THE LAVENDER BLUES
Created, Written and Performed
by Sarah S. Kilborne
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, performance artist 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 pioneers and legends as the Great Hindle, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Beatrice Lillie and more, Kilborne performs songs - from 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 resonant 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 pivotal roles as producers, accompanists and songwriters, and the stories behind the songs are every bit as powerful as their lyrics.
Featuring music from vaudeville, the blues, early jazz, Tin Pan Alley, 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, brave even for today - and as deliciously fun and inspiring as ever.
QUICK READ: Interview with Rural Intelligence
"Sarah Kilborne's first one-woman show is an enlightening, enchanting trip to a place in time you never knew took place: Kilborne, creator and performer, has not only unearthed buried treasure, she brings its ghosts to life and glory."
- Enid Futterman, Imby.com
Photo by Jane O'Connor