Oral History Interview with Jerry Buskirk aka Beulah


Please Note: An audio file is currently not available for this record, the notes from this interview are provided below


03/17/04 phone interview JERRY BUSKIRK aka Beulah

Founder of the Awards Club, Emmy’s and Family Affair House
Originally from West Virginia, now lives near Youngstown, OH

Awards Club pageants were juried, titles were voted on, not assigned as in the Oscars
Miss Gay America started by Buskirk c. 1961

Academy took over Miss Gay America lineage
Miss Gay America ran from 1962 to 1989, last years under the Awards Club

Based on Miss Gay America Atlantic City pageant
Categories: swimsuit, parade of states (creative fashion), evening gown, talent

Controversy in late 80s over who won, two different MGA pageants

MGA spread over 3 nights with preliminaries at Waaay Off Broadway
Was on the board of Waaay Off Broadway
Jessie Kinneson, manager of Waaay Off Broadway, was a member of Buskirk’s Family Affair House in the awards club

Knew Kinneson from WV
Went to Cleveland as a teenager, then stayed at Wabash St YMCA in Chicago

Bought most competition gowns off the rack, from Claire Dratch in Bethesda (Wisc. Ave.) – shop had models and did viewings

Being small was an advantage, could buy clothes off the rack

“it was all so much fun”

Plus One, Pier 9 and Lost & Found all had good restaurants
Pier 9 was gigantic, had levels, started first light shows in DC, had shows by the Awards Club




“Oral History Interview with Jerry Buskirk aka Beulah,” Rainbow History Project Digital Collections, accessed July 23, 2024, https://archives.rainbowhistory.org/items/show/1922.

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