Tagged 1920s

The Nance with special pre-show queer history talk

Ray Bourbon at Taits (1933)

Saturday, October 24, from 7 to 10 p.m.
New Conservatory Theatre Center
25 Van Ness Avenue

Direct from Broadway, The Nance (8 p.m.) recreates the naughty, raucous world of burlesque’s heyday and tells the backstage story of headliner Chauncey Miles, who plays “the nance,” a flamboyantly effeminate stock character—usually played by a straight man. At a time when it was easy to play gay and dangerous to be gay, Chauncey’s uproarious antics on the stage stand out in marked contrast to his offstage life. By Douglas Carter Beane. Directed by Dennis Lickteig.

Special Pre-Show History Talk: “A Real Life Nance: Rae Bourbon”

Ray Bourbon (1930s)

Rae (aka Ray) Bourbon (c. 1892-1971) performed in and out of drag as a pansy comic in vaudeville, a bawdy nance in burlesque, and a female impersonator in bars and on stages from the 1920s through the 1960s. At 7 p.m., Professor Don Romesburg will discuss Bourbon’s early career in the context of the so-called “pansy craze,” the popularity of nance roles, and the constant challenge of policing and raids for queer performers of the era.

GLBT Historical Society members receive a special premium for the entire run of the show, running Wednesday-Sunday through November 1. Use the discount code “GLBTMuseum” for a savings of 25% . Purchase tickets at www.nctcsf.org or by calling the box office at 415-861-8972.

Here’s Ray Bourbon performing “Give, Sister, Give” from his 1945 album Hilarity From Hollywood. Listen closely for a nod to San Francisco’s Embarcadero, a notorious cruising area for servicemen during World War II.