Page 671 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 671

Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 651
             energy streaked into town, rented the entire three floors of the Gay Com-
             munity Center, and designed out of its pits a night when everybody was
             a star.
             NIGHT BEFORE 1978’s EVE

             The Boarding Pass ticket to Night Flight read 10 PM to 7 AM. By 2
             AM, time-frame turned into time-warp. Barnum and Bailey with all the
             Ringlings of the Niebelungen could eat their hearts out. The Center is a
             Bette-Davis dump, but not after Night Flight worked the joint over like
             a [Phyllis] Diller redone at Arden’s. The entire interior of the Center was
             wrapped with white billowing sections of the Christo Fence that had run
             through Marin County and then into the sea. Now Christo’s fabric hung
             wall to wall, from the first-floor coat check to the third-floor movie dens.
             Three thousand men floated together inside a white parachute around
             circular silver ice-pools chock-full of beer, Calistoga, and The Real Thing.


             The upper-floor Casino operated games of chance placed around the walls
             of the room. In the center of the Casino stood a boxing-ring-size platform.
             All night long, professional acts of juggling, magic, and strip-wrestling
             featured “The Amazing Kristavo”; “On-Off, The Wonder Robot”; and
             a healthy “Rick & Ron.” Casino prizes came from 50 sponsors: health
             clubs, restaurants, bookstores, florists, gloryholes, galleries, baths, “Jaded
             Degenerate Man” T-shirts, photographers, artists, and manicurists for
             men who need smooth nails.
                Behind the Casino on the right, where The Who was on first, “The
             Tommy Memorial Pinball Room” ran two lines of twenty machines with
             Levi’s baskets pressed tight against the front of the flashing, flipping,
             score-chunking pinballs. Behind the Casino on the left, all night long, a
             single red light hung over a large brick room where the non-professional
             acts of juggling, magic, and strip-wrestling writhed the night away.

             Hovering over the dance floor, the light-and-sound saucer-booth flashed
             in time to the high-energy music. A thousand dancers filled the floor.
             Aroma of popper rose over their heads where a tight-rope walker balanced
             his way from crowded balcony to crowded balcony. Bodies heated. Shirts
             peeled off. Light show designs changed electronically. Special Duty Police
             stood straight and politely slack-jawed at every exit.

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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