June 17, 1949 – August 27, 1998
Detroit native Alvine Eugene Bell performed as Elaine St. Jacques at such venues as Bookie’s, My Fair Lady, and the Other Side, winning the titles of Miss Iron Hinge in 1974, Miss Todd’s in 1981, and Miss Michigan in 1982, as well as the first Miss Gigi’s crown in 1975. Bell held an administrative position with the HIV/AID service organization Project Survivor. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 49.
No known obituary
November 19, 1936 – April 29, 2021
Klaus Reich, better known to gay Metro Detroiters by Tony Rome, was born in Berlin, Germany and immigrated to the U.S. in the mid-1950s. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he began an aircraft servicing business in Ypsilanti. He later operated Foof’s Down Under downstairs at Gigi’s nightclub in Detroit. From 1979 to 1999, Rome published Cruise magazine before retiring to warmer climates.
Desert Sun, May 13, 2021
March 3, 1945 – December 6, 1992
Native Detroiter Bruce Leonard Allen attended Lutheran West High School. He was a member of Tribe and a co-founder of Baccus and worked as a bartender at the R&R, the E-Ramp, and Ruby’s. Allen also performed as Tracy Daye, notably as a member of the house cast at Gigi’s, receiving the Performers Awards of Detroit Lifetime Achievement in 1992. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 47.
Cruise, December 16, 1992
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
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
October 18, 1957 – May 21, 1996
Gregory Thomas Hainbecker was born in Wyandotte and resided in Ecorse all his life, graduating in 1976 from Ecorse High School. He was employed as a truck driver, roofer, carpenter, and handyman. Hainbecker also worked as a longtime bartender at Gigi’s in Detroit. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 38.
Cruise, June 5, 1996
March 8, 1961 – August 31, 1992
Dennis Wayne Duvall was born in Monroe, earned a B.S. in Arts Management from Eastern Michigan University, and worked as a manager for Frames Unlimited. In the persona of Lisa Carlisle, Duvall performed at the Rubaiyat and Nectarine Ballroom in Ann Arbor and at such bars as Backstreet, the Deck, Gigi’s, and the Pink Flamingo in Detroit. Duvall won the Miss Gay Ann Arbor title for 1985-86.
Cruise, September 9, 1992
Michigan Tribune, September 1992
November 16, 1953 – November 16, 2004
Michael Sweazey of Canton and formerly of Garden City began bartending at Gigi’s in Detroit in the mid-1970s and was one of six employees to inherit ownership of the bar after the death of Tony Garneau. For many years he worked as Gigi’s show director and performed female impersonation under the name Vanessa LaSalle. Sweazey was survived by his life partner of 28 years Steven McAfee.
Between The Lines, December 2, 2004
Vanessa LaSalle at Our Community Roots
January 10, 1931 – May 4, 2016
Outspoken Detroit attorney George Maurer served active duty in the U.S. Army from 1949 to 1955 and another 27 years in the Army Reserves. A co-founder of Wellness House, he earned his B.A. and J.D. from Wayne State University and was also a longtime co-owner of Gigi’s nightclub.
Metra, June 1, 2016
OutPost, June 2016
June 13, 1952 – April 6, 1986
Born and raised in Detroit, Sindy Dawkins enjoyed writing, skiing, and shooting pool. She served on the board for the Performers Awards of Detroit and held the title of Ms. Gigi’s 1980-81.
Metra, May 7, 1986