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 (July 2002)
--->Troop Alert: LaLa's, 2207 Justin Lane, 453-2521.
--->What to wear to the invasion: RED
--->Artificial wombs, mean men, women eliminated from planet
--->Christmas in July
--->Pub crawl raging suck-sess
--->Yahoo reverses GQB censorship decision
--->Blurt: Gay Leather Social (we missed it again)
--->Are you my mommy? Maybe you're my daddy
--->Upcoming Invasions of the 21st century
What: Homo Happy Hour
When: Friday, July 12, 6-9 pm
Where: LaLa's, 2207 Justin Lane, 453-2521
Artificial Wombs Mean Men Could Eliminate Women from Planet
Our favorite lesbian forwarded a research update to us last month and we thought we would share. Apparently, much progress is being made in the fertility field that has implications for the gay and lesbian communities. We learned last year that two women could combine their eggs and make a kid. We learned today that thanks to advances in in-vitro fertilzation techniques (IVF), a white couple was able to give birth to a black child. But did you know that they're working on the ARTIFICIAL UTERUS? Amazing, but true. It seems that teams of scientists are working on the problem from both ends, so to speak. The first team at Cornell University is addressing women who have trouble conceiving. They can create an artificial womb by growing cells removed from the lining of a real womb, and then placing these cells on a "scaffold" (not the big kind you paint on,...a small one) of biodegradable material bolstered by a cocktail of hormones and nutrients. According to the report in the Guardian Unlimited Observer, embryos received through fertility programs have survived and grown in the artificial uteruses (uteri?) for up to 6 days before they halted the experiments. Their next goal is grow them to 14 days, the maximum allowable due to ethical limitations. This will give them an opportunity to see if the embryos take root and extend veins into the artificial lining. Cool!
The second team in Tokyo is addressing women having trouble with miscarriages or very premature births. Basically, the fetus grows in the mother's womb until the danger of miscarriage is high. Then they place the kid in a kind of fish tank filled with amniotic fluid heated to body temperature. A pump is attached to the umbilical cord to deal with nutrition and waste. Also cool. So far their work is largely confined to goats, but of course, pending ethical concerns, they are anxious to get started on humans.
Naturally, the ethical discussions surrounding these medical advancements are as fascinating as the science. A woman from Oklahomo State University organized an international conference called "The End of Natural Motherhood?" She told the Observer, "Some feminists even say artificial wombs mean men could eliminate women from the planet." Perhaps more likely than the elimination of all women is the possibility that employers some day may no longer allow women to take maternity leave once artificial pregnancy becomes an option. Cruel and controlling? Indeed, the reason why our favorite lesbian forwarded us this research note is because she personally is not considering parenting because she doesn't want to endure the physical challenges of pregnancy. Is it possible that the combination of forces in our culture of convenience, vanity, leisure, and worker productivity could lead to the widespread adoption of this "no pain, no hassle" alternative to natural pregnancy? Maybe so.
But while this may be seen as a boon (a baby boon?) for hets seeking to evade those nasty stretch marks, it's a godsend for hets who are otherwise having difficulty. But moreover, what can be more difficult than two men wanting to get pregnant, but neither of whom have a uterus? Apparently, the science is on our horizon for Tom and Dick to have a vat baby. Meanwhile, sodomy is still illegal for homos in Texas and adoption is real difficult. What will Texas do once gay men start getting pregnant?
Dick the halls with boughs of holly, fa-la-la-la-la la-la-la-la. Yes, boys and gorills it's Christmas in July and that's why we're going to go to LaLa's for this month's invasion. The color is what else but RED. Bonus points for Santa hats. You win immunity if you show up with an elf. LaLa's is a real hole, but a nice change of pace from having to find parking downtown. It's been a real favorite suggestion amongst the daddies for months, but we wanted to wait until the heat of summer before we invaded. What's so fun about going to a year-round Christmas bar in January? It's gotta be July. See you there in RED and we'll be paying close attention to who's naughty and who's nice.
