Drag Contest, Club Alabam, 1945

Club Alabam, run by bandleader Curtis Mosby, was a popular jazz venue on Central Avenue in Los Angeles. “The Avenue,” as it was widely known, was the focal point of the West Coast jazz scene. 

The club featured Black entertainment for integrated audiences and was one of numerous nightclubs and theaters that flourished on Central Avenue until the early 1950s.

The Alabam hosted an annual “drag ball” that attracted a large multi-racial crowds, with men wearing makeup and dressed in gowns. 

The photograph displayed shows contestants filling the dance floor during a drag contest at Club Alabam, hosted by Bill Hefflin circa 1945. 

Photographer: Clyde Woods. 

Part of the LA Public Library Photo Collection.