Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Unpublished Marilyn Monroe Photos from Life Magazine
They were taken before rumors of an affair with President John F. Kennedy swirled and her mental breakdowns became public.
They were taken before the beautiful actress's mysterious overdose that resulted in her death at the age of 36.

In a collection discovered by Life.com last month, unpublished photographs of Monroe reveal a softer, more innocent 24-year-old budding starlet in a more peaceful time, before her fame peaked.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lili St Cyr

Name: Lili St. Cyr (Marie Van Shaak)
Born: June 3, 1918
Place of Birth: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Height: 5 foot 9 inches
Weight: 118 lbs
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Blonde
Measurements: 36-24-36

In the early world of burlesque and striptease, performers such as Gypsy Rose Lee and Ann Corio did much to lift the business from sleazy bars to an artform. Lili St Cyr took it a level higher, to one of class, elegance, and beauty.

Lili St Cyr was born Marie Van Shaak of German Italian ancestry, In Minneapolis Minnesota. Moving at a young age to Pasedena she took ballet lessons, and started working in modeling in her teens.
Her professional career started as a chorus line dancer at the Florentine Gardens, in Hollywood. After two years she went to San Fransisco to work at the Music Box nightclub. While earning only $27.50 a week, Lili noticed the topless dancers where earning upwards of $500 a week. It didn't take long before she changed careers and embarked on her road to legend.

It didn't start out easy though, after clumsily trying to wing it through her first performance she was fired on the spot. The manager of the Music Box Fehnova later had a change of heart and helped her work out a better routine. Lili came out wearing nothing but a g-string with an invisible fishing line tied to it, at the finale of the routine the string was pulled by a hand off stage and it goes flying as the lights in the house go out simultaneously. This trick known now as "The Flying G" made her an instant success.

Four the next five years Fehnova had Lili practice Russian ballet for 3 to 4 hours a day. This is what molded her from a young gawky kid to a graceful and highly skilled dancer. During this time is when she adopted the stage name Lili St Cyr. She got the Lili for her fondness of Lillie Langtry and Lillian Russell, and the St Cyr is from a beautiful story she had read of France.

Then began the touring. Lili was seen in most major cities across Northern America. Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, New York, and more. Her acts where quite memorable, with names like "The Wolf Woman", Afternoon of a Faun", The Ballet Dancer", "In a Persian Harem", "The Love Bird", "The Chinese Virgin" to name a hand full. Lili not only had a dislike for the normal bump and grind acts, she defied them with outrageous show stoppers like the backwards striptease. Lili would start with nothing but a g-string on and proceed to dress with the help of a maid. Lili's act even helped the newly emerging Las Vegas out of it's infancy, and helped forge it into the great entertainment mecca of today. While in Vegas she preformed her biggest and most lavish shows making her the premier striptease and burlesque act in the country. Many of the acts still seen today where trademarked and thought up by Lili St. Cyr in her Vegas days.
In 1955, Lili with the help of Howard Hughes landed her first acting job in a major motion picture the "Son of Sinbad" Sadly her movie career was short lived, and most of her parts were limited to rolls, playing an exotic dancer or herself.

After her retirement from the stage around the early 60's Lili focused her attention on, on a provocative lingerie shop on Hollywood Boulevard called "The Undie World of Lili St Cyr" Later on the enterprise was sold to another lingerie shop located in Santa Monica Boulevard which she still retains an interest in.