Blackface is a form of theatrical make-up used predominantly by non-black performers to represent a caricature of a black person. The practice gained popularity during the 19th century and contributed to the spread of racial stereotypes such as the "happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation" or the "dandified coon". By the middle of the century, blackface minstrel shows had become a distinctive American artform, translating formal works such as opera into popular terms for a general audience. Early in the 20th century, blackface branched off from the minstrel show and became a form in its own right. In the United States, blackface had fallen out of favor by the turn of the 21st century, is now considered offensive and disrespectful, though the practice continues in other countries. Blackface was a performance tradition in the American theater for 100 years beginning around 1830, it became popular elsewhere so in Britain, where the tradition lasted longer than in the U. S. occurring on primetime TV, most famously in The Black and White Minstrel Show, which ended in 1978, in Are You Being Served?'s Christmas specials in 1976 and in 1981.
In both the United States and Britain, blackface was most used in the minstrel performance tradition, which it both predated and outlasted. Early white performers in blackface used burnt cork and greasepaint or shoe polish to blacken their skin and exaggerate their lips wearing woolly wigs, tailcoats, or ragged clothes to complete the transformation. Black artists performed in blackface. Stereotypes embodied in the stock characters of blackface minstrels not only played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images and perceptions worldwide, but in popularizing black culture. In some quarters, the caricatures that were the legacy of blackface persist to the present day and are a cause of ongoing controversy. Another view is that "blackface is a form of cross-dressing in which one puts on the insignias of a sex, class, or race that stands in opposition to one's own."By the mid-20th century, changing attitudes about race and racism ended the prominence of blackface makeup used in performance in the U.
S. and elsewhere. Blackface in contemporary art remains in limited use as a theatrical device and is more used today as social commentary or satire; the most enduring effect of blackface is the precedent it established in the introduction of African-American culture to an international audience, albeit through a distorted lens. Blackface's appropriation and assimilation of African-American culture – as well as the inter-ethnic artistic collaborations that stemmed from it – were but a prologue to the lucrative packaging and dissemination of African-American cultural expression and its myriad derivative forms in today's world popular culture. There is no consensus about a single moment; the journalist and cultural commentator John Strausbaugh places it as part of a tradition of "displaying Blackness for the enjoyment and edification of white viewers" that dates back at least to 1441, when captive West Africans were displayed in Portugal. White people portrayed the black characters in the Elizabethan and Jacobean theater, most famously in Othello.
However and other plays of this era did not involve the emulation and caricature of "such supposed innate qualities of Blackness as inherent musicality, natural athleticism", etc. that Strausbaugh sees as crucial to blackface. Lewis Hallam, Jr. a white blackface actor of American Company fame, brought blackface in this more specific sense to prominence as a theatrical device in the United States when playing the role of "Mungo", an inebriated black man in The Padlock, a British play that premiered in New York City at the John Street Theatre on May 29, 1769. The play attracted notice, other performers adopted the style. From at least the 1810s, blackface clowns were popular in the United States. British actor Charles Mathews toured the U. S. in 1822–23, as a result added a "black" characterization to his repertoire of British regional types for his next show, A Trip to America, which included Mathews singing "Possum up a Gum Tree", a popular slave freedom song. Edwin Forrest played a plantation black in 1823, George Washington Dixon was building his stage career around blackface in 1828, but it was another white comic actor, Thomas D. Rice, who popularized blackface.
Rice introduced the song "Jump Jim Crow" accompanied by a dance in his stage act in 1828 and scored stardom with it by 1832. First on de heel tap, den on the toeEvery time I wheel about I jump Jim Crow. I wheel about and turn about an do just so. Rice traveled the U. S. performing under the stage name "Daddy Jim Crow". The name Jim Crow became attached to statutes that codified the reinstitution of segregation and discrimination after Reconstruction. In the 1830s and early 1840s, blackface performances mixed skits with comic songs and vigorous dances. Rice and his peers performed only in disreputable venues, but as blackface gained popularity they gained opportunities to perform as entr'actes in theatrical venues of a higher class. Stereotyped blackface characters developed: buffoonish, superstitious and lascivious characters, who stole, lied pathologically, mangled the English language. Early blackface minstrels were all male, so cross-dressing white men played black women who were portrayed as unappealingly and grotesquely mannish, in the matronly mammy mold, or as sexually provocative.
