Kiss Me Kate: 1979

We open in Canada with a production by Central Alberta Theatre, starring Don Christianson and Amy Olthuis, seen here in rehearsal being directed by Diane Thomas:

It ran for six performances, May 3 through 12. And almost concurrently in Pittsburgh, KMK featured in an anthology of extracts from Broadway musicals from May 4 through 12. Here are Carl Berkowitz and Donna Dean:

Nebraska Repertory Theatre opened its season with a full production on June 22. Caron Buinis and Norm Brandenstein were Lilli and Fred:

I’m afraid there’s no photo of her being spanked, but the theater gave the scene its customary publicity prominence with the usual graphic:

The period between August 30 to September 3 saw three performances at Payson High School, Utah, with La Marr Nielson as Fred and Lora LeBaron as Lilli, seen here in what the local paper described as a ‘tender’ scene.

The reporter was, of course, being ironical – unless he was referring to Lora’s rear end!

In October, Torquay Operatic Society produced the musical, and David Shaw spanked Joan Kerslake:

And lastly, here’s the Lilli at Western Illinois University:

And here she is being spanked:

Photographer of the Week: Christina Ramsey

In 2010, the photographer and rock drummer Christina Ramsey, seen here channeling her inner Daisy Mae, founded Howdy Girl Studios in her native Orlando. She built the business on her love of vintage imagery, aiming to bring out what she calls ‘vintage beauty’ in her clients. We can illustrate that with four of the clients in question, through her lenses and others. All of them will become relevant to our particular interest.

Here’s Ria Fredericks:

Heels Angel, sporting three different hair colors and at least two different panty colors:

Bonnie Belvedere:

And finally, Bad Lisa Anne:

But before we see them go to work on each other, let’s take a look at something Howdy Girl ran for a charity event in 2014: a kissing and spanking booth, staffed by pinup girls!

Now obviously one of those things is a bit more interesting to watch than the other…

even though it isn’t actually spanking in the strictest sense of the word.

Don’t worry, though, because Christina is enough of a vintage enthusiast to know what a real spanking looks like. Here’s Bad Lisa Anne demonstrating on Heels Angel:

But if Heels is an Angel, why is she the one being spanked? And by Bad Lisa, of all people! So maybe some turnabout is in order, even though Heels can’t now sit down to do it properly:

Bonnie and Ria are next up, but this time the spanking equation only goes one way, from Ria’s palm to Bonnie’s bottom:

Howdy Girl Studios came to an end in 2016 when Christina moved to Austin, and since then she seems to have concentrated more on her drumming than her photography, so sadly there’s no longer a website for you to visit if you’re interested. But it was fun while it lasted!

Another Spanking Rapper

I’m not altogether sure what the Vietnamese rapper Huynh James intended when he got together with photographer Quan Fam and a young lady for a session in 2016.

Was he planning to promote one of his songs, released through Mondo Records?

Or a mix tape he was going to offer his admiring fans?

Or his business, a hair salon in Phan Thiet?

But in any event, the key image ended up on the song!

And if you like rap, you can listen to his music on the Mondo Records YouTube channel.

There isn’t a Spanking Scene in… Two for the Seesaw

New York, 1958: two lonely people falter into one another’s orbit and end up sleeping together. It’s rather like Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, only with less damaged individuals. He’s Jerry Ryan, an attorney from Nebraska on the run from an on-off divorce. She’s Gittel Mosca, a Jewish seamstress from the Bronx who kids herself that she might have a career as a dancer. There’s a strong sexual attraction between them, which he articulates by wittily calling her ‘buoyant in the bow, swivelly in the stern and spicy in the hatch. I think you’re a mixed-up girl: calmly considered, your bottom is tops.’ They stay together for eight months before it becomes clear that the relationship is going nowhere: like the occupants of a seesaw, they are mutually interdependent but destined never to be perfectly aligned, one always up when the other is down and vice versa.

William Gibson’s bittersweet comedy Two for the Seesaw was a Broadway hit when it opened in January 1958 with Henry Fonda and Anne Bancroft; it ran for 750 performances at the Booth Theatre, closing at the end of October 1959, and was then filmed in 1962 with Robert Mitchum and Shirley MacLaine.

But this is a play without a spanking scene: the closest it gets is a moment in the second act when they have an argument about her promiscuity, and he hits her in the face with a rolled-up newspaper. So none of this history is directly relevant to our subject, except in establishing that it was a popular success ripe for revival beyond Broadway. And with that, we turn our attention to the production that graced the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts for six performances in August 1960. Leland Starnes played Jerry, and Gittel was the young Suzanne Pleshette.

