. headling at Finocchio's, 1961 Fashion Model, 1967 On the stage 1983 Sherry, in The Love God 1969
Finocchio's opened its doors in San Francisco in 1936 as home to "the world's greatest female impersonators". And for sixty-three years, 'Fabulous Finocchio's' lived up to its billing.
Finocchio's performers were incredibly talented illusionists who danced, sang live - no lip-synching here - and made headlines around the world without the nips, tucks and implants that would become pervasive with later generations of performers.
And to further cement 'the illusion', all performers were required to arrive and leave as men... which helped performers comply with the law of the day that made it illegal for men to appear in public dressed as women.
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Excerpt from Aleshia's autobiography

Finocchio's featured "the worlds greatest" female impersonators, and big name celebrities such as Bette Davis, Lana Turner, Phyllis Diller, Shelley Berman and Sal Mineo came to sit ringside. Grey Line Tour buses filled the club with audiences of predominately upper-middle class-heterosexual tourists.

The celebrated club was also Mecca for many of our country's predominately closeted homosexuals. Partly this was because our impersonators were glamorous openly queer entertainers - and gay and lesbian audiences shared a sense of pride in our mainstream acceptance.

For me, Finocchio's offered the first sense of true acceptance I'd ever known. As 'Lee Shaw', drag diva, I was notable and nothing was demanded except that I look incredible - and have a modicum of talent.


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