Posts Tagged ‘Sidetrack
“Hey Buddy, what do you want to do tonight?”.
“Sidetrack’s. I want to go to Sidetrack’s. Let’s go to Sidetrack’s”.
“Really? We seem to go there all the time”.
“I don’t care. I want to go to Sidetrack’s”.
“But, there is a line there and the other bars do not have lines to get in”.
“I don’t care”.
“But, we were there yesterday”.
“I don’t care”.
“Actually, we have gone there every night this past week”.
“I don’t care”.
“But, there are over 20 gay bars in Chicago to choose from”.
“I don’t care”.
“But we can stay home and drink for free at my place and watch a movie”.
“I don’t care. Sidetrack’s. I want to go to Sidetrack’s”.
“But, the music is not that good there”.
“I don’t care”.
“There is a special party at another bar that we could check out”.
“I don’t care”.
“But, we go there so often they only need to look at us and they know what drinks to pour”.
“I don’t care. I want to go to Sidetrack’s”.
“I have spent so much money there I am sure I own 3% of the bar”.
“I don’t care”.
“But, honestly, we have slept with half the people in that bar”.
“I don’t care. I want to go to Sidetrack’s”.
“But, we cannot dance there”.
“I don’t care”.
“The boys are not very cute there”.
“I don’t care”.
“I just got a text message from a friend who is there. He said it is so crowded it took him ten minutes to get to the bathroom and twenty minutes to get a drink”.
“I don’t care”.
“But, all we do there is just stand around. At other bars we can do things. Like play darts”.
“I don’t care. I love Sidetrack’s. Let’s go to Sidetrack’s”.
“But, I can get us free drinks at Roscoe’s”.
“I don’t care”.
“Maybe we could do a bar crawl and just stop there along our way”.
“No. Sidetrack’s. I just want to go to Sidetrack’s”.
“Fine. But it is actually called Sidetrack. There is no ‘s”.
“I don’t care”.
“Let’s checkin there on Four Square. Do you have an iPhone? Iphone 4? I need an Iphone 4.”
NOTE: This video was made by a former employee of Sidetrack’s…and is a pretty accurate take on the Brendens who gravitate there (for the uninitiated, “Brendens” is a generic term for the vapid, usually young(ish), looks and material goods obsessed flakes who usually hang out in little cliques in Boystown…they can also be called “Mean Girls”).
When you are the biggest gay bar around and one of the most popular in the world, you need to have a sense of humor about yourself, but strangely Sidetrack won’t play this video on Comedy Night Thursday there. It’s a very image-conscious bar, and they are incredibly protective of their branding…and it feels like they are scared of insulting customers who talk like the sketch above. These Brendens are the ones that give Sidetrack the reputation of a “Stand and Model” bar, where that certain kind of guy goes there on a Friday or Saturday just to stand around, try to look cute, and judge others while believing he’s not being judged.
It never gets really bad, though, because the worst offenders at this kind of thing go to MiniBar, which is what MiniBar is for. If you are a d-bag really into the pretension, that’s where you go. Absent MiniBar, they would be at Sidetrack though.
The jab at them about the music isn’t always fair though. Some VJs there are better than others, and some nights are better than others for music. It’s a crapshoot because there are excellent VJs, and then there’s the two duds they have in the mix. One of them is a co-owner who plays moldy black and white vaudevillian videos on Showtunes night that are so old and obscure the picture and sound quality is warped to the point where people think their eyesight and hearing have failed them. The other VJ just plays games — like not running any of the requests he gets on “80s Video Request Night Tuesdays” and instead just plays whatever songs he wants to play (people call him Otho, and he looks down from the VJ booth at the crowd, keeping track of who is talking to who and generally being the spider queen of gossip in Boystown).
The whole bit about “it’s just Sidetrack, there’s no ‘s” is because 80% of the people in Boystown call the bar “Sidetrack’s”, with an “s” tacked on. There’s a bar across the street called Roscoe’s, with a possessive “s”. There’s also “Little Jim’s”, “Charlie’s”, “Bobby Love’s”, “Halsted’s”, and “Buck’s” on the strip. Other bars like Spin, Cocktail, MiniBar, Lucky Horseshoe, Hydrate, Kit Kat, Circuit, and Northend don’t get the possessive-s treatment. I’ve never figured out why people add an imaginary “s” to Sidetrack, but not to the other bars without that “s” in their actual names.
It’s just a weird quirk of Boystown.
If you live in Chicago and go out a lot, you probably call it “Sidetrack’s”. If you are from out of town and aren’t in Boystown a lot, you’d say “Sidetrack” because that’s what you read on their website or the concierge at your hotel told you to look for.
The video program used to create this very well-done skewer of the Boystown scene is called www.XtraNormal.com. You can use the preloaded animated characters, like the bears above, and type in text for the characters to speak. Geico has been running a series of commercials on TV employing this. They always talk in that slightly sing-song, robot voice.
UPDATE: January 1st, 2011
I was pleasantly surprised to see this video played in Sidetrack last night, on New Year’s Eve, as part of the Best-of mix for 2010. I’ve yet to see it make it into the Comedy Night rotation, but Sidetrack(s) does have a sense of humor about itself and put the video up on the big screens.
Customers laughed at all the right parts, knowingly.
The bit where the first little bear says “But the boys are not very cute there” got an “Awwwwww” and a few “Burn!” comments. In a smiling, realizing it is often true but not admitting it way.
Sidetrack cut the video off before it got into the 4G phone stuff, which was a good call.
I don’t know what made them come around on this because I heard from several people who know management well that the bar hated this video when they first heard about it…but they’ve now embraced it.
Because it is funny.
MISCHIEF: Make a "Damn It, Janet" video spoof of some kind with Obama and crew in undies doing Rocky Horror underwear clad nonsense in airports
Do you know the song, “Damn It, Janet”, from the Rocky Horror Picture Show?
Glee just did a cover of it that plays endlessly here in Boystown.
Whenever I hear it, I picture Janet Napolitano as Frankenfurter, Obama in his stained tightywhities as Brad, Nancy Pelosi in the Susan Saranden role, and Harry Reid as Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched…because he looks just like her.
It would be fun to rework that song into a parody of TSA patdowns…with photoshops of the Obama officials involved as Rocky Horror characters…and sing a long words on the screen for the alternate, new lyrics.
This is kind of what happens at Sidetrack during Showtunes nights…where guys have worked out alternate lines to classic songs to parody one thing or another.
