when i was 16 years old i left home in suburban chicago and moved to the gay ghetto. i scraped, shimmied, and spulinked my way to self-sufficiency. that term is used loosely though as i don’t think i reached that goal until 20 years later. but let’s go with the self-sufficiency description just for simplicity’s sake.
i worked as a dancer in a couple of gay bars in 75 and 76 then got a bar tending gig in 77 . during that time i met someone and engaged in what remains the longest most personal relationship of my life. he was 10 years older and it was the last intimate partnership i engaged in before my hiv diagnosis. after 85 i am certain i internalized the diseased pariah stigma and used it like a c3po costume.
but the relationship i speak of lasted a couple of years in spite of the cacophony of living together, late night work schedules, and heterosexual roommates. we hailed from different decades and had the priorities that reflected just that. but the passion we felt and the permission to feel it somehow kept it fresh and the opposition of our viewpoints kept is spicy for a while.
during that time i became acquainted with jane olivor. i channeled a much more romantic perspective during that time in my life. after peter and i broke up, i found myself ready for the punk aesthetic with all the zeal i could muster. but when i was partnered and in love, the sensibility that is jane olivor was the frosting on the cake.
“Olivor also eased her way into the burgeoning New York City cabaret scene of the early 1970s. She appeared at the Reno Sweeney cabaret, owned and operated by Lewis Friedman and Eliot Hubbard, which Vito Russo described as “the center of the universe during the now-legendary cabaret revival of the early 1970s”. Working steadily in the New York City cabaret scene, Olivor became noticeable enough for the Columbia Records label and the William Morris Agency to sign her. Her debut album, First Night, released in 1976, was named Stereo Review‘s Album of the Year.
In September 1977, her second album, Chasing Rainbows, was released to coincide with Olivor’s debut at Carnegie Hall. The first pressing of the album contained a one-sided insert 45 RPM single of “Some Enchanted Evening“, re-recorded by Olivor and produced by Charles Calello. Chasing Rainbows was produced by Tom Catalano, the longtime producer of many of Neil Diamond‘s hit singles and albums; Diamond was another influence and favorite of Olivor’s. This album reached the Top 100 bestsellers, remaining in the charts for three months, and peaked at number 87 on the Billboard charts.
In 1978, Olivor released the album Stay the Night, with a title track “Stay the Night” by composer Susan Casazza (previously called Maxie Green) and lyricist Norman Dolph. Olivor’s slowed-down version from this album of The Chiffons‘ “He’s So Fine“, with its sinewy saxophone and multi-tracked Olivor vocals, became the biggest-selling single of her career and charted into Billboard’s Top 100, peaking at number 77.
In between Stay the Night and the release of The Best Side of Goodbye, Olivor found herself busy with concerts and also toured as a special guest of Johnny Mathis. Their duet, “The Last Time I Felt Like This”, was the theme for the 1978 film Same Time, Next Year. The song, with music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman, was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award.“