“She knew why they danced with such gay desperation.”
A budding butch in the Brylcreem era, Lorraine “Lon” Harris fantasizes about a South Pacific island full of women, where everyone will be free and accepting, and she’ll never have to wear an eyelet blouse again. Spurned by her high school English teacher, Lon turns to a new friend, the brash, purple-haired Violet, who draws Lon into the lesbian underworld of suburban Los Angeles, to the sordid 28 Percent Club, a private bar where those with “contaminated passions” cling to each other. Here, among the swaggering butches and dolled-up femmes, Lon will discover herself. And here she will first lay eyes on brilliant, lovely Mavis, a black jazz pianist and the girlfriend of wealthy Sassy Gregg, whose heavy bracelets may as well be brass knuckles where Lon is concerned.