David's Sexual Underground - 5/22/23

 

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Greetings All,

 

It has been a rough week for me, which has put us behind schedule this week. I have been assisting a dear friend and mighty force in our greater LGBTQ+ community these past few months. When I came to Chicago in 1976, one of the first friends I made was Marge Summit, then owner of His N Hers, a popular community bar located under the L tracks on Addison.

 

Marge Summit in westernwear at His N Hers

 

Marge created a wonderful space that brought many facets of our community together to celebrate. Marge’s staff served us great drinks, prepared fabulous food including the best burger I ever enjoyed in Chicago. And Marge made a space for lots of local talent to perform, grow and succeed.

She became a dear friend and mentor to me in the service industry. Those of you who joined me for Chicago’s Original Country Dance after closing Carol’s Speakeasy should remember Marge helping us serve drinks at various spots along the way Pusch Studios, Paris Dance, Whiskey River, Bedrock to name a few.

 

Marge at the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame

 

As an icon of our community, Marge was there when AIDS first struck Chicago. Her support for many of the early organizations that came to be in response to this emergency was fantastic. Howard Brown, Chicago House, Open Hand and numerous others were causes championed at His N Hers in the 80s with the support of the talented artist that performed at the bar.

Marge did more than just host benefits; she took action when needed. One of my favorite things she did was to push peoples’ comfort zones.

 

Frank Kellas and Marge Summit in newspaper photo, cited as being named as Organizers of the Year from Gay Chicago for their commitment to the Gay Dollar Campaign

 

To stress the economic force of our community, Marge and her leather buddy Frank Kellas launched the Gay Dollar campaign. She bought rubber stamps that read Gay Dollar and stamped thousands of one dollar bills. In the 80s, that got the attention of the Feds. They visited her and threatened her if she persisted. She did persist and straight folks were forced to be embarrassed by handing over “gay money” when shopping, dining, etc.

You may not remember there was a small grocery store at the corner of Belmont & Broadway. The owners were unhappy as the neighborhood became “New Town” with gays moving into the area. Bars, stores catering to gays sprang up. With the fear of AIDS, the owners were afraid of contact with us. Marge would get friends to join her to each grab a grocery cart and fill it with all kinds of items, the smaller the better. Filling the carts, they would leave them at the checkout announcing they were gay. The fearful owners and staff would be forced to wipe off all the handled merchandise, fearing contamination of AIDS. Sound familiar?

Marge met the love of her life, Janan, in her later years and I was honored to host their wedding at my Country Dance at The Call. Sadly, we had to celebrate Janan’s passing there too. The past few months were hard for Marge, failing health and loneliness made it a vicious circle. I was fortunate to spend time with her, sharing memories, meals, helping her cope as she became weaker.

 

Marge and Janan

 

I got to sit with her one last time on Tuesday in her finally hours as she passed from this world knowing she would be reunited with her wife, Janan.

Marge was not part of our leather community, but she understood our side of the family. She was a great friend of Chuck Rodocker, Chuck Renslow and Jim Flint, all leather bar owners in the 70s and 80s. She stood with us as AIDs decimated the clubs and took the lives of so many leathermen.

This loss is not felt just by me but many others of our leather community of that era.

Thanks for allowing me to share this passing with you.

 

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David's Chicago Sexual Underground - 5/29/20

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Greetings P(r)icksters,

Still sitting here with an idle shot glass. Illinois just moved to Phase 3 on reopening which allows for some businesses to reopen, restaurants to serve outdoor seating. Phase 4 will permit fuller openings, indoor dining and bars to open with strict limits on the number of patrons we can have at one time. Here in Chicago, we will move to Phase 3 next week and hope, hope, hope Phase 4 by the end of June.

This down time has given us at Touche some time to tackle a few projects that would have been hard to do if we were open. The big job is refinishing the main bar. The bar in the front room has wooden cabinets and front with black counters and bar top. There is a nice wooden bar rail that runs the length of the bar but years of elbows and such have worn down the finish.

So we began a couple of weeks ago to remove the cabinet doors, sand them down, re-stain them and then polyurethane layers to keep them clean. This past week, we began the project of stripping off the old bar countertop and then sanding down the top and bar rail. Today we finish this process by cleaning up all the dust.

Next week it will be time to stain the wood rail, then the polyurethane and, last, install the new countertop. Trying to do this with the bar open would have been a nightmare. We would have had to do it in sections to be able to serve and add several more days to complete. Guess there is one good thing about being shut down.