Pub Crawl Raging Suck-sess
Where do we begin to describe our tale of conquest? We started out at the Speak Easy and had a drink. 45 minutes later, we were parading towards 6th and Congress in our rainbow color shirts. We arrived ceremoniously at a surprised Shakespeare's Pub. The bar tender was so rattled by the climate change in his clientele he thoughtfully offered, "What kind of music do y'all listen to?" as he stood by the stereo while awaiting the official gay frequency. Unfortunately, if the Fag Rockers themselves can't decide on what music they want to listen to, there's no way we could provide the poor bar tender with an answer to his question. Meanwhile some chick sitting by the wall politely asked "What are y'all?" Actually, that's not a bad question. In fact, a documentary film crew from New York City flew out to Austin to ask us the same question. Well, actually, they asked lots of questions, especially their favorite one, "Did you sign the release form?" Apparently, big city queers just don't understand how the rest of us are able to manage where we live, so these film folks have decided to find out. Austin is their first stop on a tour of 13 (or was it 22?) cities to see how we manage to be gay and happy without living in a metropolis. Needless to say, we Austin 'mos were gay and happy enough to fill up 12 hours (or was it 13?) of film for a 30-minute segment. Sorry gang, but most of y'all are gonna end up on the cutting room floor. We aren't too concerned though, because we know that's where lots of y'all end up anyway. But to be clear, they didn't just follow us around, they visited a number of gay groups around town--the rowers, a rock band, and the Gorilla Girls. Just the night before the Gorilla Girls--all TWO HUNDRED of them invaded the Lucky Lounge. TWO HUNDRED, you ask. Yes. That's what happens when a town like Austin ends up with no lesbian bar.
After Shakespeare's we ambled across the street to Joe's Generic bar and slowly made our way to their weird backyard. It was completely enclosed in prison-style coiled barbed wire. Who were they trying to keep out? Who were they were tyring to keep in? Another highlight was the tres butch outhouse. This was very popular with the boys who were seen to enter alone, but magically exit in pairs. Hmmm.
After another 45 minutes, we crawled over to Lovejoy's where we filled them to capacity (ooh baby) and they decided to continue to let us in (lots of us got stuck in a line outside) only if we promised not to block the aisles and the fire exit. Huh? They've never been to Oil Can's. They don't know crowded. Still, it was nice to cause a comotion and get special permission to enter. We were also blessed with the appearance of Mayoral candidate Leslie with whom we hobnobbed and posed for pictures. Rumor has it that one of us was drafted by her in the restroom to touch up a tatoo stretching across her cheeks. Yes, those cheeks. Fortunately for her, she was wise enough to have selected a gay graphic designer.
All in all a very successful multi-target invasion and we wouldn't be surprised if the pub crawl is added to our annual agenda of hijinx. For those of you that missed it, look for some very handsome and articulate familiar faces on an upcoming documentary series called "Snapshots" to air on Showtime.
Yahoo Reverses GQB Censorship Decision
Last month, Yahoo!Groups deleted without warning the website of GQB SF for alleged violation of their community standards. We believe that this was an arbitrary enforcement of a fuzzy standard. We asked you to join our SF mothership brothers in raising hell and apparently, y'all succeeded. The very next day, Yahoo!Groups reversed itself. We're are very proud of those of you who took the time to call, write, or fax those Yahoos and tell them what you think about homophobia. It also reminds them that not only does our community have a voice, but we're loudmouths, well organized, and quick to react. Here's the official thank you from the mothership:
Yahoo repents, thanks for your help
Yahoo partly restored our website this afternoon. We just received word from one of their lawyers (who was contacted on our behalf by the Electronic Freedom Foundation) that an overzealous "customer care" rep had deleted our site in response to a complaint from someone in a place you wouldn't want to visit.
After much back and forth, we got the site back up and running. We are going to move to another ISP, as the key lesson we learned is that they have a very arbitrary process for handling complaints.
Thanks to everyone who called in to complain. It definitely got their attention.
Blurt: Austin Gay Leather Social, Rainbow Cattle Co (we missed it again)
We received this blurt from Daddy Tim. It arrived on time, but the Banana was too late. Still we find the blurt amusing so we're gonna reprint it for your edification. Somebody please go to one of these and report back:
Hang your hides on the fence and dry them out after all these rains and floods. For the July Austin Gay Leather Social, Officer Wes and Kevin will demonstrate clothespin zippers at 8:00 by the DJ booth. So just step right up, I know the nice officer will be much obliged to show you personally the proper placement and removal of zippers from a hide, or anywhere he may fancy. Hides will be hung out and yanked down when properly tanned. For those of you who may not have learned about clothespins and zippers at our demo last year, it has nothing to do with laundry or clothing. As always Pappy will fix us up some of his festive vittles. So come hungry for fun, food and sportiveness.
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.