“Downtown” from Little Shop is resung as “Boystown” with references to Nookie’s, the Red Line, Oprah, cross dressing, and all manner of Chicago gay community tidbits.
“Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” became “Don’t Cry for Me I’m A Diva”, a commentary on Madonna’s career through the years.
The “Augie Song” from Best Little Whorehouse, which features bare butted football jocks horsing around full frontal in the lockerroom showers, is mostly just quietly enjoyed drop-jawed just the way it is. No alterations required. And please no talking or interrupting until they all put on their pants. At which point, you can just sigh loudly with everyone else.
Let’s see if we can pull up the “Damn It, Janet” lyrics…look for lines to change about TSA screening…and use something I learned by hanging out at Sidetrack singing along to showtunes with regulars to really ridicule the Obama administration on this.
Here’s something I’ve been doing wherever I go in Boystown that has a jukebox-controlled music system instead of a DJ: playing Neil Diamond’s “America”.
These jukeboxes are usually found in older, less hip, more neighborhood bars. In Boystown, places like Little Jim’s, Buck’s, Bobby Love’s, etc. have them. They’re mounted on the wall and are connected via Internet to often tens of thousands of songs.
I have never run into one that doesn’t have Neil Diamond’s “America” in it.
I told you that Chuck Hyde, one of the owner’s of Sidetrack, has a list of banned songs that he won’t allow to be played in that bar. Which I think is absurd, and is amusing to me because the Left howled when 2 Live Crew and other foul acts were censored in the 80s and early 90s (by people like Tipper Gore, incidentally), but here in 2010 a patriotic song is banned — weirdly, because that bartender Jacobi I dated in January told me it makes Chuck collapse into the fetal position and cry, since he heard it on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty on September 10th, 2001 and it brings back too many bad memories for him ever time he hears it.
I love the song. I lost a good friend on 9/11. I was in New York shortly before all of that went down too. I can somehow hear Neil Diamond singing this song and well up with great pride for my country while simultaneously rocking out to Saving Silverman-esque, cheesey, rhinestone-encrusted, bad wig, Neil Diamond awesomeness.
So, after every 80s Request Night I go to at Sidetrack — where I always request “America”, even though I know Chuck bans it from being played — I then head over to Little Jim’s and play it in that bar.
At first, people make fun of it.
“Oh, no, who put Neil Diamond on?”
“Are you for real?”
But then, wouldn’t you know it, as the song begins to swell and Diamond pounds it home…getting to the “My country ’tis of thee…sweet land of Liberty…” part, I note that just about everyone in the bar is singing along or has a smile on their faces.
It’s not hip or cool to be patriotic.
It’s not the norm in the gay community to wave the flag and openly celebrate America.
Patriotic things are supposed to be for Republicans, and Democrats are supposed to abhor this stuff.
I’d love to change this.
Playing “America” every time I encounter one of these jukeboxes costs me $1, and I think it’s a buck worth spent. I make everyone in that bar listen to the song…so that’s three minutes of their lives where they are hearing something patriotic, before they return to their regularly-scheduled Leftist-mandated crusade against American exceptionalism as mandated by MSNBC and CNN.
This act of resistance is not going to change the world, but it delights me.
I thought I would share this so maybe you could be delighted to, wherever you live, and think of us here in Boystown whenever you do it.
Remember to chime in on Open Threads in the future if you ever try it and let me know how it goes where you live.
Do you remember the Tim Burton movie Batman Returns? Of course you do. Michelle Pfeiffer rocks that black stitched leather homesewn Catwoman costume in it that’s not only fabulous but has become THE standard for catwomen near and far.
The movie also morphed The Penguin into a horrific Victorian grotesque who tried to run for Mayor of Gotham, with a gang of circus folk helping him.
“Circus folk” is what my friend Althea calls the guys I date, which I take umbrage with until she accurately notes that several of my exes really were in circuses, or circus themed dance performances, or did trapeze studies while in performing arts schools.
“A lot of the rest just belong in the circus, but don’t realize it just yet,” Althea opines, whenever she tries to talk me out of dating a bartender, dancer, underwear model, go-go boy, VJ, designer, or cabaret singer.
“AKA your circus folk, like I’ve been saying, but cracker won’t listen,” Althea says.
She is basically right, but I can’t help liking who I like…and I can’t help that these sorts of guys all like hanging out at places like Sidetrack that I like in Boystown.
Normally, on election nights, there is a giant party at Sidetrack with patriotic bunting, banners celebrating Democrats, balloons in scarlet, azure, and cream – because nothing is ever plain old red, white, or blue in Boystown – and the massive TV screens tuned into MSNBC to watch Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann cheer Democrats to victory. My circus folk gather to watch together, drink, and celebrate.
Not this year.
“There is no party because Tuesday is going to be more of a depressing ship wreck of disappointment than The Little Mermaid on Broadway”, someone told me when I asked if Sidetrack was doing an election night event.
For those who don’t speak “Boystown” I will translate the Monday night showtunes idiom by saying The Little Mermaid on Broadway is widely considered in gay circles to be the most humiliating and tragic Broadway misfire in our generation.
Those amazing songs.
A movie beloved by almost everyone but the singular exception of octopus ladies – and possibly Maud Adams.
The mighty House of Mouse and its deep pockets behind it.
All that talent, opportunity, money, and effort completely wasted on a blundering epic disaster that destroyed careers and left longtime supporters brokenhearted and dejected.
Hold on, Ariel, am I still talking about the tanked blunderwater musical that stunk…or what Democrats did since taking control of the country on January 20th, 2009?
Because, honestly, the circus folk I love, surround myself with, and date here in Boystown feel the same about that Little Mermaid stinkfest as they do about the Democrat Party these days.
“The Democrats are a stinkfest and I hate them,” Althea said, when I told her Sidetrack would not have an election night party this year.
But they ARE having a charity wine tasting on Wednesday that surprisingly enough a reader in the bar bought me a ticket to, saying, “Here. Go to this. A lot of those full of themselves will be there still howling and crying over Tuesday. You go and talk to all of them and see how they process what happened. See whom they blame. Then laugh and laugh and drink all their wine, as they whine and whine”.
This all reminds me of that scene at the end of Batman Returns after Bats ruined Penguin’s bid for Mayor and his circus folk band of eccentrics abandoned him in the squalid abandoned zoo he used as his lair.
