Leave the fireworks for those who cast no spark of their own.

— Karen Abbott

The most cheering Karen Abbott quotes that will inspire your inner self

Gypsy [Rose Lee] is as unique as she is timeless.

Her story is classic Americana, and the strangest rags-to-riches saga you'll ever read; I like to call it Horatio Alger meets Tim Burton.

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When Gypsy was older, after she became Gypsy Rose Lee, I think she was both proud and slightly ashamed of her Seattle roots. She worked very hard to rid her voice of any trace of a local accent, cultivating an affected way of speaking that sounded as if she pinned the ends of her words.

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There is nudity, of course striptease is an essential component of burlesque but it's much more complex and intelligent than a display of nudity for nudity itself. And its often laugh-out-loud funny.

3

Gypsy [Rose Lee ] was a masterful storyteller, and her memoir and by extension, the musical weren't only Gypsy's monument; they were also her chance for monumental revisionism.

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If Lady Gaga and Dorothy Parker had a secret love child, it would've been Gypsy Rose Lee. Gypsy arrived for opening nights at the Met wearing a full-length cape made entirely of orchids, while Lady Gaga shows up wearing a full-length cloak made of meat.

2

Female spies typically represented one of two extremes: the seductress who employed her wiles to manipulate men, and the cross-dresser who blended in by impersonating them.

2

Gypsy [Rose Lee], who was called Louise as a kid, gave her first performances here with her sister [June Hovac], playing for the local Masonic lodge halls. It was a tight-knit community, and the support and success the act enjoyed here enabled them to hit the road and make it in big-time vaudeville.

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She [Gypsy Rose Lee] was a sophisticated self-satirist with a contagious delight in the comedy of sex. She was coy; she was sly; she always had a witty quip; she had an intensely dramatic presence.

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An amusing city, Chicago, any way you look at it. I'm afraid we are in for the time of our lives.

0

Burlesque thrived during the Great Depression, and by extension, so, too, did Gypsy [Rose Lee]. Men could no longer afford to pay $5.50 to see a show on Broadway, but they could scrape together $1.00 for a matinee at a burlesque house.

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The real Rose Hovick was seriously mentally disturbed;

June Havoc called her a beautiful little ornament that was damaged.

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Classic burlesque in the style of Gypsy which many modern burlesque troupes practice is, at its core, so playful and teasing and innocent. It's not hardcore stripping so much as letting your body tell a story; the women are playing characters and unfolding a complete narrative onstage, with beginning, middle, and end.

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About Karen Abbott

Quotes 27 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday January 23, 1973

Her sister [June Havoc] said the musical portrayed who Gypsy [Rose Lee] wanted to be before the burlesque thing happened she wanted to be this beautiful, romantic person with dreams. So Gypsy told the story of her life as she wished she'd lived it: embellishing, softening the edges, eliminating certain things altogether.

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The ideas and practices of Franz Anton Mesmer, an 18th-century Australian healer, had spread to the United States and, by the 1840s, held the country in thrall. Mesmer proposed that everything in the universe, including the human body, was governed by a 'magnetic fluid' that could become imbalanced, causing illness.

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Gypsy [Rose Lee] wasn't a linear person, and she didn't live life in a linear fashion. She was relentlessly self-inventing, and moved backward as often as she moved forward.

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I thought both she [Gypsy Rose Lee] and her story would be ill-served by a conventional, birth-to-death narrative, and so I structured the book like one of her stripteases: revealing a peek of shoulder, then a glimpse of knee, pulling back a bit before you go a bit further, until all is revealed at the end.

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In Gypsy [Rose Lee] the musical, her mother, 'Mama Rose', is portrayed as a slightly eccentric, pushy, ambitious stage mother, but that version doesn't come close to the truth.

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I felt differently about her [Gypsy Rose Lee] during every phase of the research and writing process. Often, I felt incredibly sorry for her; she had an extremely difficult childhood and a complicated 'to say the least' relationship with her family, her mother especially.

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I think Gypsy [Rose Lee] would be appalled at today's rawer, more blatant displays of the female form. She was, in her own way, a prude.

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She once said, 'I'm really a little prudish, which people may think incongruous'. I take a prudish point of view on certain films, books, and trends. Then, I pull myself up short and ask myself how Gypsy Rose Lee could possibly be this way.I thought that quote was so telling, a key insight into the way she so carefully separated who she was from her meticulous creation.

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It was a great challenge to reconstruct Gypsy Rose Lee life, and my interviews with her sister [June Havoc] proved invaluable. It's not often that writers have access to living primary source material; this was the only person who experienced life on the vaudeville circuit with Gypsy during the 1920s, and who saw her perform at Minsky's Burlesque in the 1930s. She knew things that no one else could ever possibly know.

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I spent three years researching American Rose, research that included connecting with Gypsy's sister, the late actress June Havoc (I was the last person to interview her) and Gypsy's son, and also spending countless hours immersed in Gypsy's expansive archives at the New York Public Library. I became obsessed with figuring out the person behind the persona.

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I greatly admired Gypsy [Rose Lee] for being able to rise above her circumstances; I was terrified of her; I thought she was generous; I thought she was brilliant; I thought she was cruel.

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One of the biggest questions to me was whether or not Gypsy the person was capable of loving anyone or anything beyond Gypsy Rose Lee the creation, and even that was a conflicted, tortured relationship.

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I came upon a telegram from Eleanor Roosevelt herself to Gypsy Rose Lee that read, 'May your bare ass always be shining'. That was the clincher; I had to write about this woman.

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A half-century before Madonna, Gypsy [Rose Lee] understood how to make performance out of desire, how to exploit the very human and eternal instinct to always want most what we'll never have.

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