“Get Dressed,” a Homage to Queer Clubbin, the Early Years

Flyer for Gladys Bentley at Mona’s Club

As I’ve been immersed in the life and unsung legacy of Gladys Bentley for the past 20 months or so, I began thinking about the juxtapositions  the queer club scene has safeguarded over the course of our morphing times. I imagined being on the repressive side of a closed door, while behind it, warm, rebellious bodies gyrated in secret and safety, carving out an openness otherwise threatened by the light of a straight world’s dawn.

I created a video homage consisting of archival photos set to “Get Dressed,” the opening song from my debut solo album, “Twilight for Gladys Bentley,” as an ode to the timeless defiance of queer clubbin. My hope is that it highlights a moment that has definitely perpetuated the way we–particularly queer people–protect, politic, and party, brandishing deviant bodies while stripping naked of repressive norms, orchestrating debauchery, and inviting a tinge of naughtiness to the notion of ‘a good time.’

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