Vicki Marlane Exhibit Opens
A series of weathered photos, from a black and white snapshot of a young boy to that of a woman wrapped in a feather boa, are part of the personal trove on view in the new exhibit "Vicki Marlane: I’m Your Lady."
The memorabilia, which includes a gold lame sequined dress, a silver high-heeled pump, jewelry, and other effects, retrace Marlane’s childhood on a farm in Eldred, Minnesota, her career as a carnie performer and her eventual transformation into a beloved trans performer in San Francisco.
"We have a lot of photographs from all different parts of Vicki’s life," said Don Romesburg, who co-curated the new show installed in the Corner Gallery of the GLBT History Museum in the Castro.
The items selected are meant to showcase Marlane’s private and public personas.
"She was a trans woman who also performed as a drag queen," said Romesburg, adding, "She had a full private life" when she was not performing at Tenderloin bar Aunt Charlie’s.
"When she was offstage she wasn’t made up as a drag queen," he said. "She looked like the woman she was."
Born Donald Sterger, Marlane escaped her small-town Midwest life by running off at age 17 to work as a "sideshow hoochie-coochie dancer," an Alligator woman, and part of a six-legged woman in a traveling carnival, according to the exhibit.