Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Joani Presents

Joani Presents
Joani Presents

Location: 6413 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, California, USA

Opened: 1961

Closed: 1973

From Remembering LA's Earliest Lesbian Bars:

Joani Presents – Located in North Hollywood at 6413 Lankershim Boulevard, this bar was owned by Joan Hannan, who was most famous for playing the drummer in the all-girl band in the 1959 Marilyn Monroe film “Some Like it Hot.” Attracting many classes of women, the bar was popular throughout the 1960s and 1970s, only closing when Hannan and her partner moved to Humboldt County.

You can find out more about Georgia (Joan) Hannan here. Seems that back in 1958, Joan was playing with a band in Palm Springs. It was probably an "all-girl band" as Joan formed many of these over the years. Somebody in Hollywood must have seen her perform, as she was soon contacted about playing a drummer in a movie. And the rest is history.  

In a 2011 interview, Joan described some of her experiences on the set:

“Monroe was standing beside her drum set as a scene was set up, Hannan said, and remarked in her famously breathy voice: ‘I just love the drums. I wish you’d teach me to play.’

Hannan was speechless. In that moment, she was as starstruck as Monroe seemed nervous.

Joan Hannan
‘She was a sweet, sweet person,’ Hannan said about the star. ‘She was not dumb at all. Always late? Yes.’

Hannan counts the film among her career highlights. But it was not without challenges.

Getting the part required acting in a way that made her uncomfortable. She knew from prior experience performing with bands on USO tours that an “extremely feminine” drummer was wanted.

‘I was forced to be a heterosexual woman,’ said Hannan, who is a lesbian. ‘I had to constantly flirt.’

You can see a little bit of Joan in this clip, though she's mostly in the back and in shadow. 
Joan Hannan in her
later years

Joan died last year at the age of 83. According to her obituary, she "passed away peacefully at home on April 13, 2012 in the arms of her partner. "

Jeanne Cordova has this memory of Joani Presents:

On the outskirts of feminism in ’72, I stopped at a traffic signal next to a dyke bar in North Hollywood. The car in back of me repeatedly bumped my fender. Furious, I jumped out of my car, marched back, and leaned my flattop into the driver’s window demanding, “You blind, drunk, or just stupid, Mister? How about staying off my fender?”
His beer-glazed eyes registered me. “Fuck you, bull dyke!” He jabbed a fist in my face.
“Don’t you just wish…” I laughed.
Just then the light turned green and I rushed back to my car. Sweeping around the corner and into the parking lot of Joanie Presents, I parked. As I walked toward the bar, I gulped. Archie Bunker had followed me. He was coming at me with a crowbar.
The goddess was with me that night. The man thundered past me and smashed his crowbar into my car’s rear window.
The Boy Mechanic captured this photo of the former Joani Presents.

The former Joani Presents
The Boy Mechanic is an excellent documentary source on lesbian bars over the years. If you've never checked out the project, please do. 

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