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B.B.B.’s Cellar

1651 Cosmo St, Los Angeles, CA 90028
1932 1934

Despite the fact Prohibition was enacted in 1920, making the sale of alcohol illegal, the nightlife in Los Angeles was very active and an underground speakeasy culture emerged where people with different sexual orientations mixed. Drag queens, known as "pansy performers," experienced a surge in underground popularity in nightclubs, and were some of the highest-paid nightlife performers in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco during the 1930-1933 "Pansy Craze."

B.B.B.’s Cellar run by Bobby Burns Berman, had a highly acclaimed revue of ten boys dressed as girls. The floorshow was called “Boys Will Be Girls,” starring Rae Bourbon. Fred Monroe also did highly celebrated impersonations of the female stars in his audience.

In September 1932, the Hollywood Reporter caught Tallulah Bankhead, William Haines, Ethel Barrymore, and Howard Hughes there one night, each guest with a hammer, instructed to pound the table every time a new guest arrived.

The L.A. police’s October 1932 raid on the Cellar and Jimmy's Backyard was described by Variety as part of “a drive on the Nance and Lesbian amusement places in town."