By fake consultant,
Pride Month has come and gone, Gentle Reader, with no comment from this desk.
It’s not that I’m in some way insensitive to the subject; instead it’s more of a desire, once again, to stay off the beaten path.
And in that spirit, I do indeed have a story of Gay History...but it’s not from the Summer of ’69...instead, this story was already well underway before the Summer of ’29.
So put on something très chic and let’s head on over to Harlem...at the time of the Renaissance...because it’s time to meet Gladys Bentley.
As so often happens, I had no idea I would be writing a Gay History (HerStory?) story—and the funny thing is, it’s all Groucho Marx’s fault.
For those not aware, Groucho starred in what is now an ancient television game show, “You Bet Your Life”. The basic concept was that the guest would come on and demonstrate a talent, do a little comedic banter with Groucho, and then answer questions for money.
There is a newly released DVD set of episodes from the show, and I was watching the very first episode of the set...and along comes this woman who introduces herself as Gladys Bentley. After a few words, she sits down at the portable piano that was provided, and much to my amazement she proceeds to pound out some of the most amazing boogie-woogie it has ever been my pleasure to watch.