The origins of Betty Boop can be traced to one magical night in 1927 when a young Brooklyn-born actress named Helen Kane took center stage at New York's Paramount theater to sing a song called "That's My Weakness Now." The jazzy number, resplendent with bawdy automotive metaphors, contained a scat break which Kane transformed into an effervescent "boop-boop-a-doo," four nonsense syllables that became synonymous with the roar of the 1920s. What's especially interesting about all of this is that Max Fleischer's animated Betty, who is officially modeled after silent-film "It" girl Clara Bow and often described as the ultimate flapper, didn't appear on the silver screen until 1930 and is more an icon of the Depression era than the Jazz Age. When times got hard and Americans turned to the movie palaces for escape, Betty Boop was there bopping to a Cab Calloway song and falling in love, a swinging reminder of the not-so-distant time when life was fun, bubbly, and full of red-hot jazz.
So even if the latest economic downturn isn't exactly the Great Depression Part II, who couldn't go for some fun and bubbles? On Saturday, January 23rd, recording artist Kathy Kosins joins Jack Cooper's Jazz Orchestra of the Delta at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre for "Rhapsody in Boop," an afternoon of big-band music and song celebrating the celluloid life and troubled times of America's original Betty.
"Rhapsody in Boop" at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre on Saturday, January 23rd, 2 p.m. Tickets are $20, $25, and $30 (751-7500; GPAcweb.com).