Because the Scots-Irish of Appalachia didn’t invent Americana. Or the banjo.

Queen Esther, UpSouth. Photo by DM Gillock

I have strong memories of folk music swirling through my Southern, unapologetically black childhood. Music class in elementary school meant clapping on the one and three, singing along with Burl Ives recordings and doing the hokey pokey, and learning songs like Oh, Shenandoah and The Blue-Tail Fly without an understanding of the history of violence that gave birth to them. (Jimmy crack corn, indeed.) There were folk museums to explore, and abysmally picturesque, fun-filled field days to be had that found quite a few of us zipping around a…


Queen Esther sits in the library of the Booth Mansion in Grammercy Park, New York City.
Portrait of the Artist by DM Gillock

This is me a few Decembers ago at a New Year’s Eve Eve event at The Booth Mansion — otherwise known as The Players Club — a private club located in a tony neighborhood in New York City called Gramercy. Because New Year’s Eve is for amateurs.

Prohibition Productions started this “hey, let’s throw a massive party on the 30th” trend amongst the well-heeled vintage set awhile ago, to avoid tourists and the Bridge and Tunnel crowd and anyone else that doesn’t get it. The 31st became a day for sleeping in, to give yourself a chance to recover from…

Queen Esther

Relaxing on the axis of the wheel of life.

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