I Was a White Slave in Harlem

Margo Howard, Author, Abbe Michaels, Author Four Walls Eight Windows $12.95 (177p) ISBN 978-0-941423-14-4
Drag queen extraordinaire Margo Howard-Howard, born Robert Hesse, was not so much a slave to Harlem as he was to heroin. This chronicle traces the blue blood's descent into a subculture of drag queens/prostitutes/dope addicts, driven there by an overwhelming appetite for drugs. Although not without sordid moments, Howard-Howard's misadventures while hustling on the Upper West Side are told with a flair for black comedy and an emphasis on the dramatic, whether he's being shot at or falling out of sixth-floor windows, and the acquisition of his first mink coat reads like a demimondiste's dream. The work spares the reader the grimmest details of hard drug addiction and concentrates instead on the glamorous haut monde figures who have crossed Howard-Howard's path. Some of these encounters amount to no more than name-dropping (James Dean, John Cardinal O'Connor), while others prove to be priceless gemsespecially a spat with Truman Capotein this frothy look back at some truly desperate living. Howard-Howard died at 51 on Sept. 3. Michaels is a freelance writ er. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
Genre: Nonfiction
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