Poster for a Performances By Sir Lady Java at Joe's Nairobi Lounge. Sir Lady Java.

Poster for a Performances By Sir Lady Java at Joe's Nairobi Lounge

San Jose: Joe's Nairobi Lounge, [1970]. 8 1/2 x 11", offset printed on green paper. Illustrated with three photographs.

Original poster for performances by Sir Lady Java, here billed as the "World's Loveliest Female Impersonator" at the San Jose club Joe's Nairobi Lounge in 1970, with Shirley Butler opening.

Sir Lady Java 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.

Toned at margins, wiht several short marginal closed tears, none affecting images. About very good. Item #28923

Price: $200.00

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