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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



chicago whispers
Lesbomania shows ...
by Sukie de la Croix

This article shared 1244 times since Wed Mar 7, 2001
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"Periodically I would do a show at Mountain Moving Coffeehouse. The shows were usually my songs, but I would put in some other humorous elements—things that later ended up in my columns. I would have humorous slides going along with it sometimes. So when my columns were published as a book, I made a formal presentation of all these slide shows. For instance, there's a piece in my first book 'Lesbomania' showing that lesbians from outer space had built the pyramids in Ancient Egypt. Well that became a whole slide thing; I had visuals to go along with the story.

"After Lesbomania was published, David Zak at the Bailiwick was putting together some things for Pride Week, and he called me up and said, 'I hear you've got this very funny slide show, do you want to come and do it for Pride Week?' So I did it two or three years in a row. Then in 1996, after my second book, Tales from the Dyke Side, came out, I did a Lesbomania tour around Europe. I performed it in Germany—Berlin, Munster, Gottingen—and then in Edinburgh. I didn't do a slide show in Paris, but I did a reading there." &emdash; Jorjet Harper

Note: Jorjet Harper's books Lesbomania and Tales from the Dyke Side are both published by New Victoria Publishers.

The Club Baths ...

'I was an active member of the Club Baths located at 609 N. LaSalle St. from about 1974-1979. The Club Baths was a place to go and have endless sex, it was very rare to meet a lover there.

"During that era just about every building structure, from Clark and Huron, all the way to Clark and Division, was a gay establishment. What happened to our empowerment? Anyway—I remember going to a nightclub called the Ritz, located about three blocks north of Chicago and State. The Ritz, by 1976, was a predominantly Black gay bar. The music was out of sight; I think the DJ's name was Larry Fox. In the back, by the bathroom, people would smoke weed and snort coke. Then they would go to the dancefloor and sniff poppers. I had a bike whistle hung around my neck and I would blow on it at the appropriate moment, while Donna Summer's 'Bad Girls' played.

"The Ritz was a pick-up bar. I would go there on a Saturday night, with friends, and we'd make bets on who would score before last call, that would be about 4:45 a.m. The lucky ones would go to the Oak Street restaurant on Oak and Rush Street, with their trade, to have breakfast. The rest of us would go to the LaSalle Baths. They were open 24 hours. At a time when no one thought of AIDS; what a thrill it was to go there, after the bars closed, and be a little intoxicated, and have sex until what seemed like an eternity.

"The windows were painted black, so you had no sense of what time it was. I usually had sex with about 20 guys in one night! The worst thing that could happen afterwards was that, in about five days, you had the clap. Then you'd go to the Board of Health, nick-named 'The Little Red Schoolhouse' at 26th & State, and get your penicillin shot.

"There were people into all kinds of kinky sex. It wasn't unusual to hear the sound behind closed doors, of someone having the hell slapped out of them, or being spanked unmercifully.

"The most intriguing spot in there was the orgy room. In there you could feel bodies and dicks everywhere. Unfortunately, someone who felt good in the dark turned out to be a troll in the light.

"One time I went into the orgy room, and I saw the silhouette of a man laid out on top of one of the carpeted bench levels. There was a line of about 15 men taking turns screwing him, so I decided to get in line and get some too. By the time I got my turn to enter the guy, there was just so much cum in his hole that it was oozing out everywhere. He was so high on something that I don't think he knew where he was at or how much he was being taken advantage of.

"There was another bathhouse, that was short-lived called Arabian Nights, I think it was somewhere near Berwyn—and each room had private TV screens showing X-rated movies. Anyway—by 1979-'80 the bathhouse's began closing one by one, probably because of the AIDS scare. Anyway, I had some great times there; you can't have the kind of fun we had back then. People today have too many issues and they take life too serious, they've allowed machinery to replace imagination." &emdash; M.P.

Memory check: I don't know when the CBC Club Chicago Baths opened, but it was there in 1970 when it was raided by police and one customer was arrested for prostitution. The baths then were owned by RFZ Enterprises, Inc. and Chuck Renslow was listed as an officer.

On Saturday, Nov. 28, 1976, Mr. Club Baths International '76 was held in the Grand Ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago. The new Mr. Club Baths was selected from 36 entries representing Club Bath outlets around the U.S. and Canada.

Entertainment for the contest included Gotham, Frannie, Tony Lewis and Company, and Pam and Jan. General admission was $5 with a $3 additional charge for reserved seating.

The Ritz, located at 937 N. State St., was the victim of two arson attacks June 1 and Sept. 2, 1981. Fred Morris, who said at the time that he owned the bar in conjunction with the 937 N. State Corporation, said: "I guess my competition doesn't like me or the bar. I can't see any other reason for somebody to try and burn us up."

The bar had opened about 1970 and from 1976 on had been a predominantly Black gay male disco bar.

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 WCT. He also interviews over the phone or by e-mail

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