Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-02-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THE AMAZON TRAIL Happy hours
by Lee Lynch
2017-10-11

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


One day, out of the blue, I received an email from well-respected writer Renee Bess. In her thoughtful, elegant style, she asked if I would be interested in working together to produce an anthology about the role gay bars have played in our lives.

I was on board before I finished reading. A gay bar anthology, I immediately thought, was a brilliant idea and worked in so many ways.

For one thing, it would capture a big chunk of our history, and document it, whether it be in the form of memoirs or poems or fiction or essays. For another, it would honor that history. Perhaps, I hoped, it would give young LGBT people an understanding of the attraction of the bars, of places of our own, back when holding hands under a table was both daring and forbidden. Happy Hours: Our Lives In The Gay Bars is not about the pleasures or tragedies of alcohol, but the camaraderie we found—or didn't find—inside those loud, dark, smoke-filled rooms where we took our freedoms.

Renee emphasized how important it was to her to have a widely diverse collection. I felt the same and we committed to vigorous outreach.

Renee proposed we do the book as a fundraiser for youth shelters, the antithesis of the bars. All profits would go to that cause. Sounded perfect to me. We both chose programs in the cities where we entered the gay world, Philadelphia for Renee and New York for me.

We had an enormous pool of contributors from which to draw. Not many writers resisted the companionship offered in the heydays of the bars. That's where we could feel normal for a while, where we could go to hang out with friends, meet our soulmates, dance, celebrate, blot out pain with liquor and sympathetic ears, and be our real selves for a few hours.

Not to romanticize the experience, the bars also gave us the opportunity to feel isolated from our own people, breathe in dangerous levels of tobacco smoke, develop into alcoholics, get into fights, be ripped off by the owners, and arrested by the police. I wrote a whole book about that last, it's called The Raid.

When I did Off the Rag: Lesbians Writing on Menopause and The Butch Cook Book, my co-editors and I had to coax, beg, plead, transcribe and otherwise badger submissions from women interested in writing about the subject. With Happy Hours, Renee and I were elated to be inundated with heartfelt, quality donations of every type of writing from a hefty cross section of our tribe.

And donations they were. We're really hoping to make a difference to our kids with this fundraiser; every stitch of work is volunteered. Of course, writers are used to giving away our work just to get it into print somewhere. This time, though, the publisher, Patty Schramm is taking no money and expending hours and hours plus a goodly sum for producing the book, which will be the inaugural project for her company, Flashpoint Publications. Patty's knowledge of the publishing process is magic. She's doing the typesetting herself.

Award-winning cover artist Ann McMan is in great demand, yet gave her time not only to produce a genius cover, but to our requests for tweaks and changes. The result is a dynamic and irresistible cover that truly represents what's inside. Writers Lori Lake and Nann Dunn have also heartily pitched in. Editing, copyrighting—all the unglamorous stuff has been taken over by the gay women who seem to live to create and broaden our literature.

My energy reserves get lower every year, but I knew this book needed to be out there and Renee was the perfect partner to make it happen. She's done all the hard administrative work: concept, complications, keeping on top of things. We're both pretty low key and agreeable types, so have had no conflicts or arguments. A lot of the time, all I had to do was say yes to Renee's creative ideas.

I continue to be stunned by the devotion everyone has shown to our cause. The ambitious contributors, though, are a special breed. Their excitement over Happy Hours is a joy to see. All they needed was the go-ahead and they began promotion and marketing on their own.

Our writers and poets make a little community, with their wide spectrum of gender, color, backgrounds and ethnicity.

All the collaborators remind me of the old days, when we were so embattled, a united front was a necessity. While I don't long for the days of collectives, communes, and the teachings of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, Happy Hours is the product of the kind of enthusiastic shared undertaking that powered the labor, civil-rights, women's and gay-rights movements.

After the Stonewall riots, it may be the best thing to ever come out of our bars.

Copyright Lee Lynch 2017


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Before Stonewall, The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community restoration out in June 2019-02-13 - ( February 14, 2019 ) — First Run Features is proud to announce the theatrical re-release of the legendary documentary Before Stonewall: The ...


Gay News

Windy City Times Election Guide, candidate interviews and printable chart 2019-02-13 - PRINTABLE CHART ONLY For the printable chart only, please follow the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/2019chartsforweb.pdf . INTERVIEWS AND ELECTION NEWS For all candidate ...


Gay News

THE AMAZON TRAIL How to celebrate Valentine's Day 2019-02-13 - Valentine's Day is one of those do-it-yourself celebrations. There are no parades or feasts or family gatherings. When I was single, I ...


Gay News

LETTER Miscarriages of justice 2019-02-13 - Dear Editor: The lenient sentencing of Jason Van Dyke for his murder of LaQuan McDonald calls to mind the White Nights from ...


Gay News

'FACES: Out and Proud' debuting March 1 2019-02-11 - The Center on Halsted is presenting "FACES: Out & Proud," an exhibition of the fine art photographs by Chicagoan Chuck Kramer. The ...


Gay News

Clarence Darrow Commemoration, two events March 13 2019-02-07 - The Clarence Darrow Commemorative Committee will hold the annual wreath-tossing and symposium commemorating Darrow on the 81st anniversary of Darrow's death on Wed., ...


Gay News

Gerber/Hart Library History of LGBTQ Activism lecture and other dates 2019-02-06 - A four-part series of talks on the history of LGBTQ activism will be given by LGBTQ historian John D'Emilio on the four Thursdays ...


Gay News

LETTER Darkness 2019-01-30 - To the editor: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is a local parish in the heart of Chicago's Boystown. It is situated between Halsted ...


Gay News

SCOTUS upholds trans military ban with 'no-blanket ban' 2019-01-30 - With a mostly conservative Supreme Court—Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and ...


Gay News

Colleagues, student remember generous gay art-history professor 2019-01-30 - Martha Pollak remembered colleague Ross Edman bringing his Pekinese dogs to campus at the University of Illinois at Chicago ( UIC ), which ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.