Ames, Manager of the Jewelbox, Kansas City
was a good friend of Rae's back in the 1960s ... I was manager of the
Jewel Box in Kansas City (owned by the Mafia & run by one John Trucillo,
now dead)... Rae, a grand old trouper ... stayed to himself more or
less ... the bitchiness of the other queens in the show was huge, especially
since none of them had much talent ... but Rae was not perturbed ...
he had been in the business long enough .. It was sad though to see
Rae have to ask Trucillo for a $10 advance ... I would make out a chit
& Rae signed it ... they paid him so little.
best part of the show was at the end ... all the others had left the
stage & Rae, dressed as the cleaning lady in an old dress ... & foul
mouth ... the departing audience, many of them, didn't realise it was
the same person who had been causing them so much merriment before ...
she threw the bucket down on the stage ... started mopping ... mumbling
about having to clean up "after those bitches" ... then stood there,
mop in one hand, other hand on hip & delievered a 10-15 minute little
post script... all ad lib & just so funny!
was still working up routines. He carried with him in his car, a small
tape recorder into which he practised his routines...
couple of other things just to mind ... you may choose not to use this
one, but Rae, you know, had a penchant for young trade ... he often
scored a likely, lusty young hitch-hiker as he drove home from work
along Troost Avenue in the early hours. It was said ... & I don't know
where the story came from or whether there was truth in it ... that
Rae sometimes sent himself a telegram so that he could have a go at
the delivery boy! Isn't that as scream? It shows resourcefulness...
we all have to mourn the passing of the telegram boys, eh?
Ames, manager of the Jewelbox, Kansas City, June, 2000 in an email to
Randy A. Riddle
One Outrageous Person to Another
is so real, and so funny, you think it is happening to you."
Flynn, quoted on the cover of the album "Don't Call Me Madam" (UTC 3)
Gift of Improvisation
or out of drag, Ray Bourbon was the Robin Williams of his era."
Robert Wright, composer and long-time friend of Ray Bourbon
no other homosexual, and certainly no other performer, has had the effect
on America's gay community that Bourbon did ... Rae went all over the
country, appearing everywhere, and people remember him because he was
could walk into a room, gauge the audience and figure out what they
could stand. Then he'd push it ten percent above what they could
Gardner, UTC Records, in a 1971 interview in Gay magazine
is truly a lost art"
a budding female impersonator, I was very much confused by drag v.s.
female impersonation. "Camp" humour was something so hard to define,
yet after hearing Ray, it finally, for me at least, seemed easier to
distinguish one from another. When listening to "Cleopatra and Her Asp",
I could tell he was mirroring the truth of what straight folk wanted
gays to believe was "happiness, norlmacy, etc.." but, by the same token,
hopefully was expressing "This could have been you, if you had given
his inflections, and his pauses were most memorable to me. He seemed
to have an uncanny sense of timing between the "Main" character and
the unheard cast. All in all, I can only attribute wanting to hear more
of Ray fifteen years later! Knowing that there were pioneers out there...!
They took the hard knocks, and we are only reaping what "They" sowed.
It's a shame what "drag" has become. It truly is a lost art."
via the Internet
Much for a Radical Faerie?
is the man who gave queers a bad name."
young Radical Faerie after hearing a Ray Bourbon recording for the first
time in 1998
Can Never Jail a Person's Imagination"
truly memorable showbiz character, one for whom Fernando cut master
acetates, was the performer Ray Bourbon. Although his act was as good
as anything seen at Jimmy Daniels's Bon Soir boite (and one night I
saw Senator Richard Nixon there and on another Marlon Brando--he was
there to see his intimate friend Mr. Peepers), Bourbon had a rough time
succeeding with his fey act. His bitchy repartee was considered as shocking
as anything else during that period, and his garb was delightfully outlandish.
When accused of murder and jailed, he got a letter from Fernando and
me to the effect that prison can never jail a person's imagination;
we encouraged him to continue working on his act. He sent a thank-you
but died soon afterwards."
Allen Smith, author, scholar and humanist, former owner of studio that
recorded Ray Bourbon (http://idt.net/~wasm/)