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The Neon Museum To Hold PRIDE Weekend Gallery Talks This Week

Learn more about the event lineup here!

The Neon Museum To Hold PRIDE Weekend Gallery Talks This Week

The Neon Museum will hold special Gallery Talks during Las Vegas PRIDE 2022. The free 15-minute docent-led discussions will highlight the history and impact of the LGBTQ+ community in Las Vegas on Friday, Oct. 7, Saturday, Oct 8, and Sunday, Oct. 9 at 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. each day.

The Neon Museum's main collection on display in the Neon Boneyard has many signs that chronicle the impact of Las Vegas's LGBTQ+ community and its fight for civil rights. The PRIDE Weekend Gallery Talks are free to attend with a general admission ticket and will focus on four themes, highlighting relevant signs for each:

  1. Finding and Building Community -
  • In 1961, the owners of the Red Barn converted the antique store into a bar that catered to a gay clientele after a certain time of day, referred to as the "pink hour" that started around 6 p.m. The Red Barn operated as a full-time gay bar from 1972 until its closure in March 1988.
  • The Sands is where Marge Jacques worked as a cocktail waitress before opening Le Café in January 1970 with the motto "Glitter and Be Gay at the Le Café!" Le Café was popular within the LGBTQ+ community and had famous regulars like Liberace, Joan Rivers, Shirley MacLaine, Bobby Gentry, Debbie Reynolds, and Sammy Davis, Jr.
  1. Female Impersonation -
  • The Green Shack sign is the oldest sign in the museum's collection and traces the history of female impersonators in Las Vegas back to the 1930s. At night, the Green Shack Restaurant featured performances by female impersonators, including Billy Richards, known as "The Entertainment Sensation of the World!" in 1938.
  • In the 1970s, Kenny Kerr, an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and pioneering female impersonator in Las Vegas, created the female impersonation show, "Boylesque," that premiered at the Silver Slipper Casino in 1977. There are two Silver Slipper signs in the Boneyard, and one in front of the museum on Las Vegas Boulevard. Kerr is also represented in the Las Vegas Luminaries mural, which is outside the museum's North Gallery.
  1. Civil Rights -
  • In 1992, Nevada's queer community pooled its energy and resources to lobby the state legislature to repeal Nevada Revised Statute 201. 190, commonly known as the sodomy law, that had been adopted in 1861, three years before Nevada gained statehood. In 1993, Nevada repealed the law, and in 2014, Nevada recognized same-sex marriages, a year before the Obergefell v. Hodges decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that found the right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In 2020, Nevada voters approved Measure 2, which recognizes marriage regardless of gender.
  • In 1999, Nevada adopted the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which "included protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation" and has since expanded on these protections.
  1. The Las Vegas LGBTQ+ community's fight against AIDS
  • The Stardust hosted the first major AIDS benefit, The Superstar Aid for AIDS Benefit, sponsored by Aid for AIDS of Nevada on June 14, 1987. Organizers of the show were turned down by every other major hotel/casino when their showroom managers realized the production was meant to raise money to fight AIDS in Las Vegas. Among the stars and entertainers who performed at the benefit were Joan Rivers, Debbie Reynolds, Rip Taylor, Lola Falana, Robert Goulet, The McGuire Sisters, Loretta Holloway, and Suzanne Somers. Although the Stardust is no longer operational, Aid for AIDS of Nevada still has a presence in Las Vegas.

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