"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
The Wall Street Journal carries an engaging review by Joseph Epstein of Sin in the Second City, Karen Abbott's history of the Golden Age of Chicago cathouses. The account centers on the celebrated club operated by sisters Minna and Ada Everleigh that "even now is talked about in Chicago by men interested in the sporting life."
The Everleigh Club opened on Feb. 1, 1900, and closed on the morning of Oct. 25, 1911. In between times, the sisters accrued assets, by Ms. Abbott's estimate, worth more than $20 million in today's dollars, while their establishment acquired world-wide fame as one of the wonders of the city of Chicago, which, in the words of First Ward Alderman Michael "Hinky Dink" Kenna, "ain't no sissy town."
The Everleigh Club was a cathouse with a vast difference -- it was more like the Ritz, with, of course, added attractions. Sumptuous food was served (entrées on the buffet included guinea fowl, pheasant and broiled squab), music both serious and popular played while a basso continuo was supplied by the popping of champagne corks, and the downstairs décor included a gold piano that set the sisters back no fewer than 15 grand.
To give some notion of the general tone of the place: While customers were upstairs frolicking with the girls, downstairs their suits were being pressed.
And here I had just been reading about the Everleigh Club in Crazy '08, Cait Murphy's entertaining history of the Cubs-Giants pennant race of 1908. Murphy, describing the wild and wooly Chicago of that day, writes of "the country's most famous bawdy house":
The Everleigh fantasia was a huge hit, bringing in profits north of $100,000 a year and welcoming the likes of Ring Lardner, John Barrymore and Edgar Lee Masters. In 1902, the brother of the kaiser was treated to a spectacle of thirty wenches re-creating a mythical revel that ended in a feast of raw meat and the prince sipping champagne from a slipper. "The place had class and taste," wrote Nell Kimball, who took an informed interest in it since she spent a lifetime as a madam. "Class is cost, taste is where cost doesn't show."
Photographer Ernest J. Bellocq was a Toulouse Lautrec with a camera in New Orleans' red-light district in the early years of the 20th century:
In the early 1900s, Ernest J. Bellocq carried his 8 x 10-inch view camera across Basin Street to photograph the women of New Orleans' notorious district of legalized prostitution, Storyville. His private photographic project remained unknown until after his death, but eventually found its way to international acclaim...He kept his Storyville project secret from everyone except a few of his closest friends, and it remained secret until his glass negative plates were discovered languishing in a junk shop years after his death.
His Storyville portraits eventually would be exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art and would influence the film Pretty Baby.
NOTE: The link above probably is NSFW, unless you happen to be a member of the figure-drawing faculty at Mrs Peperium's alma mater.
Count Gottfried von Bismarck, who was found dead on Monday aged 44, was a louche German aristocrat with a multi-faceted history as a pleasure-seeking heroin addict, hell-raising alcoholic, flamboyant waster and a reckless and extravagant host of homosexual orgies.
The great-great-grandson of Prince Otto, Germany's Iron Chancellor and architect of the modern German state, the young von Bismarck showed early promise as a brilliant scholar, but led an exotic life of gilded aimlessness that attracted the attention of the gossip columns from the moment he arrived in Oxford in 1983 and hosted a dinner at which the severed heads of two pigs were placed at either end of the table.
When not clad in the lederhosen of his homeland, he cultivated an air of sophisticated complexity by appearing in women's clothes, set off by lipstick and fishnet stockings. This aura of dangerous "glamour" charmed a large circle of friends and acquaintances drawn from the jeunesse dorée of the age; many of them knew him at Oxford, where he made friends such as Darius Guppy and Viscount Althorp and became an enthusiastic, rubber-clad member of the Piers Gaveston Society and the drink-fuelled Bullingdon and Loders clubs.
Perhaps unsurprisingly he managed only a Third in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.