Monday, December 05, 2005

December 4, 2005
I got home yesterday about one. Bailed into artwork for the next Classic Gunfight featuring Ben Thompson and King Fisher at the Vaudeville Theater in San Antonio. Worked hard trying to get a mysterious curtain effect, with two shooters peeking out into the audience. Not sure I got it. I’m also working on several barmaid and "chair warmer" illustrations.

Vaudeville Theater Stage Manager Frank Sparrow kept a business journal from 1874 to 1884. In his ledger Sparrow recorded who was hired, how much they were paid and what they were paid to do. He also made caustic comments as to the employees talent, or lack thereof. Here are some of his ledger comments from the years 1882-84, which covers the time period when the Ben Thompson affair took place.

• Emma De Haven, hired for 4 weeks as a ballad singer at $25 a week [as a comparison, keep in mind a cowboy made about $30 a month]: “Fine form/ good voice, a good hustler in the [Wine Room] when watched.”

• Jerry J. Dwyer, hired as a violinist and orchestra leader. “[A] fart and a booger from way back. Poor Jerry. Generous to a fault. [There are] worse than him in the world.”

• Lulu Alberts, hired as a "chair warmer" in the wine room at $10 a week for 4 weeks.

• Lizzie Haywood, Seriocomic, $20 a week. "Damn bad."

• Belle Sautley, hired at $20 a week for the balance of the season. A "male impersonator." Her act is "no good on earth."

• Chicago Girls, hired for the fall season. "Chair warmers at 3 in number, ought to be slinging hash in hotel."

• Kitty Wells, Seriocomic, $30 a week. "$15 [is] too much for her. Very fresh."

• Maud Walker, $30 a week. "Very good but very conceited, chair warmer and C."

• Lottie Richmond, 12 weeks, song and dance act, $30 a week. "Too many pads. Hop fiend [opium addict]."

• Daisy Scott, Chair Warmer, $10 per week. "Will never be killed for good looks."

—Source: Legendary Watering Holes: The Saloons That Made Texas Famous,” by David Bowser and compiled by Richard Selcer, Texas A&M University Press

While I was waiting for a cab at the Riviera Hotel in Vegas on Saturday morning, I got a call from my son Tomas in New York City, informing me that this week’s Village Voice has a cover story on Brokeback Mountain with the headline, "Homos On The Range." He was shocked. I was not. We sent them a postcard, with that headline, and the Voice has just been bought by Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey, who also got the postcard. I think I would have been more surprised if they hadn’t used the headline. I asked him to see if they mentioned our coverage and he said he’d get back to me.

We’ve got a new poll up:
Bodie is California's official Gold Rush ghost town and Calico is
the state's Silver Rush ghost town. If you had to pick between the two
to become the state's "Official Ghost Town," which would you pick? Cast your vote!

"A clean glove often hides a dirty hand."
—Old Vaquero Saying

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