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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Miss Destiny Tells All

Okay, raise your hands, how many have heard of Miss Destiny? Well, she was likely the most famous drag queen of 1960's Los Angeles, and she got that fame courtesy of John Rechy. He devoted a chapter of "City of Night" to her, and as that book is considered one of the early landmark works of gay literature, she was delighted. 

Her celebrity enabled her to tell her own story in the magazine "One, The Homosexual Viewpoint," in September of 1964, where she took a couple of snipes at Rechy,  but he forgave her. You can read that entire article on a page of my website, by clicking below.

Read "Miss Destiny"

And, she'd be so pleased, there's now a rock band in Melbourne, Australia, calling themselves Miss Destiny, in her honor.

Also, on a long shot, thinking I might could do some genealogy research on her, I wrote to John Rechy, asking if he knew her real name. Alas, he never knew it, and wrote me:

Dear Mr. Doyle,
How wonderful, a page for Miss Destiny!...  I'm afraid I  knew her only as "Miss Destiny," and little else about her, other than her passionate desire to have a "fabulous white wedding."...  I don't know how she got my telephone number back in the 80's, but she would call me sometimes late at night to tell me that she had a "new husband" who did not believe she was "the fabulous Miss Destiny".  Please, she said, tell him it's so.  I would take the telephone and would say to a boozy voice that, yes, he was with the "real Miss Destiny."...  I never again saw her beyond the scenes in "City of Night." 
You may be interested to know that this year marks the 50th anniversary of "City of Night."  My publisher, Grove Press, is putting out a special edition to mark that date, with some supplemental material.
John Rechy

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Judge Judy

Judy Small is an Australian folk legend, and an openly lesbian one. Her music works commenting on social justice over the last thirty-plus years made her an icon in that country. And this year she received a couple of very deserved honors. The above various artists CD was released to honor some of her musical treasures, with contributions from an Aussie who's-who of folk artists.

And, now she's...pardon the easy humor...Judge Judy. See the announcement below.

If the script is too small for your browser, in short she and one other were selected out of 82 candidates for appointment to the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia. 

But, of course I want to tell you more about her music, and more about the tribute CD. It's part of a new series of compilations, with others honoring Bob Dylan, Eric Bogle and Joni Mitchell, so Judy is in very good company. One of the lesbian-themed songs included, was done by Glenys 'Willie" Wilson, who performed in the duo Willie & Fleur. 

I thank my Australian music journalist friend Sue Barrett 
for sending me this CD and getting Willie's autograph

Hearing that, I naturally need to mention my favorite Judy Small release. In 1993 many of her fans got together and sponsored a recording intended to gather her gay-themed songs, and it's a wonderful collection, one I consider a must. It was called "Let the Rainbow Shine."


Listen to Judy sing
"Influenced By Queers"

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gay Boy Scout Songs

Well, a partial victory today led me to drag out the two songs in my collection that lyrically address the issue of gays in the Boy Scouts. The earliest one, from 2000, is by a singer going by Peto, and appeared on his CD "In My Place." He called it "Scout's Honor."


And the other is from a folk satire group called the Ray Korona Band. On their 2002 album "The People Are in Charge" they gave us the tongue-in-cheek song "Gay Free Boy Scouts."

If you know of any other songs lyrically about this issue, please contact me

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Queer Things

 Yes, "Queer Things" were happening back in the 1950's. My last blog entry told of a song from 1953 by Louis Farrakhan, aka The Charmer, inspired by the sex change operation of Christine Jorgensen. And the song above also mentions Christine. This time it was by the prolific songstress of naughty tunes, Ruth Wallis. Despite virtually no airplay and limited distribution her recordings sold very well, with all those double-entendre lyrics like those of "The Dinghy Song," and "Johnny Had a Yo-Yo." Wallis had much to be admired, like founding her own label in 1952...imagine, doing that in the early '50's.

But my interest is in her "gay" songs, and she was one of the first to touch on the taboo subjects of the time, like homosexuality...but she always did so in a way that was not mean-spirited. Check out "Queer Things."

"He'd Rather Be a Girl"

For more, I recommend the CD release of some of her most popular songs.

And, I've also got a cover version of "Queer Things," done by Rosita Rosano. I know little about her but this was a UK pressing, and she often covered songs by Ruth Wallis.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Louis Farrakhan Sings About Christine Jorgensen

Yes, "The Charmer" was Louis Farrakhan, since 1975 the leader of the religious movement Nation of Islam, although the Anti-Defamation League instead of being charmed has said he is an "unrepentant bigot" who continues to spew his hateful message of anti-Semitism, homophobia and racism. 

Back around 1953 he was a calypso singer, and recordings he made then pop up now and again, and have even been re-issued on CD. He only catches my interest for one reason, the song he wrote shown above. He was born Louis Eugene Wolcott, also mistakenly spelled Walcott, as is shown in the writer credits on every vinyl image for the song I have seen. And the song is about Christine Jorgensen, whose sex change was big, Big news at that time. So he could not resist capitalizing on the headlines, asking "Is She Is, Or Is She Ain't."


Monday, May 13, 2013

Gay & Lesbian Prom Songs

Ah, it's Prom Time, and I am reminded of that as there are two proms in the Houston area held especially for our LGBTQIA teens. I was even a chaperone two weeks ago at the one in Montgomery County, the county north of Houston (that votes 80% Republican). So it was fun, and gratifying to be a part of such an event. The Houston prom, sponsored by the organization called HATCH will be in June. 

