More E-mails from William Krick ...
Gay Horizons ...
"First, I would add to the last question some more specifics as to the type of people who came to us; I have recalled some specific people—there was Gjerte the schizophrenic, there was Frank the scam artist (he didn't take anybody in at our place, but I know he was taking someone in—he was very attractive), and others on the borders of society. So those people were there, of course, in abundance, in addition to the regular people dealing with gay issues. Gjerte was gay, but schizophrenic—they know more about his condition now (schizophrenia) but it is still pretty difficult to handle.
"I departed all Gay Horizons activities in 1979 when I moved to San Francisco. However, I left the Clinic in 1975 and that fall began the VD Baths Project. This was a project formed by me and the Board of Health with the cooperation of the Baths owners. Man's Country (Gary Chichester in particular; Chuck Renslow) was the prime target, though I did go to the Club Baths once a month, and to the Steam Works occasionally. I would note that I had the cooperation and able assistance of the Gay Medical Student volunteers and non-medical people (such as Ron Dickson and other GH members) which bothered Mr. Shasky and the Howard Brown people; they were extremely threatened by my presence and probably only sighed a sigh of relief when I moved to SF. They were constantly trying to take over the Baths project, but the Medical Students (who I admired tremendously because this was definitely not a good time to come out in medicine, including such stalwarts as Neal Luchese, Sam Tucker, Bob Stanley, Gary R___ (I can't remember his last name just yet, but I believe he has a good clinic in Minneapolis now) and others kept the two distinct.
"We tiptoed the line trying not to get HB too upset by the continual work by me. It was stressful, and was probably influential in helping me decide to move, though the prime influence was someone I was in love with. So that was not a GH activity nor a HB activity, and I did that from 1975-1979. They gave me a plaque to commemorate it, and HB hated to do even that. I am sorry there was so much fear at that time, but volunteer organizations obviously are places for that, and the '70s were certainly not an easy time in that regard as no one had any experience in these sorts of things. Of course, today, those things still happen, but it is more open and clear in that these are personality /political clashes. It was then, too, but was not so open about it.
"So, I held no office in GH after 1975-1976. I think I filled in 1976, but certainly by 1977, I had no official presence in GH nor did I desire one. I was busy working with Gay Pride Committee, Gay Methodists (who may no longer exist) and a full-time job at the college. I did attend annual meetings, and I worked at the switchboard throughout that time; as I said I met one of the best friends a person could have in 1978 while dealing with the Switchboard work. I also, later in SF, got calls from some people in Chicago who called the Gay Switchboard; however, I think the one person was either a crank (he tried to call me collect in SF) or was coming out, and was still trying to deal with that in some very strange ways. Basically, 1977 and 1978 were years working at the Switchboard, coffeehouse and participating in various events in a supportive role."
Memory check: On a different subject entirely, Jim Edminster phoned me recently about an interview I did with Chuck Renslow. Renslow was talking about his disco Zolar and how he used the decor that was there already. Edminster tells me that he believes the decor dated back to when the bar was owned by Al Capone.
Edminster also points out that Zolar was not the first bar in Chicago to have a Plexiglass floor. He's right about that, because in November 1972 Broadway Sam's was renovated with a new front, ceiling, multicolored lights and a new solid Plexiglass dance floor, 12-foot wide and 22-foot long.
I also received an e-mail from Gideon Halvah: "I saw your article on outlineschicago.com, in which you refer to Brandy Alexander, the female impersonator mentioned in Shilts' book. This was not Gayle Sherman. This Brandy lived in NY and was my friend and playmate for some years before. Brandy was a great entertainer and a wonderful lover (although incredibly promiscuous even for her place and time). I wish someone would tell her story ... ."
