The LGBT Library at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center presents a book talk and signing with Vincent Stephens, author of Rocking the Closet: How Little Richard, Johnnie Ray, Liberace, and Johnny Mathis Queered Pop Music on February 20, 2020 at 6pm.
The all-embracing, “whaddya got?” nature of rebellion in Fifties America included pop music’s unlikely challenge to entrenched notions of masculinity. Within that upheaval, four prominent artists dared to behave in ways that let the public assume—but not see—their queerness. That these artists cultivated ambiguous sexual personas often reflected an understandable fear, but also a struggle to fulfill personal and professional expectations. Vincent L. Stephens confronts notions of the closet—both coming out and staying in—by analyzing the careers of Liberace, Johnny Mathis, Johnnie Ray, and Little Richard.
Stephens is the director of the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity and a contributing faculty member in music at Dickinson College. He is a coeditor of Post Racial America? An Interdisciplinary Study.
Books will be available for purchase at the event. A signing and dessert reception will follow the book talk.
Book talks at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center are sober social events. No alcohol will be present.