The 1830s American stage, where blackfa
The can-can is a high-energy, physically demanding dance that became a popular music hall dance in the 1840s, continuing in popularity in French cabaret to this day. Danced by both sexes, it is now traditionally associated with a chorus line of female dancers; the main features of the dance are the vigorous manipulation of skirts and petticoats, along with high kicks and cartwheels. The cancan is believed to have evolved from the final figure in the quadrille, a social dance, four couples would dance to; the exact origin of the dance is obscure, but the steps may have been inspired by a popular entertainer of the 1820s, Charles Mazurier, well known for his acrobatics, including the grand écart or jump splits—both popular features of the cancan. The dance was considered scandalous, for a while, there were attempts to suppress it; this may have been because in the 19th century, women wore pantalettes, which had an open crotch, meaning that a high kick could be unintentionally revealing. There is no evidence that cancan dancers wore special closed underwear, although it has been said that the Moulin Rouge management did not permit dancers to perform in "revealing undergarments".
People dancing the cancan were arrested, but there is no record of its being banned, as some accounts claim. Throughout the 1830s, it was groups of men students, who danced the cancan at public dance-halls; as the dance became more popular, professional performers emerged, although it was still danced by individuals, not by a chorus line. A few men became cancan stars in the 1840s to 1861 and an all-male group known as the Quadrille des Clodoches performed in London in 1870. However, women performers were much more known; the early cancan dancers were prostitutes, but by the 1890s, it was possible to earn a living as a full-time dancer and stars such as La Goulue and Jane Avril emerged, who were paid for their appearances at the Moulin Rouge and elsewhere. The most prominent male can-can dancer of the time was Valentin le Désossé a frequent partner of La Goulue; the professional dancers of the Second Empire and the fin de siècle developed the cancan moves that were incorporated by the choreographer Pierre Sandrini in the spectacular "French Cancan", which he devised at the Moulin Rouge in the 1920s and presented at his own Bal Tabarin from 1928.
This was a combination of the individual style of the Parisian dance-halls and the chorus-line style of British and American music halls. In the United States and elsewhere, the can-can achieved popularity in music halls, where it was danced by groups of women in choreographed routines; this style was imported back into France in the 1920s for the benefit of tourists, the French Cancan was born—a choreographed routine lasting ten minutes or more, with the opportunity for individuals to display their "specialities". The main moves are the high kick or battement, the rond de jambe, the port d'armes, the cartwheel and the grand écart, it has become common practice for dancers to yelp while performing the cancan. The cancan was introduced in America on 23 December 1867 by Giuseppina Morlacchi, dancing as a part of The Devil's Auction at the Theatre Comique in Boston, it was billed as "Grand Gallop Can-Can and danced by Mlles. Morlacchi, Diani, Baretta... accompanied with cymbals and triangles by the coryphees and corps de ballet."
The new dance received an enthusiastic reception. By the 1890s the cancan was out of style in New York dance halls, having been replaced by the hoochie coochie; the cancan became popular in Alaska and Yukon, where theatrical performances feature cancan dancers to the present day. The cancan is now considered a part of world dance culture; the main feature observed today is how physically demanding and tiring the dance is to perform, but it still retains a bawdy, suggestive element. When the dance first appeared in the early 19th century, it was considered a scandalous dance, similar to how rock and roll was perceived in the 1950s. In the mid-19th century it was thought to be immoral by respectable society. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the cancan was viewed as much more erotic because the dancers made use of the extravagant underwear of the period, the contrasting black stockings, they lifted and manipulated their skirts much more, incorporated a move sometimes considered the most cheeky and provocative—bending over and throwing their skirts over their backs, presenting their bottoms to the audience.