Since this past Memorial Day weekend would have been IML weekend in Chicago, we hosted a Zoom leather party on Saturday. It was my first time doing something like this and it seemed to go fairly well. We had about 100 folks log in during the three hour event, with many hanging around all night. Being new to Zoom, I did not fully realize that folks could message each other or the whole group at the start and was concerned why folks were visible but not seeming engaged. It finally dawned on me that they were busy chatting with each other.

Lots of compliments, “glad you hosted this” and more let me know that it was a success. I’ll be planning more in the next few weeks while we wait to get the bar back open.

Right now, I am finalizing plans for when we do reopen. Guidelines for reopening will limit our capacity to 50 people at one time, so there goes any thoughts about big events. We will just focus our attention on safety procedures for when we have guests, keeping seats and counters sanitized, etc. But the big changes will be how we operate with limited crowds.

First of all, we will limit the space open for customers. Touche has the main bar in the front and our Club Room bar in the back. This area was originally a garage behind the building - an auto shop, so it is fairly large. Years ago before this space became Touche, the previous owner had connected the two buildings and built a bar in the old garage space.

When we reopen, we will not open this back bar, keeping the crowd to the main bar. That way the place won’t look deserted when the small crowd spreads out between the two bar spaces. Plus I can save on the A/C back there, now that summer is here. along with the coolers running to keep beer cold.

Another change will be the crowd itself. Before the shutdown, you could see that guys were already staying home as the virus spread, and our numbers were coming down. One question will be how many are ready to venture back out once we reopen. Less travel means less visitors, too. So we may be lucky to get 50 guests at one time.

A third change would operating at a 50 person limit. Much as I hate to admit it, some folks feel they can hang at a bar without spending a dime. Going back to our days with the Great Lakes Bears, we’d have a packed house and a line of guys waiting to get in to the wee hours. After the demise of the GLB and competing bars for the bear crowd, we no longer had lines outdoors but still did about the same bar ring. This told me we had guys taking up space inside that were not drinking, or “sucking ice” as we call it.

To make sure we can make enough sales to stay profitable, we may institute a drink minimum on weekends to ensure that if you are in the house, you are supporting the house. It’s a whole new world.

While I am figuring out when we open and what we will do for fun, go ahead and grab my P(r)ick this Week and make your own fun. It’s warming up so let’s enjoy the great outdoors this week. My first P(r)ick this week is Rangers from Surge Studio. Directed by Al Parker himself, this 1984 outdoor epic (shot in the Sierras) focuses on the exploits of the ever-vigilant, ever-patrolling park rangers (beefy, tattooed Chris West and lean Nick Rodgers) and the campers they come across.

Moving from the Sierras to northern California, my second P(r)ick this week is California Blue from 1983. The late, great cutie Scott O'Hara (the of the one time Biggest Dick in San Francisco) stars in and narrates this excellent little collection of sun-soaked scenes. This vintage gay porn movie is set in California, with beaches, redwood forests and the like, and it's definitely blue.

Enjoy a Bijou Classic to beat the stay-at-home blues (and beat something else).

David

To order from Bijou, visit bijouworld.com, call 800-932-7111, or email bijou.orders@gmail.com


Rangers images
Rangers (D00397) - On DVD and Streaming

California Blue images
California Blue (D01007) - On DVD and Streaming

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David's Chicago Sexual Underground - 4/22/20

 

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Greetings P(r)icksters,

You’d think since Touché is closed due to the Covid-19 virus, I would have lots of free time and be on top of things. But it’s just the opposite. I have no set schedule – don’t have to be at work at any set time, don’t have to work so many hours. Just meandering through my days here.

Oh, I have been busy. Taken the time off to do some housekeeping at the bar and at home, just not putting in that many hours each day. Decided I would use this down time to clear out stuff at both places. We literally pulled stuff out of the basement at the bar and are sorting what stays and what goes. You know how it is, you have a piece of wood, an extra light fixture, that backdrop for a staged event from 10 years ago, stuff you might use again and keep. It’s all piled up for the dumpster.

Doing the same at home clearing out closets, stuff under the sink, in this cubbyhole, etc. Got lots cleared out of storage, now just piled up in my living room for me to haul away. I have come across stuff I forgot I had and others that I couldn’t remember where I'd stashed. Like my train set (yes, I still have trains and track I pull out and play with). Though I haven’t found the box with the rest of the tracks and the power supply. Next stop, the basement storage locker.

I should have enough time to get through everything I have stored away. They announced today that Chicago and Illinois coronavirus cases should peak by mid May and with a 2 week waiting period, that would begin our comeback the end of May. It will be a gradual process to reopen businesses with bars way down at the bottom of the list. So I’m hoping for June sometime to get back to work.

