T H E S M O K I N G B A N A N A Official Spam of the Austin Outpost of the Guerrilla Queer Bar
Inside this edition of the Smoking Banana (June 2002)
--->Troop Alert: PUB CRAWL. Various locations within walking distance. See schedule below.
--->What to wear to the invasion: Solid color from the rainbow
--->Before you walk
--->Shoal Creek drunk dry
--->Toaster Oven Awards: An Update
--->Blurt: Gay Leather Social (we missed it)
--->Are you my mommy? Maybe you're my daddy
--->Upcoming Invasions of the 21st century
What: Pub Crawl
When: Friday, June 14, 6-10 pm
Where: Various locations according to schedule below
Wear: Solid color from rainbow
6:00-6:45 Speak Easy, 412 Congress Ave, 78701, 476-8017
7:00-7:45 Shakespeare's Pub, 314 E. 6th St, 78701, 472-1666
8:00-8:45 Joe's Generic Bar, 315 E. 6th St, 78701, 480-0171
9:00-9:45 Love Joy's, 604 Neches St, 78701, 477-1268
I Love a Parade
As most of you know, Austin had its very first gay pride parade a couple of weekends ago. I thought it was gonna be kinda lame, but I had made up my mind to participate anyway because this is my home and well, I love a parade. Besides, if it turned out to be lame, who could I blame but myself? These sorts of things have self-fulfilling prophecies. If everyone believes it's gonna be lame, then it will be. If everyone makes it memorable, then it will be. I arrived at the Austin American Spaceman/TXDOT parking lot staging area and was pleasantly surprised to see what appeared to be the makings of a gay parade--floats, boas, feathers, sequins, vintage cars, bears, leather daddies, drag queens, and dance music. And then I started to cry. It was a little embarassing. I tried to smoothly distance myself from everyone and hide in a corner while I dried my eyes and attempted to regain my composure. Let me try to explain what I think were the reasons behind this uncharacteristic burst of emotion.
I think my first gay parade ever was circa 1990 in San Francisco. At the time, I was under the impression that I was straight and I was in attendance with my girlfriend. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of her hunky brother, who we had heard through the grapevine, was going to be marching in the Team Berkeley swimmer's contingent. What was special about this sighting was that he had yet to come out to her or the rest of his family. They had one of those typical white American families that could enjoy meals together without really saying much about anything besides the smoothness of the gravy or the mash of the potatoes. This contrasted sharply with my own family's behavior where perhaps we often said too much! Anyway, my girlfriend was hoping to catch her brother in the parade, run up to him, give him a hug and a kiss, and in so doing, let him know that she was okay with it. It played out exactly that way. To this day, I don't believe he has ever had to actually come out to her because he didn't really have to--he was out and she came up to him--thanks to the gay pride parade. That was her crying moment. Mine came later. Because his other family members were not inclined to attend such parades, I'm under the impression that they still have not had the conversation. But, of course, everyone seems to know anyway, without discussing it. I guess it's kinda like the way dogs in a pack communicate. They all just know.
I have to admit that I thought my first gay pride parade was sort of a freak show. It started with dykes on bikes (which I wasn't expecting, but I thought were AMAZING!) and featured more breasts than I could count--but who was counting? The crowd was just as colorful as the participants. It seemed that SF had relaxed its public dress code/public decency standards for a day and people just hung loose. The parade included gay doctors, gay cops and firefighters (why are all gay firefighters lesbians?), gay lawyers, gay CPA's--all marching under their respective "Gay " signs. I remember being touched by the gay mommies and gay daddies with TBD babies in shiny gay strollers. I didn't realize there were so many gay parents. But the largest contingent in the whole parade was PFLAG. I had heard of this group before, but it was the sheer numbers of straight parents, friends, and supporters who had chosen to give up their Father's Day in order to march that overwhelmed me, and I'm talking about hundreds of people, straight people, that went on for blocks. It gave me a chill. And I cried. It was for me, the first realization that becoming gay didn't necessarily mean abandonment by the people who loved me.
