Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First Folies Bergère Revue in 1886

 

This week marks the 134th anniversary of the first revue stages at the Folies Bergere theater in Paris in 1886. The show was quite a hit, and we certainly want to be there. Grab the list of the Top Ten things not to do so we don’t cause a time continuum tear. Hop in James’s Oldsmobile, and let’s go.

James Wainwright’s Oldsmobile from Eternal Road – The final stop

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First Folies Bergère Revue in 1886 by John W. Howell © 2020

10 If you go, do not gape at the scantily clad dancers. If you do, at best, they will think you’re ill. At worst, you might collect a slap from one of the chorus members. (It seems, Mohsen, that you attracted the attention of Bertha, who was previously with Ringling  Brothers Circus. She used to box with the big Grizzley bear. Good luck with your relationship.)

9 If you go, do not laugh at the antics of Tiny, the WWF champ. If you do, at best, he won’t be able to pick you out of the crowd. At worst, Tiny believes he is a serious performer and is now wondering why you are laughing at his performance of Pagliacci. (Of course, you and Tiny know Pagliacci first premiered in 1892, but that didn’t stop him from wailing out what he thought was a fine opera. He is looking for you, Monroe. He said something about high dive. Let’s just say it doesn’t sound like a good thing.)

8 If you go, do not ask what the title of the revue, “Place aux Jeunes,” means in English. If you do, at best, you will ask an older person. At worst, you will ask a young person. (You see, Montague, “Place aux Jeunes” means a place for young people. You know folks who don’t mind a little nudity in their shows. That person you asked is talking to the gendarm over there. The term pervertir keeps coming up. It might be time to leave.)

7 If you go, do not think you can have a feather as a souvenir. If you do, at best, you’ll get a hand slap. At worst, that feather was the cornerstone for the whole costume. (This is a fine kettle of fish you have gotten us into, Montay. Even though it is 1886, causing a person to lose their costume is a serious offense. I hear a bunch of people running your way. It might be good to go the other way for now.)

6 If you go, do not think you can take the stage and sing along. If you do, at best, you’ll fall into the orchestra pit. At worst, your off-tune singing will cause the entire show to stop. (Well, Montez. Believe it or not, the 200 or so who have paid for admission are not pleased about this circumstance. I hear someone calling for tar and feathers. A very tough combination to get off.)

5 If you go, do not ask about the acrobats. If you do, at best, no one will know what you are talking about.  At worse, you’ll ask Édouard Marchand. (Marchand was the guy who took a different direction with the Folies, Montrel. He had the idea of an elaborate review featuring women. He will point out to you that acrobats, circus acts, and boxing kangaroos all played at the Folies in the 1870s. He now wants to know if you want your money back. I would tell him no.)

4 If you go, do not ask about the artists Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec. If you do, at best, no one will know them. At worse, you will ask the barmaid. (Now you have given away your status as a time traveler, Moor. Both artists painted famous paintings using the Folies as subject material. In fact, Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, painted in 1882, is of that girl. Manet died a year later. This painting did not become famous until long after 1886.)

3 If you go, do not order Absinthe at the bar. If you do, at best, they will be out. At worse, they are having a happy hour special. (You better be careful, Moreley. Absinthe contains the chemical compound thujone made up of a ketone and a monoterpene present in the spirit in trace amounts and was blamed for its alleged harmful effects. That theory has been debunked, but why chance it. Oh, I see. A little too late on the warning. Happy trails to you.)

2 If you go, do not make a bet about how many costumes sets and people are involved in the shows. If you do, at best, you only bet a little. At worst, you put up your virtual farm in Les Baux-de-Provence. (Of course, you lost, Morgen, since who would be able to guess 40 sets, 1000 costumes, and 200 people. I shape you have a virtual deed to your virtual lavender farm.)

1 If you go, do not mention that the show Place Aux Junes does not have the word Folie and thirteen letters like all shows at the Folies Bergère. (Another faux pas, Morpheus. That tradition was established 100 years ago, so you are about 34 years too soon. Don’t worry, I think these guys like the idea anyway.)

