Friday, November 19, 2010

* ZIG ZAG ZIEGFELD * ~ By Absolutely*Kate of Harbinger*33 ... #FlashFiction

SO HOW DOES A ZIEGFELD GOIL GROW?  ~ photo ala picassoswoman


~ By Absolutely*Kate

Dear Diary,

It's Me again. Well, who else would it be, hunh? I'm so excited. I got the part! I know it already by heart! Well yeah, sure, it's a bit of a bit part -- but hey Toots, hey Bub -- everyone's got to get their start somewhere, right? It just figures, it does.

So anyway, I'm in Act 2, in the third row of the chorus line when Claudine belts out "You Made Me Love You". Right at the part of "I didn't wanna do it, I didn't wanna do it" we all shimmy to the right and kinda half-turn to the left, pause our cleavages and then swoop down low. Oh! I have the most beeeyoootiful bend-down-over dress. I won't let Momma see it, but Sugar Mae did and she just up and "Ooooohed" like the band was beating it up for Georgie Cohan crooning to Theda Bara so I know it's a hot number.

Guess what?
Silly Diary, you can't guess, so I'll tell you --
I've got sequins! Honest, I do!
Me. Imagine. A ZIEGFELD GOIL! -- with sequins.
Life is looking up.
I gotta run now as there's Rehearsal tonight!!! But next time we're together I want to whisper you a little something sly about Billy Bradford. My my!

DEAR DIARY, SAID GOIL ~ Pic ala DigitalParadox

Yours Mighty Truly,

Mabel Jean Krenicki

(Yeah, I'm still looking
 for that stage name)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Mabel! Hurry! Where WERE you? C'mon, you're late, you're late. He's been lookin' for you!"

Breathless, hauling a worn but serviceable satchel with every imaginable edge of tinted lace trailing out, Mabel flustered her rush of explanation,  "The bus on Toity Toid went kaplooey. I had to get off while the ol' tin can on wheels was rattling and smokin' and hotfoot it seven blocks here. I ran the last three and tore my stocking. When I make it to the front row in the chorus line, you t'ink a goil like me can grab a cab? Oh, who? Who's been looking for me?" Pausing, lowering her raw but singsongy voice to a right reverent pitch, "You mean -- Mr Ziegfeld?"

"Yeah sure dollface. In your Franny Brice Billie Burke dreamland. No. Ned. Step to it kid, he's got another lightbulb sparking over his noggin."

"Another one! Oh Johnny, I just bet it's a doozy then. That handsome feller's no stuffed shirt, nope siree. So which way's our Wayburn?", asked Mabel, surreptitiously nudging her worn brown scuffed size 7 against stylish Lorna's  butterscotch and honey little Winship luggage case with the pop-out fitted tray shelf she envied, to make enough room for her plain old rehearsal bag. She sighed, light but heavy. Swiftly fishing around in 'old faithful' she knew just where to reach her tucked in extra pair of practical stockings, but thought not for the first time what it would feel like to be grand enough to tote around her own little butterscotchy case with a red quilted satin lining. 

"Mabel? Mabel Jean! You coming? Ned's lining up all the girls by height now. You're gonna miss where your new spot is. Shake a leg!"

Mabel muttered back as good naturedly as a young dame gobbling  butterflies can do, "Whattya think I'm shakin' Johnny boy? I'm gettin' me gams into hosiery that ain't got no holes no more. Now WHERE'S Ned Wayburn doin' his convoluting?"

Crusty Johnny Barkley with knowledgeable lines around his eyes smiled. Kinda smug but kinda soft, like the spot he had for these green Ziegfeld gals who came in for their big chance to dance and push and shove their way a little, step by feathered step to where front and center had a better stance into the footlights. Oh he'd seen it all. Some of these greens were actually emeralds in the rough. He looked out for those kind. He kinda hoped Mabel Jean would make it. Krenicki was a real good kid. She just didn't know how to believe in herself yet. "Just listen Mabel Jean, just listen. You'll find him. And don't change nothin'. He said to keep your street shoes on." For good measure to sharpen her up, he gruffed out one more yelp,"And for crying out loud, you'd better not be gumming up your chances spoiling his dances by dropping your Juicy Fruit on his stage again!"

He chuckled as he heard her spirit without stammer spit right back.

"Aw SmartStuff whatta you know Buster? It was the new Doublemint that that swell Mr Wrigley the marketing whiz mailed to every Joe and Molly he could find in the phone directory. So suck them apples Johnny!"

The sound was rat-a-tat-a-tat-jackhammery. Pounding. Louder still on old stage wood. Real loud. She could hear it over her hurried breathing's hustle and the low deep rumbly chortle, when she came around the backstage door, passing Johnny. He patted her rump for good luck, or something like that, but she ignored his antics. She was caught up in the fresh glory of this new sound. Brittle, then soft and a bunch of clickety-clumps. Then machine-gunny in its way. But it sure had a certain catchy rhythm going for it. It did. Mabel Jean could tell. She prided herself on her hoofer's ear.

And dance director Ned Wayburn prided himself on skill and precison, kick lines and patterns that spread into astounding geometrics. Spectacular spectacles. That's what Florenz Ziegfeld, "The Great Glorifyer" hired him for. And Pittsburgh's Edward Claudius Weyburn, who owed his stage-moniker notoriety to a program typo from Vaudeville days was preambling a powerful new precision all over the stage. A bevy of chorus girl beauts and some of the handiest carpenter crew working on the next performance's lavish set had stopped their flirting and jawing to just leave them open. Their jaws, and spaces on the stage now spreading in wide pockets for his fast pace. They moved away in hurried huddles when his frenzied moves headed their way. And they were lured right back, closer, closer. Packs of them. They'd never seen nothin' like this . . . even those that weren't green but jaded.
Joyfully he jumped high in the air and clicked his heels together, explaining each new step. "Click!"
Mable Jean snuck in quick at the edge of a cluster when she recognized new Ziegfeld acquaintances Dottie and Alice, Irene and Vera. 

