Love & Sex

Photos From Kansas City’s 1960s Drag Scene Reveal a Surprising Underground Culture

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Carving out a place in a hostile world.

Kansas City-based artists Robert Heishman and Michael Boles found two separate troves of photos of drag balls from the late 1950s and 1960s, and they depict a surprisingly vibrant and fun drag scene in a town most people didn’t even know had a drag culture. It’s a trip to see working-class Middle Americans fully decked out and having an amazing time at a drag ball amongst ’60s-vintage wood paneling and beehive hairdos.

“The name ‘Private Birthday Party‘ comes from back when these photos were taken at The Colony,” Michael Boles told The Cut. “They used to put a sign on the door that said ‘Private Birthday Party’ on Saturday afternoons so they could have tea parties, which was a dance party, because at the time same-sex dancing was illegal.”

Check out many more photos below.

[h/t Dangerous Minds]

Images via Private Birthday Party.