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Barbette

Started by Ecurb Noselrub, May 27, 2022, 03:32:59 AM

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Ecurb Noselrub

I grew up in Round Rock, Texas, just north of Austin. The most famous thing about Round Rock was that the outlaw Sam Bass was killed there during an attempted bank robbery in 1878. I used to visit his grave in the RR Cemetery.

Little did I know, until recently, that a more famous international personage was from Round Rock, graduated from Round Rock High School in 1913, and is buried in the RR Cemetery. His name was "Barbette". He was a female impersonator who made it big in Paris, performing at places such as the Moulin Rouge, the Folies Berger, and elsewhere. He was also quite an acrobat, and was photographed by none other than Man Ray. Here is his story.

http://www.circopedia.org/Barbette

His real name was Vander Clyde, or Vander Clyde Broadway, or Vander Clyde Loving, who knows? His ashes are buried by his mother and his stone simply reads "Barbette".  I grew up here and knew nothing about him. Apparently, he was buried after I left town, so maybe that explains it. Round Rock acknowledged him as a significant RR figure in 2015. Pretty interesting life.

hermes2015

That is such a fascinating bit of history. One of the books I am reading currently is When Paris Sizzled by Mary McAuliffe, which deals with the period in Paris when Barbette was there. I can recommend if you are interested that milieu and people like Jean Cocteau and Hemingway.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Paris-Sizzled-1920s-Pcb/dp/1442253320
"Who is to say that pleasure is useless?"
― Charles Eames

Ecurb Noselrub

Thanks, I will check that out. I love Paris and am planning a trip there next year. We will be staying in Montmartre. The thing that struck me about Barbette's story is how different his life was from the place where he grew up. Round Rock back then was as far away from Paris culturally as it was geographically, yet he thrived in Paris in one of its most exciting times. Still, he came back when he was older and infirm, and is buried here. At the end of life, I suppose "going home" can be comforting. At least you are close to family. My conclusion is that while your roots may be in one place, your fruit and flower may flourish in an entirely different environment.

I will get the book - looking forward to reading it.

Ecurb Noselrub

Quote from: hermes2015 on May 27, 2022, 06:31:59 AMThat is such a fascinating bit of history. One of the books I am reading currently is When Paris Sizzled by Mary McAuliffe, which deals with the period in Paris when Barbette was there. I can recommend if you are interested that milieu and people like Jean Cocteau and Hemingway.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Paris-Sizzled-1920s-Pcb/dp/1442253320

I am reading When Paris Sizzled now. So interesting! So many significant people in one place at the same time. Thanks for the reference. I don't think the author mentions Barbette, so that's a bit disappointing. But Man Ray, Kiki, Hemmingway, Satie, Coco Chanel, Citroen, Josephine Baker, Cocteau, etc., etc., etc. all there in the 20's!  It was, literally, sizzling!

billy rubin

#4
i know very little of europe after the war, except for a shallow understanding of the times. but hemingway drives me nuts

ive been reading his stuff since his body was almost still warm.

some of it is spectacular, some of it is awful.

i just bought my number three son a copy of for whom the bell tolls and a complete set of his short stories.

maybe hemingway can drive him nuts too.


more people have been to berlin than i have

Icarus

Billy, You are fortunate to have a son who might have the interest and motivation to read Hemmingway.

Number three son is also fortunate to have a father who encourages readings of significant works of literature.

High fives for both of you.  :thumbsup:

.

hermes2015

Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 10, 2022, 09:19:50 PM
Quote from: hermes2015 on May 27, 2022, 06:31:59 AMThat is such a fascinating bit of history. One of the books I am reading currently is When Paris Sizzled by Mary McAuliffe, which deals with the period in Paris when Barbette was there. I can recommend if you are interested that milieu and people like Jean Cocteau and Hemingway.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Paris-Sizzled-1920s-Pcb/dp/1442253320

I am reading When Paris Sizzled now. So interesting! So many significant people in one place at the same time. Thanks for the reference. I don't think the author mentions Barbette, so that's a bit disappointing. But Man Ray, Kiki, Hemmingway, Satie, Coco Chanel, Citroen, Josephine Baker, Cocteau, etc., etc., etc. all there in the 20's!  It was, literally, sizzling!

I am happy to hear that you are enjoying it. I kept thinking of Woody Allen's sketch about Hemingway, Picasso, and Gertrude Stein.


Have you seen his movie Midnight in Paris? I would have loved to be in Paris in those years and in Berlin in the 1930's to hang around with people like Christopher Isherwood.
"Who is to say that pleasure is useless?"
― Charles Eames

Recusant

Late to the party--the story of Barbette is amazing. I admit that when it comes to the various manifestations of the demi-monde in history, my attentions have been more focused on London (see for instance The First Bohemians). So I had never heard of him before: Thank you Ecurb Noselrub for your thread.  :thumb:

It's inevitable that a film will be made at some point. It might even be made in the US (refusing to accept that the Dominionists will triumph) but more likely it will come from France.
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Ecurb Noselrub

Quote from: hermes2015 on July 11, 2022, 05:33:24 AMI would have loved to be in Paris in those years and in Berlin in the 1930's to hang around with people like Christopher Isherwood.

Berlin in the 1930's would have been too close to the Beast for me. Josephine Baker tried Berlin, but racism convinced her to leave. I would be afraid that I would not have been able to get out and would have ended up a lamp shade.

Ecurb Noselrub



I located Barbette's grave in the Round Rock Cemetery. He was in the "Loving" family plot, with his mother and several other family members around him. One of his family was a Texas Ranger and another was born as far back as 1863, so the family had roots in the community. It still seems so strange to me that someone like him was from Round Rock, which was a Wild West "shoot-em-up" town in in the late 1800's. 


hermes2015

Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 16, 2022, 03:02:25 AM
Quote from: hermes2015 on July 11, 2022, 05:33:24 AMI would have loved to be in Paris in those years and in Berlin in the 1930's to hang around with people like Christopher Isherwood.

Berlin in the 1930's would have been too close to the Beast for me. Josephine Baker tried Berlin, but racism convinced her to leave. I would be afraid that I would not have been able to get out and would have ended up a lamp shade.

Well, for guys like me, it was a golden time. I did, in fact, experience a watered down version of that atmosphere in Hamburg during the 90's. There were many gay clubs and other venues along the Reeperbahn. I even took part in a strip show and one show in particular was memorable for my passionate snogging session with an adorable 20-year old French boy behind the stage. Ah, memories.
"Who is to say that pleasure is useless?"
― Charles Eames