Editor’s note: I chose the anniversary of Garland’s death as the post heading for this week’s ZeitGAYst sampler for a reason: I’ve seen too many articles lately, some in response to the Tracie Bennett show “End of the Rainbow” and some apparently needing to just take up more ink (as we used to call it when real ink as used) with declarations that Judy Garland and her tragic life and death are just so boooo-ring. We’re post-Garland now, empowered, living in the fierce lights of Madonna (if we want a living fossil) and Lady Gaga for the young genderqueers. And then, of course, gay icons in general are too 20th Century to be seen as anything but a curiosity.
Well, Judy Garland possessed a talent that was one of few in a lifetime, and I say that as someone who was never a fan (Janis Joplin was my tragic idol). She was among a handful of extraordinary, phenomenal performers during any generation that we can count on one hand. To reduce her to a gay icon, a screen onto which tortured gay men from a tortured past projected their tortured souls, misses the point entirely. Asking the question, as one cover story did, “Does Judy Garland Still Matter?”, is like asking if Van Gogh still matters. He was a crazy bastard who cut off his ear and shot himself. So! Very! Passe! Here’s hoping when the anniversary of her death comes around next year we might be spared the pointless articles about Judy Garland’s continued value, of lack of it, as an annual binge for cultural bulemics. – Mark
Judy Garland Dies at the Age of 47 (June 22, 1969)
The 1960’s began with the death of the tormented Marilyn Monroe and it ended with the death of another embattled star, Judy Garland. She died in her apartment in London on June 22, 1969 at the age of 47. Like Monroe, the cause of death was determined to be from an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. Much of Judy’s adult life was a series of mental breakdowns and career triumphs with serious financial difficulties regularly lurking in the background. Her tragic end arrived much too soon.
Newsweek Runs Cover Story About Lesbians (June 21, 1993)
The issue of Newsweek that hit newsstands the week of June 15, 1993 (with a June 21 cover date) was titled: “Lesbians, Coming Out Strong: What Are the Limits of Tolerance?” Featuring a lesbian couple on the cover (Catherine Angiel and Ashley Herrin), the article largely contrasted stereotypical “butch” lesbians with more feminine “lipstick” lesbians who were more likely to go undetected by the general population. In the eyes of many gay readers the story served mostly as a primer for straight society on the world of lesbians.
New York City Hosts Gay Games IV (June 18-25, 1994)
Up until today the gayest event to occur in New York City was the Tony Awards. But in 1994 it was chosen to host the 4th Gay Games. (San Francisco had played host to the first two Gay Games in 1982 and 1986 while Vancouver hosted in 1990). It was also a fitting way to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riot.