Category Archives: Society

January 18

Grete Schütte-Lihotzky: House Maker, Not Homemaker

On the 18th of January 2000, Austria’s first female architect, Nazi resistance, as well as Marxist activist Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky died in Vienna five days before her 103rd birthday. Lihotzky became the first female student at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Vienna, where important modern artists such as Hoffmann, Hanak and Kokoschka were teaching. She obtained her place with difficulty, […]

January 14

Summer of Love

On the 14th of January 1967, The Human Be-In, an event in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park signalled the beginning of the Summer of Love, which turned the city’s Haight-Ashbury district into the centre point of American counterculture; the world that came to characterise this suburban union was “psychedelic”. Tens of thousands of people gathered […]

December 16

Denny Fouts – From Escort and Literary Muse to Gay Idol

On the 16th of December 1948, Louis Denham Fouts died in Rome of a heart attack at the young age of 35 after years of excess – drugs, cigarettes, alcohol and a wild and promiscuous lifestyle. In the 1930s and ‘40s, he became notorious as America’s luxury gigolo, socialite and muse to literary greats such […]

November 30

Folies Bergère: Populist Cosmopolitan Hub

On the 30th of November 1886, The Folies Bergère staged its first revue in Paris. Located at 32 rue Richer in the 9th Arrondissement, and called Folies Trévise back then, it was finished as an opera house by the architect Plumeret in 1869. The venue was at the height of its popularity from the 1890’s […]

October 10

Racism in Opera: Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess

On the 10th of October 1935, George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess opened in the Alvin Theatre on Broadway, New York. A few years earlier, Singer Al Jolson attempted to musicalise the story starring as a comic blackface Porgy, his minstrel shows, an unacceptable racist concept nowadays. The Broadway opening was unprecedented in U.S. history due to […]

October 08

Can and Should Manners be Taught?

On the 8th of October 1952, American socialite-journalist Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette was first published . Most of us wish to be seen as well-mannered. However, acknowledging the existence of a set of rules which would dictate how to behave has largely become a derided, old-fashioned subject. Things were different in the 1950s. Vanderbilt’s 800-page tome set the standard […]

September 24

Gay Georgian London: Horace Walpole Amongst the ‘Finger-Twirlers’

On the 24th of September 1717, Horatio Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, art historian, man of letters, antiquarian and Whig politician, was born in London. Although the son of the first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, he is largely remembered in our times for Strawberry Hill, the home he built in Twickenham, south-west London, where he […]