The Moulin Rouge dancer La Goulue was well known for this gesture, had a heart embroidered on the seat of her drawers. A cancan dancer would sometimes stand close to a man, bet that she could take off his hat without using her hands; when he took the bet, she would execute a high kick that would take off his hat—and give him a quick look at her pantaloons while she was at it. It was a warning that anyone taking unwanted liberties with a dancer could expect a kick in the face. Early editions of The Oxford Companion to Music defined the cancan as "A boisterous and latterly indecorous dance of the quadrille order, exploited in Paris for the benefit of such British and American tourists as will pay well to be well shocked, its exact nature is unknown to anyone connected with this Companion." Many composers have written music for the cancan. The most famous music is French composer Jacques Offenbach's Galop Infernal in his operetta Orphée aux Enfer
The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American form of entertainment developed in the early 19th century. Each show consisted of comic skits, variety acts and music performances that depicted people of African descent; the shows were performed by white people in make-up or blackface for the purpose of playing the role of black people. There were some African-American performers and all-black minstrel groups that formed and toured under the direction of white people. Minstrel shows lampooned black people as dim-witted, buffoonish and happy-go-lucky. Minstrel shows emerged as brief burlesques and comic entr'actes in the early 1830s in the Northeastern states, they were developed into full-fledged form in the next decade. By 1848, blackface minstrel shows were the national artform, translating formal art such as opera into popular terms for a general audience. By the turn of the 20th century, the minstrel show enjoyed but a shadow of its former popularity, having been replaced for the most part by vaudeville.
The form survived as professional entertainment until about 1910. The genre has had a lasting legacy and influence and was featured in a television series as as 1975; as the civil rights movement progressed and gained acceptance, minstrels lost popularity. The typical minstrel performance followed a three-act structure; the troupe first danced onto stage exchanged wisecracks and sang songs. The second part featured a variety of entertainments, including the pun-filled stump speech; the final act consisted of a send-up of a popular play. Minstrel songs and sketches featured several stock characters, most popularly the slave and the dandy; these were further divided into sub-archetypes such as the mammy, her counterpart the old darky, the provocative mulatto wench, the black soldier. Minstrels claimed that their songs and dances were authentically black, although the extent of the black influence remains debated. Spirituals entered the repertoire in the 1870s, marking the first undeniably black music to be used in minstrelsy.
Blackface minstrelsy was the first theatrical form, distinctly American. During the 1830s and 1840s at the height of its popularity, it was at the epicenter of the American music industry. For several decades, it provided the means. On the one hand, it had strong racist aspects. Although the minstrel shows were popular, being "consistently packed with families from all walks of life and every ethnic group", they were controversial. Integrationists decried them as falsely showing happy slaves while at the same time making fun of them. Minstrel shows were popular before slavery was abolished, sufficiently so that Frederick Douglass described blackface performers as "...the filthy scum of white society, who have stolen from us a complexion denied them by nature, in which to make money, pander to the corrupt taste of their white fellow citizens." Although white theatrical portrayals of black characters date back to as early as 1604, the minstrel show as such has origins. By the late 18th century, blackface characters began appearing on the American stage as "servant" types whose roles did little more than provide some element of comic relief.
Similar performers appeared in entr'actes in New York theaters and other venues such as taverns and circuses. As a result, the blackface "Sambo" character came to supplant the "tall-tale-telling Yankee" and "frontiersman" character-types in popularity, white actors such as Charles Mathews, George Washington Dixon, Edwin Forrest began to build reputations as blackface performers. Author Constance Rourke claimed that Forrest's impression was so good he could fool blacks when he mingled with them in the streets. Thomas Dartmouth Rice's successful song-and-dance number, "Jump Jim Crow", brought blackface performance to a new level of prominence in the early 1830s. At the height of Rice's success, The Boston Post wrote, "The two most popular characters in the world at the present are Victoria and Jim Crow." As early as the 1820s, blackface performers called themselves "Ethiopian delineators". Blackface soon found a home in the taverns of New York's less respectable precincts of Lower Broadway, the Bowery, Chatham Street.
