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Other titles in the Between Men-Between Women: Lesbian & Gay Studies series:
Evening At the Garden of Allah a Gay Cabaret in Seattleby Don Paulson
Synopses & Reviews
December 1946 saw the opening of America's first gay-owned cabaret, the Garden of Allah, in seedy downtown Seattle. Patrons filed down a white marble staircase to the basement of a once grand Victorian hotel, passing $1 through a peephole to enter an exotic, bacchanalian world of variety, vaudeville, and burlesque, presented by a cast of beautiful female impersonators. In the repressive, often violently anti-gay environment of postwar America, the Garden of Allah was a haven for spontaneity, outrageosness, and affirmation for its gay and lesbian clientelle, as well as a place where heterosexuals were encouraged to join in and have some fun!"An Evening at the Garden of Allah takes readers back in time with its vivid, exciting oral history of this shining moment in America's gay and lesbian past.
Book News Annotation:
Recounts the heyday of a Seattle drag cabaret during the post-war era and the community of dancers, female impersonators, and gay and lesbian club-goers that blossomed around it. Details the lives and careers of headliners at the club during its ten-year existence, drawing on interviews with former patrons and performers. Includes b&w photos.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
An Evening at the Garden of Allah tells the story of the community of gays and lesbians that blossomed around the cabaret during an age before the Stonewall rebellion in New York and other uprisings made gay consciousness a public issue. A wealth of arresting photographs from the collections of Jackie Starr, Skippy Larue, and other headliners at the club during the ten years it thrived, breathe life into the personal histories centered around this oasis of gay and lesbian culture. Through interviews with former patrons and performers, Don Paulson and Roger Simpson capture the joyful evenings where those on stage proclaimed to the gathered audiences, "Come out and be yourselves". Here are the lives of the female impersonators, the Prima Donnas and the Dames, singing ballads to the accompanying roar of the Garden's old theater pipe organ. Dressed regally or garishly as their stage personas demanded, their bravado helped others to affirm and take pride in their lesbian and gay identities. These precursors of today's drag queens blast many deeply rooted assumptions about gender as they detail the excitements, tragedies, and complexities of their day-to-day lives. Here too are the stories of lesbian and gay audience members who found a home at the Garden, the soldiers and sailors who patronized the club, the fashionable Seattleites slumming on notorious First Avenue, and the tourists who came to be photographed in the Garden's atmosphere of debauchery and abandon. In its moving portrait of a little-explored chapter in America's gay and lesbian past, An Evening at the Garden of Allah takes readers back in time with a vivid oral history of this special cabaret. Paulson, Simpson, and theirinformants present the story of a place where ideas about repression, identity, and resistance were beginning to be openly discussed, where hopes and dreams of liberation took shape.
< P> < I> An Evening at the Garden of Allah< /I> takes readers back in time with its vivid, exciting oral history of this shining moment in America's gay and lesbian past.< /P>
An Evening at the Garden of Allah takes readers back in time with its vivid, exciting oral history of this shining moment in America's gay and lesbian past.
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