of these drawings were used on the front of note cards sold
by the International Sex Worker Foundation for Art. As part
of a "Multi-Talented Creative Beings" project, the
Foundation sought to illustrate "Contrary to the popular
stereotype of the illiterate hooker with no other job skills,
many sex workers are multi-talented individuals who use their
work in the sex industry to subsidize their artistic and literary
In the case of
John Rechy's contributions to the project, he explains the
drawings in an Interview with Winston Leyland that appeared
in Gay Sunshine Interviews - Volume I in 1978. "When
I was a little kid I wanted to be a painter and I drew beautifully.
I had forgotten that my mother did not throw away some drawings
that I had made when I was about twelve years old. I drew
this woman, obviously a prostitute, but the opposite of butch,
standing under a streetlight. And I called the street "Salem,"
which is the exact opposite of Selma."
Selma is a street
south of Hollywood Boulevard where, along a certain stretch,
male hustlers would congregate. Many years after creating
this drawing, John Rechy would frequent this area. Another
irony, noted by the interviewer Winston Leyland, is that the
letters of Salem and Selma can also be rearranged
to spell males.
are also featured in the interactive CD Mysteries