In 1975, Kelly began a well-publicized relationship with a 28-year old transsexual named Rachel Harlow after meeting her at the Philadelphia nightclub she owned. Harlow, born Richard Finocchio, had sex reassignment surgery in 1972 and was well known in Philadelphia.Estimated Reading Time: 7 mins
Harlow was already a subculture star in her own right, and the pairing between her and politician John B Kelly Jr set tongues wagging.Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins
Rachel Harlow may be the first example of a prominent drag queen transitioning, however I doubt that is true either. She happened to be in a movie financed by Andy Warhol that premiered at Cannes, but she was not a trans pioneer.Estimated Reading Time: 7 mins
Kell became a city councilman, but eventually dated nightclub maven Rachel Harlow, a transsexual formerly known as Richard Finocchio. (Mercifully, Pa Kelly was already dead.)
Some time in the 1970s, Harlow transitioned and became Rachel Harlow. Great strides were made in gay life in the 1960s. Mel Heifetz opened a coffeehouse, the Humoresque, at 2036 Sansom Street for the gay and straight folk-singing and poetry-loving crowd.
Then there was Eddie Murphy in 1997 being stopped by police while Eddie had trans sexworker in his car. Going farther back, Grace Kelly's high society brother Kell (a four-time Olympian and budding politician) left his wife for trans woman Rachel Harlow (and star of the documentary "The Queen") back in the 1970s. And it's not just the US.
In the 1970s, Rachel Harlow, a Philadelphia transsexual formerly known as Richard Finocchio, ran the fashionable club Harlow’s on Bank Street; she became the center of a scandal when she began ...Estimated Reading Time: 7 mins
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Harlow later had sex-reassignment surgery and became the hostess of a ’70s Philadelphia disco called Harlow’s.
"Different, Yet The Same: Philadelphia's Famous Transsexual Started Life As Richard Finocchio, But Became Famous As Rachel Harlow. After Years Of Shunning Publicity, She's Back In The Spotlight. Her Restaurant Is Harlow's - And She's Still Rachel".Estimated Reading Time: 6 mins
Post a Comment. I remember Rachel coming over to visit wearing tacky jeans and t-shirt It was two doors from the famed Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre where I studied for two years. She was beyond beautiful and loved the party scene. They met each other, they liked each other. What an interesting life. I found researching her as fun. She always looked beautiful and once i went up to her and told her she was beautiful. Genealogy is a different audience I share what I have. Or the 'ultimate secret'. The Queen celebrates drag. True story. Thank you Zagria for all your work and dedication. There was that Philadelphia magazine article I mentioned. Well this clears-up a lot of mysteries for me. She also loved men. John , KJV: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. Only Stephanie was in the vehicle with her. Former wife of Famous Chef Gerard Billebault . Wednesday, September 19, had her name changed to Rachel. After the Kellys sold the place in , things went downhill. Time: Email This BlogThis! Back in the 60's I lived on the 5th floor of a tenement building at E. Around after a prom I attended two proms for all girls schools but not my own high school prom ,I was riding in someone's car when it stopped right in front of HARLOW'S!! So I am grateful for the material to work with. Reborn: Transited to Female Full operation Richard Finocchio. And Grace was hardly the first of them to pursue a career in entertainment. He was an Olympic medal winner - one of the main roads here that follows the Schulkill River called - Kelly Drive - in honor of Kelly Jr. So in many ways it should hardly have been surprising when Grace had her blond head turned by a prince less than a year later. He was Loved to laugh, and loved things like going to a little restaurant for a hamburger and a cold beer. MrLopez--There is always going to be confusion about about "transition" means, so yours was a fair question. An aquantince of mine knows her, but won't say where exactly she is living. Several months later, Lauer's wife demanded Matt leave their home. Search This Blog. Many straight bars in those days hosted a "drag night. The only later mention of her was attending a showing of "The Queen" in New York in the 90s. She also appeared several times on the Lou Gordon Show another nationally syndicated talk show and I recall seeing how respectfully she was treated compared to how many trans interviewees still aren't today. What a small world. I have 30 Binders on her family alone and her. Relatives and friend invited to Funeral Wed. But I wonder Cause of Death: Peripheral Circulatory Collapses. Rose Finocchio Deceased Wife.
