Sunday, February 05, 2006

And The Winner Is...

Well, I found dozens of pictures and such - i'll get a few scanned to give you full images to go along with the posts. But first, I had to share this: it's an official ballot for the 1982 Gay News Lambda Awards, recognizing the best of Philly's gay community, circa 1981. You can totally tell the era, as the majority of the ballot is for the bar community. Years later, the Lambda Awards began to recognize those in the community that were doing their part to fight AIDS, healthcare as well as domestic partner and other legal issues.

But let's travel back to 1981 and see who was in the running, shall we?

For the Best Bar we have 5 nominations:
  • Equus - now 12th Air Command
  • Odyssey II - which was located on a dead-end alley near 15/Spruce
  • Westbury - the original, located at the corner of 15/Spruce in the first floor of the Westbury Apartments
  • Woody's - which was the new place in town, it was just the street level oval bar at this point in time: no 2nd floor, no extentions.
  • Your Place - now Key West
There were 3 piano bars in the running:
  • Drury Lane (which I mentioned in an earlier post)
  • Equus
  • Odyssey II>
And - back when everything was new, Philly had FOUR lesbian bars (unlike now, when it can barely keep one alive):
  • Dee's Place - located on the 500 block of South Street I believe
  • PBL Club - this became Mamzelle's which then became The Bike Stop
  • Rainbows -this became The Kennel Club and now is a parking lot
  • Sneakers -located on north 3rd street right off Market - a mean little space!
There are three Black gay bars in nomination, since unoffiically, segregation was alive and well back then - rarely would you see black gay men at places like the Westbury or Equus - some, but not many. Most went to 'their' bars. Quite frankly, so did I, since the music was WAY cooler!!
  • Catacombs - underneath The Second Story disco, 12/Walnut
  • Smart Place - 9/Arch
  • Swan Club (I can't remember where this place was...)
The city had FOUR leather bars in 1981, and the leather community was heavy around 17th Street area:
  • Cell Block - above the DCA (I will post specifically about the DCA this week)
  • The Loft (I forget where this was)
  • The Post - still behind The Warwick Hotel 17/Locust
  • 247 - now The Black Sheep restaurant and bar on 17th
The ballot goes on to list Best Disco (DCA always won), along with Best Bartender, Disc Jockey, Restaurant, and the most telling sign that the community was sailing in the calm before the storm is the obvious lack of any health-related groups in the "Distinguished Community Service from a Non-Profit Org" category:
  • Eromin Center: This center came out of the Gay Switchboard and was a mental health center for the gay community. It was founded in 1973.
  • Gay Community Center: this center became known as Penquin Place, which folded when the William Way Community Center opened in the mid-90s.
  • Beth Ahavah: Serving the LGBT Jewish community since 1975
  • 6th District Police Watch: this was a group that not only had a town watch element, but also kept an eye on the police of the 6th district, since homophobia still ran rampant at this point. (Remember, we were just leaving the Rizzo years).
  • Black & White Men Together: this became Men of All Colors Together later in the 80s
  • Lesbian & Gay Coffeehouse: another name for where all the AA members hung out at the time!
  • Gay Switchboard: These folk have been around for well over 30 years. They are now part of the William Way Center.
  • 13th Street Business Association: this is now the East of Broad Improvement Association.
  • I can't recall the winners - but the ceremonies were held at the DCA on April 4 1982 beginning at 9pm. Ballots were mailed to the Gay News offices, 233 S 13th Street (in that crumbling rowhouse building I posted about earlier!)

1 comment:

Liz said...

Sneakers -located on north 3rd street right off Market - a mean little space!

Sneakers was the old haunt of myself and my ex b/f. The beers were cheap and the girls were fun! One time my ex even entered the wet T-shirt contest (he didn't win). Yea, that was a fun place.