134 comments

  1. I love these what not to do posts, John… this one will come in handy if I ever get invited!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It will be handy for me too if I ever get invited. Thank you. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. #6 is a tip to live by in general. Never rush the spotlight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true. Thanks, Charles. 😊

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  3. You had me laughing from the start. Great job, John!

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  4. Gwen M. Plano · ·

    Another great list, John. Who knew a little fun could be so hazardous. LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is the big problem with time travel, Gwen. Everywhere you turn there is something you can’t do. 😁 Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Uhhh… the more things change, the more they stay the same. These days, we need to check the headlines every day to see what new proscriptions there are. Dancing and singing are out, so the Folies Bergere wouldn’t have a chance today.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes. A check in the morning and afternoon is good. Can change from one time to another.

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  5. Great fun, particularly #7. Oops . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Might want to put that feather back, Liz. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I would love to time travel but I would probably blow my cover. Unless . . . I pretended to be mute?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you might have folks wondering when you lay a Lancaster county accent on ’em. Of course, depending on when you go you could claim to be Dutch.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My accent comes from so many different places, that it’s actually no accent at all. And sorry but no Lancaster County to be found in it, LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. You could never pretend that Mr. Imma…let’s face it. Also, them women with them pegs in your face. You’re only human, ya know.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Love the pegs myself. So Pilgrim and I would probably go down together. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, down with the ship, with a smile on your flushed faces.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Flushed stupid looking faces.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Having a hell of a time.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. How could not not with Marco. You’d be like two sailors out on the town.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. SB, you make some great . . . points.

        Liked by 2 people

      7. We speak the truth here at athingirl.com.

        Truth, it’s having a one man show at the Orphuem. Our President will not be attending.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Oh I know it.

        Isn’t the President held up in court right about now?

        Liked by 2 people

      9. Did you read Sean Hannity suggested he pardon himself? How can you if you haven’t been charged yet? Is it like a coupon?

        Liked by 2 people

      10. Hahaha. Get out of jail free card

        Liked by 1 person

      11. You know, if we look at The Trump Presidency as a Milton Bradley game, we might be much better off.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. At east our tensions would be less thinking that we could leave the game anytime we want. I like the idea.😊

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Too bad we couldn’t patent it.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Sean Hannity’s idea of patriotism goes something like this: If you agree with me, you’re a patriot. Otherwise you’re a socialist degenerate who should be charged with treason.

        Liked by 2 people

      15. Good summary, Pilgrim.

        Liked by 1 person

      16. That guy is such an ass hat.

        Liked by 1 person

      17. Another strike.

        Liked by 1 person

      18. Sean “Fats” Hannity.

        Liked by 2 people

      19. I can see him at a piano now.

        Liked by 1 person

      20. Eating a pizza . . .

        Liked by 1 person

      21. With a big napkin tucked into his shirt.

        Liked by 1 person

      22. A bib . . let’s make it a bib. A flag bib of course . . .

        Liked by 1 person

      23. He’s got a brand new name. Move over Minnesota…Fats Hannity.

        Liked by 2 people

      24. Yeah, without the game.

        Liked by 2 people

      25. That’s true. He’s got no game, that Fatty Hannity.

        Liked by 2 people

      26. Jackie Gleason is safe.

        Liked by 2 people

      27. I loved him. I’m Gleason fan. Great book on him called, The Great One by William A. Henry III.

        Liked by 1 person

      28. His turn in The Hustler was less acting and more art imitating real life. He was quite the hustler in his younger days.

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      29. Or the savior faire.

        Liked by 1 person

      30. Boss . . . for the WIN!

        Liked by 1 person

      31. Too kind, Pilgrim. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      32. Truth, Boss.

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      33. Our new favorite whipping boy.