That place looked like a moldy, rotting, stinkfest too…and all Penguin was left with were his unthinking, remote controlled penguin cyborg henchmen.
All Obama is apparently left with now is apparently the leftiest of the far Left. Everyone else outside Daily Kos has abandoned him.
The Batman is coming…and it’s actually a woman named Sarah under that cowl. This will not end well for Democrats.
And the circus folk of Boystown know it.
November 3rd is a VERY strange day to hold an event at Sidetrack. I was a top party planner in Chicago for several years and I never, ever booked events the first week of a month: this is when rent is due. A large percentage of gay guys live check to check. They are usually too broke to do anything like a wine tasting until the THIRD week of the month.
Since Halloween was just this past Saturday, it’s even stranger to have this event the day after tomorrow, no matter how much even the most random Jake Gyllenhaal reference is all but guaranteed to pique interest in Boystown.
It is seriously almost as if Art, Chuck, and Pepe at Sidetrack knew a lot of gay Leftists would need an excuse to drink – and a rare open bar – the day after the midterm elections.
Which is totally what I would have done if I was them.
These guys run the most famous and popular gay bar in the world because they really know their customers.
And their customers, including my circus folk, will not want to be out in the bar watching the Titanic epic fail Democrats are going to suffer Tuesday.
They will be at home crying with Matthews and Olbermann…will go to bed angry and early…and will wake up the next day needing lots of drinks.
Hence an oddly scheduled Sidetrack wine tasting that very same day.
Purrfectly timed, as Catwoman would agree.
I think it was last year when we told you the story of Simon, an Australian businessman in his 40s living here in Chicago, who has a thing for my friend Sebastian, and is a nice guy 95% of the time, but there’s this dark, nasty, virulently unhinged misogynistic side to him that just explodes — and it’s fixated largely on Governor Palin.
Since Simon knows almost nothing about her save for what is said on MSNBC or by Tina Fey, 60, in one of her “comedy” routines, it’s not really Governor Palin who Simon hates…it’s women. The Governor is just the latest in what I’m sure is a long line of figures Simon focuses these feelings on…before her, Simon might have hated Hillary Clinton. Maybe in the 90s he hated Ann Richards in Texas. He’s railed against Margaret Thatcher to us, in various tangents off his Palin-hate diatribes, so in the 80s he most definitely hated the Iron Lady.
I think Simon has a real problem with women in elected office, and he makes this opinion known.
On our last encounter with him, we were having a nice conversation with Simon talking about Australia, because none of us here know very much about the country, despite the great affection we have for it and the people there. But, Simon derailed the nice time we were having talking to him a few months ago by schizophrenically puffing up, going red in the face, and blurting out how much he hates Governor Palin, thinks she’s a “c***”, and wants to “rape her out back so that maybe she’d learn something”.
Well, we never let things like that stand against any woman in our presence, so Simon got the brunt force of a Hurricane Julia Sugarbaker and a long lecture on the inappropriate use of words like c***, b****, and rape when so casually applied and aggressively directed at women. Simon didn’t even know what the word misogyny is, let alone appreciate what a misogynist he was…which is kind of like one of those weird birds in the Lincoln Park Zoo not knowing the Latin scientific name for itself on its cage or realizing what people outside the glass called it…content only to screech naked and leave messy droppings wherever it goes.
So it is with Simon.
Well, last night at Sidetrack I was out asking people what they were planning for Halloween, for an article I’m writing about costume ideas this year. I actually learned to turn something I don’t like to my great advantage, where I pull out my little notebook and pen and people invariably ask “What are you doing? What are you writing?” because they find it so odd someone is still using paper. When I have my phone out, I could be typing on that all day without a single person saying boo, but the paper and pen always, without fail, gets someone to approach and question me. Last night I started using those approaches to ask those people what they were going to be for Halloween, what other ideas they’ve been hearing from people, and what trends they were seeing in pop culture for costumes. I probably talked to 50 people, easily, and I never once had to go up to anyone — they all came over to me. It was revelatory. I realized I could probably use this same little trick going forward, not just for Halloween costumes, but for everything I write about. Instead of being off-put by people asking “What are you writing?” I should answer with “I got an idea for a story I’m doing on Rahm Emanuel running for Mayor. Say, do you have an opinion on that?” and seize the opportunity to get more on-the-ground opinion from strangers to expand my personal take on things.
Since the Halloween costume bit was working so well for me, and I was getting some great ideas from people, I was in a really good mood so when I saw Simon sitting at a table by the window, looking out onto Halsted and the throngs of people in their party clothes weaving around cabs and valeted cars, and he waived, I smiled and went over to say hello…letting bygones be bygones and being polite.
Life is too short not to forgive, even if I don’t necessarily FORGET.
Simon must have felt bad about the dressing down we gave him over the rape comment he made, because when I saw him I didn’t bring it up at all but the first things out of his mouth were mumbles to the effect of “You know, I don’t talk like that, I was just drunk and…”. I spared him this bit and told him that was a long time ago and he seemed to be genuinely sorry, so let’s talk about something else. I asked him what he was going to be for Halloween, but he said he wasn’t planning on anything because he works 80 hours a week and is too exhausted to do fun things like that.
Simon’s some sort of investment/financial guy. I never care what people do for a living so even if they tell me it just flies right out of my head. I don’t care how people make money, or if they have any money to speak of at all. I’ve had big corporate jobs that paid a lot of money, and I’ve spent the last few years struggling as a freelancer making a very small fraction of what I used to, and I seem able to make do with whatever I have just by adjusting my expectations and addressing needs before discovering myriad wants. Oddly enough, the people I tend to like the most in Boystown have always been the artists, dancers, actors, writers, musicians, drag queens, bartenders, etc. (what my friend Althea calls “circus folk”) who never have much of anything but who are always interesting and happy, where their 9-5 jobs don’t define them and their “work” is really the things they are passionate about and truly live for.
Simon is clearly the opposite, and I pity him.
There he was, alone, pounding back Heinekens at Sidetrack, off to himself in the near deserted Cherry Bar section, still in his work shirt and tie while everyone else was rocking fun Halloween tees and even a costume here or there, mid-October.
“Are you going to a funeral after this?,” I asked him, yanking on his tie a little.
“Crikey, I just came from work, I was there until 10. Same thing every day,” he said, while I marveled at a real-life, non-Steve Irwin-costumed use of the word “Crikey”.
