neyronrose (neyronrose) wrote,

thinking about a fic I'd like to see

I haven't seen any like this, with my limited searching skills and the limited ways to narrow categories down on fic collection sites.

The characters belong to other people.

I've posted before how I'd like to see fic set in the Harlem Renaissance.  There are some characters who would live in Harlem, and some who would come to hear the music.

The characters would range in age from twenty-two to twenty-five.  The story would start in 1925.

Mercedes, Jake, Unique, and David of the Warblers (and Matt?) would live in Harlem.  David would not be a professional performer, though perhaps he sang in a school show choir.  David would be one of the Talented Tenth.  Mercedes, Jake and Matt would be performers.  Unique would sing at parties, but not professionally.  (Added: I've kept reading books about the time.  There were pretty well-known at the time female impersonators who did performances impersonating famous actresses.  There was a "sepia Mae West" and a "sepia Gloria Swanson."  "Sepia" was a polite term.  Of course, for Unique it would be the way she wanted to dress, not "impersonating" a woman, but being a woman.)  Miss Mercedes Jones would be a very well-known singer, performing in nightclubs and theaters to great acclaim.  Jake would be fairly well known for his dancing and singing.

Kurt, Blaine and Artie would come for the music.  Kurt would love Mercedes' voice, as he does, and tell her so.  Mercedes would invite him to parties.  Blaine would go to Harlem parties as well.  It would be known in Harlem that Blaine was hapa, though they wouldn't use that word for it.  I am trying to figure out what words they'd use.  That Blaine would be born in 1900, in Manila, and his father would be an American soldier.  (Edited to add: I think "Malay race" would be one of the more polite terms of the time.  It's outdated now.  Blaine might use "mestizo" for himself.)

Artie would be a producer, and want to produce race records with Mercedes singing.  Artie would not appreciate Kurt.  Artie would appreciate Blaine.  Blaine would sing and play piano, as he does.

Mercedes would receive the commercial success that she could in that time and place, including her records being very popular.  Blaine could receive much more commercial success, provided he passes in a couple of ways.  There would be a Klaine romance, though they'd have to keep it very quiet, considering the laws at the time.  Kurt and Blaine would go to see Unique compete at a drag ball or two.  Of course, it wouldn't be drag for Unique, but the clothes she'd want to wear all the time.  There would only be a limited amount of times during the year that Unique could dress like she wanted to.  Perhaps she'd dress up at some parties.

Jake would know about Puck, but Puck wouldn't know about Jake, at least not to start.  Perhaps Puck is a performer on a Yiddish vaudeville circuit.  (Edited to add: I later read that Yiddish theater was very popular in 1925.)  Puck was born in 1900, in the Lower East Side.  Jake was born in 1903, in Harlem.  Puck would accept Jake, though he'd say some offensive things.  A number of vaudeville performers were using blackface at the time, which all the characters living in Harlem would find offensive.  A 1920s Artie would think it was fine.  After all, in canon he wanted to play Porgy in "Porgy and Bess."  Puck would say some offensive things to Kurt, too, but many people would.  I know what vocabulary other characters would use about Kurt.  (Added: "Pansy," "fairy" and "flaming" would be popular.  Some of the slurs used in canon were in use in the 1920s.)

(Added: If the story spans a few years, Puck would dream of succeeding like Al Jolson did.  Al Jolson was considered to be in some ways progressive at the time, fighting against segregation.  He played a Jewish character who wore blackface in the movie "The Jazz Singer."  One of the songs he was well-known for was "My Mammy."  A Puck of 1927 wouldn't see a problem with that.  A 1927 Jake would.

Also if the story spans a few years, the characters would have strong feelings about Carl Van Vechten's book N****r Heaven. Many Harlem residents were outraged by it.)

All of those characters would receive the prejudice they'd receive in that day and age, with the exception of Blaine, as long as he passes.  At the time, it would be socially acceptable to say things outright that are no longer considered correct to say in polite society.  Life wouldn't necessarily be dangerous for Artie, though he'd get plenty of slurs and assumptions about his capabilities.  Unique's life would probably be the most dangerous one, depending on how open she was about herself.

I'm not a writer.  I can visualize characters in AU settings, and I think this one would have interesting possibilities.

Edited to add: Yes, the 1920s Artie I picture would be appropriative and ten different kinds of offensive when it came to race, gender and sexual orientation.  I feel it would be realistic to the time.  Artie would need to be carried to get into many places.  I feel this would also be realistic.

Yes, there's very deliberately bleed-over in the prompt when it comes to race.

Bonus points for someone (Unique? Jake? Blaine? Original character?) telling Mercedes to be sure to ask for royalties.

Also, somewhere along the line, several major characters get into a discussion about some theaters and nightclubs having whites-only audiences.  Maybe it's at one of the parties.  (Added: I kept reading various books, and New York state had a law banning segregation.  There were theaters and nightclubs it was very difficult for dark-skinned patrons to get into, but segregation was not actually de jure.  There were a number of theaters that made people of color sit in balcony seats.  The balcony seats were called "n****r heaven."  That's where Carl Van Vechten got his book title from.  Black people made a concerted effort to integrate orchestra seats in some theaters.  Some theaters allotted blocks of orchestra seats to Black theater patrons when it was a Black musical theater performance.  These things happened over a number of years.  There were New York theaters and nightclubs that were segregated in the 1920s, despite it being against the law.)

Added: There's someone who would like to do a Mercedes-centered fic in this setting.  That's all hers, after she finishes her current works in progress.  I have continued writing ideas for an ensemble fic, but Blaine keeps taking over, and it shouldn't be a Blaine-centered fic, not in a Harlem setting.  That's the status in late October 2013.

Added: As of late March 2014, Mercedes on the show negotiated her own songwriting and record contract.  As of early April 2014, she's living in Harlem.  It's canon.  Miss Mercedes Jones has a record deal and is living in Harlem. 
Tags: fic prompt, rambling

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