Jennifer Holiday Chanel

Jennifer Holiday Chanel pic

June 9, 1969 – November 15, 2020

An early member of the House of Chanel, Jennifer Holiday Chanel graduated with the class of 1987 from Flint Central High School and went on to attend Eastern Michigan University.  She performed at the Nectarine in Ann Arbor, later worked at Gigi’s in Detroit, and won the Miss Gigi’s title in 1997.  The Performers Awards of Detroit honored Chanel with its Bookie Stewart Hall of Fame Award in 2017.

Between The Lines [online only], November 19, 2020

Nikki Nicholas

Nikki Nicholas pic

October 1, 1983 – February 21, 2003

Southfield resident Nikki Nicholas, an entertainer in Detroit gay bars, was found slain at age 19 in what the Triangle Foundation identified as an anti-trans hate crime in an abandoned house in Green Oak Township.  The Washtenaw Rainbow Action Project held a candlelight vigil in her memory and the National Association for the Advancement of Transgender People later marched in Lansing in her honor.

Between The Lines, March 6, 2003

The Final Assault on Nikki

Thomas Kyewski

Tommy Kyewski pic

October 27, 1961 – May 21, 2005

Known in Detroit’s gay community as Tommy K, Thomas Patrick Kyewski attended Hamtramck High School.  At various local nightspots in the 1980s and ‘90s, he did go-go dancing and performed as Tina Wells, and held the distinction of winning both the Miss Gay Detroit and Mr. Gay Detroit competitions.  Kyewski also won female impersonation titles at Gigi’s, the Gold Coast, Club Incognito, and Footlights.

Our Community Roots

Tony Brown

Tony Brown pic 3

February 15, 1958 – February 20, 2015

Antony Eugene “Tony” Brown of Madison Heights was born in England and graduated from Dondero High School in Royal Oak.  He later studied voice at Michigan State University and in the early 1980s was a noted singer at Detroit gay bars.  Brown served on the board of the Performers Awards of Detroit and received multiple PAD honors, including best go-go boy and Male Entertainer of the Year.

No known obituary

Geoffrey Fine

Geoffrey Fine pic

January 8, 1951 – May 1, 1991

Geoffrey Martin Fine grew up in Ann Arbor and moved to New York City following high school.  He appeared in a number of Off-Broadway plays before moving back to Ann Arbor in 1975 to study choreography and dance at the University of Michigan.  On returning on New York, Fine pursued stand-up and volunteered with Gay Men’s Health Crisis.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 40.

Outweek, June 12, 1991

Augustus Rissman

Augustus Rissman aka Gorgeous Gussy pic

September 7, 1922 – May 30, 1997

Detroit native Augustus Herman Rissman was better known to members of the local gay community as Gorgeous Gussy.  Noted for “a gravelly voice and gruff manner,” Rissman entertained audiences throughout the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s at such Detroit bars as the Golden Slipper, LaRosa’s, the Diplomat, and the Gold Dollar.

Cruise, June 18, 1997

Cappisene Ford

Cappisene Ford pic

January 11, 1953 – December 26, 1995

Cappisene Ford, known to most in the gay community as Ms. L.T.D. (for La Twiggy Darling), began to entertain in the 1970s at the Escape, My Fair Lady, and other Detroit bars.  She later went on to perform in Paris and Hong Kong.  From 1979 to 1980 she served as Records Officer for the Michigan Organization for Human Rights.  She died from AIDS-related complications at age 42.

No known obituary

Al Brewer

Al Brewer pic

September 13, 1950 – December 19, 2011

Originally from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Al Brewer sang at such gay Detroit clubs as Bookie’s, My Fair Lady, and the Other Side in the 1970s.  He received multiple nominations for best live male vocalist from the Performers Awards of Detroit.  Toward the end of his life, Brewer served as Karaoke host at the Temple Bar.

No known obituary

Clifford Reynolds Jr.

Clifford Reynolds pic

January 25, 1921 – December 26, 1997

Actor and artist, Clifford Reynolds Jr. grew up in Highland Park and attended what was then called Wayne University in Detroit.  He married in 1945, moved with his wife to California in 1952, and they divorced in 1968.  A radio and television performer, Reynolds was survived by companion Lorne Gay.

Bay Area Reporter, January 1, 1998

Stennis Ousley

Stennis Ousley pic

November 4, 1914 – January 18, 1991

Pianist Stennis Ousley accompanied Bramwell “ChiChi” Franklin at the Golden Slipper and other venues in the 1950s.  She performed solo at various straight and gay bars into the 1980s, including the Willis Show Bar, the Tryst Club, and the Deck.

No known obituary.