Simon explained he’s at the office every day from 8 or 9am until 10pm daily, including Saturday, and that he puts in 80 hour weeks because he has “mortgages to pay”. He has a condo here in Chicago, another house in Sydney, and a beach house somewhere else in Australia that was very cutesy-tunes-sounding and completely impossible for me to remember (Strawberry Bay? Kickapoo Springs? Starseller’s Guigglybooabingbong?).
The man is clearly not happy, because he has to work so much, just to stay afloat on his mortgages on two continents. I’m sure 80% of the guys in the bar would have been impressed with that real estate portfolio but I just thought Simon was crazy for getting himself into that mess. Why kill yourself for three homes when you are a single man — who has not been back to Australia in three years? I just don’t understand the logic in that. “It’s an investment” is what I’ve been told by other people who overextend themselves like this, to which I reply, “So is your life…which you aren’t living because you are driving yourself into an early grave trying to keep afloat financing three homes, two of which you haven’t been to in years. Why not right-size your life, workload, and ambitions and enjoy yourself before you are 80 wishing you had done it all differently?”.
I started to understand where Simon’s anger came from…and found out it wasn’t directed just at Governor Palin or other women. It was this frustration he carries from having to work so hard to stay afloat, which bottles up all day at work and then gets unleashed in the bar after 8,9, maybe 10 Heinekens.
Simon hates the gay scene in Sydney, which he called “gross”, and described what I think a lot of you out there think the gay community is — because it’s the seedy depiction sometimes shown on TV and in bad movies. Boystown is actually not like this at all; we’re really the bright and colorful side of the rainbow, where Simon described Sydney as being the shadowy, Chrystal Meth-addled, tweeky negaverse…where guys are strung out on drugs, waste their lives playing video poker all day in dive bars, and hook up randomly with complete disregard for HIV/AIDS, devil may care, world be damned, to Hell with themselves.
Simon said a bar like Sidetrack, glistening, polished chrome, expensive wood floors and paneling, no drugs, attractive and nice people, just doesn’t exist in Sydney, because gay guys apparently aren’t centered in reality there. I have to say, while 95% of the guys I encounter do parrot the Left’s talking points without question, 99% of them have their acts together in terms of taking care of themselves, having careers, and wanting stability in their lives. Most guys come to Chicago from various states in the Midwest, and I think we all bring that upbringing with us…even if the vast majority blossom into Anderson Cooper/Rachel Maddow acolytes who spout off nonsense and unwarranted hate towards conservatives not realizing the condo they want to buy, the business they want to start, the life plan they have in front of them would be greatly enhanced by voting conservatives in office (since they, themselves, if they thought about it were economically conservative no matter how Chris Matthews tells them they have to vote on TV).
Apparently, Sydney’s crowd isn’t like this at all, so Simon waxed on a little about why he likes Sidetrack so much, and why Boystown is so much better to him.
But then, Simon being Simon, it got ugly…which I’ve come to realize is just how he expresses himself.
After the last sip of his last Heineken of the night, Simon tore into the gays in Sydney, calling them all sorts of names for their behavior, and using language so salty even hours later I feel like I need my blood pressure checked. I won’t repeat any of it, but let’s just say he used the gay equivalents of c*** and b**** and the rest, directed at the Sydney gays.
Then, because his boiler was lit and he was rearing to go, he had to take a slam at Governor Palin, just to goad me, and called her a c*** again.
I cut him off and told him that I would not stand there and let him call her that, and reminded him of the last conversation my friends and I had with him about this matter. I told him it was nice talking to him and that I enjoyed hearing a little about Australia, but that I don’t think he learned what misgoyny is because he keeps using the “c-word” for women when I know for a fact at this office he would never be allowed to call anyone black a n*****…so why does he let c*** fly so fast and loose?
“Because women are c**** and she’s the biggest c**** of all, that f***ing b****. And I can say c****, b****, and f*** all I want in the office because it’s true. I just can’t say the n-word because this is America and I’d be shot probably”.
Last call came right about then and it was time for me to go, so I let things end on that note.
I told Simon not to work so hard and asked him again to think about the way he talked about women, because I know he has a mother he visits back in England, in Liverpool where she lives, and wonder what she’d think if she heard him talk the way he does…about women he doesn’t even know, or know much about…just because they’re the opposite gender to him.
“She probably wouldn’t like it much, right,” he said.
I walked down the stairs and headed towards the door as I saw Simon belly up to the bar for one last Heineken, the only guy in the place in a shirt and tie, looking so sad, drinking and working himself to death and carrying around so much hate and anger inside him — and for what?
He owns three homes on two continents, but is single with no prospects and fairly destined to live the rest of his life alone (as I can’t imagine anyone putting up with the caustic, volcanic outbursts he seems to have most nights after his 12 hour days at work…which, when I think about it, explain why I never, ever see him talking to anyone in the bar…he’s just always by himself, angry, drinking).
He probably makes more money than I could ever imagine but when does he have time to spend any of it?
He spends time in what he admits is one of the best damn bars on the planet, but he doesn’t ever look like he’s having fun and casts such a negative aura that I swear the guy dims the leon and dulls the lights around him wherever he goes, like he just sucks that positivity to oblivion into the little black hole tucked somewhere into his starched white shirt.
I know every time I talk to Simon he’s going to call Governor Palin a c***. He’ll probably get jabs in at Hillary, Margaret Thatcher, and maybe a random assortment of other historical women as well, not only because he realizes this is unacceptable to me but because the guy has a kind of misogynistic Tourette’s that’s just part of his DNA.
This isn’t going to change until he fears being fired for using the c-word or the b-word as much as he lives in terror of losing his job over the n-word. That’s the sad fact of America today — where it’s okay to direct irrational gender based hate at women, with no consequences ever handed down to that by CEOs who are straight off the set of Mad Men, though it’s 2010 and that’s the most over-hyped show in a generation.
The things Simon says are not just the manifestation of the ugliness, anger, and frustration inside him, but a reflection on a corporate America that allows this to take shape against women…fueled by a lamestream media that delights in these attacks against females.
We hate to have to tell you this, but Bea Arthur, Dorothy from the Golden Girls, has passed away from cancer at the age of 86.
Arthur was not only a great talent, but she was a very, very nice woman. A few years ago she came to Chicago and made an appearance here at Sidetrack, where she sang a few songs and did her usual sassy schtick, and it was just incredible. Afterwards, we had the chance to talk to her for a minute or two, and she was funny and kind and unforgettable.
