Last Call’s affinity for queer Clubland can be summarized in the immortal words of Alicia Bridges: I love the nightlife. I got to boog-ay. On the disco ra-ha-ounnnd. Yeah.

Why’s the gay and lesbian scene so much fun? A.) Theater majors know how to party – self-loathing know-it-alls usually do. B.) Unlike at Fort Worth’s non-queer hang-outs – where the male primates are pitched in a constant, meaningless, exceedingly annoying battle for what they think is alpha status – the physical interaction in the gay/lesbo joints is mostly affectionate (and frequently sweaty). And C.) gays and lesbians are so used to flouting convention that they don’t really care who or what you are, as long as you’re yourself. Just be sure that if you’re straight, your clothes don’t make you look like you’re trying too hard. There’s nothing more offensive to a gay man with taste (that’s all of them, right?) than a straight guy or gal desperate to appear to be something that he or she isn’t, namely hip ‘n’ cool. Jerk-off frat daddies, don’t sport sarcastic mullets. Stupid sorority chicks, don’t wear sarcastic neon hoop earrings. Non-hot people, do not – for the love of Tinky Winky – tog leather pants, for a goof or otherwise. The queer community thanks you in advance for your restraint.

You know the old saying: two steps forward, one step back. Well, the maxim is totally appropriate in reference to queer Clubland. Look at all of the relatively new gay/lesbo joints that have closed over the past year or so – the Corral Club, Club Vivid, Club Trix. Then check out how many new gay/lesbo places have either recently opened or are about to, Changes (2004), Hot Shots, and a club whose soft opening I attended last weekend, Stampede.


Formerly the Corral, Stampede has the good fortune of arriving at around the same time as the Hollywood blockbuster Brokeback Mountain, a love story about two handsome cowboys who repeatedly tell themselves and each other that they aren’t “queer” and blame their repeated sexual encounters on merely trying to stay warm in the cold Wyoming wilderness. (I’m surprised they don’t blame it on “research.”) The serendipity was manifest at Stampede primarily in the decent-sized, mostly male crowd, there ostensibly to take in the zeitgeist – and the décor: The walls are, um, hung with images of studly looking ‘pokes. Plus, the jukebox is loaded with the empowering music of sensitive men and strong women. (Last Call hearts Belinda Carlisle!)

The Western theme is carried over into another new joint, one whose previous long-standing incarnation has a storied history in the North Texas queer scene. In the spot previously occupied by the legendary Magnolia Station (600 Magnolia Av, FW), the forthcoming and sentimentally named Station is scheduled for a March 1 opening, right in time for the Texas Gay Rodeo Association’s annual event. The new club is owned by the same people behind the wildly popular Hot Shots.

No one knows for certain why the other places didn’t work, and no one knows if the new places are going to fare any better. But keep this in mind: As little as three years ago, there were only a handful of queer-friendly joints in town, and most of them had been around for years. Some folks would even say that these hangouts had become so 1993, even in 1994. Now there’s new blood, new clubs, and – in the immortal words of Patti LaBelle – a new attitude. Don’t look now, but that queer renaissance that blossomed in other metropolitan cities, oh, about 20 years ago is finally, quietly reaching the Fort. In the immortal words of closeted homo Jim Morrison: Tell all the people.

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