Lexingtonians have an endless fascination with Belle Brezing, one of their most notorious citizens. A new film on her life, Belle Brezing and the Gilded Age of the Bluegrass, is coming out next month. There have been a flurry of talks around town about her, all with big crowds in attendance. I’m looking forward to Belle Brezing, Infamous Lexingtonian from the Lexington History Museum Speaker Series at the Eastside Branch of the Lexington Public Library:
“Belle Brezing was an infamous brothel keeper in Lexington, Ky., and was closely connected to the centers of power in the horse industry and local politics. She received pardons from two Kentucky governors. Her famous mansion for men was known as far away as Argentina. Dr. Maryjean Wall will discuss her biography of Belle, titled Madam Belle: Sex, Money and Influence in a Southern Brothel. Dr. Wall earned a Ph.D. in history at the University of Kentucky, has taught history at UK, and is a former sportswriter who specialized in horse racing. Part of the Lexington History Museum Speaker Series.”
Another program from earlier this month was Belle Brezing: More than a Madam. Shea Simanek, Historian/Lexington Public Library staffer/Eastern Kentucky University graduate student, presented one of the best programs I’ve seen in the Local @ Your Library series at the Beaumont Branch:
“Learn about Belle Brezing, Lexington’s infamous madam, and the ways in which she helped Lexington become the city as we know it today. There will be time for questions afterwards, so bring your queries!”
The film that I mentioned, Belle Brezing and the Gilded Age of the Bluegrass, will be released in February. It will premier at The Kentucky Theater in Lexington on February 16 as a benefit for the Lexington History Museum.
“Few individuals in the history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky are as controversially remembered and celebrated yet today as the infamous Belle Brezing—A Lexington madam with a nationwide reputation for running the Victorian eras most “Orderly of Dis-Orderly homes.”With a head for business in the business of sex, Belle’s story is deeply woven into the tapestry of the Gilded Age of Lexington.”
If you’d like to learn more about Belle Brezing, I wrote about her life in Lexington: Belle Brezing’s Gravesite.