Scope and Contents
The collection consists of Carol Burch-Brown's photographs (200 photoprints, mostly silver gelatin on fiber-base paper, but including more than a dozen digital prints), copies of tape-recorded interviews (on 26 compact discs), and transcripts of interviews (3 volumes plus a compact disc containing Word files) made at the Shamrock Bar, Bluefield, West Virginia, 1997-2002, documenting a working-class gay bar. The photographs include "drag" performances, pageants, and other activities at the bar. Many show performers applying makeup and donning costumes, including the use of prosthetic breasts. Pictures taken in the bar are often in a soft-focus, slightly blurred, high-contrast, impressionistic style. There are a number of sharp-focus portraits, however, and exterior views of the building, its neighborhood, and the town are sharply focused, detailed documentary images.
Names (usually pseudonyms or stage names) which turn up in the interviews include: Natasha Michaels, Nikki Eaves, Shea West, Cortney Collins, Taylor Made, India Dream, Clinton, Tiffany Aver, Terba Devero, Roxie Morehead, and Dorothy. The performer "Bunny" is actually the photographer's friend and colleague, Ann Kilkelly. Many of these persons are also shown in the photographs, as is Helen Compton.
Note: The audio compact disks are not original recordings, and may be played by researchers directly.