This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing. There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc. There is also a Place Index arranged by City etc. This is still evolving. In addition to this most articles have one or more labels at the bottom. Click one to go to similar persons. There is a full list of labels at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar. There is also a search box at the top left. Enjoy exploring! Jack Kelly, Jr. Priness Grace's brother was also a city council member who ran for Mayor. He was an Olympic medal winner - one of the main roads here that follows the Schulkill River called - Kelly Drive - in honor of Kelly Jr. Hi father was a gold medal winner in the same sport - crew. There is a statue in his honor along the road that bears his sons name. Philadelphia also has a tradition of Mummers going back many, many years. Sabrina was drag mother to Henri David - who has run the city's largest Halloween bash with a huge drag pagent and attendence for years. He owns a jewelery store called Halloween, which carries his own designs. I think there's some references in the book to Jack Doroshow's pagents hiring up to people around the coutry in its heyday. I'm trying to contact both Ms. When referring to Rachel Harlow, what do you mean by "She transitioned in Perhaps MrLopez thinks the expression is anachronistic. More to the point, Harlow was certainly living as a female by There was a big article on her in Philadelphia Magazine. The term transition dates at least back to the early s. Is the Philadelphia magazine article available online? Re: Philadelphia Magazine online. I doubt any online archives go back that far. Perhaps someone in Phila could get a copy out of the stacks at the Free Library and scan it in? Zagria - I never meant anything negative by my question. It's too bad that people always read messages on blogs, text messages, etc. Harlow, but I know now. Pardon my lack of knowledge! I have become a little obsessed with learning more about Mme. Harlow lately - I just purchased an issue of Allure from where she was interviewed. But where is she now? More must be learned about her! Now for a challenge - I am not very blog savvy, so I kindly ask if you could you please post a request for more information about her? She would be about 62 this year. Certainly not one of the first. Christine Jorgensen physically transitioned in in America, and there were trans women who had similar operations in the early 20th century. Rachel Harlow may be the first example of a prominent drag queen transitioning, however I doubt that is true either. She happened to be in a movie financed by Andy Warhol that premiered at Cannes, but she was not a trans pioneer. Rather her runner up in the competition, Crystal Labeija of the House of Labeija was a pioneer, role model, and activist for queer and trans youth during the height of the Ballroom scene and the Aids crisis. Crystal is heavily featured in the documentary Paris Is Burning, made 20 years later, and much more accessible to the general public. I last saw her in Philadelphia about 20 years ago when my ex introduced her to me. She was still amazingly fabulous then.
It's as if it all happened to somebody else, and I'm just telling about it. Does anyone know how to connect with her? Name required. They were never recovered. I was told later Harlow was in fact a male who either had or was going to have transsexual surgery. It's still 23 years ago, but it does update her from the 70s. Mercifully, Pa Kelly was already dead. She died of alcoholism in Michael Callahan last wrote for the magazine about the Miss America pageant. This is still evolving. Comments from 'unknown' will also be declined. Is the Philadelphia magazine article available online? Rose Finocchio Deceased Wife. She had a huge impact on me and I wish her all the best. Hi Jeanette Wednesday, September 19, had her name changed to Rachel. And then when he showed up, he was a prince! There is this article from , which talks about her marriage, the french restaurant she opened with her chef husband, feeling burnt out on the 'gay scene' and her wish to disappear from the spotlight although I imagine she did this interview to drum up business. The New Year's Day Mummers' Parade up Broad Street was one of the few events in the 50s and 60s where gay men could safely assemble in public and camp it up. It's very hard to find information about Harlow. Harlow throws a fit because he does not have a suitable wig although her own hair is quite feminine enough. Rachel S. It became impossible to escape the microscopic coverage of the wedding plans. Most Popular This Week 1. Media-savvy Jack, a Democratic powerbroker who counted FDR among his associates, instructed the photographers to work in shifts. By some weird coincidence, her boyfriend's mother had been a classmate of mine throughout my schooling in San Benito, TX. Several members have battled with the bottle. I believe she is still in the Tri-State area though. That was 46 years ago. E-mail: mail phillymag. This story has been shared 43, times. I have to understand Trans people my granddaughters father is transgender. Repeat: Comments from "unknown" will be declined, as will anonymous comments. Such comments cut deep in a sensitive girl. For quite some time Rachel and her boyfriend lived across the hall and we became very good friends. She smiled and thanked me. Perhaps someone in Phila could get a copy out of the stacks at the Free Library and scan it in? I began to dread meeting new people, having to talk about my life. Well over persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing. She was really good at what she did. US Edition U. Harlow Another Switch. Newer Post Older Post Home. So I was able to figure who she is her parents where 1st generation Italian's. His relationship with his mother was permanently affected, and he died in of a heart attack when he was just 57 in Ray Stewart. If I get to Philadelphia soon I will see if I can find these pieces at the library, since now I'm intrigued myself. I knew nothing of the Jack Kelly connection. In a public statement, she said she interfered because a political career would disrupt John's family life, but behind the scenes it was shame that supposedly spurred her on. If I understand correctly. They met each other, they liked each other. The contest was organized by Sabrina Jack Doroshow. Personal attacks will not be tolerated. Lesbians came in from different parts of the city as well, although women traveling late at night often had to go to unusual lengths to protect themselves against predatory men. I knew Rachel quite well.
