Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Obscure: Candy

Canary Conn, Bantam Books, 1977

The hard to find autobiography of Candy Conn, nee Danny O'Connor. Danny grew up in Texas and knew deep inside his entire life long that he was meant to be wearing skirts, nighties and make-up. A daddy by the time he was in college, he also won a nationwide talent hunt in 1968 as "Best Teenage Male Vocalist" and had a budding career as a singer and songwriter when he finally decided to give it all up and go the whole nine yards by removing a few inches and growing a few cups. Honestly written, he pulls no punches in narrating the alienation and confusion he felt both as a child, a teenager and an in-operation transsexual. His life had always been tinged with an imbedded unhappiness; her life began and remained for years a never-ending struggle simply to survive. Even if one cannot in any way fathom the feelings of a false sexuality that he narrates as having had, one is forced to accept them as real, thus making his trials and tribulations all the more wrenching and disturbing. Despite the walls he felt as a child, his family proves itself surprisingly supportive once he does the deed. As to be expected, his high-school sweetheart and mother of his child does not.
Canary had brief fame after she crossed over as an early and vocal speaker for the understanding of the plight of the transsexual, appearing on numerous television talk shows playing her guitar and spreading her political message. (I even faintly remember catching her on some talk show as a child.) In the meantime, she has seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth.

Anyone know what has happened to her? Is she singing duets with Wendy Carlos, perhaps? No, seriously: in her book she comes across as an admirable and incredibly brave person. I, for one, would like to know how and why she has so slipped from the public eye and memory after such public exposure in the 70s.

Top: The Book, available at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.
Middle: Danny O'Connor, daddy and would-be pop singer.
Bottom: Canary "Candy" Conn while she was still in the public eye.

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