So, that’s what we’re thinking about today, as well as all the great memories we have watching The Golden Girls with our grandmothers back home when we were kids. It’s a great show if you’ve forgotten about it or have never discovered it. Well worth your time for some good laughs from one of the best comedy foursomes ever ensembled together.
We KNOW they’ll be playing this one with gusto at Sidetrack today in memory of Ms. Bea Arthur, friend to all:
The cartoon above is from POLITICO today, and it has nothing at all to do with Boystown, but all we could think of when we saw Rahm Emanuel with his Appletini was “that sure looks an awful lot like Mini Bar or Sidetrack in there”…if you replace the elephants in the back with dozens of young, hungry social climbers and Mitch McConnell with Jake Gylenhaal, or one of the Jonas brothers, or Zac Efron, or someone.
Just walk into Mini Bar on Halsted any Friday or Saturday night and you will meet many very well-dressed young stockbrokers, bond traders, or lawyers who all landed very sweet jobs at big Chicago firms after Rahm Emanuel gave them, uh…recommendations.
Young, good-looking, usually dark-haired, football-player build type guys.
Because Rahm Emanuel is a giver. He likes to help young guys just starting out because he has such a big heart — and learned everything he knows about this “mentoring program” from his days in New York, at Studio 54, when he was a very friendly male ballerina at Julliard.
The role of Truman Capote in Appletini circles is, thus, now being played with gusto by Rahm Emanuel.
Here at HillBuzz, we’re a bunch of moderate Hillary Democrats who, these days, support good candidates regardless of party, as long as we believe that candidate will work hard in the best interests of her or his constituents.
We’ve talked before about how hostile some in the LGBTQ community here in Boystown were to us because we backed McCain/Palin in 2008, once Hillary Clinton suspended her bid for the presidency.
The venom and nastiness that oozed out of some guys at Sidetrack towards us was stunning.
Two altercations immediately come to mind: once, in line waiting to get into Sidetrack (America’s largest gay bar) on a Saturday night last July, one of us had on a green McCain for President fitted tee shirt (the very first article of Republican clothing he ever owned) that turned heads, and not because it looked really great on his above-average chest. “Is that a joke? Are you serious?”, a guy behind us said — the kind of gay man, pushing 40, if not 45, who still shops at Abercrombie & Fitch and wears sunglasses at night (to hide the wrinkles), not that we’re catty or anything.
“Are you a joke?,” we asked, as one of his friends snapped a photo of the shirt with is Iphone (because, of course, these guys sported Iphones…with one of them wearing an Ipod on his belt, with earphones on, while in line waiting to get into a club).
And then came this irrational tirade against us, and how since we were gay, we have to always vote Democrat, because otherwise we’re just Jewish Nazis.
“Do you have any idea how moonbat crazy that sounds? Two sentences into talking to us, and you already broke Godwin’s law,” we told him.
“Look, I don’t know what God’s law has to do with this,” he responded, having absolutely no idea we just called him out for committing the most solipsistic offense in any debate, equating whatever you don’t like about someone to something either Hitler or the Nazis would do (the ultimate negative hyperbole employed to make your opponent’s points irrationally unjustifiable, but backfiring to make you just look incredibly stupid by escalating minor differences to the Third Reich’s playing field).
The guys behind us became enraged that we, as moderate gay Democrats, believed McCain was the better choice in the presidential election, once Hillary Clinton suspended her campaign (and we still believe this too…and Wall Street and investors apparently agree).
It seriously came close to a fight, and would have degenerated into one if we hadn’t taken the onus of refusing to feed into it.
“So, what, you just won’t vote for him because he’s black? What, are you racists? You won’t support a black man? Jewish Nazis!”
“No, what we don’t support is a candidate who has a long and established history of socialistic tendencies, who misrepresents his true positions on everything from NAFTA to oil policy and a half-hearted pandering towards universal healthcare. Additionally, as gay men, we can’t get behind any Democrat who refuses to march in Gay Pride Parades, the way Obama refused to march here in Chicago on June 29th, but yet was here in Chicago that day anyway, getting a haircut and playing basketball before heading to the East Bank Club for a steam”.
Before the guys behind us could say anything else, we were inside the doors and we lost them in the crowd of thousands somehwere in Sidetrack’s four levels of bars.
But, the weekend before the General Election, another group of guys actually started another fight with our friend Sebastian, when he stood up for Sarah Palin as a bunch of gay guys here in Boystown not only made fun of her in misogynistic terms, but ripped into little Trig Palin and his Down’s Syndrome. Well, Sebastian wouldn’t let that garbage go unchallenged, and took a punch for Palin, and women and special needs kids in general, for refusing to be a Democrat who goes along with the pack, according to the alleged “Handbook” everyone in the gay community is supposed to follow.
We never received any “Handbook” when we moved to Boystown, but continuously take abuse from fellow Democrats here for not drinking the Kool-Aid or “falling in line” the way partisan politics demands, even in this Golden Age of Hope!, Change!, and an alleged New Kind of Politics!
And conservatives in the LGBTQ community have it just as bad, if not worse, than us, as a caller to Glenn Beck named Katie revealed today:
March 6, 2009 – 12:24 ET
|Glenn Beck is seen here on the Insider Webcam, an exclusive feature available only to Glenn Beck Insiders. Learn more…|
GLENN: Let’s go to Katie. Hello, Katie, you’re on the Glenn Beck program.
CALLER: Hi, Glenn, I’m from Fort Wayne and I was lucky enough to meet you when you came here in November and I just want to call and say that ever since I came out of my conservative closet, I’ve lost a lot of my friends. About —
GLENN: Ever since you — wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Katie, we met on the book tour.
CALLER: Yes, sir. I gave you a letter. I was with my dad.
GLENN: Yes, I remember you. And you actually came out of the closet.
CALLER: Yes. Today’s actually twelve years that I’ve been out.
GLENN: Okay. And so you then came out, you were concerned about coming out as a gay conservative.
GLENN: I’m trying to remember all of this. Right?
CALLER: Yes. And I used to be uber liberal, and I was one of those known gay people that you just wanted to punch in the face because that’s all I ever talked about. And my dad, it caused a lot of problems between me and my family and my dad trying to get my off my big liberal kick and open my eyes and said listen to me for just one week and if I didn’t agree, fine. And I started to listen to you and I realized that before I’m gay, before I’m Democrat, Republican, I am an American.
GLENN: Good for you.
