Everyone knows it's Black Friday, and lots of people know it's Buy Nothing Day. But how many have heard of Pins and Needles Day? Observed every November 27 by hardly anyone, Pins and Needles Day celebrates the opening of a pro-labor musical review by that name, produced in 1937 by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union at the Labor Stage Theater in New York. African American dancer Katherine Dunham directed a cast of ILGWU members. It ran for over 1100 performances, and was performed in the White House in 1938. In 1962, a commemorative studio album was released, featuring a very young Barbra Streisand in the lead. Here she is from the original cast album singing "Status Quo".
It's been revived and updated several times since, and everything about its story warms my heart. I've done piecework and other stitchery for a living (if you can call it that), and I have taught about the industrial revolution and unionization. If I had only known about Pins and Needles, those lectures could have had a soundtrack!
Maybe if enough people celebrate Pins and Needles Day, we can have another revival!
My Gender Mystique blog focuses on my work on clothing, sex, and gender. That's not all I do, so this blog is about everything else.