Like Vivian Maier’s collection of photography, another stash of historically important images have recently surfaced. The bulk of this cache consists of posed portraits and candid shots from ‘private parties’ of drag queens at “The Colony”, a Kansas City night club during the pre-Stonewall era of the late 1950s and 1960s. The images exist in slide form and were recovered in two separate incidents by Robert Chase Heishman and Michael Boles. Heishman discovered a slide carousel – labeled “Jack’s Slides: Chicago and Kansas City” in 2006 amongst the rubble of a salvage yard in Kansas City. Two years later, while helping a friend move, Boles discovered a shoe box of slides as well as some letters from the same ‘Jack’ identified on the carousel.
In 2012 the two men learned of each other’s discovery and realized their finds were by the same photographer. Heishman and Boles pooled their collection of over 150 images and created the Private Birthday Party collection.
The Dumbells: WW1 Canadian entertainment troop c. 1917
I came across a leaflet in my ‘gender identity’ file from the 1995 Gay Pride Day in Toronto with tips every drag queen should know. So in honour of Gay Pride 2011, here are the top five tips for drag queens:
Tip 5: Breasts can be constructed from bags filled with bird seed or rice, or balloons filled with a mixture of water and gelatin
Tip 4: Nail glue is also useful for holding clip-on earrings in place, however you may need solvent to remove them and that could make your lobes a little red for a while
Tip 3: To avoid slipping on stage while wearing spikes, make it tacky by spilling coke on it
Tip 2: Never wear a sequinned jacket with a long wig, the wig will get tangled and come off with the jacket. Similarly, never wear rhinestones with satin – they claw and will scar the surface of the fabric
Tip 1: Drink beer through a straw, it’s easier on the lipstick – but remember, the more you drink, the more you’re going to have to untuck and tuck, while wearing nails