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Remembering Longtime Drag Queen Kenny Kerr
Remembering Longtime Drag Queen Kenny Kerr

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AIR DATE: April 29, 2013

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.

GUEST

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."

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    COMMENTS:
    When I was in college I took a sociology class on work and leisure. I had to do a term paper on a type of job. I chose female impersonation... Kenny let me come back stage and interview him as we'll as the other guys in his Boylesque show. He was very nice and gracious. I will always remember him.
    SRMay 1, 2013 12:33:31 PM
    Kenny was a very dear wonderful person who I had the pleasure of knowing he inspired so many and is going to be deeply missed by many. We love you Kenny R.I.P
    Jason WallaceApr 29, 2013 23:02:14 PM
    My mom worked for many years as an usher when Kenny had the Boylesque Show at the Silver Slipper. Kenny was the greatest guy in the world and yes, he was very generous, funny, and always lit up a room when he walked into it. May the good Lord take care of you in heaven Kenny, we all love you so much, - Send our hellos to pops and Little Lil, Love the Egidio Family : )
    V EgidioApr 29, 2013 17:48:16 PM
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