        Liked by 1 person

      34. I hope you don’t get any flack John since, we’re makin’ hay outta Hannity.

        Liked by 1 person

      35. All in good fun.

        Liked by 1 person

      36. That’s what I like to hear. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      37. One could only wish.

        Liked by 1 person

      38. You got that right.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. They were always so avant-garde, the French!
    Always a fun list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dale.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lemme see that can-can!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahahaha. Ou la la.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. 😉👯‍♂️

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Avant-guarde Should go into Imma’s Melville file. Makes me want to don a beret and eat escargot with some skinny guy, who will pay. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Love those skinny guys who pay. I used to be one. Still pay but can’t be called skinny. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Then you too must have looked like a tall glass of water in slim black jeans and a turtleneck, scanning the wind list. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yup six feet, 155 pounds. I always warned my companion to avoid certain items on the wind list like the frijoles and English sausages.😁

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That is lean. All legs I’ll bet…or pegs rather. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes all pegs for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I like that look. Like a Hockney drawing, or Fanny Cory illustration. It woiks.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Pant length was always an issue. Try to find Levis with a 28 waist and 32 length. Never on sale

        Liked by 1 person

      8. A tailor perhaps? 28 waist…that is slim.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Got married and went to 32

        Liked by 1 person

      10. You married a good cook. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      11. I remember I did most of the cooking. Not sure why.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Then you must be a good cook. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      13. So I’ve been told. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      14. To the file! Haha… Don’t forget the Gitanes… They do love their stinky cigs.

        Liked by 2 people

      15. Stinky cigs is right.

        Liked by 1 person

      16. Especially the Gitanes!

        Liked by 1 person

      17. In the blue wrapping.

        Liked by 2 people

      18. Then there are Gauloises as well

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      19. Brevity works in every language.

        Liked by 2 people

      20. That it does. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  8. I might be tempted to go, John. I’ll keep the list handy. Maybe I’ll just have Tiny lock me in the car.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There you go. A very safe option.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The tar was a hard way to get my feather souvenir.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is. Especially in the cold. Thanks, Craig.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Very fun list! Absinthe fascinates me. Can you buy it today?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. Have you tasted it?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have not. They say it has an anise taste.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I have always hated that taste, but my daughter’s fiancé’s mother makes Italian Love Knots With that flavor and I love them!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. You’d never have to worry about me doing #6 – ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I don’t know. A couple of Absinthe shooters and it might be possible. 😊 I’ll be right there with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Boxing with a grizzly bear? That Bertha must’ve been something. And I certainly didn’t know #1. Fascinating list, John — thank you for the heads-up!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for going along, Debbie. 😁 As Ed Sullivan used to say, “A really really big shoe.”

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Love the term, scantily dressed. Sure sends one’s imagination off to the races. And if you couldn’t gape at those scantily dressed dancers, why go. As for Tiny, kicking up his heels, hmm…I don’t know, since, how would he look in a pair, ya think? Robert Preston he’s not. But he shouldn’t feel too bad since, being from Connecticut and all, unless they’d let my outfit be made of gingham or madress, I could never pull off that strut across the stage either.

    As an aside, I did know a hairdresser once name Absinthe. He did a mean blow-dry, so to speak.

    I love these little gems of yours John, as you see. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Susannah. I think the can-can might be out for all of us. Better to watch the show. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I knew a can-can dancer. Well, a former one. She was married to the owner of Penthouse Magazine. Now she had a setta pegs.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I’ll bet she did.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. She died of breast cancer, but those legs of hers won’t be forgotten. They went on for miles.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’ve always been a leg man.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. It’s my best feature. Me and Olive Oyl.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Hahaha. Always loved Olive Oyl. (maybe it was the pegs)

        Liked by 1 person

      7. She was all pegs John…so we can be assured, Popeye was a leg man. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Yup. Two things Popeye and I have in common. Like legs and spinach. (Make mine creamed from Smith and Wollensky’s)

        Like

  14. D.L. Finn, Author · ·

    I will definitely avoid the Absinthe. Great list, John 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A good idea, Denise.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I will keep this list handy in case I ever take up time traveling. 🙂 Always entertaining yet full of historic facts. Thanks, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jan 😊

      Like

  16. This was great fun, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked it, Jennie. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did! Not only is the history part growing, but the side comments after each one of the top ten are, too. Super!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I thought of Toulouse-Lautrec as soon as I read your title. When we were in grade school and easily amused by the slightest hint of ‘adult’ entertainment, we called the painter “Too-loose Lautrec.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You daring little kids you. At least you had exposure to him. 😊

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  18. […] Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First Folies Bergère Revue in 1886 […]

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  19. No.10 foxed me. I thought it might be, “don’t gape at the fully clad dancers.” But it was France, 1886 or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. More good stuff … thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the visit.

      Like

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