The Mistress spent a few hours at the Outfest today in Philadelphia but only a few hours for brunch and to explore the festival. I quite frankly was emotionally wiped out from Saturday night. Last night was the final night, after 45 years of my home away from home, The Raven Resort. I can't think of another place that held a candle to this place. Over the years I spent much time their dinning, drinking, soaking up rays at the pool, performing in shows, and have met a lot of swell people. Over the years it has been a safe haven for the LGBTQ community, their have been many colorful characters, campy moments, outrageous pool parties, late night dancing, slumber parties....friendships forged, many even met their life partners there, and we have this year lost some good friends and queens. It was a place where all of us in the community could come and get along, old and young, bears, twinks, queens, the trans community, gays, dikes...everybody. The local Grande dame, Pumpkin, twisted my arm to do a number for the final night, one of the numbers I did for lipstick Monday. I also felt it was time to finally hang up the Mistress, with the Raven's closing so it also served as my final performance. It was Dolly Patron's Hard Candy Christmas, so it took lots of padding and hair and make up. Most of the clan came to see me. The whole night was rather filled with fun and tears. The Mistress actually called it quits after the number. I went to the legendary Oak Room to listen to a few song tunes with the boys then left. I wanted to remember the place full and vibrant.
Some of the clan this summer
One never knew who you might see. Over the years, Betty Buckley, Linda Lavin, Sally Kellerman, and Sally Struthers, Nick Adams, Steve Grand, Hope Springs all stopped in when preforming at the playhouse, and no one will forget when Elaine Strich stopped by one night and sang with the guys in the Oak Room. This year saw Alan Cummings popping in one night.
Boy's of summer
Miss Samantha at one of the Trans events.
The wall of the Raven's past.
The beautiful vintage restaurant.
And yes, a portrait of Queen Victoria hangs in the oak room.
After my number I ventured into the Oak Room to listen to a few show tune numbers. The room was packed to the gills. It is also where I started to get torn up, watching all the happy and sad faces at once, all the comradery and sense of community. I wondered where all these older guys will now go and have their night out, as many look forward to this every week. One old gent leaned in to me, in his 80's and said to me, "It's sad isn't? I got choked up. We sat for some time talking, and he regaled his randy youth and time in New York, before retiring here. I have learned a lot from listening to the stories of these older queens...of Fire Island, Stonewall, and Studio 54, and what life was like for us then. After three more numbers, I decided to retire to my room across the street, with a few close friends for drinks at the room, I don't generally like others seeing me getting upset. It's unusual the Mistress not close down a place!!!
On my way out, more hugs and good show comments and don't hang it ups....as I went out through the dance floor where the last dancing was commencing.
I could have hung out all night, but I wanted to remember the place still bumpin and jumpin and full of life and vibrancy. I was happy how I left, and with fond memories over the years. Today the stained glass doors are closed.
Thanks old gal for such good times over the years.