I found two "prom songs" by gay and lesbian singers, and neither have videos I can link to, so I am providing links to hear them. First, in 1986 two Salinas, California, female students went to court, and won, for the right to go to their high school prom together, and I admire the courage that must have taken, especially as it was 27 years ago. 

Laura Berkson put the story into a song, called "Marie," from her 1989 self-titled cassette tape.

The version by Holly & Ronnie appear on the 1996 CD "This Train Still Runs"

And, the lyrics, from the above CD

And below is a live version, by the Los Angeles group, Vox Femina

 And, I have another gay prom song, one a bit humorous, and it's from 1992, and also was a cassette-only release. Harry C.S. Wingfield did the honors with his song "I Do, I Do, I Do (The Senior Prom Song)."

And to see what he looks like, here's a 45 he released in 1992

If you know of other prom songs with LGBT lyrics, please let me know, at

Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?

I posted on Facebook about the song "Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl" and got so much response that I decided to do a full blog entry on it. The Barbarians reached #55 in October of 1965 with it, and of course this was during the full attack of Beatlemania, so why not do a commentary on the hairstyles prominent in those days.

 A year after the Barbarians, a band called the Ravens covered the song.

 And in 1978 a band calling themselves The Dogs did a harder rock version.

Total hindsight allows us to give a different look at "Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl," and who better than our own Jayne County. She included her interpretation on her 1995 CD "Let Your Backbone Slip."

And I found a couple YouTube versions of it, with joyfully, one of them done live.


And I also have one from 1990 by The Peecocks. I did not find a video of it, but you can...
Click to Hear the Peecocks

And, if you really want to belabor the point, you can find
several more amateur versions on YouTube

Monday, May 6, 2013

Vancouver Pride Song

I love that Vancouver Pride has chosen an official Pride Song, and it's called "Pot of Gold," and half of the proceeds go to the Pride Society. It's by the band Mandrake, featuring Buzy B. It will appear on the album "Feet Lost Time" in July.

Pot of Gold (Rainbow)

Lost, in a matter of speaking, no colour and I fear I'm freaking out
I've died, no direction to heaven, but tough lemons, my hue is fading
I need a rollercoaster rainbow to beam me to the other side
The bright bodies are there so I'm needed on the other side

Thumbs up, hitching for luck, for a bump-bump daddy in his pickup truck
I need, bright colour to breathe, but tough lemons, my hue is fading
I need a rollercoaster rainbow to beam me to the other side
The bright bodies are there so I'm needed on the other side

Rai-ai-ain bow-ow-ow you are my open ro-o-oad 
and with you I feel beautiful and free to roam

Ride the rainbow, for the pot of gold, strong, proud, beautiful and bold
alienated like we're from another planet, now we coming home (equal rights we demand it)
Its ringing in your ears so pick up the phone, reply via text if nobodies home
lets march like soldiers, off to war, parade around town, go door to door
We're your mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, telling us no, huh, don't even bother
that word we don't hear aint coming in clear, not criminals, just a little bit queer
ride the rainbow, together with pride, times are changing no need to run and hide
just be yourself that they can't deny, so lets unify and march with pride

Sprints, never daring to slow, with my eyes wide open on the world below
my feet, pulsing prism beneath, but tough lemons, my hue is fading,
I need a rollercoaster rainbow to beam me to the other side
the bright bodies are there so I'm needed on the other side

Rai-ai-ain bow-ow-ow you are my open ro-o-oad 
and with you I feel beautiful and free to roam

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Supremes Fabulettes Are Back

And, they're back.....I first reviewed the UK group The Supreme Fabulettes in early December, when I went nuts over their song and video for "You Ruined My Christmas." See that blog entry Here. This is a sort of side project of Boy George, as he's written some of their songs and produced the videos. This time it's the fun, fun "A Drag Queen Is a Cowboy's Best Friend."

I grabbed some gratuitous screen shots:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Controversial French Bullying Video

Canadian director Xavier Dolan released a brutal video this week, amidst calls for censorship in France, the country of the rock band whose song "College Boy," is used in the video. Indochine's song is behind the dramatic imagery of a boy whose school bullying escalates to crucifixion. Montreal actor Antoine Pilon portrays the victim undergoing the treatment, while his classmates look on, symbolically wearing blindfolds.

“It seems absurd to me that the clip is censored,” said Dolan. “Is it really more violent than all the movies that arrive on our screens every day? The question shouldn’t be – did I go too far? It should be – what’s stopping a group of teenagers from going this far, given how powerful the gun lobby is in the U.S."

The video has already been blocked in most U.S. sites for copyright grounds, so you may want to watch this while you can.

My friend Gerard Koskovich provided me with a bit of the English translation,
and Click Here for the full French lyrics.

What I’m learning right here is that life isn’t easy
With those people
I’ll be way too different for the quiet lives
Of other people.
I want to see you.
Yes, I love their whole scene,
But I just don’t fit in, that’s the thing.
And it hurts really bad
When I hear what they’ve said
When my back's turned.
But I still have the right, when you wake up again,
Yes, I still have the right,
When you wake up again, to do these things.
The right to spread your legs,
When you finally wake up,
The milky taste on your skin. I have the right.
That’s when we’re alive,
Like everyone our age,
That’s when we make noise
Just like those angry boys.