Saturday, March 1, 2008

Guess what month this is?

Well, Barack Obama made history last month by becoming the front-runner in the Democratic race for the presidential nomination. Hey, it was Black History Month.

But March is Women’s History Month. (For real.) Does that mean it’ll be Hillary Clinton’s time to shine?

Regardless, I will be acknowledging the impact of women on world culture throughout this month. Starting with this here:

Now... how hot was that?

You might think I’m being silly – and I partly am – but burlesque has a huge place in the history of American entertainment.

Cuban-born Amalia Aguilar, in the clips above, became a legitimate film star in Mexico in the 1950s. (Lately she has turned up in documentary shows like “Historias Engarzadas” and “Celebremos México: Hecho en México.”)

But in the ’40s, Aguilar did some performing in U.S. burlesque theaters. Evidently these two short films were made in America. (Read more.)

Amalia Aguilar wasn’t the only Cuban dancer to cross over into Mexican movies. Others were Ninón Sevilla (pictured) and Lina Salomé (“The Dancing Sphinx”).

“Mexican cinema definitely internationalized for the Latin American market the image of the Cuban woman as vedette [sex symbol] and rumba dancer,” writes Coco Fusco in her 1999 book “Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas.”

“Whether white, mulatta or black,” Ms. Fusco continues, “what was being exported was the Caribbean exoticism and the sensuality of the Cuban woman.”

Amalia Aguilar has a story to tell. And I want to know what it is.


deeceevoice said...

Love your blog. And how prolific you are.

But you start off your acknowledgement of the month dedicated to the contributions and impact of women on the world with a nod to burlesque?


Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thanks for the love, deecee.

Yeah, that's my sense of humor. But what about how I flipped it? Amalia Aguilar really does represent something interesting in pop-culture history.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Plus, I'll be kickin' some Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Mead and Zora Neale Hurston as time goes on.

Francisco said...

Whoa! Memory Rush! Ninon Sevilla was just the most sexy and voluptous woman I've seen in Mexican movies. (Back when voluptous meant what it was supposed to mean, before personal ads existed, y'know?) For some weird reason, Mexico continues to import vedettes from Cuba. The latest one 'Niurka' is like a neverending scandal every week. UBM, thanks man for the shout out! Also, good job on the league on getting Wesley Snipes out of trouble against the IRS. Halle Berry FTW! We need a new episode of the league.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thanks, Francisco.

We need a new episode of the league.

That'll depend on what happens tomorrow in Texas and Ohio. ;^D

Anonymous said...

Amalia is the sweetest. We speak by telephone every week. I live in London and fell in love with her movies some years ago. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to her by a mutual friend. The story she has to tell is a long and very beautiful one. One day I hope to help her tell it to a non Latin audience.
Beso mucho - Amalia Aguiar - Mi madre Cubana.