Friday, July 27, 2018

Notable Quotes: Gertrude Stein

Warning: Not Safe For Work.

Affectations can be dangerous.
   - Gertrude Stein.

Isadora Duncan

Angela Isadora Duncan (b. May 26, 1877 or 1878 in San Francisco, California; d. September 14, 1927 aged 49 or 50 in Nice, France) was a major contributor to the art of dance, and is generally credited with the invention of Modern Dance.  This was really Duncan flipping off the Lords and Ladies of classical ballet, all of whom considered Isadora to be beneath their exalted stations in high society.  Think in terms of the Beach Bop (Dirty Bop) dancers in Florida versus the snobbish dance instructors at Arthur Murray Inc.

Isadora liked to wear flowing scarves wherever she went, which proved to be her undoing.  One fateful evening in September Isadora was at a party in Nice, a real French soirée and all that implies.  On her grandiose and somewhat inebriated departure with her garçon du jour in his open wheel roadster (see picture below), she was wearing a long silk scarf, hand-painted by Russian-born artist Roman Chatov and given to her by an intimate admirer, one Mary Desti.

Open Wheel Roadster

Her final words were reported to be "Adieu, mes amis. Je vais à la gloire!" (Goodbye, my friends, I am off to glory!).  This was corrected later on by her friend Mary Desti, who said that her real last words were, "Je vais à l'amour" (I am off to love), which were considered a bit risqué.  Okay, a lot risqué.  So Benoît dropped the hammer and the pair took off for Isadora's hotel with the long scarf wrapped around Isadora's neck trailing out behind them.  About halfway to paradise the scarf got caught in the rear wheel, jerking Isadora out of the car and slamming her into the pavement.  Her last words were probably merde!, if she had time to say anything at all.

Upon learning of her (we presume) untimely death, Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 - July 27, 1946, noted Lesbian, novelist, and Nazi sympathizer) commented publicly that "affectations can be dangerous."  A rather mordant comment, but typical of Stein.

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