See also Chauncey’s much more exhaustive study, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890–1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994)
74. Lefebvre, The Production of Space, 85. 75. Churchill, The Improper Bohemians, 169; he has taken his rendering of the incident from Margaret Anderson in My Thirty Years War, 193–195. 76. Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory,” Theatre Journal 40, no. 4 (December 1988), 527. 77. The photograph is discussed in Beard and Berlowitz, eds., Greenwich Village, 101, ?g. 42. 78. Churchill illustrates “animal” costumes from and cites the handbill for a typical Masses ball, which reads: “Are You a Radical? / Whether or Not, Come to the Greenwich Village carnival / Old Home Celebration / Costume Dance / Given By / The Editors of the Masses / and / Artists and Writers of Greenwich Village”; in The Improper Bohemians, 110–111.
79. Cited in George Chauncey, “LongHaired Men and Short-Haired Women: Building a Gay World in the Heart of Bohemia,” in Beard and Berlowitz, eds., Greenwich Village, 159. 80. . . [to] rip up objects of art . . . [to] wear purple ties and yellow bathrobes . . . [and to] lose one’s reputation”; in “How the Villagers Amuse Themselves,” from New York Morning Telegraph Sunday Magazine, November 26, 1916, reprinted in Alyce Barry, ed., New York (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1989), 249, 251. See also the reminiscences of Ruth Wittenberg, a Village activist, about the balls at Webster Hall: “The Women were more imaginative than the men. . . . Later on there was a lot of nakedness. The balls had a reputation for that. There were just a lot of people who wanted notoriety. People wanted recognition, something to distinguish them from the herds”; cited in Jeff Kisseloff, You Must Remember This: An Oral History of Manhattan from the 1890s to World War II (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989), 452. And the depressing tale of a party spiraling out of control, which features a character inspired by the Baroness
the radical lack of an “itself” of male sexuality. In fact, counter to Lefebvre, I would argue that the Baroness’s performances are just as representational as Picabia’s images (or, as I have suggested, that both are equally “real” as enactments that in some ways collapse the usual distance between signi?er and signi?ed). It is the way in which the Baroness’s promenades functioned and continue to function that makes them incendiary, arablounge not some ontological priority they have as being more “real.”
As Djuna Barnes puts it (so wonderfully, as always) in her account of Village amusements, these various balls and parties involved increasingly desperate forms of amusement: “to enjoy the lovemaking of another woman’s husband
dancing on the body of another character (clearly modeled after Djuna Barnes), by Mary Butts, “The Master’s Last Dancing,” story written probably in the 1920s, based on a wild party in Paris at Ford Maddox Ford’s, published in the New Yorker, March 30, 1998, 110–113. Mary Butts was a contributor to the Little Review and thus probably knew the Baroness personally. 81. Doran, 1926), 298, 299, 296. Dell notes that the physical aspects that made the Village an ideal site for bohemia were also being destroyed: “the tangle of crooked streets would be pierced by a great straight road, the beautiful crumbling houses of great rooms and high ceilings and deepembrasured windows would be ruthlessly torn down to make room for modern apartmentbuildings; the place would become like all the rest of New York City” (296). On the commercialization of the Village bohemia, see also John Quinn’s letter to Ezra Pound (January 12, 1917): “I don’t know whether you know the pseudo-Bohemianism of Washington Square. It is nauseating to a decent man who doesn’t need arti?cial sexual stimulation. It is a vulgar, disgusting conglomerate of second and thirdrate artists and would-be artists, or I. W. W. agitators, of sluts kept or casual, clean and unclean, of Socialists and near Socialists, of poetasters and pimps, of fornicators and dancers and those who dance to enable them to fornicate-But hell, words fail me to express my contempt for the whole damned bunch.” Cited in Steven Watson, Strange Bedfellows: The First American Avant-Garde (New York: Abbeville Press, 1991), 228.