to Feb 2015 Show
recent years I've become acquainted (online) with author Katie
She's a fan of my QMH site so the rapport was easy. And I loved her
"Blackmail, My Love." Others did as well; it won a Lambda
Award for mysteries.
the Amazon review I posted for it in 2017:
book I've read, from 2014, and a Lambda Literary winner, and I quite
Our hero, Josie treks to San Francisco in 1951 to find her gay brother,
finds herself trying to solve a murder mystery. Jimmy had been playing
in trying to crack a blackmail ring targeting gays & lesbians
in the community.
Josie picks up the investigations, which lead her to many or history's
like Finocchio's, and meeting Jose at the Black Cat, and others. She
her own deeper self. It's no accident that the book reads like a noir
film on paper, I
could almost hear the narrator behind my shoulder talking Sam Spade-ish.
book is also important for the glimpses of gay life, and persecution
of those times
for just being gay.
Katie is working on a new book, and I can't wait...
Spot: The Raid on Tommys Place
back in the 50s and Tommy's Place was a lesbian bar
in San Francisco. Here are a couple articles about it...
Joint/Tommy's Place from Lost Womyn Space
Raid on Tommy's Place - a case of Cold War
anti-queer crackdowns by Michael Flanagan, for BAR
piece, mentioning Aggie, by Dan McReynolds
done my own research on the raid...the San Francisco
Examiner couldn't get enough of it, and I share a number
of clippings about it on
finally getting to Aggie Dukes...she was
a singer at Tommy's Place, as documented
in a clipping near the bottom of this page
are some photos of Aggie. The were sent to me by Katie Gilmartin,
who got them courtesy of Mary Kay Sicola (they come from a scrapbook
she was given by Mary Dodd Stalling, girlfriend of the other bartender
arrested in the raid, Joyce van de Veer, who had to hide out in a
in the Russian River so she wouldnt be subpeoned).
was tagged "Aggie Duke," but "Dukes" is correct
this one is small, all we have. Aggie is front left.
Grace (Miller), who was sent to jail from the Tommy's arrests,
is in back row center
finally, let's get to the music........
released three singles on the Aladdin label, a well-respected one
in that genre. The first one got a bit of attention.
jazz musician Buddy
Collette played on Aggie's first two singles
to "Swing Low Sweet Cadillac Part 1"
to "Swing Low..." both parts
link, the first single was also released as a 78 rpm
to "John John"
to "Come Back Baby"
John" was re-recorded in a faster version
to "John John"
to "Well of Loneliness"
It does not appear lyrically that "Well of Loneliness"
was inspired by the famous lesbian novel of that
title by British Author Radclyffe Hall (1928)
last single was also released in the UK
on Vogue 9090 in November 1957
a re-issue was done with "John John" (first version)
on one side and Jeannie Barnes "Can't Get You Off My Mind"
on the other, it's original release was in 1955
link has a short discussion of her recordings
songs have recently been included on a number
of various artist compilations
Dukes got another press mention in
early 1958, but almost next to nothing after that
first single, both sides, showed up on a 1957 various artists LP,
now very rare
was mentioned in a 2009 NPR
broadcast, as part of a story on
discovering obscure recordings, shown in part of this article.
At that link you can hear the 6 minute piece, which included the
voice of Aggie's daughter Katherine.
name was in one of the news stories on Tommy's Place, this one
deep trivia in this clipping, from the Bay Area Reporter, from 1984,
where 1950s female
impersonator Tommy Dee, aka Issan Dorsey, remembers his Aggie Dukes