Not for the flappers. They lived off scraps after all. A few came from a wealthy family but were often treated like cattle by their employers, and were frequently forced to leave the trade in order to find better ones. These were the flappers who built the country’s major art industries.
Flappers on the Road to the Disco
In the first century AD in the Italian city of Florence, the artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini created the first “house-car” – a car that ran on wheels. In the 18th century, the Flappers lived around Florence, which produced some of the best works of the time.
The Flappers came across a number of local musicians and musicians who were skilled in flute and violin. The men and women joined together to form groups, called “Flat” after the shape on the steering wheel. They would then ride along the streets, often meeting with other Flat groups, and perform on the side of the road for the public eye.
The Flappers would take the flutter-cars from their places on the street and set off to play for the crowd. They could be taken to the houses of wealthy patrons as pay or they could be taken to places like the Bolognese Opera House where they performed with great success.
Flappers’ first concert was in 1492 to celebrate the coronation of Emperor Maximilian Frederick I of Austria. It was a huge success and many of the flappers went on to form other groups. When the Flappers played the St. Mark’s Square in London in 1611, they captured the crowd’s attention with their music and the way they played the flute and guitar.
Other cities soon saw the Flappers’ musicians – or “flammenettes” as they were called – play and win the hearts of many who wanted to join the Flapper music movement. The music and the dancing attracted a large number of the poor, and the Flappers’ members would sometimes run into trouble in the street as the city became increasingly more dangerous.
Flappers made their way to Paris at the beginning of the 18th century. In Paris in the late 1800s, flappers would perform for tourists but also become regular fixtures during the evening at cafes.
When I arrived in Paris to find out more about what my ancestor had done for the flapper music movement, I discovered that a similar group had been playing at street corner bars and restaurants in Paris for decades.
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