Magical History Tour would like to be among the first to welcome you, dear reader, to May. The long climb up the temperature ladder has just begun; soon we’ll all be sweating out our sheets at night and upping the number of morning deodorant swipes. May 1 is certainly not shy of milestones. The Folies Bergère, famed Parisian music hall known for its risqué dancers, opened its doors on this day in 1869. They probably didn’t think that was as funny as you do. In 1950, Guam became a U.S. commonwealth. It would be years before the island realized the importance it would play as a commercial center for internet porn. Let the commemoration begin.
May 1, 1869
The Folies Bergère opens up.
Best paired with: “En Avril a Paris” by Jacqueline Francois on Jacqueline Francois at the Plaza
Definitely a rarity — still findable on eBay — but this mid-20th century French singer’s silky voice can open both hearts and venues.
May 1, 1931
The 102-story Empire State Building is dedicated.
Best paired with: “New York Telephone Conversation” by Lou Reed on Transformer
The perfect song at 1:34, “New York Telephone Conversation” is a wonderful mini-satire of New York-style life. With lyrics like “Did you see what she did to him, did you hear what they said / Just a New York conversation rattling in my head,” it’s hard to say no to this little ditty.
May 1, 2003
President Bush declares, aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln off the California coast, that major combat operations in Iraq are over.
Best paired with: “We are the Champions,” by Queen on News of the World
Generally, we like to stay out of politics, but we couldn’t resist the beauty of this one.