Magazine article The New Yorker

Club King

Magazine article The New Yorker

Club King

Article excerpt

Club King

Storme DeLarverie was a pioneer in the art of gender-based performance.

When I first started hanging out in downtown clubs--Area, in Tribeca, before it was Tribeca; MK, in the Flatiron district; Save the Robots, in the East Village--I would trail behind people I'd fallen in love with by sight. I didn't know Teri Toye, one of the first transgender models--she was the late designer Stephen Sprouse's muse--but I was taken with her blond cool, which was like a light in those dark clubs. The beauty and style of the late filmmaker Bobbie Derecktor, with his brave mixing of male and female looks and behavior, filled me with a yearning to be above it all, too. Another person I followed was Storme DeLarverie. Everyone knew Storme, especially if they went to the Cubby Hole, which later became Henrietta Hudson, where she was the bouncer, the eminence grise, and someone you in general didn't want to fuck with.

Storme started out as a performer in the nineteen-sixties, when the mixed-race New Orleans native was the m.c. at Club 82, a venue for female impersonators in the East Village. Storme was the only "man" onstage. She dressed in suits and tuxedos and was very elegant with the girls. It was Storme's job to introduce the acts, get the girls onstage and off, and serve as an escort to the performers who required a man. She was known as the Lady Who Appears to Be a Gentleman, and was billed as such in Diane Arbus's amazing, sexy, and authoritative portraits of her. …

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