Russ texted me this morning to let me know that Kenny Kerr had died. It might seem odd to mourn the death of a drag performer I'd met only tangentially a few times, but with her a little piece of my past dies as well. When I first started going out in Vegas, Gipsy - that little "club", with a rainbow painted across the front and slot machines in the bar, on the Northwest corner of the intersection that served as Vegas's gay core - was everything to me. It's where I met my friends, where I was out at least four nights a week, and where I finally started living the life I wanted. And Gipsy wasn't separable from Kenny Kerr, who would often be there, sometimes performing, sometimes just there, but always a presence.
So hearing he died brings back all those nights - those many, many nights spent there with Russ, coercing Mike Odynski to have just one more - and all that grew out of it. Suddenly this epochal period that normally seems so remote behind the years of life, in ever more distant cities since then, doesn't seem so far removed anymore. And for just an instant - a fleeting instant - I feel like a Vegas boy again. Only this time grateful rather than resentful; for all that Vegas lacked that I needed and fled to find, it's still where the foundations of my life were laid. But it's just that little bit less fabulous now.
Viva Las Vegas,
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