“A Night at the Sweet Gum Head: Drag, Drugs, Disco, and Atlanta’s Gay Revolution” by Martin Padgett— A Look at Gay Atlanta

Padgett, Martin. “A Night at the Sweet Gum Head: Drag, Drugs, Disco, and Atlanta’s Gay Revolution”,W.W. Norton, 2021.

A Look at Gay Atlanta 

Amos Lassen

One of the books I have been waiting for is Martin Padgett’s history of 1970s gay Atlanta,  “A Night at the Sweet Gum Head: Drag, Drugs, Disco, and Atlanta’s Gay Revolution”.  

Gay Atlanta was the South’s mecca―a place for gays and lesbians from homophobic towns and cities. The Sweet Gum Head was the club to become a drag star. Padgett takes us through the history of the club and introduces us to two men who found a home and Atlanta and who Atlanta found a home in them. John Greenwell, an Alabama performed as Rachel Wells; and Bill Smith addressed the antigay laws of the city. Gay people faced police harassment on a daily basis and there was drug dealing and murder in their discos and clubs. Padgett had interviews with many of the major figures and researched gay archives to re-create Atlanta from the time when a new queer culture of drag and pride began. The book contains 8 pages of illustrations

 

 

 

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