Femmes Fatales Jun 13 2024
STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER
She can't help it—every time she goes out it's in a Blaze of glory.


Above: a fun shot of strawberry eating burlesque dancer, nudist, actress, and all around public figure Blaze Starr, made by Bunny Yeager on the set of Blaze Starr Goes Nudist. It dates from 1962. 

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Femmes Fatales Feb 20 2024
LA RAINEY DAY
The forecast is looking very good.


Above: a really nice shot of model and showgirl La Raine Meeres made by famed pin-up photographer Bunny Yeager around 1957. We can't tell you much about Meeres, except that she danced in Cab Calloway's Cotton Club Revue and this shot was made when the show passed through Yeager's base of Miami. Yeager was an early standard bearer for inclusivity, and made a point of working with women of color when few photographers were interested. We'll keep an eye out for more of the marvelous Meeres.

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Intl. Notebook Jan 2 2024
PAGE AFTER PAGE
Riveting from the first to the last.

Cheesecake postcards were widespread during the mid-century era, featuring many famous and semi-famous models, but Bettie Page appeared on so many that she's now her own industry of vintage collectible mailers. We've run across many interesting examples, so we thought we'd share a few for your enjoyment today. Above and below we present a group culled from auction sites showing the revered model in her usual mode of dress—not much. The same shots were used on multiple cards. In the last she's posed with regular collaborator, Florida based photographer Bunny Yeager, who appears with Page and a couple of exotic cats on the last card. Most if not all of the shots were made in Florida, despite an allusion to Hawaii and a reference to Washington. As always, Page will return.

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Musiquarium Dec 4 2022
A REALLY GOOD JO
A jazz legend shows her stripes.


Above you see a live concert photo of musical pioneer Jo Thompson, who broke segregation barriers as a jazz performer, particularly in Miami, where she played often and where this image was made by famed photographer Bunny Yeager. Thompson also performed in Detroit, where she was based, New York City, Havana, London, Paris, and other European hotspots. She isn't well known today but she's considered by jazz lovers to have helped pave the way for black performers who came along slightly later, and critic Herb Boyd said about her that she was, “a consummate storyteller whether standing or at the keyboard."

That being the case, we'll highlight a story Thompson occasionally told about Frank Sinatra, the hipster gadabout of the mid-century, who came to see her one night at the Cork Club in Miami. He was with Ava Gardner, and after the show invited Thompson to join them at their table. The Cork, being in the deep south, didn't allow black performers to sit at the tables, let alone with white companions. But Sinatra being Sinatra, the rule crumbled, at least for the night. Thompson greatly appreciated that. And the jazz world appreciated her. She was a trailblazer. She lived a very long time, long enough to receive many overdue tributes, before finally dying just two years ago of COVID-19. 

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Vintage Pulp May 7 2014
LEI LADY LEI
Who asked where have all the flowers gone? Well, we wish these would go too.

The above Technicolor lithograph featuring model Maria Stinger shot by Bunny Yeager is entitled "Aloha," though we have doubts it was shot in Hawaii. Yeager was based in the Miami area, so the image may have been made there. It has a nice, summery vibe, which we think is appropriate as the weather warms (for those of you that actually have winter). Maybe if it gets hot enough Stinger will ditch the flowers. No date on this, but probably from between 1955 and 1960. Want to see more Technicolor lithos? Click here.

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Hollywoodland Dec 12 2008
FINAL PAGE
A brilliant book ends early and sadly.

The legendary Bettie Page has died in the hospital after a heart attack earlier this week. The photo above, by Bunny Yeager, shows Bettie at her most beautiful and lively, the way she should be remembered.

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Intl. Notebook Dec 6 2008
BETTIE PAGE HOSPITALIZED
Legendary 50s pin-up admitted to Los Angeles hospital.

85 year-old former pin-up queen Bettie Page was hospitalized in Los Angeles this week after a heart attack and is critically ill. Page rose to fame as an erotic model during the 1950s, posing for scores of magazines, and appearing in more than fifty short films. She worked extensively with sister and brother publicity team Paula and Irving Klaw, who sold Page’s material from their firm Movie Star News. In 1955, Irving Klaw came under investigation during the U.S. Senate’s Kefauver Hearings, which were a politically motivated attempt to draw a link between pornography and juvenile delinquency. Under pressure, Klaw shuttered Movie Star News, and Page’s modeling career ended.

Page dropped from public view, spent time as Christian missionary, and married twice more (she had wed and divorced twice already). In 1979, Hollywood’s Belier Press reprinted some Page photos from private camera club sessions for which she had posed in 1950. The shots rekindled
interest in Page, and in time a full-blown web-cult formed. In 2005 a motion picture entitled The Notorious Bettie Page was released by HBO with Gretchen Mol in the lead role. The film received wide acclaim, and further cemented Page’s legacy.

As one of the first mainstream nude models, Page is credited with helping usher in the women’s movement. At that time frank depictions of female 
nudity were considered empowering, and Page’s popularity, as well as her special gift for embodying nudity as a natural state, dovetailed with the movement’s goals. Photographer and fellow pin-up Bunny Yeager, who shot the Modern Sunbathing & Hygiene cover above, offered an opinion in 1956 about Page’s appeal: “The first thing I noticed was that for some reason when she’s nude she doesn’t seem naked. [snip] Bettie’s attitude toward her lovely, healthy body is the essence of nudism.”

Today, millions of fans are hoping health returns to Miss Page.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 20
1967—Muhammad Ali Sentenced for Draft Evasion
Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, who was known as Cassius Clay before his conversion to Islam, is sentenced to five years in prison for refusing to serve in the military during the Vietnam War. In elucidating his opposition to serving, he uttered the now-famous phrase, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.”
June 19
1953—The Rosenbergs Are Executed
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted for conspiracy to commit espionage related to passing information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet spies, are executed at Sing Sing prison, in New York.
June 18
1928—Earhart Crosses Atlantic Ocean
American aviator Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly in an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean, riding as a passenger in a plane piloted by Wilmer Stutz and maintained by Lou Gordon. Earhart would four years later go on to complete a trans-Atlantic flight as a pilot, leaving from Newfoundland and landing in Ireland, accomplishing the feat solo without a co-pilot or mechanic.
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