Veteran Las Vegas perfomer Kenny Kerr died over the weekend. Kerr's show "Boy-lesque" was one of the first hit drag queen shows in town. Kerr was 60-years-old. We discuss Kerr's career and how he paved the way for drag shows on the Strip.
Steve Friess, reporter, Politico
(Photo: Las Vegas Review Journal)
Steve Friess: "He was the drag act that made drag a mainstream acceptable art form, and of course, Las Vegas helped ... he became a figure who could talk dirty and perform and straight people came to see him. Perhaps only in Las Vegas would that transition happen where straight people would find a drag act to be something they could go to that they wouldn’t be embarrassed to tell people. In fact, they’d come home and say ‘I went to Las Vegas and you’re not going to believe what I saw.’"
(Photo: Douglas Kirkland)
"Kenny was a wonderful person and he was generous and he was in fact, too generous for his own good. And he was a terrible businessman. He would get into fights with people, people would steal his money, he would have gigs that he wouldn’t get paid for. He didn’t know how to keep his finances in order in a way that would sustain him as a person or as a performer."
(Photo: Las Vegas, Nevada OutHistory entry on Boylesque)
"And he was just really funny. I mean there was something abut his humor, it wasn't just dirty or bawdy, it was clever and smart. People really reacted to it, you know, and I’m telling you, there are a lot of people for whom Kenny Kerr would have been the first gay person they ever saw on stage, or anywhere."