Thursday, August 9, 2007
The Name Game Part Two
Tuesday David Brooks' column sparked some thoughts on burlesque names. In the comments to that post Brett wondered about the fun stories behind some performers' names and Miss Jezebel explained that her name was in honor of Bette Davis.
So in part two of the name game I thought I'd share how Marie Van Schaack became Lili St. Cyr. As Lili explained it, she chose her first name because it "evoked mystery and intrigue ... There had already been Lillie Langtry and Diamond Lil.” For a while she used different last names depending on where she was performing. She was known as Lili Fehnova in San Francisco, Lili LaRue in Las Vegas, and Lili LaBang in San Diego. But then, after reading about the St. Cyr military academy in France and pondering the success of millionaire Rex St. Cyr, she finally settled on Lili St. Cyr. The last name fit for other reasons. Lili ditched much of the tongue-in-cheek irreverence and satire of her burlesque predecessors. Her routines were far more straight forward. Her name said it all: St. Cyr was sincere, her acts were honest in their sexuality, overt in their glamour.
Know any good stories about how a burlesque performer chose his or her name? Leave 'em in the comments.