnik" and etectera-niks. So too with Art Deco. It was originally termed "arts decoratifs et industriels moderne"or le style 25, not to be confused with LSD-25. The founder of the Decorative Artists Society w as Hector Guimand, a French architect during the art noveau period who designed the modern facades of the entrances of the Parisian metro stations. This style s pread like a Colorado wild fire and architects around the world were employing i t in their designs in the burgeoning skyscraper market where every city was reac hing for the heavens and all wanting to lay claim to having the highest pinnacle possible in an urban area, a concrete and steel version of Mt. Whitney. One pri me example of this style is seen today in the Chrysler Building in New York City . A magnificent design that commands your attention. The world of graphic arts are the best known examples of art deco. Posters featu ring sleek modern transportation modes such as speeding bullet locomotives, mass ive ocean liners, and automotive luxury vehicles that rolled off the Detroit ass embly lines. Female empowerment was also a hallmark of art deco. Women were featured with a g lass of wine in one hand and a shot gun in the other! Women were shown wearing " pants" to express their freedom, others in "sports" poses skiing and hunting for example, which again were "male dominated" activities at the time. Though not a rt deco, in the Laurel and Hardy classic, "Sons of the Desert" Stan Laurelâ s wife sp orts a shotgun and goes duck hunting while Stanley tends to the home front. Glassware and pottery as utilitarian objects took on an artistic aura and names like Tiffany and Lalique stand out as the benchmarks of art deco. Home appliance s took on an artistic edge as well, and small electronic gismo's like that new f angled radio contraption were works of art and pieces of furniture at the same t ime. Some smaller radio's were made from Bakelite which gave it a "look" and Bak elite jewelry is still sought after today by collectors. Appliances were made to stand out, not blend in and be artist pieces in their own right. An example of this show of effect as I call it is the simple light switch. At first when a hom e got electricity they wanted everyone to know it. It was knew and if you had el ectricity, you had bragging rights. The switches were ornate affairs and you cou ldn't help but notice them when you walked into a home or office. Today, it's co

mmon, and the switches are beige colored blenders in the scheme of apartment mot ifs so they are almost hidden and camouflaged from view. Art Deco popularity as exploded as a retro phenomenon. Tiffany collectors, Bakel ite collectors and jewelry collectors crowd the auctions, travel to Antiques Roa dshow and some diehards make the trek to the Mecca of pawn shops in Las Vegas to seek wisdom from the all knowing pawn stars in their quest for the holy grail o f art deco artifacts. Me? Iâ ll settle for an artful poster of a topless Josephine Ba ker peeling her bananaâ s during the Danse Sauvage! THE ROADHEAD CHRONICLES BOOK By Mike Marino Signed Editions - $24.95 To Order: Email: theroadhead@yahoo.com (Includes â The Atomic Hulaâ - E-Novel; â The Peyote Coyoteâ E-Series book; and â Collection E-Series book. Official Booksite - Click and Cruise http://www.angelfire.com/mi2/sfroad/page1008.html Unsigned editions also available at over 5,000 Worldwide Locations in the United States, Canada, The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, India, New Zealand, Australia and Japan

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