Sunday, June 10, 2012

Born On This Day- June 10th.. Francis Ethel Gumm

How can I come up with a gay connection to Judy Garland? Lets see… her father was gay, 2 of her husbands were gay, the man she hand picked as a husband for her daughter was gay, her gay fans remained her most steadfast fans through the drugs & the booze ups & downs, the fruit of her loins was Liza Minnelli & then there is that little film- The Wizard Of Oz.


42 years after her death, Judy Garland remains the very definition of gay icon. Her failed relationships, her self-doubt, & her battle with substance abuse are aspects of a life that most of us can identify with, while her live performances reflect a truth & freedom that are desired by anyone that has wasted time hiding their own emotions.


Gay culture can't escape Garland's influence. The Stonewall riots have been attributed to the anger & grief felt on Garland's funeral that day. The term- "Friend of Dorothy," is from our identification with Garland's most famous role.

Garland's 1961 concert at Carnegie Hall is a landmark in Show Biz. 2 years earlier, she had been advised to retire from performing after being diagnosed with hepatitis, but instead she took on a series of concerts in Europe & the USA that reestablished her reputation as the top entertainer of all time. The Carnegie Hall show is regarded as the greatest evening in show-business history. The live recording of that concert spent more than a year on the Billboard charts & won 7 Grammys, including Album of the Year.



Last year, my dear friend- WCK3 & I stayed up late into the night watching CDs of her TV show from the early 1960s. I was entranced by her presence & horrified by the histrionics. Sometimes when listening to her recordings, I am off put by the feeling that she sings every single song as if it were her last. Her over the top interpretations of the great standards push me away. But, then I hear her original version or her late in life version of Over The Rainbow & I end up crying. Judy Garland loved her fans & they loved her back. I love her for that.

3 comments:

  1. Have you listened to Rufus Wainwright's re-doing of that famous concert?

    ReplyDelete
  2. she is an angel, and will be adored by gay men forever, because we are bastions of good taste.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just caught a glimpse of a play/musical Sunday night on the Tony Awards broadcast of an impersonator? I want to go back and watch it again since I was distracted.
    Who doesn't love Judy?

    ReplyDelete

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