Paying back dues to my younger days
The short form is that, after going on the Burma solidarity March, I went with christinaalley
to see Holly Woodlawn in conversation. The amazing Sadie Lee has done a bunch of miraculous portaits that spare nothing of the indignities of middle age as here
and the in conversation was wonderful and strange.
(Do people need to be told that Holly is the survivor of the Warhol drag queens? Candy was prettier and Jackie was smarter, but Holly lives on...And probably did the best performance in a movie - in Trash
Afterwards, I wandered up to Holly and told her that I saw her in London in cabaret in 1979 a few weeks after I transitioned. I reminded her that she sang 'Terrible Movie' from Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti
and she started singing bits of it in her cracked little voice. I told her how much she had meant to me back then and earlier, and bowed and kissed her hand. She gently tugged my head up by the chin and kissed me on the lips.
It was a benediction of sorts.
You see, I have always felt a little guilty.
Back in the 60s, I hung out with drag queens and transwomen and know where I belonged, but also wanted more from life than seemed on offer. My friend Sylvia, a magnificent old whore, told me not to be silly - get my degree and some power and then sort out my issues. I know she was right, but there is the road not taken, sort of.
And a lot of that got worked out by my time in low dives in Chicago in 78 and 80, and looking after young Soho transkids in 79. I was prudent and did what I had to do, and transitioned at a point when it was safer for me, and have had a nicer life as a result, and even done some good.
Holly threw herself at life and became a character in a famous rock song and was a star and has lived in poverty forever and was at Stonewall. I would never have been that lucky and would probably be dead.
A kiss from Holly was a way for the sweet dead fucked up street kid I might have been to forgive me for being sensible.