It’s Reigning Queens in Appalachia – (USA, 2005)

IT’S REIGNING QUEENS IN APPALACHIA (Gayi efeminaţi sunt la putere în Appalachia)

278561221_96449ea050_zSelected audio clips and photographs from „The Shamrock Bar, Bluefield, West Virginia.” The Shamrock was a gay bar in the heart of the Appalachian coalfields. It was owned and run by „Miss Helen,” who grew up near Bluefield. She started the bar in the mid 60s and from the early 70s on there were regular drag shows put on by local and regional performers. The Shamrock held annual Mr. Shamrock and Miss Shamrock pageants and occasionally was the site for larger events, such as Miss Gay West Virginia. Miss Helen was a strong and sometimes controversial figure, but she kept the bar running year after year and it became a major gathering place for LGBT people throughout the region. The original photographs and interviews are in the permanent collection at the National Archive Center, Smithsonian Museum of American History, in Washington, DC. CLICK TO SEE VIDEO

Board- CarolBurch-BrownCarol Burch-Brown is a Professor in the School of Visual Arts at Virginia Tech. She is a visual artist and musician. Most recently her work has been in filmmaking and new media. She has worked on issues of sexual orientation, race, science and evolution. Her oral history project, „It’s Reigning Queens in Appalachia”, is a video and collection of photographs and interviews about „The Shamrock,” a working class gay bar in Bluefield, West Virginia.  It is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.  She published a book of photographs with poet David Rigsbee, Trailers, about mobile homes in Appalachia (University Press of Virginia).

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