Book review: The Vinyl Closet, by Boze Hadleigh

The GLBTRT has been reviewing books and movies in its newsletter since the early 1990s. Trace the evolution of queer publishing through these historic reviews. This review was originally published in Vol. 3, No 4, Winter 1991.

Cover of The Vinyl ClosetHadleigh, Boze. The Vinyl Closet. Los Hombres Press, 1991. Paper. $9.95. (ISBN 0-9623497-9-8)

From the introduction, written by Leonard Bernstein right before his death, to the epilogue, Hadleigh provides the reader with another fascinating Hollywood-type teaser of who has/is/may have done what in the music industry. Filled with tabloid quotes, out of context statements and interviews with the anonymous star and/or executive, people from Piaf to Merman to lang (sic) are painted as stars benefiting from their gay and lesbian followings while hating them as in Merman’s ease, embracing them as did Piaf, or possibly joining in as is suggested in lang’s case.

The author lapses from his music theme by occasionally including actors, actresses, and movie directors. It’s unfortunate as the space could have been used to include more recording artists; Melissa Etheridge comes to mind. As one of the stated goals of the author is to provide a “starting point” of documentation of the roles gay, lesbian, and bisexual artists have played in the music industry, the inclusion of the movie industry seems to be out of place.

However, the book is a lot of fun. Buy a copy and sit it next to Hollywood Babylon or even with one of the author’s previous works, Conversations With My Elders.

Reviewed by T.R. Salvadori
Margaret E. Heggan Public Ubrary
Washington Township, New Jersey

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