Janie Whited, Artist, Clown, Trombonist (1956-2019)

 

An unforgettable presence in Lesbian Home Movie Project video collections, Mary Jane “Janie” Whited died unexpectedly on March 7, 2019, in Everett, Washington, just 63, from complications from an automobile accident that occurred many years earlier in Florida.  She’s just about thirty years younger than that in the clips below, which date from before the accident, and she’s just bursting with lesbian spirit — wildish, sweet, goofy, making fun, making music, making art, and always, looks like, lending a hand.  Our clips come from two extraordinary Florida collections — Corky Culver’s and Shirley Lasseter’s. 

Janie was born in 1956 in Elmo, Missouri, current population 157.  She attended Northwest Missouri State University before moving first to Colorado and then to Florida’s east coast where she headed straight to Gainesville’s women’s bookstore Wild Iris and connected with the amazing women’s community that was bubbling up there like a live volcano of lesbian spirit and feminist politics. 

Art was her mainstay.  Longtime friend and former partner Carol Barron remembers her painting five days a week and then heading out to the Sunshine Art Circuit to exhibit and sell work fresh off her easel.  Unfortunately we don’t have any footage of those weekends but can share the clip below of her at work on Carol’s sailboat on the shore of Cumberland Island.

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