It appeared on more respectable stages, most as an entr'acte. Upper-class houses at first limited the number of such acts they would show, but beginning in 1841, blackface performers took to the stage at the classy Park Theatre, much to the dismay of some patrons. Theater was a participatory activity, the lower classes came to dominate the playhouse, they threw things at actors or orchestras who performed unpopular material, rowdy audiences prevented the Bowery Theatre from staging high drama at all. Typical blackface acts of the period were short burlesques with mock Shakespearean titles like "Hamlet the Dainty", "Bad Breath, the Crane of Chowder", "Julius Sneezer" or "Dars-de-Money". Meanwhile, at least some whites were interested in black dance by actual black performers. Nineteenth-century New York slaves shingle danced for spare change on their days off, musicians play
Michael B. Leavitt
Michael B. Leavitt was an American theater entrepreneur and producer, he entered show business as a blackface minstrel show singer. By the 1860s, Leavitt had made the leap to management and, following the precedent set by others, was touring variety show troupes in rural areas, billing them as authentic city entertainment. By 1870, Leavitt had made a name in the theater industry by importing acts to North America from Europe. Leavitt's companies toured Mexico, he sometimes worked in partnership with Abraham Leavitt. Acts he managed include magicians Alexander Harry Kellar. In his memoirs, Leavitt claimed to have made several innovations in American show business. For example, he credited himself with the introduction of lithographic theater posters to the United States in 1872 after he had brought some back from Europe. By the end of the 1870s, lithographic printing had begun to supplant block printing for theater advertising. Leavitt claimed that in the late 1870s, his six to eight touring burlesque companies required $8,000 to $20,000 worth of lithographs posters each season.
Another of Leavitt's claims was. He claimed that in 1880, he was the first to use the term vaudeville to describe a variety show. Historians cite Leavitt's greatest innovation as the creation of the first touring burlesque company and of the burlesque style in general. Leavitt had witnessed a European troupe known as Rentz's Circus sometime in the 1870s, he decided to form an all-woman blackface minstrel troupe, which he named Madame Rentz's Female Minstrels. The format of its shows, which Leavitt introduced, merged the three-act blackface minstrel show with aspects of Lydia Thompson's all-female troupe's show and musical travesty, he called the new genre "burlesque". The troupe renamed the Rentz-Stantley Company and the Rentz-Stantley Novelty and Burlesque Company, was a success, it set the standard for burlesque companies through the 1880s and 1890s. Leavitt had a taste for sensationalism. For example, in 1884, he bought the rights to The Danites, a play by McKee Rankin, quite critical of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Leavitt decided to stage the play in Salt Lake City, historical center of Mormonism, as a publicity stunt. Leavitt handled magicians Alexander Herrmann and Harry Kellar. "Whenever I open a new theatre, " Leavitt once said, "I want to insure of large crowds, I will have Herrmann the Great play the date." Herrmann was always a drawing card where he played, receiving fifty percent of the gross receipt earning $75,000 a year. Aged 70 in 1914, Leavitt came out of retirement to enter the motion picture business, he secured the rights to present the film Sixty Years a Queen in the Canadian Maritimes. Despite his advanced age, show business chronicler Robert Grau described Leavitt as "yet as spry and as youthful as he was in his palmy days". Allen, Robert C.. Horrible Prettiness: Burlesque and American Culture. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-4316-4. Barth, Gunther. City People: The Rise of Modern City Culture in Nineteenth-Century America. New York City: Oxford University Press.
ISBN 0-19-503194-6. Beasley, David. McKee Rankin and the Heyday of the American Theater. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. ISBN 0-88920-390-3. Grau Robert; the Business Man in the Amusement World: A Volume of Progress in the Field of the Theatre. New York City: Broadway Publishing Company. Grau, Robert; the Theatre of Science: A Volume of Progress and Achievement in the Motion Picture Industry. New York City: Broadway Publishing Company. Leavitt, Michael Bennett. Fifty Years in Theatrical Management. New York City: Broadway Publishing Company. Londré, Felicia Hardison, Daniel J. Watermeier; the History of North American Theater: The United States and Mexico: From Pre-Columbian Times to the Present. New York City: The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc. ISBN 0-8264-1233-5. Shteir, Rachel. Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show. New York City: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-512750-1. Steinmeyer, Jim; the Glorious Deception: The Double Life of William Robinson, aka Chung Ling Soo the "Marvelous Chinese Conjurer".