The time was WWII and Isherwood, tiding the train from Haverford into the city, noted that the men "were tall, bony, big-shouldered, fair-haired and quite nice looking, but somehow fatally 'pithed,' as though the marrow had been drained from their bones. They used no makeup, and their white skin was dotted with freckles. They had sandy gold hair, dragged back and twisted into a knot. The country we were passing couldn't possibly have been less 'my sort': It was tame, suburban, pretty, a landscape with secrets. The baths were a relief for Isherwood, a place where he was able to meet sailors and servicemen. Since the baths were on Camac Street, there were plenty of bars and taverns in the vicinity, too. Until the s, the nucleus of Philadelphia's queer community was west of Broad Street around the area of 15th and Spruce, where bars like the Mistique -- a racially diverse, bohemian drag and jazz bar -- and, later, the Allegro were major focal points of the city's night life. The story of Camac Street's metamorphosis from quaint thoroughfare to hooligan alleyway -- where police had to send in "troops" to quell riots and drunken brawls -- and finally to a Greenwich Village-style street with literary, sketch and yachtsman clubs, began in when it was named after Turner Camac. Camac, a wealthy Irish landowner, knew the street as a picturesque little avenue with numerous early American homes and tiny gardens. On the street was the Venture Inn now a gay bar and restaurant , built around , which began as a tavern but was later used as a stable for the carriages of wealthy Philadelphians. The report included a section on Camac Street. The street kept its respectability until about Then came a period of decline, and it degenerated into one of the meanest and most disreputable streets in the city. Until it was the scene of brawls by day and crimes by night, requiring at times an entire squad of the city's police to maintain order. For twenty years the street, lined with brothels and taverns, rotted in a mire of debauchery. Unkempt derelicts of every sort frequented its dark corners and hideaways , the report stated. In the s and 60s, Camac Street and its environs, especially around the area of Spruce Street, were sometimes the scene of conflicts between gay men and lesbians. The gay men would be walking up Spruce Street at night for decades considered the area where most of Philadelphia's Center City gays and lesbians could be found , and sometimes were mistaken for straight or gay men invading "lesbian turf. This didn't happen often, David assured me, but it did occur. Many of the gay men were from the city but many more were from the suburbs -- and may have taken the same train that Isherwood took to spend a night at the Camac Baths. Lesbians came in from different parts of the city as well, although women traveling late at night often had to go to unusual lengths to protect themselves against predatory men. Marge McCann, a Germantown resident who ran unsuccessfully against Clark Polak for the presidency of the Janus Society, an early homosexual rights group, recalled taking the Broad Street subway at night disguised as a boy. McCann would slouch down in the subway seat and adopt a tough pose. This was her ticket back and forth to the city's only lesbian bar at the time, Rusty's. Rusty's was near Philadelphia's infamous TROC burlesque theater, near 10th and Race Streets, and had the paranoid atmosphere of a s speakeasy. Patrons who went to Rusty's had to peer into a peephole in order to be admitted. Joan C. Meyers, an art student and photographer living in Center City at the time, recalls that she was turned away from Rusty's because she was not dressed in a "lesbian uniform," that being short hair with no makeup. Meyers said that her flowing Joan Baez locks caused Bee, a staff person at Rusty's, to say, "We are tired of straight women like you coming around bothering our girls. In the s and s, there were more gay clubs in Philadelphia than there are in Many straight bars in those days hosted a "drag night. Recalls David:. He would hire a band, they'd serve booze They were wild, wild, wild parties. They eventually got raided and they made the news. But the kids were all thrilled because it was like a dream to go to this mansion with a circular driveway, a butler and the whole nine yards. It was so decadent. Sabrina's mother took the money at the door. The parties would go on all night. We would rent school buses and bring whole crowds out from downtown Nobody had cars Posters advertising drag beauty contests were a staple of 13th Street life in the late s and s. The big winner in the nationals was Harlow Richard Finocchio. Harlow became the star of Frank Simon's film The Queen. This film, writes Raymond Murray in Images in the Dark , showed the crowning of the new queen while "many of the attitude-throwing, jealous losers bare their sharp claws and venomous tongues, bitching about the winner and her oh-so-tacky dress! Great strides were made in gay life in the s. Mel Heifetz opened a coffeehouse, the Humoresque, at Sansom Street for the gay and straight folk-singing and poetry-loving crowd.