The other big part of my day is Facebook. I am a latecomer to FB, I signed up a couple of years ago basically to promote events at the bar and my country dances I have been hosting for years. Mostly I would post an event and invite others, check on my family and friends and once in a blue moon post something that I felt was needed to share.

With this freer time, I have been on FB a lot more than before and reading a lot more comments, news, posts about this Covid-19 mess we are in. Of late, this rash of protest to “liberate” our nation. Now being mindful of purposely feeding misinformation on FB, I just got a video from a friend that just astounded me.

The video was of a woman stating she was in Jacksonville, Florida and she was all upset about the need to stay at home. The case she made was just so, so stupid. She claimed that up in Jacksonville where she was, was safe from coronavirus. They are safe up there because the hot spot in Miami was due to the numerous Mexicans (not Cubans, mind you) in the Miami area. And they all drink Corona beer in glass bottles.

Her logic for Jacksonville was that it is hot there, not the 70 degree hot in Minnesota, but daily 95 temps in Jacksonville that keep the virus at bay. Plus the salt in the water at the beach, that salt keeps things well. And... They drink Natural Light beer in cans. It’s natural beer, and it’s light beer and it’s in a can not a bottle, not imported Corona.

I can’t make this kind of stupid up. What is probably the most frightening thing about this is that this woman not only thinks this (Corona beer & Mexicans are the source) but that she feels good enough about this concept to post it online and that others around her will see this and agree with her. Be proud of her for her complete ignorance, meaning there are many more just as ignorant.

I can stay at home but thanks to FB, I can’t avoid the ignorance out there. Maybe I’ll spend a little less time on FB and watch more porn. I did uncover some more Bijou DVDs I had tucked away. Now I just have to choose who to spend tonight with: Al Parker, Jack Wrangler or Bruno.

Grab my P(r)ick this Week and get shacked up with Joe Gage’s Closed Set. For this plotless film, director Joe Gage invited the entire stable of Gagemen to the studio for an uninhibited orgy. Men. Dozens of them. Hairy, hung, horny men, stroking themselves, stroking each other. Fucking and sucking each other in pairs, threesomes and groups.

Now if you like solo action, my second P(r)ick of the Week is Beat Cop starring the muscular Donnie Russo as beat cop Sergeant Geraldi taking us from one crime and j/o scene to another. The criminals, Tony Lattanzi, Eddie Acosta, Richard DeSantis and Eddie Rodriguez are all uncut and jack-off to an excellent soundtrack.

Enjoy your “captivity” and stay safe with some fun from Bijou Video.

David

To order from Bijou, visit bijouworld.com, call 800-932-7111, or email bijou.orders@gmail.com

 

Closed Set images
Closed Set (D00042) - On DVD and Streaming

Beat Cop images
Beat Cop (D02659) - On DVD and Streaming
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David's Chicago Sexual Underground - 4/15/20

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Greetings P(r)icksters!

Still not much happening here with the shutdown in Illinois extend to April 30th. Looking like it might be late May before we may be allowed to reopen Touché. I’m okay with that, as the best pace to spread something like Covid-19 is a bar full of people. Not sure how they will determine what would be “safe” for us to reopen but am expecting bars to be down the list as businesses are allowed to get back to work.

Other than being a real penny pincher, I’m doing okay. Managing to pay my bills since I can’t go out for meals or drinks. Staying at home makes it easy to get by financially. Of course I’m horny as hell since my partner is stuck in his home 40 miles away. Not like either of us can go out and hook up anywhere. Porn has never been more “necessary” till now.

I am planning for things to get back come June and looking forward to a busy summer. The nagging question will be how we will operate in this age of the coronavirus. They may get infection rates down but if it continues to circulate we’ll have to figure out how to party while keeping an acceptable social distance. (Really huge dicks would help keep some distance, maybe.)

But in the meantime, I have been reading a lot. As a lover of history, I did watch the History Channel’s day long run of their The Bible shows on Sunday. I pulled out some of my history books and read along portions as the show unfolded. Got to put some dates along with the events depicted and got a better understanding of some Jewish history.

I have always been curious about what was happening in different places around the world at the same time. Looking at what happened in Egypt and Israel and then at what was happening in Asia and then in Europe and the new world at the same period. Always love how folks of western culture thinks of themselves as the pinnacle of man’s greatness, when these other cultures like China and India flourished while Europe was barely civilized.

Of course, religion was the main focus of this series, first the Jewish and then early Christianity. Many of these stories I had learned growing up. But in college, I began to learn more about other religions and after viewing this series, would like to know more about the history of other religions, too.

