FOF #2702 – The Legend of the Bearded Lady

Feb 8, 2019 · 2048 views

Back when drag was a form of pure artistic rebellion, Chicago queen The Bearded Lady ruled the roost at the Bistro. Photos: Charles Shotwell, Fausto Fernós.

One of the most talked about names in Chicago gay nightclub history is The Bearded Lady, the alter ego of performance artist Robert Theis. B.L. as her friends called her would whip her audiences into a frenzy with an interactive strip tease performances that often involved the removal of a dozen layers of costume. The audience laughter and applause wouldn’t end till the DJ drowned them out with hot disco music.

The Bearded Lady’s life was legendary, because it’s hard to document nightlife when those who witnessed it are either dead or were too drunk to remember anything.

Today historian Owen Keehnen joins us to chat about his new book ”Dugan’s Bistro and the Legend of the Bearded Lady” which looks at the life of the Bearded Lady, who ruled the roost at Dugan’s Bistro, a Chicago disco that pioneered the use of spectacle in nightclubs, later adopted by clubs like the famous Studio 54.

Listen as we talk about the kind of wild she-nanigans happening in Chicago just years after the Stonewall riots.

Marc Felion, Owen Keehnen and Fausto Fernós. Photo: Fausto Fernós.

Why queer culture has always been multicultural

That one appearance the Bearded Lady had on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Featured Book- Owen Keehnen – Dugan’s Bistro and the Legend of the Bearded Lady: Amazon

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  1. Jeff Bruce says:

    Mark and Fausto,

    Thanks for having Owen on. I’m glad to hear everything in connection with “Dugan’s Bistro and the Legend of the Bearded Lady.” BL would be proud.

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