Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Anna from Queens

When I was a kid - like, a REALLY YOUNG KID...maybe 8 or 9 - my grandfather found a copy of Valley of the Dolls, and gave it to me. It had the word "dolls" in the title, and he figured it was a book for girls. And he knew I liked to read. So I read it. My parents, who knew it was NOT a book for little girls, didn't stop me from reading it. They let me read anything in which I showed an interest. I loved it. This led to me watching the movie, which got regular air play on NYC's 4:30 movie.

I was delighted that the role of Neely was played by Patty Duke, who I knew from The Patty Duke Show (which I watched in reruns, and loved, because it took place in Brooklyn Heights, which was just a spit away from Park Slope) and The Miracle Worker, which also got regular play on the 4:30 movie.

I was too young to know the word "camp," but certainly not too young to understand the concept that, sometimes, things are so bad, that they're excellent. After that, it was ON. I never missed Valley of the Dolls when it aired.

I was quite a bit older when I realized that Patty's performance as Neely was adored by queer people the world over, and older, still, when I found out that she embraced this fandom with all her heart. She was OUR GIRL, from way back. Anna - this outer-borough girl who loved her gays as much as we loved HER...who was ordained as a minister for the sole purpose of being able to officiate at same-sex weddings....who would speak at screenings of Valley of the Dolls at The Castro because she loved us and we loved her...who opened up about the hell her childhood had been and the mental illness she had lived with for so long...who fought for research into mental illness, and public understanding of it, and an end to the taboos we have around it.

People who only knew her as one of the identical cousins might find it difficult to believe she was radical, but she was radical as fuck. And she was ours.

Rest in peace, Anna.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Not Like The Others

When I was little, my best friend was this little girl whose parents were really racist. They'd say to her (right in front of me), "Don't play with any of the niggers or the spics on the block, except Lana and her sister. They're not like other spics." And then she would come to my house and play, and call my grandma "abuela" and we would pretend we were sisters. My parents would tell me to ignore her folks because, they said, "They're just ignorant."

These days, I find myself thinking about my friends who are white, "He/she isn't REALLY white. I mean, he/she is white, but not anything like actual WHITE PEOPLE are white."

Friday, March 4, 2016

White Histrionics- A Site of One's Own

White Histrionics has its own home on the web, now. Check out the dedicated blog for a new White Histrionic reminiscence, every day for the month of March and, possibly, beyond.  And remember, THE WHITE STRUGGLE IS REAL.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Co-Opting Racism

On this date in 1996, Margaret Hemsworth requested that her monthly shift requirement at the Park Slope Food Co-Op be permanently waived, enabling her to devote more time to Bikram yoga. This request was denied, resulting in a flare-up of Ms. Hemsworth's self-diagnosed fibromyalgia. The struggle is real. 


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Rosa Parks, Move Over

On this date in 1978, Chad Mathews of Darien, Connecticut was required to produce photo identification when attempting to cash a third-party, out-of-state check at a Bank of America branch. He wrote a strong letter to BoA's main office, describing the injustice he had suffered. The teller, an African American woman who had been employed by the bank for 16 years, was subsequently fired. Mathews is recognized as a pioneering freedom fighter for the civil rights of white men with money. 


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

White Histrionics Month: The Kick-Off

White Histrionics Month kicks off, today. Let's start it right with a look back at white suffering through history.

On this date in 2011, Dr. And Mrs. Walter Darrow of Berkeley, CA, missed All Things Considered, due to a 73 minute power outage in the SF Bay area. The day came to be known as The Berkeley Atonement.
Support White Histrionics Month by using the hashtag throughout March: #WhiteHistrionicsMonth