So what does religion have to do with porn? Well, as it happens, some of our early producers of gay films delved into this thorny subject. Many of our Bijou Classics came out of Hand In Hand Films. Director Jack Deveau established Hand In Hand Films in 1972 and allowed other directors to create some of the most imaginative gay films ever made. Big themed, big budget classics like The Idol, A Night at The Adonis and Adam and Yves, to name a few. Some of these classic titles from Hand In Hand Films dealt with religious themes, exploring gay men’s conflict with their religious upbringing and their sexual desires.

Which brings me to my P(r)ick of the Week, The Destroying Angel. Director Peter de Rome brings a balanced measure of storyline, emotion and steamy sex to this Bijou Video re-release of a truly unique classic gay porn film completed in 1976. Caswell Campbell (Tim Kent), a haunted young priest torn between the call of the cloth and his own pent-up feelings, takes a three month sabbatical and plunges himself into the world of man-sex and drugs.

Fans of the sword & sandal biblical epics should check out Hand In Hand’s Centurians of Rome. This ambitious classic gay porn film - a blockbuster epic production - stars George Payne (Demetrius) and Scorpio (Octavius) as Roman countrymen sold into slavery for not paying their taxes during Caligula's reign as Emperor. Immense scripting, acting, set design, direction and superior efforts were all combined to make this one of the most sought-after gay films of all time! 31 luscious men sprawl across the screen with realistic uniforms and costumes, dungeon equipment and steamy (and often rough) sexual encounters adding to their passionate fight for freedom and man-love.

Who says history and religion can’t be fun? No wonder I like doing “research” - want to study with me?

David

To order from Bijou, visit bijouworld.com, call 800-932-7111, or email bijou.orders@gmail.com



The Destroying Angel images
The Destroying Angel (D00132) - On DVD and Streaming

Centurians of Rome images
Centurians of Rome (D00224) - On DVD and Streaming
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David's Chicago Sexual Underground - 4/1/20

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Greetings P(r)icksters!

Hopefully this finds you hunkered down until this Covid-19 virus crisis is over. The state shut down the bars in Illinois on March 16th and just today extended the closure order thru April 30th. So much for the Bloody Mary and Rusty Nail drink specials for Easter weekend.

It’s kind of hard to talk about what’s going on when in reality its absolutely nothing!

The weekend before the closure we were encouraged to limit the number of patrons in the bar, to keep it under 100. Was not much of a problem here, many folks had already started avoiding crowds and business was falling off steadily in the preceding weeks.

Since Saint Patrick’s Day was that coming Tuesday, we knew it would be a busy bar weekend. The city cancelled the parade to avoid the crowds downtown, but the crowds around the bars were too much for our Governor and we got the shutdown order that Monday.

Leather fetish events scheduled in March, April and May are all being cancelled or postponed. No big IML weekend over Memorial Day weekend to kick off our summer. But it was a necessary step to stop folks from gathering in large numbers and allowing the virus to spread.

Good thing, too, as since then it has become clear how quickly this virus has spread and how deadly it can be. It’s odd to see Chicago almost a ghost town. The food stores are busy all day but they try to limit the number indoors, hand out gloves and ask for “social distancing” while you shop. Still can't figure out the hoarding of toilet paper. The virus attacks your lungs, doesn’t give you the shits.

Reports of shortages of supplies for healthcare workers are the big concern. We’ve seen what’s been happening in New York, Boston and other east coast cities. We expect Chicago to peak in mid April and the city and state here are trying to stockpile supplies before it hits. Which has medical supplies coming in from all kinds of places - construction sites, businesses and more.

I even saw a report that over in the U.K. that a fetish dealer made a donation. Seems that MedFet U.K. provides medical gear for folks who like to play doctor & nurse. They donated their stock of masks, protection suits and gloves to local health officials. I wonder how many other fetish stores have supplies that could be used in this emergency.

So while we are just hanging out at home, we can play doctor, too. My P(r)ick of the Week first choice is Steve Scott’s Games from 1983. Featuring Al Parker, Giorgio Canali & Leo Ford during the first Gay Games in San Francisco. One of the scenes takes place in a hospital with the good doctor applying some therapy to an injured athlete.

Let’s stretch the doctor theme to 1985’s Blacklode. This Marksman Production centers around a doctor/scientist studying the human orgasm and his need for studs to provide “samples” for his work. Any excuse to watch some humpy black men pull on their big dicks works for me.

Take one or two and you’ll be feeling better in no time at all. Keep them handy if you suffer a relapse and need more therapy. Let’s play doctor!

David

Games images
Games (D00271) - On DVD and Streaming

Blacklode images
Blacklode (D00826) - On DVD and Streaming
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