And, happily, it looks as if the director decided she should have something better than a smack in the face…

Photographer of the Week: Eugenio Qose


Arresting imagery is every advertising and fashion photographer’s objective.

And arresting imagery is exactly what you get from the lens of Albanian-born Eugenio Qose, who is now based in Florence and shoots internationally.

A strong eye for line, developed through study of the master-painters of the Italian Renaissance, means he often poses his models with a striking angularity of limb:

which is often combined with curves in the appropriate places.

Look at how the lines of this stunning bridal gown spread out gloriously across the lower half of the picture:

When appropriate, his photos can also be gently but overtly erotic, whether the shoot is imaginatively off-the-wall or beautiful in its simplicity.

And the arresting image that earns him a place in this series is from a 2015 Miami Beach shoot for the Florida fashion house Casa de Novelas, featuring its founder, Daniel Novela, and a friend:

If you are interested in Eugenio Qose’s work, please visit his website.

In a Secretarial Fashion

Ellen von Unwerth once said that there was no place for spanking imagery in the world of fashion.

Don’t tell that to the elegantly subversive New Zealand designer Kate Sylvester, whose Autumn/Winter 2012 collection was based around the 2002 movie Secretary,

which may not be a movie for the spanking purist, but does contain enough stylish erotic imagery to be a rich source for Kate Sylvester’s imagination to mine for inspiration. Her ‘Secretary’ collection was launched in October 2011 with a fashion show at Auckland Art Gallery, in which one of the models obligingly bent over a desk to recreate the first bottom-smacking scene in the movie:

And she didn’t just bend over: she actually got smacked!

Here’s a closer look:

If you are interested in Kate Sylvester’s work, please visit her website.

The Carefree Heart

The place: ‘an unlikely village in France’. The time: some time in the seventeenth century. The situation: familiar!

The Mayor, Monsieur Argan, has two problems: his health and his daughter. He is a confirmed hypochondriac, cared for by a live-in nurse named Toinette, making him a goldmine for the local medical profession. He is determined that his daughter Lucinda shall marry the odious Horace Diafoirus, the daughter of a rich neighbor, and not the man she loves, Leander, who is unacceptable because penniless. When she decides to take poison, if only she can find some among her father’s many medicines, Toinette comes up with an alternative, safer plan: she will lose her voice, and a fake doctor can then be called in to help her. All they need is to find someone to be the doctor – even if it has to be in spite of himself.

The Carefree Heart isn’t quite an adaptation of Moliere’s Le Malade Imaginaire, for the simple reason that it is also not quite an adaptation of Moliere’s Le Médecin Malgré Lui. The authors Robert Wright (1914-2005) and George Forrest (1915-99), the team previously responsible for Song of Norway and Kismet, conflated the two Moliere plays together to make a musical, which they originally titled Speak, Lucinda!

Renamed, it opened for a pre-Broadway tour at the Cass Theatre, Detroit, on September 30, 1957, then moved on to Cleveland. Comedian Jack Carter took the leading role of Sganarelle, and Billie Worth was Martina.

Their first scene, of course, features a husband-and-wife fight. Here they are butting heads in rehearsal:

Which leads, among other things, to…

And now onstage:

Carefree Heart first scene

As in countless productions of Moliere’s play, the outcome is…

The rest of the story can be told in short order, because we know it already from Moliere: Sganarelle gets beaten into accepting the identity of a famous and eccentric doctor, and he both cures Lucinda and sees to it that she gets to marry Leander after all.

The Carefree Heart didn’t enjoy quite such a happy ending. It got excellent notices but did terrible business at the box office, and the tour only took it as far as Cincinnati, where it closed November 2. The planned Broadway opening the following week simply never happened.

In 1959, the show got a second chance in London, retitled The Love Doctor and with the period setting updated to Victorian times and the pre-Wooster, pre-Wimsey Ian Carmichael cast in the lead. But the American producers lacked confidence in the script, and tinkered persistently with it throughout rehearsals. And by then, one of the things that had already been tinkered out was, alas, the spanking. In fact, the entire role of Martina was excised, to make Sganarelle a mendicant tramp who once stood up Toinette on a date and so caused her to be unjustly jailed on a charge of soliciting. And needless to say, the musical bombed in the West End just as it had in the American Midwest!