Drag Queens & Aluminum Chairs
Mo met his Aussie friend Lisa in New York. Meeting up in Perth, he goes to one of her no-bits-barred poetry reads.
“The Court Hotel?”
“Yeah, The Court Hotel. That’s where I’m going to be reading. It’s a gay bar. But don’t worry, we’ll meet at another bar with everyone else just to make certain you don’t feel uncomfortable about going in by yourself.”
Now this was going to be interesting. A friend of mine named Lisa, here in Perth, was finally going to let me view one of her readings. I had heard of these readings quite a few times when she was living in New York, but I never went. Now by sheer coincidence I was going to hear one, not long upon my arrival! I was excited!
Lisa is a striking former model who had modeled in Tokyo, Thailand, and other parts of the world. She’s blond and extremely good-looking; I met her in New York through a friend named Michelle, and when we initially met I knew that this Australian was going to be one helluva hellraiser! Gregarious and quite funny, Lisa was one of a few people I know that would have me in stitches on the most simplest of comments. I dunno if it was the comment that actually made me laugh when she spoke, though. I think its more the way she says it almost like the timing of a comedian, which I always told her should be her true career.
Being the true Aussie she is, Lisa brought that sense of timing and freewheeling towards her writing. And her form of writing is poetry. But not just any poetry. Erotic poetry. She loves anything associated with it, and of course that means our most famous of human pastimes on the planet copulation (or sex, for the uneducated). In all ways and directions. Knowing that she already had a play written about the male penis, which I had failed to hear while she lived in New York, I was very eager to listen to her readings as an erotic writer. I’m sure it would be vivid!
So after meeting up and having a few loosening drinks, myself and several of Lisa’s friends and family went to this gay bar called The Court Hotel, right in the middle of Perth.
Perth, on the coast of Western Australia, had by far the best weather I’d seen yet in Oz. Just after getting off the plane at the airport, my skin didn’t feel as clammy and sweaty as it did when I stepped off the plane in Brisbane. Nor did I feel the wall of heat and humidity that I felt when I first landed in Proserpine, near Airlie Beach. The humidity was down; there was a breeze blowing, and on top of that I knew there were beaches nearby especially Cottsloe, a beach I’d heard so much about. I did feel the same fly that had been somehow following me all across Australia though, land on my forehead! That was one thing about the country I noticed in summer, the sandflies are everyplace. And they follow you everywhere. I was sure glad I wasn’t in the center of Oz visiting Ulhuru, for I heard the flies out there were in plague proportions!
The Court Hotel was a dark place, looking like any normal pub that you would see in Oz. One long, long bar where people ordered drinks, a few dimly lit areas where people could get cozy, a couple of pool tables, some large fans up on the ceiling, a CD jukebox playing the latest tunes. There was a large dance floor in the rear of the place as well, with a DJ booth and spinning multi-colored lights.
But you knew the place wasn’t “straight,” for everyone in there was gay. Flamers, drag queens, butch dykes, lipstick lesbos and masculine men abounded in the place. Transvestites played pool at the tables. The bathrooms had no doors, and people could see straight into the men’s room to observe what you were doing. Contrary to what I thought would happen, the gay men left me alone this time (by this trip to Australia, my third, I had quite a few run-ins with gay men, being a delectable Black American and all). Possibly they thought that one of Lisa’s friends was my boyfriend or something? It left me to observe and see how the other half lived and played, which in a general sense is almost exactly like us heterosexuals, except they enjoy the same sex.
From where we sat, there was a small stage with two chairs, two spotlights shining down upon them, where Lisa and her friend Sarah would read. There was a sign written on a chalkboard just to the next of them that said “Sex on The Rocks.” The title of Lisa’s writings. To the left of the stage was the control desk where the volume and feedback were controlled. A gay guy and a butch dyke worked the knobs and levers there, intent on keeping the feedback from getting out of control.
Lisa’s piercing eyes stared at me. “Ya know Mo, I’m a little nervous. Sarah’s supposed to be here right now and she hasn’t even shown up.” She giggled a nervous laugh. “Quite possibly you’ll be helping me if she’s a no-show.” Looking at my own watch it was almost 9pm. But calming Lisa down, I told her that I wouldn’t need to, since I’m sure Sarah would show up in time. Might I say that there was a bead of sweat running down my forehead when I said that?