Discussion in 'Street Scenes' started by Lucky, Dec 27, 2012.
Thanks for these stories. I'm fascinated by street scenes.
I just stumbled onto this thread and it FABULOUS! I would have so loved the "window shopping" aspect of the drive-by nature of what's described. Plus pricing was certainly different. I wonder - where was the "zone" in Seattle? I didn't have a clue in the 80's this would have been out there, and probably just as well. One thing for sure: I'd have been up to my neck in good times if I'd known then what I know now ....
This brings back great memories! Back in the day in Detroit ( yes, Detroit!) there was an area in the city and another in a suburb by the post office where guys would circle the block for hours looking for a hook up. No working guys, just guys looking to hook up. Sometimes it would be a quick blow job in one of the cars and sometimes it would involve going back to a guy's home. Oh, to be young and stupid. I remember one time getting it on in a guy's car and a cop pulled up. Just as he was starting to question us he got a call on his radio and had to leave. Needless to say, I immediately went home.
Do you Los Angeles old-timers also remember Studio One on Santa Monica and Robertson? (The Abbey is now directly across the street from where Studio One used to be). That was my hang-out of choice. I was in my 20s when I moved to L.A. in 1977 and stayed until 1985, and was at Studio One nearly every Saturday night. If you arrived before 10 PM, there was no cover charge and drinks were 50 cents until midnight, so I'd get there right before 10 and then hang out in bar at the very back or in the Backlot room, which sometimes had live entertainment, nursing a glass of wine and waiting for the crowd to get going. Oh the boys were beautiful then! If the DJ put on Sister Sledge or Donna Summer, the floor filled up with gorgeous men with their t-shirts tucked in their back pockets and depending on your mood, you could dive in among them and dance your heart out or stand on the sidelines awestruck with admiration.
I used to go to Numbers during the week as I had a friend who bartended/waited tables there and he'd sneak me free drinks and meals. Often sitting at the bar, I'd see Paul Lynd, Richard Deacon or Alan Carr, usually chatting up some striking hustler. Lynd was generally very drunk and very nasty. Alan Carr usually took a table in the dining section and stayed there for the evening lingering over a lengthy meal with various boys coming and going. Deacon could be sweet but he was rather shy and aloof.
I lived on Larrabee and the Blue Parrot was on the corner. It was the first bar that showed music videos and I thought it was so cutting edge. If I was really poor - and I often was in those days - then I just walked up and down Santa Monica Boulevard between Crescent Heights and Robertson. You could smoke in the bars in those days, so there weren't people hanging out on the sidewalks having a cigarette as they do now, but there were often lines of men waiting to get into the more crowded places and it was fun to see friends, stop and chat, and then move on. There were a couple of after hours places that were "private" where people went when Studio One and the bars closed at 2 but I usually pooped out and went home to sleep - unless I got lucky.
I never cruised Santa Monica Boulevard for trade; I was too scared and bashful to talk to the hustlers lining the street. I was young and insecure and they were so cute that they intimidated me. Plus, coming up with $35 for a good time in those days would have been really difficult.
I returned to L.A. for work in 1999 and everything had changed. The city has become a huge dirty, pretentious, stupid mess and I left for good in 2014. But oh lord it was fun in the 1970s and 1980s.
I was there during some of the 1980's. I remember the Blue Parrot well. It wasn't really a gay bar, but obviously attracted a lot because of where it was located. Also remember Numbers, which was in a world of its own.
Awesome post, Actor61. Although I didn't have an opportunity to enjoy this time period, I felt transported there. I live part time in LA and I do share some of your perspectives about pretense and such. Same has happened in NYC. I miss the grit, pulse and edge our mega cities used to have, I can only imagine how cool they were before. Again, thanks for sharing!
I spent all of the 1980's and early 1990's cruising SM and Western. I generally dated and serviced transvestites with the occasional twink thrown in. Fortunately, tranny chasers had numerous pick up bars, most notably Peanuts and the legendary Blacklite on Western. Many of the transsexual and transvestite porn stars would walk Santa Monica Boulevard. I could go out with the biggest celebrity for $100. I doubt if a heterosexual can make the same claim for Jennifer Lawrence.
It certainly isn't the same nowadays. Backpage, eros and craigslists escorts charge $400 to $500 and the experience is pedestrian at best. Now, 90% of my dates are smooth Asians boys. I wish I could find them walking in Hollywood and West Hollywood but it is over. In the 1970's I frequented Times Square porn arcades but that is another story.
Barney's Beanery...Peanuts, Hunter's, the Astro Burger...and then The Spotlight (On the way home).
The Spotlight is sorely missed. There certainly was some rough trade in there and lots of old queens (that was before I got old.) It was nice how the place opened at 6am. I met a Filipino boy there once in the early morning when it was still dark outside and we had a very romantic car date for about 20 minutes. I just don't see how things are better nowadays than 30 years ago. Gay kids today don't know what they missed.
BVB 's car parked at the Spotlight back in the day.
Surely that was an upgraded from what you went to your Senior Prom in?
Science fiction writer Samuel Delany wrote an entire book about his experience in Times Square porn arcades prior to the sanitization of the area under Mayor Giuliani, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue. It's heavily relied upon in the last section of Tim Dean's study of barebacking prior to FDA approval for PrEP, Unlimited Intimacy.
Adorable thread. You are making me nostalgic, guys. Is there any significant street cruising left after the globalization of Internet? I remember Santa Fe Ave in Buenos Aires in the 80s and 90s, and the West Village in Manhattan in the 90 y se me pianta un lagrimón (a Rio de la Plata expression that cannot be properly translated, but that expresses a deep sadness). So many hook ups, the hunt was so abundant! I wonder whether it is that the streets have changed or it is that now that I am in my 50s and gained weight I'm not so attractive anymore.
Thank you. I am looking forward to reading the book. I went back to New York in 2008 after 35 years. When I got to Times Square I got sick to my stomach. The most magical place in the world was destroyed. In addition to meeting every crossdresser I could, I used to go to the Terminal Bar across from the Port Authority. I guess I was fearless back then. A great documentary of the place used to be on youtube.
That street is still pretty active, at least one section of it is.
I checked it last July. Yes, there is still activity and it is still the gayest neighborhood, but it is nothing compared to 20 years ago. Maybe we should explore Palermo.
In today's Desert Sun, the local newspaper in Palm Springs, there is a long obituary for Don Cook, whom the obit identifies as the founder of Numbers in 1976. He was 84.
Separate names with a comma.