Location: Buffalo, New York
Written by: DJ Doran
TAKE NOTE: This post was written while DJ & Joey were on their RV roadtrip across America. Sadly, their trip ended before it really got started. No worries, Shelly & Lucia are taking the Connextions Out n About Roadtrip to new heights, exploring one RV park at a time!
Joey and I met up with Mikey and his Boyfriend Keith for a walk around the Artsy/Bohemian section of Allen Street during the first Thursday Art Walk. We toured several small galleries and chatted with a few of the Artists before stopping at a bar/restaurant named DBGB’s (pronounced deebeegeebees) otherwise known as Dukes Bohemian Grove bar - for a drink and a light dinner. After a couple of drinks and a round of shots, courtesy of Mikey’s cousin Gabby who owned the bar, we all decided to order some grub. As we were perusing the menu it was revealed that Buffaloans as you are called if you are from Buffalo NY, do not use the term Buffalo Wings at all but rather call them Chicken Wings or just wings. Not being a fan of chicken wings, regardless of what you call them and mainly because I dislike the texture of rubbery chicken or the look and taste of dark meat (wink, wink) I decided to give them a try as Mikey explained that chicken wings, cooked properly should be crispy on the outside and NOT rubbery on the inside.
We traded buying rounds of drinks as we waited for our food to arrive. A few minutes later as our waitress set our food on the table we were slightly buzzed. I grabbed a couple of the drumsticks and proceeded to test out Mikeys assertion. To my surprise he was right! However, I still only ate two drumsticks. As Mikey and I started to discuss business I was impressed with his tenacity and clarity about what he wanted. He articulated his points with the thoroughness that only comes from the confidence of one who is comfortable in his own skin and his path. I am by no means a lightweight when it comes to negotiations but I found myself grudgingly respecting this young man who I had first underestimated.
As the talk of business wound down we settled into the enjoyment of the evening among new friends. We continued bar hopping around the Fruit Loop stopping at Fugazi, Cathode Ray where I met Karen, a fellow (Gay Republican, sort of) before heading to Club Marcella www.clubmarcella.com for the Drag Show and the “old” guys, (Joey and I) kept up right along with our younger counterparts. This is where it gets interesting. I had never been to a Drag Show before and I was nervous about going (the story behind this is for another post). We walked into the club to be met by a very large doorman checking id’s. He spoke with a high pitched voice that did not fit the mass of his person and said “Other Side Ladies…” and directed everyone to his designated line. As we walked in and had our wrists wrapped and stamped the bass of the sound system was making my heart vibrate, I think. We walked down the ramp to the stage area and over to the bar where some very hot bartenders took our drink orders. After a few sips we meandered over to the stage, me staying a safe distance away when the first dancer appeared, Steve Tabs as the fabulous Robotika 2Kay, followed by Keke Valasquez-Lord
Mikey works his way to the stage and proceeds to lay on his back on the stage with his feet on the floor around the stage. At first I thought, WTF is he doing but after looking closer I could see a folded dollar sticking out of his mouth. He lay quietly as Keke danced all around his body picking the outstretched dollar bills being offered by the crowd like I used to pick blackberries during the summer. With the skill and experience of a seasoned performer Keke reached down and grabbed the dollar bill from Mikey’s without missing a beat or losing the rhythm of her routine. As Mikey rejoined us Joe nudged me to give Keke my own dollar… With sweaty palms and a racing heart I grabbed Mikey and asked him to come with me as I approached the stage. I stood there with my outstretched arm lifting my dollar toward this larger than life performer and looked into her eyes as she took the dollar gently from my hands and smiled… I did it! I conquered a fear I had been carrying for years and went to a drag show with friends and I had a great time… I grew a little that night as a person, as a human being and as we spoke to Mikey, Keith and a couple of their friends I finally understood that our journey was not only a discovery of Gay America but also a journey of discovery about who I am as an open and proud Gay man.
We ended the night at 230am at the Underground Bar for our last drink of the night and then we drove Mikey and Keith back to their house aboard Priscilla and said our goodbyes. The drive back to the Seneca Niagara Casino www.senecaniagaracasino.com seemed quicker than previously, I suspect that it being 230am and hardly anyone on the roads had something to do with it. We settled into our usual spot and quickly got ready for bed… the next afternoon (we got up at noon) we spent the whole day recovering from the night before and getting some neglected work done but it was a great time hanging with Mike and Keith and some of their friends and worth every minute.