And You Cant’s Make Me

… And You Can’t Make Me: The Life and Music of Gladys Bentley (a staged reading)
Alison Wright
Friday, June 28; 8 pm
Saturday, June 29; 2 pm


This solo multi-media performance chronicles the story of Gladys Bentley, the “Brown Bomber of Sophisticated Songs,” a cross-dressing lesbian Blues singer of the Harlem Renaissance. In top hat and tails, she “homophiled” the lyrics of popular songs, as well as writing her own. Audiences of politicians, European royalty, and high society followed Black and gay customers from Greenwich Village to Harlem just to experience La Bentley from 1925 to 1940. The House Un-American Activities Committee called her before Congress to recant her same-sex marriage in 1930, threatening to label her a deviant. This drama, woven together with Gladys Bentley songs and covers, presents a full evening of dazzling entertainment and thought provoking stories of this larger than life Blues icon. Directed by Ellen Chang

Alison Wright, writer performer of…And You Can’t Make Me: The Life and Music of Gladys Bentley, has been creating works in the Bay Area for the past 10 yrs. Her numerous works have graced the stages of Theatre Artaud, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, ODC Performance Center, La Pena, Highways – Santa Monica, Luther Burbank Arts Center, and many others. Alison has received funding and awards from the Individual Artist Commission from San Francisco Arts Commission, and a 2001 QCC Creating Queer Community Award. Sponsored by Intersection for the Arts, Alison also received awards from Horizions Foundation and the Zellerbach Family Fund.