A Revolution In Three Acts: The Radical Vaudeville Of Bert Williams, Eva Tanguay, And Julian Eltinge

byDavid Hajdu, John CareyForeword byMichele Wallace

September 21, 2021|
A Revolution In Three Acts: The Radical Vaudeville Of Bert Williams, Eva Tanguay, And Julian Eltinge by David Hajdu
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Bert Williams—a Black man who performed in blackface while challenging the stereotypes of minstrel shows. Eva Tanguay—an entertainer with the signature song "I Don’t Care" who flouted the rules of propriety to redefine modern womanhood. Julian Eltinge—a female impersonator who entranced and unnerved audiences by embodying the feminine ideal Tanguay rejected. At the turn of the twentieth century, they became three of the most provocative and popular performers in vaudeville, the form in which American mass entertainment as we know it first took shape.

A Revolution in Three Acts explores how these vaudeville stars defied the standards of their time to change how their audiences thought about what it meant to be American, to be Black, to be a woman or a man. The writer David Hajdu and the artist John Carey collaborate in this work of graphic nonfiction, crafting powerful portrayals of Williams, Tanguay, and Eltinge and showing how they transformed American culture. Hand-drawn images give vivid visual form to the lives and work of the book’s subjects and their world.

This book is at once a deft telling of three intricately entwined stories, a lush evocation of an entertainment milieu with unabashed entertainment value, and an eye-opening account of a key moment in American cultural history with striking parallels to present-day questions of race, gender, and sexual identity.
David Hajdu is a professor at the Columbia Journalism School. His books include Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn (1996); Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña, and Richard Fariña (2001); and Adrianne Geffel: A Fiction (2020).John Carey is a painte...
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Title:A Revolution In Three Acts: The Radical Vaudeville Of Bert Williams, Eva Tanguay, And Julian Eltinge
Format:Hardcover
Product dimensions:176 pages, 11 X 8.5 X 0.98 in
Shipping dimensions:176 pages, 11 X 8.5 X 0.98 in
Published:September 21, 2021
Publisher:Columbia University Press
Language:English
Appropriate for ages:All ages
ISBN - 13:9780231191821

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