Page 403 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 403

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 15                       385

             to build muscular bulk are the street drug favored by jocks. At the hustlers’
             corner of Sutter and Polk, ten Arnold Schwarzeneggers loiter under a light-
             ing shop sign that says, “Any object made into a lamp.”


             Spectacular parties in SFO are not thrown. They’re produced. Everybody
             is a star. Disco systems are flown in for the night from NYC. Fountains
             splash. Light shows flash. Grapes cascade. Rome declines. Aerialists perform
             above oiled wrestlers. Stud-mouse Mr. America types pose like 200 pounds
             of dynamite that won’t go off.
                SFO doesn’t measure gay Saturday Night Fever with an oral thermometer.
                Start dancing at Alfie’s on Market, move on to the I-Beam on Haight,
             and cruise out at Trocadero Transfer, South of Market. Collapse at dawn in
             the tubs on Folsom. Civilizations are judged by their plumbing. The SFO
             gay subculture bathes in elegant whirlpool grottos and Fellini Memorial
             steam rooms.
                The hallways at the baths are the real gay parade.

             NATURALLY GAY

             American boys are not raised to be gay. Mom never takes her son aside
             the way she does her daughter and says, “Look, kid, you’re going to be
             gay. Lose some weight.” Gay kids have to figure it out themselves. SFO
             is full of theories. “Would Anita understand,” a gay priest confides at
             the Elephant Walk, “that God calls certain people to a gay vocation?
             Homosexuality is a religion.” Down the bar, twin Latino gay brothers
             smirk and say they were born again, yeah, born again for Salsa. Outside
             the Star Pharmacy, an ancient peg-legged newsboy cackles out the single
             raw word, “Chronicle!”
                Precisely because of the newspaper headlines from the dark interior of
             the American continent, gays bring their hearts and other parts to SFO.


             Sunday afternoons male belly dancers perform for coin-tossing crowds in
             front of the Hibernia Bank [at the south-east corner of 18  and Castro, aka
             “Hibernia Beach”]. A blond boy with punk-chopped hair recently mim-
             icked the belly-boys’ boogie. He wrapped himself in a swirl of bedspreads
             and garter belts. He twirled like a laundromat dryer exploding. The crowd

               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
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