At the beginning of the month we attended the Calgary Eagle’s Dirty Bird awards – a parody of the Oscars where they made up clever nominations for their patrons in certain categories. Though there was a category for G-rated pool table incidents, I miraculously managed to escape nomination for my little fall-down-go-boom incident last June during my birthday. It was fun hearing the mock movie titles they made up for the people nominated in each category – our favorite was Lady Fawn in “Up the Creek With a Paddle”! Unfortunately the joke was on us – Steve and I won for Best Lesbian Couple…woo freakin’ hoo. So why can’t I wipe the grin off my face as I write this?
As sponsors of the Vagina Monologues this year, Steve and I got courtesy tickets to attend the performance. As gay men, we thought we could get away living our lives in blissful ignorance of the Vagina, otherwise known as the “down there”, the “cootchie-snorcher”, or our favorite new euphemism “douche-canoe”. Though some parts made us feel a little nauseous (especially the sketch about the period), this performance made us realize what women have to go through in their everyday lives, and some of the horrors of abuse in a male-dominated society. For us, the vagina is no longer such a conceptual black hole – better understanding leads to better appreciation, and certainly more respect…even if it did make me think thank God I’m a gay man. I have a number of straight buddies who are very uptight about their sexuality, so they could certainly use something like this to help them finally break through all the damned taboo about the opposite sex (and maybe a Penis Monologues wouldn’t be a bad idea for them either). It was quite apparent that everyone in the audience, gay and straight alike, were quite moved by the performance. I dare say the Vagina Monologues received a standing ovulation!
Once again Steve and I had to split up to photograph all the events happening this month. With Metro the Club and the Rekroom closing their doors, it was important for me to photograph at Kim Would’s last Saturday show at the Rekroom. This happened to be the same night as the 2nd Annual Straight to Diva at the Calgary Eagle, which was designated to Steve. Unfortunately I had to leave Kim’s show a little early because I got an emergency call from Steve – he had come down with the latest bout of the Flu, and the fever was hitting him hard. He felt like he was going to pass out, and his hands were getting so shaky that he could no longer even hold the camera steady. I showed up as soon as I could to find Steve shivering in the corner by the bar, pale as a sheet. After getting him his winter coat and giving him some Tylenol, I continued taking photos of the event. Understandably I was a little too preoccupied to join in the partying, but Straight to Diva was a great success – they announced that they beat last year’s grand total by $2000! The Tylenol helped, and soon Steve got his color back and was able to take some wrap-up photos. Thank goodness for Mark who was kind enough to keep watch over Steve while I was away taking photos, and gave us a ride home after the event done.
HGTV’s Designer Superstar Challenge came to an end this month, and although Aly didn’t win, he still made it into the top 3! We’re very proud of him, but we have to release our grip on him for a couple of months as his appearance on the show has lead him to be part of another one!
The ISCCA Coronation is coming up this month. Don’t forget to vote for the Emperor and Empress candidates that you would like to represent Calgary. Matchbox Max contributed an article this month that explains what the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Chinook Arch is all about – read it on page 36. Also, take a gander at the platforms of this year’s Emperor and Empress candidates on page 48. For more information on the dates and locations of the Coronation Week events, visit www.iscca.ca.
Another major event coming up that you’d better not forget about is the Apollo Western Cup weekend! Sign up to compete or just go watch all the guys and gals getting sweaty while they play. Test your vocal abilities in the Apollo Idol competition, and of course, party your heart out at the Apollo dance on Saturday the 15th! Visit www.westerncup.com for all the details.
Kim Fontaine, the Saskatchewan singer/songwriter whose CD we reviewed last year, will be making her way back to Calgary this month. She will be performing on Friday April 21st at the Karma Lounge.
Metro the Club and the Rekroom recently announced that they would be closing their doors on the 1st of April, which had many people touting this as the end of an era. The business has been sold, and after the estimated 2 weeks of renovations the new owners will reopen as an alternative club/restaurant by the name of Ilyxor. It is surreal to think that a gay space that we’ve known for over 16 years will be no more, and even moreso that a brand new business will be a connection to all those memories.
