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).


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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Is Sex Dead? Part One


More gay bars are closing. So we've heard. But then I heard Touché Chicago is undergoing a major renovation. 

Touche Chicago facade

Who goes to gay porn theaters to watch movies (ostensibly), other than at the legendary Bijou Theater? It's still hopping late weekend nights/early mornings. 

And based on a random sampling of craiglist ads (not exactly a scholarly statistical source), plenty of man-on-man sex is still happening outdoors in forest preserves and indoors in adult “bookstores.” There's one in the Chicago suburb of Roselle that gets mentioned at least once a week as the site of some tryst. 

woods and Roselle adult book store

Oh, I forget about the activities in the bathrooms at Macy's and some of the train stations. Ogilvie (what used to called Northwestern Station in Chicago) seems to be quite popular these days. 

So, what's different about man-on-man sex these days (not just the public sex I've noted is still going on) these days, say, compared to not just the pre-AIDS 1970s (sad that one needs to divide LGBT history that way) but the ensuing decades when AIDS drastically changed sexual interaction between gay men and also much of gay social culture? 

The obvious answer is the technology. One could argue that gay men pretty much energized online interaction as early as the 1990s (anyone remember those America Online chat rooms)? Then the Internet became mobile with the advent of laptops and wireless technology. And of course the cellphone which became the multifaceted smartphone/i-phone changed the medium of the sex hunt, but not the goal itself. 

But I really wonder if all those wondrous social media apps have really “killed” physical sex. What was cruising in the docks and parks and bar backrooms in the 1970s and in the 1980s via 1-888 numbers and personal ads has become today's hook-ups via apps. 

Of course, it's so easy to substitute jack off sessions via the phone for actual physical sex, but don't forget, before instagrams and youtube videos, magazines and books served much the same purpose. 

So, what is really going on in this scenario? I think you have to got to start by exploring the type of man-on-man sex that was going on the 1970s, which you can see in several of our Bijou titles. 

More, much more to follow on this subject in a later blog. 

Rest assured, sex is not dead. The madwoman Arachne in Drive has not won and will never win! 

Christopher Rage as Arachne in Drive

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