Evelyn Nesbit’s Griffons

Evelyn Nesbit (1924).

In 1925, Evelyn Nesbit made a spectacular comeback at Chicago’s Moulin Rouge Café. She traveled with her four Belgian Griffons.  Never without a lapdog or two or three, Evelyn’s beloved Griffons even accompanied her to Panama.

“They are so much more companionable than men,” she told the press. “Dogs are honest and faithful and never deceitful. That’s more than you can say for some men.”

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If you enjoy local history, especially the world of entertainment, follow me at joannelyeck.com or on the Facebook page: The Blackest Sheep.

The Blackest Sheep: Dan Blanco, Evelyn Nesbit, Gene Harris and Chicago’s Club Alabam is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online bookstores.

Evelyn Nesbit Wows Chicago

Moulin Rouge Café.  416 South Wabash Ave. Courtesy Chicago Tribune.

 In 1925, Stage Manager Dan Blanco took a chance on hiring the volatile Evelyn Nesbit as the star attraction at Bill Rothstein’s Moulin Rouge Café.

Newspaper advertisements warned that this engagement was “Positively Miss Nesbit’s Last Public Appearance,” which was far from the truth but may have attracted crowds. It was quickly apparent that Bill Rothstein had a sensational hit on his hands.

In her cabaret act, Evelyn wore striking black and white gowns. She no longer danced professionally (as she had in vaudeville). Instead, songs filled her act. The cabaret pace was perfect for a middle-aged mother.

During her appearance at the Moulin Rouge, Dan Blanco and Evelyn Nesbit would cement a long-lasting relationship and, within a few years, she would grace the stage at his new establishment, Rush Street’s Club Alabam.

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If you enjoy local history, especially the world of entertainment, follow me at joannelyeck.com or on the Facebook page: The Blackest Sheep.

The Blackest Sheep: Dan Blanco, Evelyn Nesbit, Gene Harris and Chicago’s Club Alabam is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online bookstores.

Evelyn Nesbit’s Chicago Comeback

Winston-Salem Journal (31 May 1925)

Before the founding of Club Alabam, Evelyn Nesbit worked with Dan Blanco at Bill Rothstein’s Moulin Rouge Café, located at 416 South Wabash Ave. in Chicago’s Loop.

In 1925, after trying review-style shows at his café, Rothstein hired Blanco to create a cabaret-type show, with star bookings. In May, the announcement of Evelyn Nesbit’s forthcoming appearance at the Moulin Rouge became national news.

At forty, Evelyn maintained her youthful beauty.  Her famous Gibson Girl curls had long been bobbed, adding to her pert appearance.  Chicago stood ready to welcome her with open arms.

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If you enjoy local history, especially the world of entertainment, follow me at joannelyeck.com or on the Facebook page: The Blackest Sheep.

The Blackest Sheep: Dan Blanco, Evelyn Nesbit, Gene Harris and Chicago’s Club Alabam is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online bookstores.

Evelyn Nesbit

Evelyn Nesbit.

When I first began research about my great uncle Gene Harris and his legendary Chicago nightspot, Club Alabam, I wasn’t confident that there was an audience for his story. Then I discovered that the scandalous beauty Evelyn Nesbit performed at the club, becoming a friend and colleague of Dan Blanco and later Gene Harris.

If you recognize the name Evelyn Nesbit, you were likely introduced to her in the novel Ragtime, which was later made into a movie and, more recently, a Broadway musical. If you are new to Evelyn’s life story, you are bound to find it captivating.

While the details of her early life and her connection to “the crime of the century” (her husband Harry K. Thaw’s cold-blooded murder of her former lover Stanford White) had been told and retold, Evelyn’s long and fascinating life following the 1907 and 1908 trials was treated as anti-climactic.

During and after Prohibition, Evelyn supported herself and her only son, Russell Thaw, by working in cabarets and nightclubs. Criminals and powerful gangsters populated her world. Addiction to narcotics, initially used for pain relief, plagued her for decades. Her roller coaster of successes and failures, in love and in show business, was a wild ride.

My new book, The Blackest Sheep, recounts the “second half” of Evelyn’s biography, revealing her phenomenal inner strength, native intelligence, and ability to survive notoriety that would have destroyed most women.

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If you enjoy local history, especially the world of entertainment, follow me at joannelyeck.com or on the Facebook page: The Blackest Sheep.

The Blackest Sheep: Dan Blanco, Evelyn Nesbit, Gene Harris and Chicago’s Club Alabam is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online bookstores.