Kim Christy's Lost World

BY Christopher Harrity

February 12 2011 5:00 AM ET

KIM CHRISTY CLUB 82 03 XSLIDE | ADVOCATE.COMThis is your mother on the right, isn’t it?
Yes, a special date with Gertie at the Persian Room at the Plaza Hotel.

The photo is dated September 27, 1969, on the back. This is after the Stonewall riots in June. Did that affect you much?
Meh. I was 19, I was being well-cared-for by an oil tycoon. I would introduce him to people as “the keeper of the flame.” They would look askance at me, and then I would smile demurely and say, “And I’m the flame.” I didn’t have to work so hard at that point. I was still performing at the Club 82 a bit.

So a lot must have changed between you and your mother between the Life magazine photo and this photo.
Yes and no. She was still very disapproving, but she was impressed by my lifestyle. I was playing the big shot then. These gypsies would come by the Club 82 and sell boosted goods. My mother has the mink stole that I bought from the gypsies for her hanging over the back of the chair. She tolerated the way I lived my life, but she feared that it would all come to a bad end. Sometimes I wish she could see how things turned out: happily married to my wife with a grown daughter and amazingly wonderful granddaughter. We are a quiet, middle-aged couple.

What did your father think?

Ahh. He was drunk in Yonkers. He saw very little of me in my female years. Once he had to get me out of jail early on. I was arrested for impersonating a woman and I still had eye makeup on. That wasn’t fun.

Tags: Photography