Gay Bar Flops

A Coventry gay bar is up for sale – just weeks after opening. The Kiki Lounge & Loft, in Warwick Street, Earlsdon, only opened as a new cabaret and mixed LGBT/heterosexual venue at the end of March. It is already on the market for £115,000.

The pub was originally built as a watchmaker’s cottage in 1855 and has four bars spread over two floors and is one of only three gay venues in Coventry.

Recent years have seen increasing numbers of gay venues close as the gay community has integrated with the wider community.

https://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/kiki-lounge-coventry-14653731

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Lolly for leather!

The SF Eagle | Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press | r

After a ten year campaign, San Francisco supervisors unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a gay and leather cultural district in the city’s South of Market neighborhood which will give the district negotiating rights in future development.

The neighborhood is home to gay and kink bars and the popular Folsom Street Fair which draws thousands of people every year.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/the-latest-san-francisco-designates-gay-leather-district/2018/05/01/b836743e-4d86-11e8-85c1-9326c4511033_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.4756bd969592

Redefining “Glamorous”

Glamorous on Hurst Street, Birmingham was shut down after a man was glassed over the head just before 3am on March 28. Birmingham City Council voted to suspend its licence. Police, who had a string of incidents at the venue over the winter, branded the club a ‘dive’ and a ‘nightmare’. The club has now been allowed to re-open.

The licence holder said the club now needed to “camp up and gay up” after it emerged there had been a string of police reports to the venue in the Chinese Quarter.

The club must stop selling alcohol at 4am (reduced from 6am), must not admit anyone after 3am and must have four security staff on at all times.

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/glamorous-gay-club-re-open-14572235

New York’s Bijou

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The Bijou’s “attractive” entrance | Daniel Maurer | 18308

The Bijou was a sex club and cinema in New York’s gay district, which opened around 1990, with a colourful history. Writing in Bedford and Bowery, Lance Richardson gives us a tour.

It is an incredible space, but then the Bijou Film Forum, like the Adonis, has its own remarkable history. In the 1950s and 60s, when drag was still considered dangerously subversive (and illegal), queens performed a famous revue here in the mafia-run Club 82, “New York’s After-Dark Rendezvous.” Elizabeth Taylor was known to drop by, along with other forward-thinking celebrities, and it’s said that Errol Flynn once played the piano with his penis.

By the 1970s, the subterranean rooms were absorbing glam rock and avant garde punk, including sounds by The Stilettos, featuring an up-and-coming Debbie Harry. Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones even took a turn at the theater in 1990, launching a music club that seems to have lasted a red hot second. Since its halcyon days, in other words, the black door has hidden queers and iconoclasts, letting them do whatever they want, street-level society be damned.

The club appears to have still been trading in 2014 when the writer visited. During his visit, nobody said a word to him, until he left.

As I pushed through the turnstile to exit the theater, the man at the box office banged on his glass window. “Next time,” he said gruffly, “exit through the back door.” How clandestine! It was the first thing anybody had said to me at the Bijou Film Forum, and I loved it.

http://bedfordandbowery.com/2014/06/discovering-the-bijou-a-hidden-underground-cinema-and-cruising-den/

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Last baths in Chicago

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Brittany Sowacke | 18301

Man’s Country was a Chicago bathhouse open since 1973, but it closed on New Year’s Eve 2018 following the death in 2017 of its founder, Chuck Renslow, of the city’s leather community. Mr Renslow was the founder of the International Mr. Leather contest.

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Chuck Renslow, 1977 | Quentin Dodt/Tribune | 18302

Vice sent a photographer to record the premises before it was cleared and redeveloped.

Man’s Country wore its history on its walls, with portraits of famous patrons, nude men, and other artwork throughout reminding visitors that this wasn’t some staid, humorless bathhouse. In the basement (dubbed “The Pit,”) a huge sauna—once billed as the largest in the Midwest—sat opposite a shower and wet area modeled after Parisian sewers. In its past, part of the cavernous Man’s Country space was transformed into a dance club called Bistro Too, where acts like Boy George, Divine, and major disco stars performed, shifting some focus away from sex in the wake of the AIDS crisis. It also played host to a leather bar called the Chicago Eagle.

Following its final night, everything and anything inside, from architectural elements to artwork to the disco balls that patterned its dance floors for decades, was auctioned.

Mr. Renslow died on 29 June 2017 of heart problems and pneumonia.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wjpzg5/taking-the-last-tour-of-chicagos-most-historic-gay-bathhouse

Chuck Renslow obituary

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The Two Brewers Double Arsonist

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Jason Fossett | Press Association | 17147

Jason Fossett has been jailed for life after setting fire to a busy south London gay bar, the Two Brewers in Clapham, for the second time.

Fossett piled rubbish against the fire exit of  before setting it alight and fleeing on March 20. He pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life at Inner London Crown Court. He could not remember starting the fire after “having a couple of drinks”.

He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum sentence of three years and 244 days.

He was traced through his bank card after CCTV footage showed him buying two drinks at the bar on the night of the arson.

Officers searched his home and found receipts from the Two Brewers for that night, and a red leather satchel which matched that seen on the CCTV.

In 2004, Fossett was jailed for eight years for targeting the same venue in an arson attack. Police said there was no suggestion the attacks were hate crimes, although Fossett’s motivation is not known.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/man-jailed-for-life-for-setting-fire-to-busy-clapham-gay-bar-a-second-time-a3605851.html

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Remembering the Black Cat

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February 1967 | Black Cat/USC Digital Archive | tc17031

Two years before the Stonewall riots in New York City, Silver Lake in Los Angeles was the epicenter of a gay rights protest movement of its own. In February 1967, demonstrators at the Black Cat Tavern,, 3909 W Sunset Blvd., took a stand and pushed back against anti-LGBT forces, and a rally was held there yesterday to commemorate the events of 1967 and continue the movement today.

The Black Cat Tavern had been open for only two months when a party on New Year’s Eve, 1966 was raided by undercover officers who infiltrated the party and, when they saw same-sex couples kissing at midnight, police began a flurry of arrests. 14 patrons of the bar were arrested for “assault and public lewdness” and the police physically beat several of the individuals. A riot broke out and spilled into the street and neighboring bars.

After the raid, organizers met to begin planning a large demonstration to be held at the Black Cat. The then-new PRIDE organization began publishing a newsletter called The Advocate where they disseminated details of the gathering; the Advocate has published ever since.

On February 11, 1967, an estimated 300 to 600 protestors surrounded the Black Cat in what would be remembered as a tense but ultimately peaceful protest against homophobic laws and police brutality. The event marked a turning point for the local gay rights movement and part of a growing trend of LGBT resistance.

https://www.timeout.com/los-angeles/blog/commemorate-a-milestone-of-local-lgbt-history-this-weekend-at-the-black-cat-tavern-020917

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