Bird Cage Theatre

Now here’s a fun picture of Jennifer and me that I took through a bar mirror in Tombstone, Arizona. We are in the Bird Cage Theatre, a heritage building harkening back to the wild west. The painting behind us (with bullet holes and a knife gash) is an original of Fatima (aka Little Egypt), who started her stage career here in 1881 – the same year as the gunfight at OK Corral a couple blocks away. The theatre lays claim to being the location of the longest poker game in history. It lasted (get this) eight years and included Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, and Wyatt Earp among those who played in it. Don’t take my word for it. Check out “Bird Cage Theatre” in Wikipedia.

Noting some inconsistencies in what I have read, “Fatima” was the early stage name of Fahreda Mazar Spyropoulos. She appeared at the Bird Cage when she was 10 years old. Her fame as a burlesque performer came later. The painting has its own interesting history, but it is not likely a portrait of Fatima. It was auctioned in 1882 when Fatima was 11 years old, so I take the provenance claimed by the theatre with a grain of salt.

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