“I have a date with the “Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction,” and I can’t wait to hear her swinging-from-the-chandeliers stories. The name “Ann Bannon” conjures up images of heaving breasts and scarlet lips on lurid-looking books with cover lines promising depravity, sleaze and a roll-around in the shadowy world of “strange passion,” the code word for lesbian activity back in the world of the 1950s pulp novels that made Bannon famous—or infamous.
However, when I arrive at the Palm Springs dinner party, thrown to celebrate the imminent opening in Palm Springs of The Beebo Brinker Chronicles (at the Desert Ensemble Theatre, Dec 17-19), a play by Kate Moira Ryan and Linda S. Chapman based on Bannon’s oeuvre, it’s a while before I even notice Ann Bannon.
Husband and husband Luc and Bud are showing me round their white marble home with its four Christmas trees while Bud tells me about working alongside Harvey Milk in San Francisco back in the day. (“I’m no stranger to having Molotov cocktails thrown in my face!”) Only afterwards do I notice a quiet, elegant woman in the corner of the lounge, politely accepting Luc’s offer of a Lemon Drop cocktail. “I’d better have a glass of water first,” she says with a shy smile…”