Burning Down the Rumor Mill
Our Reader’s Choice survey results are finally in (see page 8), and one major trend that we noticed was staunch bar loyalty. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a favorite bar, but in some cases this became a little ridiculous. Some people simply nominated their favorite bar indiscriminately for every category – in some cases for categories that didn’t even apply! On the other hand, the thing that people most frequently said was missing in our gay community was unity, especially in the bar scene. I find it ironic because in my view these two issues are on the opposite sides of the same coin.
Now, I feel it necessary to clarify that the “Bar Wars” did not start just recently – it all has been going on for years. It seems that a lot of people have forgotten this fact and are pointing the finger solely at the newer players on the scene, which is neither fair nor accurate. In fact, I would argue that pointing the finger at only the bars is a gross miscalculation. Where do the bars get their information about what the other bars are doing? Mostly from their clientele. What are their clientele doing while they’re at the bars? Drinking alcohol, or in some cases, regrettably using other substances. What happens when people drink too much alcohol or get high? They do and say things that they shouldn’t.
So simply put, I believe the bar-goers are to blame for bootstrapping the Bar Wars; the people who are so loyal to one bar that they rarely step foot into another one, and yet they talk like they know all about the inner workings of their “enemy”. I especially blame the people that decide to start a lie for fun or for profit, to see how much damage they can cause to businesses they only know through hearsay. I even blame the people who hear the latest gossip and mindlessly pass it on verbatim to their friends. Talk becomes rumor and rumors spread like wildfire, evolving and becoming more outrageous and dangerous as it passes from person to person like some kind of disease. Then before you know it, the bars are acting on what they have heard from their customers – 10 people told them the same story, so it must be true! They are taking the offensive against some threat that may have never even existed, and sometimes they cross the line by actually doing something nasty outright to their competition. Then comes the retaliation from those they offend, and it goes back and forth et infinitum. Even with the death of a business, the negativity just redistributes to the ones that remain - it’s all the same people with nothing resolved.
For those who expressed their concern about this constant infighting, I hear you, and I am just as concerned, frustrated, and annoyed. I’m afraid it’s going to take burning down the rumor mill, and some giant leaps of faith from the bars to clear up all the hard feelings and political pollution that has accumulated. Since GayCalgary.com Magazine started, we have witnessed 7 bars close their doors (The Verge, Indulge, Solar Café, Detour, Pulse, Metro the Club, and the Rekroom), and now there are only 5 left (Backlot, Calgary Eagle, Money Pennies, The Texas Lounge, and Twisted Element). Some of these bars have been more caught in the fray than others, but none are 100% blameless. I applaud those that have tried to keep away from all the negativity, but it can sometimes be just one moment of weakness that sucks you in. Now more than ever, Calgary needs a Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce where everyone can finally sit down and resolve their issues, in the spirit of co-operation.
In the meantime, as the general public goes, I highly suggest that the extreme bar loyalists try going out somewhere else for a change, and I don’t mean with arms crossed and eyes closed. In addition, the gossip queens need to realize they have a brain between their ears and their mouth – it’s time to start being more of a filter than a funnel. And this applies to everyone - if you really want to know something then go right to the source, not your friend’s boyfriend’s brother who used to work for them but got fired. The truth is seldom as juicy as we’d like it to be.
Anyway, I better stop myself on this rant. Go ahead and call me a jerk if you think my saying all of this is totally uncalled for, and certainly call me out if you think I’m mistaken – our Letters to the Publisher section would be a great vessel for public debate.
Did you ever think to yourself that Steve and I could really use a break with the excessive amount of work we do? Right now we need a reliable part-time employee to take over handling sales. We’re also on the lookout for more writers who are willing to take assigned article topics and conduct interviews. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please point them in our direction! Resumés can be faxed to (403) 703-0685 or E-mailed to email@example.com.
If you’re looking rather to express your opinion, write a letter to the publisher by E-mailing Publisher@gaycalgary.com. If you’ve got something good to say about someone or something, then that’s awesome! If you’ve got something bad to say about someone or something…well, just try to keep those claws sheathed!