Gay Pride Day Rally & Faire

Gay Pride Day Rally & Faire

50.00

Lambda Association, Inc. [Honey Lee Cottrell, photographer]

“‘Here to Stay’ The Seventh Annual Gay Pride Day Rally & Faire Featuring The Furies and The Choral Majority.”

San Jose, CA: Lambda Association, Inc, [1982].

Tri-color poster, 355 x 218 mm, in very good condition.

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ABOUT THIS OBJECT

A cheerful & colourful poster advertising a concert to celebrate the 7th annual Gay Pride rally and fair in San Jose on Sunday 20 June 1982. The Choral Majority was a gay acapella group founded in San Francisco in 1981 as part of the Community United Against Violence campaign: Leslie Hassberg sang Soprano, Amanda Newstetter Alto, Larry Wisch Tenor, Dan Hampshire Baritone, and Tim Curbo Bass. They described themselves as a “bold, blaspheming quartet [sic] crusading and caroling against the new right, reaganomics, and all things homophobic and politically incorrect.” Their repertoire parodied Protestant hymns: for instance “Amazing Gays” instead of “Amazing Grace,” “Give me that Old Lesbianism” instead of “Give Me That Old time Religion,” (“It was good enough for Sappho/It’s good enough for me”), and especially traditional Christmas carols:

We three queers of Castro street are,

mad as hell you’re outside our bar,

Hallelujah we see through ya

Pack your cross, start your car.

Oh— full of anger, full of fight,

We’ll defend our human rights,

Leftward leaning, loudly screaming

‘till you clear out of our sight.

They were part of a particular moment of camp but political performance in the 1980s, singing in the Bay Area alongside other “anti-moral majority” groups such as Alternative Measures, the “Bay Area’s First Feminist Beauty Shop Quartet” and the Ghost Riders, “A Gay Country Western Band.” Another poster from the same year advertises a performance of the Choral Majority—“Holy Daze”—alongside The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group whose blend of Christianity, cabaret, activism, and education was as effortless as it was fabulous (and much needed). This particular performance of the Choral Majority came after the recording of a “Greatest Hits” album in 1981 with an accompanying Hymnal. The photo on the poster features the group in traditional chorister’s robes, taken by Honey Lee Cottrell—a significant photographer of LGBTQ+ culture in her own right—although it is an outlier from Cottrell’s more highly charged erotic work in I Am My Lover, On Our Backs, and A Dyke’s Bike Repair Handbook

FURTHER READING

The Choral Majority, Hymnal (San Francisco: Women’s Press Project, 1981), from The Freedom Archives: http://freedomarchives.org/Documents/Finder/DOC500_scans/500.020.The.Choral.Majority.pdf

“Choral Majority,” Queer Music Heritage, http://www.queermusicheritage.com/dec2001cm.html