CALLER: And in listening to you, in saying what you mean and being true to yourself and true to your country, especially with this last election, a lot of my friends realized when they said are you voting for Obama or Hillary and I said, neither, they think I’m crazy. One of them actually said I’m like a Jew supporting Hitler. And —
GLENN: Because you voted for who?
CALLER: For McCain.
GLENN: For McCain? So —
CALLER: I voted for Palin. I voted for Palin and I was going to get McCain.
CALLER: And it’s really hard. I feel so alone some days, and I’m lucky enough that, you know, through listening to you and getting back to what really matters in my eyes, being gay’s a very small part of who I am, and nothing of what I am that I lost my friends because they don’t want to talk to me, because they try to get me —
GLENN: They weren’t your — Katie, you didn’t lose your friends. You lost the people that were pretending to be friends. You know, I’m an alcoholic and when I was sobering up, I lost a lot of friends. They weren’t my friends. You know, you have to be who you are. And if people don’t like you because of that, that’s okay. You don’t wish them ill. You know, I have nothing bad to say about anybody. It’s just the way it is. You know, you will find, you will find new friends. It took me a long time to find new friends because you’ll be in a transition mode for a long time. You surrounded yourself, especially if this is — is this where you grew up?
CALLER: No, no, sir. I lived here for about five years now. My father was a marine and we lived everywhere from Japan to Alabama.
GLENN: But did everybody know you as the crazy liberal person that they wanted to punch in the face because all you would talk about was your gayness?
CALLER: For a very long time. And the only reason I thought I had to be Democrat because I was gay.
CALLER: It’s in the gay handbook.
GLENN: Is it? I didn’t know — wow, I didn’t know there were handbooks for this. How did I miss all of this? Okay. There are a lot of people — I mean, you have set a pattern, you know, for your life and people view you a certain way. So don’t worry about it, Katie. It will — just let go of all of that. It will happen. The more you just allow yourself to be yourself and not try to make any statements. I’m so glad to hear you say, you know, your sexuality plays a very little part of who you are. My sexuality plays a very little part of who I am, too. It’s just, that’s what sets us apart, you know, is looking and saying, “Look at me; I’m different.” It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t really care if you’re different. What do we have in common? And you have found the biggest secret. What we have in common are principles. What we have in common is our belief that man was born to be free. Man was born with certain rights, and you can’t take those away. God takes those away, not man. And so you have a different mindset now. And you will, you will find new friends and you will, you’ll find — well, I hate to say that you’ll find happiness because are you happier now than you were, you know, a few years ago or when you were in a — as a liberal?
CALLER: I am. I’m much happier. I’ve reconnected with my faith, and some of the people that have heard me out and looked past my sexuality have become very good friends. But it’s hard. I want to get involved here locally and it’s very hard because the conservative groups realize that I’m gay and then they don’t necessarily want me in their organization because then what will people think. Liberals don’t want me.
GLENN: What will people think? Oh, no, they’ve got gay people in their organization? I’ve got news for you, they got gay people working around them, too. What will people think? Listen, if the Republicans won’t accept you as somebody who under — that understands the principles of our country and the founding of our country, then don’t go find a bunch of Republicans. Go find a bunch of libertarians. Now, they’re hard to corral because they’re a little like cats and they’re just running around everywhere. So you can’t really corral them and that — quite honestly, libertarians, that’s your biggest problem. You’ve got to be able to say, “Hey, we’ve got to concentrate on a few things.” I know, I know, we all want to abolish the FBI, but let’s start smaller. Let’s concentrate on the tax code. Let’s concentrate on, you know, pulling in the, you know, “Let’s still protect Germany.” Let’s kind of pull some of these things in and then we’ll worry about the FBI and other things maybe down the line a couple of years or maybe even a couple of weeks. Once people get used to it. But I’m becoming more and more libertarian every single day.
You know, that’s — like the Proposition 8 thing, this doesn’t — look, what you do in your private life, my stance is Obama’s stance. My stance is Obama’s stance. Proposition 8, what’s going on now in the Supreme Court to me has nothing to do with being gay, nothing to do with being gay. What is happening now in California is do the people have the right to change the Constitution, yes or no. If you have the — if you can change the Constitution, well, then you can change it back. As people become more enlightened or whatever, that’s why we have that. Read the words of Thomas Jefferson. People are going to make mistakes but that’s why you can change it back. They will come to their senses and they will change things back. Well, now the attorney general, the people’s defender, the guy defending the laws that the people write say that people can’t make these laws, they can’t change the Constitution. If that stands, if California says you can’t change the Constitution, we’ve got a real problem on our hands because that’s — really honestly that’s where I am on the whole socialism thing. I just want to have the discussion. If America wants to go socialism, let’s do it out in the open. Let’s have the debate. Let’s have a fair debate, let’s really talk about it, let’s turn over every stone. If that’s what we want to do. But no, everybody wants to play tricks and procedural moves and everything else. Let’s just be decent people to each other, shall we? Let’s just be decent people. Stand up for what is right, and what is right is freedom of man. That comes from God, those rights. And the Constitution has done a pretty good job, until we started screwing around with interpretation, for a long time.
Goodbye and thank you, George W. Bush. You did the very best that you could, and we are grateful for your service.
We’ve been thinking of what to say about former President George W. Bush, now that he’s officially a former president. Our first impulse was to write about the Florida recount and the time we spent down in Tallahassee in 2000, screaming and yelling like crazy people, demanding justice and fairness and the unalienable right for all votes to count, but considering we had to go to Washington DC on May 31st last year (for the Rules and Bylaws Committee Meeting) to scream and yell for the Democratic party to count all votes in Florida and Michigan, any residual anger we had over Election 2000’s been squarely absolved.
Then, we thought we’d open this by complaining about how silly it was that Bush gave everyone from staff members to world leaders nicknames, and carried on like an old frat boy long expelled but still planning the next kegger, but then we remember the Obama fist-bumps and the “hip slang” (hey, do me a solid) the 44th president tries to work into almost everything he says, and suddenly calling Vladimir Putin “Pooty-poot” doesn’t seem so unusual.
And George W. Bush doesn’t seem so bad after all.
All things considered.
