Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Funny That Way
A remarkable little treasure turned up today in The Guardian; I'm genuinely shocked I'd never heard of it.
Love is a Drag is the aural equivalent of The Boys in the Band, a glimpse into a certain kind of gay life that flickered and flourished in the twilight BS - Before Stonewall. Or maybe it actually is the Boys in the Band, as in Esther Blodgett's retreat down near the docks, where it's eternally three in the morning and you're singing just for yourself and...
Who knew that something like this could have existed all these years? Passed hand to hand, played at parties, probably kept like a talisman by some, ridiculed perhaps by others, it survived. Today, it may seem very tame, in these days when sometimes it seems The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name has reach the Point At Which It Never Shuts Up (not that I'm complaining - or, for that matter, in these times, complacent). But on its own merits, it holds up: conservative arrangements of old favorites, sung simply and well (by Gene Howard, a longtime Stan Kenton crooner), the only distinction of which is that all the pronouns, like the singer, are masculine. And it works.
There are only a few tracks on the YouTube ("The Boy Next Door" among them - and very pretty it is), but the whole thing is up on iTunes, and if you're in the market for a nice little present for yourself this festive season, I can't think of anything sweeter. In a way, it's nice to know - that even all these years later, after so much tumult, change, two-steps-forward-one-step-back, and more, when it comes right down to it, we're all, in one way or another, Mad About the Boy.