Feuding Fan Dancers: Faith Bacon, Sally Rand and the Golden Age of the Showgirl

Leslie Zemeckis. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-64009-114-6
In this love letter to performers of silent films and the vaudeville circuit, Zemeckis (Goddess of Love Incarnate) takes a deep dive into the hardscrabble lives of two of the most famous performers of the 1930s: Faith Bacon and Sally Rand. Born Harriet Beck in 1904 Missouri, Rand performed for years as a nude and seminude dancer in venues throughout the country. But it wasn’t until a performance at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair that Rand, assisted by a pair of pink, seven-foot ostrich feathers, gained wider popularity. The next year, Zemeckis writes, she, along with actress Mae West, “were the record earners amongst women entertainers.” Rand often competed with Bacon (born in Los Angeles in 1910), who at the age of 13 was posing nude as an artist’s model. Bacon’s ease with her body led her, like Rand, to the stage, where she became a Ziegfeld Girl. Rand, a skilled self-promoter, was able to parlay the fan dance into a six-decade-long career while Bacon, who originated the concept, was often in Rand’s shadow. Their competition became so intense that Bacon filed a lawsuit against Rand over artistic theft. Zemeckis brings to vivid life these two performers in an exciting era. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2018
Release date: 10/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-64009-265-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-6651-3197-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-6651-3198-8
Open Ebook - 978-1-64009-060-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-68441-636-3
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