Last night, at Sidetrack here in Boystown, the largest gay bar in the Midwest (if not the US, as its owners claim), the bar was decorated haphazardly with flags and stars leftover from the Fourth of July beer-b-que. The ubiquitously creepy Obama “Hope” lithographs were out in full force (hopefully for the last time) — that haunting picture of himself he likes so much, staring forward and to the right, cast in red and blue silkscreen like something from the Bolshevik’s revoluntionary printing presses. Little cards on all the tables advertised the big Obama party the bar was throwing on Inauguartion Day, “to celebrate history” by mocking the outgoing president with classless, crass, unadulterated hate.
Because interspliced with the lively showtune videos Sidetrack shows on a Monday night, cut into all the singing and laughter and good times, were nasty little jabs at President Bush that drove the crowd wild in a most childish way.
We were embarrassed in the way we are when our nieces and nephews run wild at Chuck-E-Cheese, coming close to lighting the animatronic rat ablaze with birthday candles, or we catch the little hellions making fun of someone who’s slipped on the ice or dropped their lunch tray, in that particularly chilling Children of the Corn way cold, unmitigated cruelty comes shockingly natural to some kids — despite their being sweet, chubby cherubs just moments before.
The VJs at Sidetrack whipped up compilation tapes of Bush tripping on stairs, flubbing lines in his speeches, dropping things, taking a wrong turn and trying to open a locked door, etc. All the things that any one of us does in the course of a week, or a day, but are mercifully never recorded doing (there’s a reason we don’t have a web cam, folks) — since we don’t have film crews monitoring our every waking moment, the way Bush did. For eight years, with zero personal privacy. So, with more than seventy thousand hours of footage from Bush’s presidency available for creative editing, a cobbled-together string of flubs and fumbles sent Boystown into hysterics, mocking the soon-t0-be-former president.
And the nastiness and hate that welled up in the crowd and lasered in on Bush was palpable and frightening, if not particularly shocking, considering where we were (this is the same bar, after all, where another favorite video compilation during the election was mocking Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin, using Saturday Night Live’s greatest and most sexist hits — because making fun of women and babies is always a hit with some gay men).
It was ugly, in a world where not a frosted-tipped hair’s ever out of place and fawning over youth and beauty is the order of the day; it was cruel and clumsy where sensitivity and nuanced expression are normally prized; it was unbridled and irrational hellfire from people who stage whole parades to complain about religious people and Republicans’ unbridled irrational hatred of them.
Hello pot? This is kettle, welcome to fabulous — and to the Jekyl meets Hyde cocktail of Bush hate and showtunes at Sidetrack on a Monday in Boystown, where we very much realized we didn’t know where we belong anymore.
Because, as the Bush Administration ends, so too ends our days of believing Democrats are always good, Republicans are always evil, and gay men have a monopoly (or even firm handle) on what’s witty and clever. Democrats can be just as nasty and hate-filled as the insufferably vile Rev. Fred Phelps. Gay Democrats can be a room full of bitchy, malevolent queens, martinis in hand, oblivious to how petty and unattractive hatred of any kind truly is.
And this from supporters of “The One” who was sent to Earth by a God none of them believe in to bring us all together, heal the planet, and distribute unto us unicorns in fluffy rainbow parades of lemonade and pixie dust.
We were probably the only people in that bar who looked up at George W. Bush on the screen and instead of mocking him, raised our Pilsners and toasted a decent and gracious man who stood up to the challenges that confronted him, made tough choices and never shirked his responsibilities, and did the very best job that he could, every day, for the last eight years.
Oddly, it’s the same way we feel every time Madonna turns up on Sidetrack’s screens, in the train wreck that was Evita, pleading for Argentina not to cry for her, while we realize that yes, an untalented actress truly put her heart and soul into this part and did the very best that she could do with what she had to work with, and the script she received.
George W. Bush is a man we wish had never been president, the same way we wish today that Obama had never become president, and the same way we wish Madonna stuck to singing and dancing and left the acting to others. In Bush’s place, we would have rather had Al Gore or John McCain in 2000, and John Kerry (or even Howard Dean or John Edwards) in 2004. This year, we wanted Hillary Clinton, and then John McCain. But, things certainly worked out differently in all cases the last eight years (and there was just no saving The Next Best Thing, Shanghai Surprise, or Body of Evidence, regardless of creative retrospective casting).
For a very long time, we found ourselves firmly in the company of Bush-haters, though we never rose to the level of nastiness we saw on display at Sidetrack last night (a level on par with the worst of the Clinton-hating and gay-bashing the right’s ever put forward). There was a spell when we refused to even refer to Bush as the president, instead calling him “Dracula”. Some people found that hard to follow, as they never knew if we were talking politics, or oddly referencing Bram Stoker while delving into energy policy. Those oil-vampires from Texas, just wanting to get their fangs into Iraq, up to their nefarious schemes, out to get all of us, such evil people.
Evil was a word we threw around pretty lightly, ascribing it to everything in the Bush Administration, the Bush family, and the Republican party in general. Because we lived in an isolated Democratic little world of our own, of course we were never corrected on any of this — far from it, we were always encouraged. Bush is stupid. Bush is a drugged out drunk. Laura Bush is a murderess (for accidentally killing her friend in a high school car accident). The Bush Twins are out of control. Barbara Bush is Lady MacBeth. Dick Cheney shot a man in the face (well, actually, this one is true).
One of the reasons it’s been so hard to put together our thoughts on Bush as he leaves office is because, honestly, we feel badly about the way we’ve treated him, about the things we’ve said about him, all these years.
Because George W. Bush is a decent man with a servant’s heart who did the best damn job he could. He kept us safe for seven years. He stood up to the bullies and terrorists and scoundrels of the world and said with Texas gumption and flare that America under his watch would kowtow to NO ONE.
Maybe too much Texas for the likes of us city slickers, and maybe a lot of his personal style and flare was hokey or unrelatable to urban elites, but even his loudest critics would be hard-pressed to argue the man didn’t always show his heart — a larger than life heart, beating strongly with a love of country and its men and women in uniform.
That’s what we’re thinking about today: what an excellent Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush was, and how he respected and revered all those who serve the nation, in every way under the sun. There’s a lot of things Bush did wrong, but he was good to our troops, and the military obviously loved him, and that’s mighty impressive in our book.
It’s also impressive Bush never cut funding to AIDS charities, and instead INCREASED funding to unprecedented levels, in terms of both treatment and scientific research into a cure.
All those men screaming and yelling at Bush on the screen in Sidetrack’s, making fun of him, laughing at a tired Bush flubbing a speech — and not one of them stopped to think about the simple fact that if this man was truly as stupid and evil as they claim, and if he was TRULY deserving of all that hatred, then why on Earth didn’t he cut funding to AIDS charities and other LGBT resources as president?
