Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First Gay Party Summer 1982

After Harlow's "The Pub" we went to a party at a big house in one of the older but nicer neighborhoods of Wichita Falls. Somewhere around Grant St. When we arrived I was really nervous as this was so new and I really didn't know what to expect. An all gay party, really? Who would be there? Old men, drag queens? I know one thing, no one my age would be there. To my surprise (for the most part) everyone looked normal. There were no drag queens or old men or trolls. It seemed like any other party, I guessed, as I had only really seen them on tv. Each room had groups men and women talking and laughing and i remember wondering if they were ALL gay. As we moved outside there was a pool and I remember my friend Charles introducing me to a guy swimming as "the cheerleader at WFHS" Tony Rios. I wanted to transfer schools after that because at Wichita Falls High School they had male cheerleaders so I figured they must be a more progressive, open minded school. I found out later that the few cheerleaders that WFHS did have over the years were ridiculed and made fun of so even if I had gone to Old High, as it was sometimes called, I would have been in the same boat. LOL. One of the things at this party that stood out the most though was the music. It was in every room and nonstop DJ remixes. I was so impressed. I found out it was a Dallas radio station (K107.5 fm) via cable radio. I didn't know you could get radio stations on cable. I remember this was the first time hearing Planet Rock by Soul Sonic Force
mixed seamlessly into Numbers by Kraftwerk.
American Disco, R&B and rap fused together and sounded so much like German techno that they could be mixed together like this. The whole Kraftwerk album (Computer World) is incredible, their best IMHO. I consider Kraftwerk , Patrick Cowley and Giorgio Moroder three of the most important forces behind the creation of the Disco/Dance/Electronica movement. The sounds destined for the dancefloors of the world can be heard as far back as the late 60's on Kraftwerk's early LP's and the early 70's on Donna Summer LP's produced by Moroder. Patrick Cowley was a pioneer and major contributor to the history of the synthesizer in dance music. Cowley was the producer of nearly all of the late great Sylvester's hits which made him very well known in gay San Fran and the rest of the dance music community before his unfortunate death in 1982 of AIDS. Sylvester also left us in 1988 due to AIDS. Both are still highly respected in the gay community today, gay icons, remembered by their contributions to dance music and their courage to fight AIDS. At a time when so much was unknown about the disease and our government was doing so little, Sylvester and Patrick were on the forefront of the people living with the disease, who didn't have to come forward but did anyway, trying to raise awareness.
Mid-Summer Charles and I (now an item) got a job a the fireworks stand for about a week. I had managed to keep Charles (pictured left) quiet enough around my parents that they had not noticed how effeminate he was, so I thought. One night after getting home (I was in the shower getting ready to go out to the skating rink or mall or just riding around or something) and Charles comes to the bathroom and starts knocking very loudly on the door. In the most fem of voices he was yelling, "Ronnie, it's your cousin, Jack, and he says that it is imperative that he speaks to you." Years later my mom told me she knew right then, the sassy way he called at me through the door, that something wasn't quite right with Charles. She was at work when he did his aerobics routine on the living room floor. Whenever Showtime had what they called Showtime Shorts they would feature a girl or two doing aerobics to The Hills Of Katmandu
and Charles would follow along to perfection. It was so GAY. Maybe even a little dragish. Charles had a past with drag. He often told a story about him being in the Miss Gay Wichita Falls Pageant and during his talent number slams a door that broke the glass to the DJ booth. He was doing ABBA's The Visitors. There is a part in the song that says, "through the door I feel I'm cracking up." This is where he supposedly slammed the door. During another drag queen episode we were at his mom's house in Sunnyside, which was my old neighborhood. Johnny was there and we were in Charles' room playing records and they put on some Pat Benetar record. Charles ran to the bathroom and after a few minutes emerged in a wig and lipstick! I had never really seen a drag queen before and definitely was freaked out by seeing my boyfriend in a wig. He proceeded, much to Johnny's delight and my disgust, to float around the room doing this horrible drag number. Finally I reached up and snatched that wig off his head. Not knowing it was pinned on with bobby pins, I received a firm slap across the face. It was really a hilarious scene I'm sure but I can tell ya, I have never pulled a wig off a queens head since then. LOL.

2 comments:

  1. I only did the DJ bit for a few years and that on the air.

    Was part of a group on 91.3FM WDOM called the Soul Patrol. Even had the jacket, black with pumpkin orange script.

    My partner in crime and I did Saturday nights from midnight to 2AM and more often than not, if the request lines lit up, we'd stay on until 5 or 6 in the morning.

    Then we'd go home, sleep an hour, sometimes I'd have to work until 5PM and then we'd be back on the air from 6PM to 9PM.

    Did this from 1985 to 1987. So much good music cam out of that era. My iTunes library pretty much reflects that.

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  2. You know I grew up in Sherman, TX area when I was in school and it was a nightmare. There wasn't a single place to go. Growing up in North Texas is a nightmare. It hasn't changed one bit!

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