The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, August 14
August 14th, 2012
TODAY IN HISTORY:
Nineteen Arrested in Miami Bar Raids: 1954. Miami’s anti-gay hysteria showed no signs of letting up (see Aug 3, Aug 11, Aug 12, Aug 13). It was only yesterday (see Aug 13) when Florida’s governor threatened to replace Dade County sheriff Thomas J. Kelly for allegedly permitting “wide open” gambling in the county and for ”failing to prevent the concentration of sex perverts in the county which had become emphasized recently.” It’s unknown what actions Sheriff Kelly took to curb gambling, but it only took him a day to put together a raid on several of the city’s suspected gay bars. Nineteen were arrested, and a photo of one of the drag queens (sans wig) was splashed onto the front page of The Miami News:
Raiders Seize 19 in Pervert Roundup.
Nineteen suspected perverts were arrested early today in Miami and Miami Beach by raiding deputy sheriffs. The men were booked on vagrancy charges and held for a venereal disease check. One suspect was released in custody of his attorney. Deputies did not name the suspects.
Sheriff Thomas J. Kelly said his deputies had been watching bars where perverts had been seen and had made floor plans of each place to be visited.
Deputy Gerald Butler said Dr. M.J. Takos, Dade County Venereal Disease Control director, checked each person brought in by deputies. Dr. Takos decided which men were to be held.
Places on the list included the Good Hotel, Stockade Bar, Echo Club, El Morocco Bar, Sambo Bar, Circus Bar, Charles Hotel Bar, DeMarco Bar, Alibi Bar, Shanticleer Bar, Leon and Eddies, the Little Club, and Singapore Lounge, Butler reported.
Deputies taking part in the raids included Earl Venno, Bill McCrory, Bob Thomas, Paul Huizenga, Dick Shelton, Al Hickland, Frank Cilencion, and Joe Gorman.
Butler said the deputies were warned against “unnecessary rough stuff.”
Sheriff Kelly said “we don’t want perverts to set up housekeeping in this county. We want them to know that they’re not welcome.”
Kelly said he had been told by the health unit that five cases of primary syphilis have been reported in male homosexuals this months and the figure was considered “alarming.”
San Francisco Police Arrest 103 In Tay-Bush Inn Raid: 1961. San Francisco Mayor George Christopher faced a serious challenge to his re-election in 1959 from city Assessor Russ Wolden, Jr., who planted a story under a banner headline, “Sex Deviates Make San Francisco Headquarters,” in the October 7, 1959 edition of the weekly San Francisco Progress. That story charged that “the number of sex deviates in this city has soared by the thousands… while other communities in this area have virtually eliminated them.” Wolden charged that Christopher allowed ”this unsavory wicked situation … to fester and spread like a cancerous growth on the body of San Francisco.” If Wolden hoped he would bring the entire city up on arms, he was successful beyond his dreams– but not in the way he planned. Over the next three weeks, San Francisco’s three dailies investigated the story and backed the incumbent, condemning Wolden for acting “beyond the pale of decent politics.” The concern wasn’t that Wolden had attacked a persecuted minority, but that he had “stigmatized the city” and “degraded the good name of San Francisco.”
Christopher won re-election by a landslide, but he was determined that he would never again be susceptible to the charge of being soft on vice. The city’s Alcohol and Beverage Control Board stepped up their persecutions of gay bars during his second term. This culminated in what has been called the largest vice raid in the city’s history when 89 men and 14 women were arrested at the Tay-Bush Inn just a few bocks northwest of Union Square. Witnesses reported that police first allowed “respectable looking” and politically connected customers to leave quietly before beginning the round-up. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, three paddy wagons made seven trips between the after-hours bar and the city jail. Police arrested 89 men and 14 women, but authorities complained that another 139 intended detainees managed to slip away. Hal Call, Mattachine Society’s president, recalled, “Ethel Merman just missed getting busted on that night by about fifteen minutes. She was starring in Gypsy, and she’d gone up to the Tay-Bush with some gay friends after the show.”
Prosecutors later told the court, “The majority of the mails affected swishy-hipped walks, limp-wristed gestures, high-pitched voices and wore tight pants…. The women were mannish.” Five or six same-sex couples were dancing, for which the Tay-Bush Inn had to pay a $400 fine. Charges for visiting a “disorderly house” were eventually dropped for all but two.
Los Angeles Passes AIDS Non-Discrimination Ordinance: 1985. The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved an ordinance protecting people with AIDS from discrimination in employment, housing and health care, making L.A. the first major city in the U.S. to pass such a measure. Before the vote, Councilman Joel Wachs, who introduced the measure, told the council, “We have an opportunity to set an example for the whole nation, to protect those people who suffer from AIDS against insidious discrimination.”
Wachs said that discrimination was a pressing problem. “There are a large number to cases of discrimination out there, where people are being fired, evicted and can’t get into an apartment because they have AIDS,” he said. Wachs also noted that half of the people with AIDS who file complaints die before their complaints are investigated. The city council opted for civil penalties instead of criminal penalties because civil proceedings are much faster. The ordinance provided for compensation for actual damages, costs, and attorney fees, and also provided for punitive damages. Councilman Ernani Barnardi hoped that the ordinance would have the effect of educating the public and calming the hysteria.
Wachs served on L.A.’s city council from 1971 to 2001. He came out in 1999 as he was preparing a 2001 run for the Mayor’s office.
Horst B. Horst: 1906. The German-American fashion photographer was born Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann in Weißenfels-an-der-Saale, Germany. He studied at Hamburg’s Kunstgewerbeschule before going to Paris to study under Le Corbusier. That’s where he met Vogue photographer Baron George Hoyningen-Huene and became his photographic assistant and lover. In 1931, Horst began working with Vogue directly, and in 1932 he had his first exhibition in Paris. It was a sensational success, and in the next two years he would photograph Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Noël Coward, Cole Porter, Daisy Fellows, and a whole passel of European royalty and near-royalty.
In 1937, Horst made a move to New York, where he met Coco Chanel. He would photograph her fashions for the next three decades. The following year, he met the British diplomat Valentine Lawford, and they would build a life together as a couple until Lawford’s death in 1991. Horst also adopted a son.
Horst’s 1939 photo of the exceptionally controversial Mainbocher Corset is perhaps his most famous photo. The Corset itself created a furor in pre-war Paris, where it marked an abrupt break from the past due to its radical silhouette and its reintroduction of an article of clothing that is more associated with the Victorian era. Horts’s photo of the Corset however was anything but Victorian.
In 1941, Horst applied for U.S. citizenship, and in 1943 he joined the U.S. Army as a photographer. When he became a U.S. citizen three months after joining the army, he officially became Horst P. Horst, partly, it is said, because hus surname sounded too much like top Nazi official Martin Bormann’s. After the war, Horst’s photos illustrated international high society for Vogue. Subjects included every First Lady beginning with Bess Truman, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Oscar de la Renta, Andy Warhol, Yves Saint Laurent, Doris Duke, Cy Twombly, and just about every European royalty still in existence. Madonna’s 1990 music video for her song “Vogue” recreated many of Horst’s photos, including the Mainbocher Corset, much to the displeasure of Horst who was displeased that she didn’t seek permission to use his photos nor acknowledge his work. His last photograph for British Vogue was in 1991 with Princess Michael of Kent. He died in 1999 at the age of 93,
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