New York City: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1770-X. Wilmeth, Don B. and Tice L. Miller. Cambridge Guide to American Theatre. New York City: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56444-1
San Francisco the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural and financial center of Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th-most populous city in the United States, the fourth-most populous in California, with 884,363 residents as of 2017, it covers an area of about 46.89 square miles at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second-most densely populated large US city, the fifth-most densely populated U. S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is part of the fifth-most populous primary statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area; as of 2017, it was the seventh-highest income county in the United States, with a per capita personal income of $119,868. As of 2015, San Francisco proper had a GDP of $154.2 billion, a GDP per capita of $177,968. The San Francisco CSA was the country's third-largest urban economy as of 2017, with a GDP of $907 billion.
Of the 500+ primary statistical areas in the US, the San Francisco CSA had among the highest GDP per capita in 2017, at $93,938. San Francisco was ranked 14th in the world and third in the United States on the Global Financial Centres Index as of September 2018. San Francisco was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established Presidio of San Francisco at the Golden Gate and Mission San Francisco de Asís a few miles away, all named for St. Francis of Assisi; the California Gold Rush of 1849 brought rapid growth, making it the largest city on the West Coast at the time. San Francisco became a consolidated city-county in 1856. San Francisco's status as the West Coast's largest city peaked between 1870 and 1900, when around 25% of California's population resided in the city proper. After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. In World War II, San Francisco was a major port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater.
It became the birthplace of the United Nations in 1945. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, significant immigration, liberalizing attitudes, along with the rise of the "hippie" counterculture, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement growing from opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States. Politically, the city votes along liberal Democratic Party lines. A popular tourist destination, San Francisco is known for its cool summers, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman's Wharf, its Chinatown district. San Francisco is the headquarters of five major banking institutions and various other companies such as Levi Strauss & Co. Gap Inc. Fitbit, Salesforce.com, Reddit, Inc. Dolby, Weebly, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Pinterest, Uber, Mozilla, Wikimedia Foundation and Weather Underground.
It is home to a number of educational and cultural institutions, such as the University of San Francisco, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco State University, the De Young Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the California Academy of Sciences. As of 2019, San Francisco is the highest rated American city on world liveability rankings; the earliest archaeological evidence of human habitation of the territory of the city of San Francisco dates to 3000 BC. The Yelamu group of the Ohlone people resided in a few small villages when an overland Spanish exploration party, led by Don Gaspar de Portolà, arrived on November 2, 1769, the first documented European visit to San Francisco Bay. Seven years on March 28, 1776, the Spanish established the Presidio of San Francisco, followed by a mission, Mission San Francisco de Asís, established by the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza. Upon independence from Spain in 1821, the area became part of Mexico. Under Mexican rule, the mission system ended, its lands became privatized.
In 1835, Englishman William Richardson erected the first independent homestead, near a boat anchorage around what is today Portsmouth Square. Together with Alcalde Francisco de Haro, he laid out a street plan for the expanded settlement, the town, named Yerba Buena, began to attract American settlers. Commodore John D. Sloat claimed California for the United States on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican–American War, Captain John B. Montgomery arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco on January 30 of the next year, Mexico ceded the territory to the United States at the end of the war. Despite its attractive location as a port and naval base, San Francisco was still a small settlement with inhospitable geography; the California Gold Rush brought a flood of treasure seekers. With their sourdough bread in tow, prospectors accumulated in San Francisco over rival Benicia, raising the population from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 by December 1849; the promise of great wealth was so strong that crews on arriving vessels deserted and rushed off to the gold fields, leaving behind a forest of masts in San Francisco harbor.
Some of these 500 abandoned ships were used at times as storeships and hotels.