No one has an answer for that.
Obviously, Bush knew the gay community hates him, and that he’d never win their votes. So, why didn’t he divert all those millions to causes that would have won him more independent and conservative voters? Why waste all that precious capital on people who hate him, who want to destroy him?
And yet, Bush never lifted a finger to harm us…he never cut funding to the LGBT community…he didn’t lash out at those who made him their enemy.
He really and truly was a compassionate conservative after all — and a kind and decent man who exercised his power with great restraint.
After 911, with media cheerleading behind him and an acquiescent public, Bush could have declared himself Emperor and enacated anything his heart desired. He could have used the cover of tragedy and the unprecedented free hand he was given in its aftermath to do any number of crazy things. He could have seized control of the entire government and forced through any number of draconian measures, sticking it to the left every way he could.
But he didn’t.
His response to crisis was measured, restrained, and even-handed.
Yes, we booed and laughed along with all our liberal friends at Bush sitting in a classroom reading about a pet goat while minutes ticked by on the screen in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911. We ridiculed the president for just sitting there, like a fool we thought, seemingly not knowing what to do.
But, today we see that day differently. After spending two years on the campaign trail for Clinton and then McCain, after doing countless interviews and writing on this site every day, we realize Bush was responding carefully and deliberately to a situation unfolding before him — the way a responsible public figure does. THINKING before ACTING. Not wanting to terrify children needlessly, not wanting to create panic by abruptly getting up and running from the room. What was the man supposed to do as the Secret Service established its plan to get the president to a secure location, and Bush waited the mere minutes it took to arrange a successful and well-executed plan to calm the nation in a catastrophic crisis?
On a day none of us was prepared for, that seemed lifted out of comic books and bad movies, when the federal government moved rapidly to respond to the worst thing to happen on American soil in half a century.
Because he’s affable, because he tells jokes, because he speaks with a twang, Bush is mocked as stupid and slow while others in his place would have been considered careful and even-keeled.
But, none of the men who’ve made it into the White House are stupid (all men so far, unfortunately, but that will change soon enough if we have anything to say about it). And some are better under fire than others.
With seven years to look back on 911, we have a lot to say about the intelligence failures that allowed a preventable event to scar the nation, but we will, until the day we die, be forever grateful to President Bush for being the resolute and honorable Texan who stood up that horrible day and grabbed that bullhorn at Ground Zero and told the world in a loud clear voice that America would soldier on, would prevail, and will rebuild.
That was no weak kumbaya moment. That was George W. Bush at his finest, saying what we all in our hearts wanted a tough Commander-in-Chief to say.
Yes, any president would have said those things.
Yes, any president would have received massive approval ratings in response to an attack (that’s what Americans do, we rally around the president in times of trouble).
But, would President Gore have struck that perfect note? Would he have been the testosterone infused Commander-in-Chief in the body of an average man we needed and wanted that day?
We don’t know. Maybe.
But, Bush sure held the world together that day, when he was just what we needed, when we needed him most.
AND WE WILL ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL. We moderate, gay, Hillary loving, Boystown-living, lifelong Democrats will always hold a special place in our hearts for Dubya and his bullhorn. We were proud to be Americans on that terrible, terrible day — and proud of our president who led us with such clear conviction and courage. We didn’t vote for the man (either time), but were sure glad he was on duty on a day we’ll never forget.
What followed in his presidency was a mixed bag in our eyes — with more missed opportunities than we can recount. If only Bush had asked Americans to enlist in the military, Peace Corps, or Americorps instead of telling them to go shopping to help the economy. If only he had taken our friends and foes in the world up on all of the help they offered after 911, when everyone from France to Cuba extended hands of friendship and wanted to join America at that terrible hour. If only we had found a way to carry those sentiments of “We are all New Yorkers now. We are all Americans today” forward in the months and years ahead, instead of alienating so many with what was perceived as a failed go it alone, it’s us or them mentality. If only he had pushed to rebuild those towers, taller than every, in record time — so seven years later, we wouldn’t still have a big hole in the ground in New York where a phoenix should have risen, as indelible and resolute as our nation itself.
The last eight years is a presidency of if onlys, buffered up against one we believe will be the disappointments of “what might have been” and “we were promised” (we hope Obama proves us wrong and that changes, but that part is squarely up to him)
The loud chorus of angry voices in Boystown claim Bush will go down in history as the Worst. President Ever. We think those cocktails went down too fast last night, because that’s ridiculously far from the truth.
Bush, in our opinion, will be judged much better than Jimmy Carter, just a touch above his father, George H. W. Bush, but below Bill Clinton — all somewhere in the middle of US Presidents when the rankings sort out in thirty years of proper retrospect and dispassionate evaluation that will come.
Iraq some day will be a new Germany and Japan, a once hostile nation so firmly democratic and pro-American we’ll never be able to recognize it if flung into the future from today. Regardless of what you think about the case for war, or the merits of invading Iraq, Bush will one day get credit for creating the future, prosperous Iraq, and all the benefits Americans will enjoy from that. Part of us wishes strongly he had gone to war with Iran instead, because that’s a true threat the world could do without, and is a continuously proven sponsor of terrorist operations against Israel and American interests, but that’s a whole other topic of debate.
Though we never in our lives thought we’d say this, we truly do look forward to some day soon meeting former president Bush, shaking his hand, and thanking him for his service — whatever history will end up thinking of him.
That’s something we couldn’t imagine back in January 2001, when we spent Inauguration Day muttering about Dracula this and evil that and cursing the Supreme Court and that idiot Donna Brazile (for botching the Gore campaign).
After we watched the 747 formerly known as Air Force One wing into the air and bank right towards Midland, Texas this afternoon, we were struck by just how bizarre it is that a bunch of Democrats who positively hated this man eight years ago were proudly a little teared up to see him off to retirement. That’s a fairly good measure of a man right there, if he can, without knowing or trying, change strong opinions of him in the most unlikely of places.
And you can’t get much more unlikely than the lot of us, here in Boystown, wishing George W. Bush a heartfelt and gracious goodbye — and thanking him, from the bottom of our big gay hearts, for doing the best he could, every day, for each and every one of us (whether any of us liked or voted for him or not).
So, channeling him for a moment, “Ya dun good, Dubya. Best ya could. And we’re grateful!”.