T H E S M O K I N G B A N A N A ***5-Year Anniversary Special Edition*** Official Spam of the Austin Outpost of the Guerrilla Queer Bar www.smokingbanana.com
Inside this edition of the Smoking Banana (August 2005)
--->Troop Alert: Star Bar, 600 W. 6th Street, Austin, TX 78701, 512-477-8550. --->Five Years of Galavanting / Please Give Wood --->Questions and Answers --->BUS TRIP to Octoberfest, October 14!! --->Upcoming Invasions of the 21st Century
What: 5-Year Anniversary Homo Happy Hour When: Friday, August 12, 6-9 pm Where:Star Bar, 600 W. 6th Street, Austin, TX 78701, 512-477-8550. Wear: Hat, cap, bonnet, sombrero, or do rag.
Five Years of Galavanting / Please Give Wood
Gentlemen and lady (there's at least one), can you believe that tomorrow will be our FIVE YEAR ANNIVESARY of Guerrilla Queer Bar in Austin? That's 65 invasions over 60 months! And my have you grown! At 1340 mauraders strong, even a bad turnout is a good turnout. Our outings regularly attract men from San Antonio and Houston as well as tourists with the wherewithall (I've never spelled that word before. And I think I still haven't!) to look us up. When 200 of us show up at bar and spend an average of ten bucks each, we clearly make an economic impact on that local business. I only hope that the impact we make on each other is just as, um, meaningful. How appropriate that the five year anniversary gift is WOOD. Please, give wood in celebration of our accomplishment.
Bus Trip to Octoberfest (October 14)
A couple years ago, we chartered a bus to Walburg, Texas, a TINY German town approximately 30 miles from Austin. We'll be doing that again on October 14. We had a GREAT time couples dancing to oompah music and yodeling and were warmly welcomed back by the owner. If you've never gnawed on sausage in a German beer hall, this is your chance. Because reserving a big-ass bus incurs expense and risk, tickets sold in advance will be much cheaper than those sold day-of. Boys who plan ahead will have more beer money to spend. The bus will likely leave from the Hancock shopping center at 41st and Red River. There's convenient, safe parking for your car. Cocktails in plastic containers are okay on the bus. An in-flight video will be shown. In rush hour traffic, it will take 30-45 minutes to get to Walburg. Why not save some gas and enjoy the ride on a luxury bus with your trashy friends?
Here are the prices. Please reserve your seat on the bus as soon as possible. Some advance tickets sold only in pairs. I get to sit next to James S. because he likes to ride without pants.
Advance Tickets for 2 persons by August 31: 20.00 Advance Tickets for 2 persons by September 9: 25.00 Advance Ticket for *1* person by September 30: 15.00 Advance Ticket for *1* person October 1 and before Octotober 14: 20.00 Day-of-Event Ticket for *1* person: 25.00
To reserve your seats, please email email@example.com with your full name and phone number.
Questions and Answers
I'd like to take the occasion of our anniversary to go over some frequently asked questions.
Q. How did GQB get started? A. In July 2000, some friends of mine from the SF Bay Area told me about a group of guys who were doing something that I'd always wanted to do--invade straight bars. I contacted them and asked them if I could copy their model in Austin. They were GQB SF. They got started in July 2000. The Austin Outpost started in August. Since then, several cities have tried and failed to build a successful copy of either the Austin or SF model. Yes, we have become a model because we don't do things the way they do them in SF. We meet regularly at the exact same time. We meet early in the evening. We have a dress code so that we're easy to find. The SF model is more performative (feathers! boas! drag! costumes!) and event-driven...but apparently, that's needed in a city where a bunch of gay guys in a straight bar isn't very interesting.
Q. What has GQB become as opposed to what was intended? A. The intent was to take advantage of the hundreds of other venues (besides Oil Can's) that Austin has to offer. We live in a great, progressive town without a gay ghetto, in other words, we pretty much live everywhere, not in the same neighborhood. But I got tired of always having to go to the same bar every weekend. Wouldn't it be nice if we could turn any of these other places into a gay bar for the night? And that's what we've done. Ironically, we may actually outlive Oil Can's! What GQB has become is a monthly party where we don't have to clean up. It's a regular happening where you can count on seeing your friends and new people in a "lights on, able-to-hear, no attitude" setting. Over the years, we've attracted different men from what you'd normally see "at the bars" or perhaps we're attracting the same men who act differently outside of that environment. In any case, we've stumbled upon a pretty good formula and I've been witness to couples meeting, friendships made, and yes, tricks turned.
Q. What do you mean "No attitude setting"? A. The best and the worse thing about a typical gay club is that it's literally a meat market. Have you ever given thought to what that means? It means you're not treated like a person. You are scrutinized for one purpose--consumption. Like trophy wives picking over the fruit at Central Market, men dispassionately pick over each other at gay clubs. Too squishy? Not my taste. No offense intended. Too firm? Not my taste. No offense. Too red? No offense. Too round? Too big? Too small? And while a broad selection for your discriminating taste is ideal when you're shopping for fruits and vegetables, it becomes more personal when you find yourself being thrown back into the bin. Not that I've ever experienced this :-) I decided that GQB Austin needed to offer something different besides venue. We needed to offer an atmosphere of approachability. What this means is simple. Even if someone is not to your sexual tastes, certainly it's possible to engage politely on a different level? Afterall, we can't all be into monkeys! In a noisy dance bar with low lighting, conversations are neither possible nor expected. We try to pick venues and promote an attitude where meeting people is encouraged. Sometimes some of us forget where we are and we dismiss someone out of hand. Please check yourselves and save that for Oil Can's and the like.
Q. How do you choose the venues? A. Originally, we started out as a democracy. All of the possibilities (dress code and venue) were hashed out on the mailing list. But as the list grew, so did the number of messages...and complaints. Some people didn't care for the tedium of democratic decisionmaking...they just wanted to know what to wear and where to go. Our democracy lasted just 2 months before it was overthrown by a junta (pronounced "who-oon-tuh")and converted it into a "Banana Republic." This junta became known as the Council of Daddies. The Daddies became responsible for color and venue choices, and of course, who gets to top who. In loose Roman form, I preside over this senate and gently guide the occasional passionate bursts of debate into policy and action. Mostly, I try to lead from behind. If anything goes wrong, it's their fault.
Q. Do you warn the venues in advance? A. No. While it may be to our advantage at times, it's just more fun to keep it as a surprise attack. One time a venue found out in advance (someone slept with someone who knew someone who was dating someone who is on our list) and a concerned manager got a hold of my phone number and asked us not to come because they would be too busy. After a reasonable discussion, we came anyway and it was a great night for everyone, including the venue. The general policy: relax. It's just three hours. If it doesn't work out, we'll move. Otherwise, it's just three hours. Also, to-date, I've never accepted money to attack a particular venue. And, to-date, I've never accepted money to NOT attack a particular venue. Nor have I accepted money to date or not date someone, to-date.
Upcoming Invasions of the 21st Century
September 9, October 14, November 11 (The Secret Date Picking Algorithm: The SECOND Friday of every month)
Mottos, Creeds, and Oaths
"Colonize, don't clone!"
Rule #1. Don't talk about the Fist Club. Rule #2. Don't talk about the ! Fist Club.