I'm trying to free Kansas City
April 5, 2014 12:02 PM Subscribe
Two friends and artists separately found troves of photos
by the same photographer, documenting the drag balls of the 1950s and 1960s in Kansas City
"It wasn't until 2012 when the two long-time friends realized the semblance of their discoveries. Both sets of recovered slides had clearly been shot by the same photographer, who seemed to have a familiarity with the crowd at each ball. With over 200 slides between the two discoveries, Heishman and Boles teamed up with writer Emily Kay Henson to form the Private Birthday Party collection. Their research, with the help of the Gay and Lesbian Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the generous support of the Kansas City community, uncovered further details, placing most of the photographs at notorious KC nightclubs such as The Colony
and The Jewel Box Lounge.
Billed as "tea dances" or "private birthday parties," these drag balls
were largely underground events. Both local personalities and nationally acclaimed drag performers, including Skip Arnold
, G.G. Allen, and Jamie Greeney can be seen in the slides performing their acts and posing with friends. By highlighting these performers in addition to photographing party scenes, outtakes, and portraits of attendees, this collection is a rare and important look into mid-century drag ball culture."
Also on tumblr