A detail from The Last Supper of Olive Thomas.
THE CHORUS GIRL SHOW by Carolyn Raship
Come to Dixon Place to celebrate the opening of my show! I’ve been creating a series of large works on paper depicting the interesting and scandal filled lives of women who began their professional lives in the chorus - then wound up as movie stars, writers or infamous.
To celebrate the opening, please join us for drinks and performances at the Dixon Place Lounge!
161 Chrystie Street, NYC
Anna Copa Cabanna
Killy Mockstar Dwyer
Sarah Engelke and Jamie Zillittto
During the first half of the 20th century becoming a chorus girl was both the most typical entree to show business and a constant punchline. The Chorus Girl was a cliche and a type: tough talking, avaricious, gold digging, dumb. As with most things, the real women often transcended the cliche. Show business and crime, dreams lost, lives lived into little old lady-hood — and lives cut short. Glamour and art and intelligence. These works are drenched in blood and feathers and gilt trim, and — like the early movies many real life chorus girl appeared in — have no formula.
Intricate pen and ink and watercolor fantasias depict moments out of the lives of Princess White Deer (Native American performer who headlined on three continents, played the Palace, and starred in the Follies), Evelyn Nesbit (the teenage chorus girl who played a central role in The Crime of the Century, the murder of Stanford White by Harry K. Thaw), Olive Thomas (legendary Ziegfeld star and whose death was the first Hollywood scandal) and Louise Brooks (serious dancer, legendary chorus girl, movie star, artist and writer). As in the lives of these complicated and fascinating women, nothing in these works is just what it seems.