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June 17, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm


The Lavender Blues is a showcase of queer music before World War II.  It is music history. It is queer history. It is women’s history. It is entertainment. It is life.

“Girls were girls and boys were boys when I was a tot. Now we don’t know who is who or even what’s what!”   (Gwen Farrar, 1926)    

With The Lavender Blues, modern cabaret performer Sarah Kilborne brings to light for the first time the quiet, yet powerful emergence between the world wars of songs that spoke about what it was like to be gay or “in the life.”

From such legends as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Gladys Bentley and Josephine Baker, Kilborne performs songs – written almost a century ago – that describe what it is like to be non-binary. The themes in the music are as emblematic of yesterday as they are relevant today, addressing issues of masculinity, femininity, same-sex love, cross-dressing, the desire for freedom from prejudice and more.

Women performers were at the forefront of this quiet revolution in song, which coincided with the birth of the recording industry, ensuring that this music would last. Men, too, played a pivotal role as producers, accompanists and songwriters, and the stories behind the songs are every bit as powerful as their lyrics.

Featuring music from Vaudeville, the Harlem Renaissance, Tin Pan Alley, the Weimar Republic, and more, The Lavender Blues takes us on a musical journey that illuminates a courageous and colorful time in America’s past when pioneering artists sang boldly about sexual and gender fluidity, something radical even for today – and as deliciously fun and inspiring as ever.

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June 17, 2016
8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
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