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Touching Up Our Roots: D

Diamond Lil

Interviewee: Diamond Lil
Interviewer: Dave Hayward
Date of Interview: January 8, 2011
Extent: 1 compact disc

Interviewer: Dave Hayward
Date of Interview: January 15, 2011
Extent: 1 compact disc

Interviewer: Dave Hayward
Date of Interview: January 27, 2011
Extent: 1 compact disc

Excerpt: Diamond Lil talks about performing at Mrs. P's gay bar.


DiamondLil began her career as a female impersonator in Savannah, GA during the early 1960s. After a run-in with the law for "loitering" in 1965, Diamond left Savannah, and moved to Atlanta, where she started a small antiques business. In 1968, she was asked to headline a new drag show at Mrs. P's, a restaurant that catered to gay clientele. In the early 1970s, Diamond began performing at Sweet Gum Head on Cheshire Bridge Road. She was a regular performer at the bar -- which became a hub of the Atlanta drag scene -- for 10 years. Diamond also had a six-month association with Club Centaur on Peachtree Street. Diamond remained a well known figure in Atlanta's gay scene during the 1980s. Using her own voice rather than lip synching, Diamond wrote and recorded her own songs, releasing an LP called The Queen of Diamonds in 1984. She also wrote columns for Atlanta's alternative newspaper The Great Speckled Bird, the gay newspaper Sunset People, and the nightlife magazine Cruise. As the AIDS epidemic took its toll, Diamond wrote many obituaries for the bar magazine Etcetera. Semi-retired, Diamond performed less during the late 1980s and 1990s, having opened a new antique business in Buckhead. In 1995, she was the opening act for the Torch Song Trilogy, and she headed the "Diamond Lil Show" at the Metro. More recently, She has re-released Queen of Diamonds on CD.



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