Accession Number in UK Libraries Special Collections
By 1960, there was an ordinance in Lexington, KY that made “drag” illegal, except on Halloween. The ordinance prohibited men wearing women’s clothing and makeup. Friday, October 14, 1960, the drag show at the Lyric Theater was interrupted by Detectives James Perkins and Carl Shye. The performers, called “female impersonators,” were arrested under the “lewdness ordinance.” According to local legend, the ordinance was abolished in 1969 after Leigh Angelique (with or without Sweet Evening Breeze) was arrested for cross dressing and Leigh and Sweets challenged the ordinance.
- Performer “Princes de Carlo” gave the name William Campbell, Jr. to the police, along with the address 194 Deweese Street, which was the location of the DeLuxe Beauty Parlor owned by Mrs. Minnie Kavanaugh.
- Performer “stage name unknown” gave the name Verrano Willis to the police, along with the address to the Greystone Hotel owned by Manlius Neal at 423 Race Street.
- Detective James Perkins [1925-1984] - the 1st African American sergeant, lieutenant, and captain with the Lexington Police Department. [UK NKAA Database link http://nkaa.uky.edu/record.php?note_id=1470; and Oral History link http://www.kentuckyoralhistory.org/interviews/20359]
- Leigh Angelique [Garland L. Hanley – 1947-2003]
- Sweet Evening Breeze [James Herndon – 1892-1983] [UK NKAA Database link http://nkaa.uky.edu/record.php?note_id=2391]
Source: "Two female impersonators booked during stage show” Lexington Leader, 10/15/1960, p.1, column 7-8, & p.8
Police raid, Lyric Theater, Drag show, Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington Detective Carl Shye standing with performer [Verrano Willis] after raid of drag show at Lyric Theater on October 14, 1960.