Okay, fast forward ten years later to two weeks ago. I'm a big ol' homo, relatively more jaded than I was, but less so than most. I've seen lots of gay parades in big cities over the years and a lot fewer breasts in general. I'm out to my family and I think my mom likes my boyfriend better than she likes me. Since I've got my thumb on the pulse of big city gay boosters (not!), I'm under the impression that gay pride events are in a sort of identity crisis--they're in danger of becoming old hat, passe, and annual re-runs of the same old queens marching under the same old signs singing the same old chants to the same old partisan crowds. In the age of Will&Grace and Queer-as-Folk televised buttfucking, staying at home to watch gays on TV is fairly competitive with watching your friends prance down Congress Avenue. Butt, for some reason, people in Austin didn't stay home. They did come out to watch their friends parade down Congress Avenue and they came out in numbers that caught me off-guard. Wow, I thought. Look at all these people who came out to support what could have been a pretty lame parade. But on a personal level, it was my first time actually marching in a gay parade and I think that's what got me all wet. Going through the motions and actually taking the steps turned out to be a physical assertion of pride that outpaced my mental stance of being proud. I actually became prouder by walking amongst the proud. As it turned out, it was not a lame parade. It was Austin's first gay parade and I'm looking forward to the next.
One last thought to add to this exceedingly long rant. While pride parades may be old hat in big cities, they are desperately needed in small cities. We underestimate just how deep and dark the water runs in backwater places. Perhaps the big city parades should take their show on the road, a la Guerrilla Queer Bar, and bring gay pride to the Main Streets of U.S.A where our small town brothers and sisters are just too outnumbered to put on a parade by themselves.
And finally, the really last thought. We had considered the possibility of a post-parade after-party, but upon second thought it didn't really seem like a very "guerrilla" event. Instead, two weeks later, as we crawl through straight bars on 6th street wearing rainbow colors, we will remind the hets that the mo's are here to stay and that we can be proud on more than one day of the year if we want.
Shoal Creek Drunk Dry
Because I've consumed my news hole with the big ass rant above, let me just say the bartender at the Shoal Creek Saloon said that we drank them out of every bottled beer in the house. Job well done. And thank thank you very much to the lesbians who held down the table in the middle of the patio. You were the perfect center piece to our near perfect invasion. While we were unable to drive out all of the heterosexuals (which by the way, is not our goal--it's just something that tends to happen and has become an unofficial measure of our impact. we'd much rather jump in bed. just kidding), we did manage to force the remaining few to retreat to the area off to the side of the patio. We quite literally whitewashed the joint with our white shirts.
Toaster Oven Awards: An Update
In accordance with our gay agenda and our recruitment goals, we have identified what appears to be our 500th Recruit. According to our records, it is "sweetguymail" a 25-year old male from Japan. Well, aren't we cosmopolitan? As reported before, we will need to verify that "sweetguymail" is indeed qualified to be gay according to the rigorous new standards of homosexuality, because as you know, we don't take just anyone anymore. Simply sleeping with other men is no longer enough. If sweetguymail does not pass muster, he will, of course, be allowed to remain among the ranks of the GQB-Austin, but we will need to continue our search for our qualified recruit by moving through the list. Fortunately, as of today there are 27 candidates in the eligibility pool thanks to your persuasive recruiting methods. Since we announced the search for the 500th Recruit a couple months ago, we are pleased to report that our numbers have grown from 489 to 527. We are excited about identifying the recruiter of Recruit 500 and awarding the Golden Toaster Oven in recognition of this achievement. We hope that we will be able to do it in August in observance of GQB-Austin's 2nd Birthday.
Are you the commander or the subordinate, the boss or the bootlicker, priest or disciple, criminal or cohort, the cock or the toady, overlord or underling? Whether top or bottom, leader or follower each has a certain way of dressing. In other words a uniform! So lets all put on our favorite uniforms and find our fellow fans, fanciers, admirers and devotees. From Military to Police, from Mailman to UPS driver, from businessman to secretary the fetishes of uniforms are an endless expression of our innermost desires.
Oh my, sounds interesting, but alas, we missed it. It was last night. If you could have one your uniformed men personally deliver your next blurt with a few more days advance notice, we'd be happy to let it add smoke to our banana. As for the rest of you, know what goes on while you sleep comfortably in your homes. There's a world out there.
Are you my mommy? Maybe you're my daddy
Ever wanted to know where the secret discussion list for GQB Austin is and who's sayin' what about whom? The mommys and the daddies of the Austin GQB are passionately debating the future and mission of our merry and hairy band of 'mos. Should "where we spend our queer dollars?" be a concern when choosing invasion targets? Where are the guerrilla queer lesbians? Is the gay world a man's world? Is GQB a political movement or a drinking movement from the bar top to your mouth? Who was that drunk and handsome Cajun crooner? These are just some of the exciting topics that could fill up YOUR inbox if you so desire.