Read online The Evening Crowd at Kirmser's A Gay Life in the 1940s ebook BY Ricardo J. Brown

Ricardo J. Brown ¹ 6 REVIEW

His hometown with a new self awareness and a desire to find a group of people like himself He discovered such a place in Kirmser'sA small neighborhood bar owned by a German immigrant couple in St Paul's downtown Kirmser's served working class customers during daylight hours but became an unofficial home to the gay men and lesbians who gathered there nightly in the years following World War II The Evening Crowd at Kirmser's introduces us to often humorous but freuently tragic stories of those who would become the author's friends Flaming Youth a homely sardonic man who c. Brown provides a frank slightly gritty view of gay life in a place far from the east and west coasts that gay histories typically reflect It s an important little book because it documents the experiences and thoughts of regular guys who dealt with stigma of gay life in the midwest of the 1940s While the book is unapologetic in its descriptions of the people places and events there is an undercurrent of self loathing that says as much about the social s of that place and time as it does about the author s own feelings

FREE READ The Evening Crowd at Kirmser's A Gay Life in the 1940s

The Evening Crowd at Kirmser's A Gay Life in the 1940s

For many it is often difficult to imagine gay gathering places in the decades before the Stonewall riots of the 1960s and nearly impossible to think of such communities outside the nation's largest cities Yet such places did exist and their histories tell amazing stories of survival and the struggle for acceptance and self respect When Ricardo J Brown died in 1999 he left a compelling memoir of his youth and experiences as a young gay man in St Paul After being discharged from the navy for revealing his sexual orientation to a commanding officer in 1945 Brown returned to. Cross posted at Shelf Inflicted and at Outlaw ReviewsAfter reading Jeb and Dash A Diary of Gay Life 1918 1945 I decided to look for other books about gay life before Stonewall and found this little treasure at the library As much as I enjoyed Jeb s observations of the world the historical details and glimpses of famous personalities I found his story somewhat dry plodding and lacking in personality I breezed right through Ricardo Brown s story of his early sexual experiences his brief military career and dishonorable discharge for disclosing his homosexuality to his superiors his family the friends he made and the bar they hung out at Owned by a German couple Kirmser s was the only sanctuary for the gay and lesbian working class inhabitants of St Paul Minnesota in the 1940 s Even with the daytime crowd safely at home one had to be careful entering the bar in order to avoid being seen In those days it was essential to live a double life or risk abandonment harassment termination of employment or arrest Among friends it was still necessary to be cautious No one wanted to disclose too much personal information or to be seen together outside of Kirmser s Engaging in subterfuge and lying was the only way to survive We didn t always trust one another at Kirmser s but we did have a feeling of kinship We had been brought up in stable family oriented religious homes and we tried to apply the values we learned there to the small brotherhood and sisterhood at Kirmser s We might be jealous of one another suspicious even hateful at times but there was no denying our blood bond We were family In a time where men and women were expected to adhere to rigid gender expectations deviating from the norm resulted in humiliation and punishment by well intentioned family members After Ruth introduced us we stood there for a few minutes talking It was hard for me to concentrate on what the mother was saying because I was trying not to stare at Ruth Her cheerful unassuming confidence was gone She stood there stricken our stocky little packer from Kirmser s in a pink dress with a lot of buttons on it in ladies shoes and nylon stockings her face pink with embarrassment her lips painted She was almost cowering as if she were trying to draw in upon herself to somehow conceal this awful exposure When things were bad and people needed an escape there was always the movies Movies gave us an enchanted shared sensation like sex without the body parts It was something you could almost feel embrace you a ghostly encounter and we responded tense expectant enthralled We were manipulated toward the cinematic climax with emotions so strong of such rarely touched depths that we alternately laughed or cried until finally at the end an involuntary shudder and a profound relief spread through the audience like an immense ejaculation It was escape It made anything seem possible It was a feeling so breathtaking we never wanted it to end Though this is a short book it is well written engaging and comprehensive The intimate style exudes humor and warmth While there is a glimmer of happiness for some of the characters all of them suffer hardships and carry on with strength and dignity despite the prejudice that was a fact of their lives

SUMMARY ñ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB ¹ Ricardo J. Brown

Arried the nickname from his younger years ironically into middle age; Bud York the All American Boy who seduced all with his wholesome good looks and confidence; Dickie Grant a likable gentle boy who is arrested for writing bad checks and is murdered while in prison; and Dale the author's best friend who suddenly loses his job of six years after an anonymous note informed his employer that he is gayA revealing look at the origins of gay culture in a mid sized city and among working class people The Evening Crowd at Kirmser's is destined to become a rare and uniue classi. I enjoyed reading Brown s remembrance however short of Gay life in St Paul I was especially drawn to his look at Gay life outside of the coasts and the epicenters of the big cities San Fran and New York After having lived in the Twin Cities it was interesting to see his perspective of how life was A good read short certainly a very small slice of a certain time and from a certain perspective Definitely worth a look


10 thoughts on “The Evening Crowd at Kirmser's A Gay Life in the 1940s

  1. says:

    Cross posted at Shelf Inflicted and at Outlaw ReviewsAfter reading Jeb and Dash A Diary of Gay Life 1918 1945 I decided to look for other books about gay life before Stonewall and found this little treasure at the library As much as I enjoye

  2. says:

    Well this was a total surprise I read this for research for a historical fiction novel I'm writing and it hit precisely in my niche Working class ueer man in the armed forces and it was such a lovely read Brown is a journalist and so he includes thoughtful anecdotes alongside some beautifully written passages He seems like a romantic old sou

  3. says:

    Whist a little rustic I would consider this to be essential reading for anyone thinking about writing about small town gay America in the 1940

  4. says:

    A spare novella of a memoir leaving one with the sense that Brown intended to write but these scenes from a bar in St Paul are as much as he managed It is a sad echo of a book leaving one with the sense that Brown was editing himself still suffering from the feeling that there were things which must not be said

  5. says:

    What's not to like about this book? It is a wonderfully warm evocative book about a pocket of gay life in southern America all confined to one bar and a small crowd of gay men and a few lesbians in the 1940's It tells the story without fear or favour of the trials and tribulations of this rather motley group Their lives lived in shadows and f

  6. says:

    Brown provides a frank slightly gritty view of gay life in a place far from the east and west coasts that gay hi

  7. says:

    I enjoyed reading Brown's remembrance however short of Gay life in St Paul I was especially drawn to his look at Gay life outside of the coasts and the epicenters of the big cities San Fran and New York After having lived in the Twin Cities it was interesting to see his perspective of how life was A good read short certainly a very small slice of a certain time and from a certain perspective Definitely worth a look

  8. says:

    Less than honourably discharged from the navy in 1945 for disclosing his homosexuality Ricardo Brown returns to St Paul Minnesota to try to make a life for himself He finds a nondescript bar that caters to a gay clientele and it becomes his social centre This very readable memoir shines a light on what it was

  9. says:

    After reading Jeb and Dash one of its reviewers mentions this gem of a book It describes a working class gayman's closeted life in a midwestern city in the 1940's Books such as these are helping me gain a sense of

  10. says:

    A uirky little book that sheds some interesting insight into a little known topic but also meanders and plods

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