In 1947 Billie Holiday was serving time in prison for possession, so she doesn’t appear in The Mobster’s Lament, but she’s discussed by her stable-mate, Louis Armstrong, and her manager, who are both side characters in the book. There are rumours that her manager, a former Capone stooge called Joe Glaser, assisted in her imprisonment. In the book, Armstrong and Glaser discuss her plight, and and Louis wonders if his manager really did arrange for the star to be imprisoned.
The quote in the photo above is from ‘Go’, often hailed as the first ‘beat’ novel. I cheated with this caption. The quote is clearly referring to bebop music, not really what Holiday was known for, but there’s something about the faces in the crowd that matches the quote, which I like, so hey-ho. The photo is by Charles Hewitt.
This photo is from earlier in 1947, before she was imprisoned, performing at Cafe Society, possibly the first integrated nightclub in NYC. The text is an excerpt from the poem ‘The Day Lady Died’ by Frank O’Hara, one of my favourite poets: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/42657/the-day-lady-died
The photo is by Gjon Mili