Are there any readers out there who visited the following bars: Waldman's, Benny the Bums, Windup, Carousel, Joe's Deluxe, Kitty Kat Club, Scarlet Ribbon, Volli-Bal, or the Midget Inn? Also looking for friends and associates of mobsters Jimmy Allegretti and Jake Guzik. Does anyone know what happened to Louis Gager, Finnie, Lundy Fisher, Nathan Zukerman, Ralph Marco, Rev. Clarence Cobb, Wilbur "Hi-Fi" White and Nick Dellasandro. I'm also looking for friends of Barbara Beckman and guys represented by lawyers Renee Hanover and Pearl Hart. Does anyone know anything about Steve's Health Club on Division and LaSalle around 1962, or the Second City Motorcycle Club about the same time?
I'm also looking for photographs and memorabilia from gay bars that I can scan and use for a future project.
Future historians take note: The memory section in this column contains just that - memories - and are only to be used as a starting point for your research. Send your stories to Sukie de la Croix at Windy City Times. You can leave a message on his voicemail at 773-871-7610. He interviews over the phone, in person, or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
What A Difference
A Gay Makes
U.S.: Gay and lesbian police officers file suit in federal court against the New York City Police Department, contending that the department had not treated an organization of gay law enforcement workers as an equal of other fraternal organizations. The Gay Officers' Action League, or GOAL, is the main plaintiff in the suit. The group maintains in the complaint that the Police Department violated constitutional guarantees by refusing the league permission to have a ceremony and set up a display at police headquarters honoring the contribution of gay police officers. * In Washington D.C., a divided U.S. appeals court upholds the controversial "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue" policy allowing the firing of military members who say they are gay. In the first appellate ruling on the controversy, the court by a 9-4 vote declared the policy constitutional and said the discharge of Paul Thomasson, 33, a gay U.S. Navy lieutenant represented "an appropriate exercise of military authority." * Camp Sister Spirit hosts the 8th Gulf Coast Womyn's Festival in Ovett, Mississippi. * Ilka Tanya Payan, the Dominican-born soap-opera star and New York civic leader, dies of AIDS dies of AIDS aged 53.
U.S.: In Norman, OK., University of Oklahoma regents vote down a student-backed amendment to the student code that would have given gay and bisexual students protected status as a minority group. * Jecquin Stitt, a pre-op transsexual from Michigan, wins the Ladies' Home Journal Oprah Winfrey look-alike contest. * In Salt Lake City, eight members of Queer Nation show up at Mormon church headquarters to be personally excommunicated from the faith. * In New York, the Montefiore Medical Center announces that it is extending spousal benefits to domestic partners of its lesbian and gay staff members. In doing so, Montefiore becomes the largest private business in the U.S. to include domestic partners in its program. * The first issue of Diseased Pariah News, a new humor 'zine written by, and for, PWA's is published.
U.S.: An auction of Rock Hudson memorabilia at the William Doyle Galleries in New York raises $84,000. * Rosemary Kuropat, co-director of the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force, resigns, pointing to difficulties she had raising funds for the organization. * My Beautiful Launderette, starring Gordon Warnecke and Daniel Day Lewis, is in the movie theaters. * Despite a plea to President Reagan for clemency, Australian Anthony Sullivan, who fought the Immigration and Naturalization Service for 10 years to remain in the U.S. with his lover Richard Adams, is denied immigrant status. * Lisa "Hershey" Hirschkop, accused of assaulting a police officer during a protest of Gov. Dukakis' homophobic foster care policy, is found not guilty in Boston Municipal Court. * Britain: British tenor Peter Pears, lifelong lover of composer Benjamin Britten, dies aged 75.
U.S.: Ebony magazine publishes an article, "Is Homosexuality a Threat to the Black Family?" which seeks to dispel the myth that whites introduced homosexuality into the Black community to weaken and destroy it. * The Indiana Gay and Lesbian State Conference is held in Terre Haute. The theme is "The New Right - Policies and Attitudes." * Australia: Over 700 people gather outside the Parliament House in Sydney to support the move to amend the sexual assault bill by repealing the anti-homosexual sections of that law. * Italy: The Communist Mayor of Rome opens the Protomoteca Hall on Capitone Hill to all gay Italians for meetings and discussions on gay problems. * Iran: Two men are executed for gay "crimes." Aged 24 and 30, they are killed by firing squad in the central Iranian city of Shiraz.
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