Np: nd. 4to, single 11 x 17" sheet folded once to make a four page booklet. Offset printed and illustrated with photographs and press clippings.
A promotional booklet, perhaps created as a press booklet or nightclub giveaway. The booklet prints an unsigned 1 page biography of Sir Lady Java, followed by reproductions of photographs and press clippings.
Sir Lady Java (born Archille DeVille, New Orleans, c. 1940’s) was the first transgender individual to be defended by the ACLU, a fact still cited by the group as an example of their committment to the transgender community in promotional material. The case began when police shut down her act in 1967 at Red Foxx’s club, using the infamous Rule 9, which outlawed shows in which a performer “impersonated” the opposite sex. Java responded by picketing the club, and solicited the help of the the ACLU in a legal challenge. The case was dismissed on grounds that only club owners could sue. The unconstitutional rule was later struck down in a separate case in 1969.
Java had begun performing in her teens in New Orleans area nightclubs, after transitioning with support from her mother. In her 20’s she moved to Los Angeles, where she became an underground celebrity on the nightclub circuit, and an associate of Redd Fox and Sammy Davis Jr.
Long an underground hero for trans activists, the importance of Sir Lady Java’s art and activist work has received increasing attention in recent years, most recently with Treva Ellison’s essay “The Labor of Werqing It: The Performance and Protest Strategies of Sir Lady Java,” the lead essay in the recent book “Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility”, edited by Reina Gossett, Eric A. Stanley, and Johanna Burton, and published by the New Museum and MIT Press.
Some minor toning and chipping to margins. Very good. Item #27566