"CLAP!," said Ned Wayburn, "just what you think." He balanced his foot on his heel, raising his toe in a twisting motion. "Tanglefoot." Then the toe of one foot struck the toe of his other foot. He repeated the same movement, but this time heel to heel. "Catch", Ned beamed.
He was in the midst of crossing one of his lithe dancer legs in front of another in a side traveling motion of movement when excited Mabel, without the juice of Juicyfruit to keep her gums in gear burst out gleefully, "ZIG ZAG!" Vera, Alice, Dottie and Irene slid gracefully backwards. They wished to be no part of Mabel making a scene.

Naturally Ned the pro kept his scene intact, smiled serene but snapped right back, "Actually it's a Cross Bar. But what would you call this Miss Wise Guy?" He made consecutive backward movements from one foot to the other, alternating back and forth, forth and back. He stared. Alice, Irene, Dottie and Vera scooted even further back into stagelight shadows. The fact that Mabel Jean Krenicki stood alone on center stage couldn't have been clearer.

"Do that again?"

Backwards went Ned, left foot, right foot, eyes pinning Mabel to her answer.


"Actually Miss Krenicki its proper term is Cincinnati", Ned said, and abruptly turned  and stepped away. Kneeling down to a shiny pile at the front of the stage, he selected a small shaped silver piece of metal. "And this -- "

Ned may have had the floor, but Mabel Jean Krenicki was on a roll. "It looks nothing like Cincinnati. I've been there to my Uncle Konrad's house. He's Momma's baby brother and has a real nifty place. What you did was like a Zig Zag I'm tellin' ya." In a huff she stared back at the back of the man who took musical comedy dance routines seriously. Sometimes there's no funny biz in show biz. She crossed her arms. Her right foot beat the steady stubborn staccato of her nerves.

Over and over her foot hit the stage. More dancers moved away. Joey Mackswill from the carpenter's crew let a slow grin come up from within and seemed to sense just what to do. Reaching into his tool belt for the light balpeen hammer, Joey's grin went into high cahoots. Matching Mabel Jean's cadence, he very lightly hit the stage floor with his shiny tool. Over and over . . . and over some more again.

Ned, hunched on his haunches, launched into an explanation of what  attaching the silver metal piece to a black and white shoe with a catchy ankle strap was going to do. A little perturbed at her observations being ignored, Mabel strutted her stuff right up to his back, and with a steady pat, pat, pat to his shoulder, tried determinedly to get his attention. Joey kept up the light pound, pound, pound sound because he did have a hammer.

"So what do you call all these dance moves all put together, hunh Mr Wayburn? What is this number? Will you sum it up?" She knew her voice had gone up an octave which wasn't very sing-songy at all, but feminine fascination to find out something new and fancy goes beyond normal playing it safe, staying in line. 

Pat, pat, pat went Mabel's fingers now, right near Ned's neck. Pat, pat, pat went Krenicki's impatient foot right to center stage's wood so Wayburn would . . . finally answer. 
He spun around. It was sudden. It was a swirl. He came right at the girl. It was a sudden spun swirl with a fierce determined look beating double time from deep lights rooted in his blue irises. 
Mabel realized Ned was not all that keen on her pesky pat, pat, pats. After all, this was the dance man who had personally trained the great Fred Astaire, Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson. But he smiled broad in a challenge not to be flim flammed as flimsy,  "Oh I don't know Miss Krenicki - let's just call it TAP!

He extended the black and whites with the catchy ankle strap and the small silver plates now attached at heel and toe. "And if the shoe fits, Miss Krenicki ~~ WEAR IT!"

Bang, Bang Mackswill's silver hammer
came down upon Ned's stage.

Mabel Jean Krenicki wrote in her diary
later that triumphant night ~

"I knew, come hell or high water,
this was not a time for having two left feet!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Yes, there's no biz like shoe biz
like no biz we know.

Join us in future epic*sodes
of Mabel Jean Krenicki, Ziegfeld Goil, still in search of a good stage name, discovering just what entertainment is sometimes all about.

(c) 2010 ~ Author Absolutely*Kate
playing *AT THE BIJOU*


We hope you've enjoyed the show,


Harry said...

Mabel Jean Krenicki steps it up, by golly! So your Ziegfeld folly earns you a new lolly!

"Bang, Bang Mackswill's silver hammer
came down upon Ned's stage." <you know I love this!

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

And you know I balpeened that one in for you.

Enjoyin' the lolly and figuring how many licks to get to the center. THANKS HAR! ~ Mabel Jean Krenicki's pal, Katie

Anonymous said...

Mabel's moxie is just what I needed today!

"Feminine fascination to find out something new and fancy goes beyond normal playing it safe, staying in line."

Words to live by!

Thanks for the smile

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

Oh Robyn,

Moxie ain't gonna ever let a good dame down. You stay swingin' and zingin' all the time and before you know it ~ you'll hear Jimmy Durante singin' you to "SMILE".

Ain't showbiz grand?
~ Mabel Jean, tellin' ya that Absolutely*Kate is still grinnnin' 'cause you ambled on by (Kate grins so easy y'know)