Tuesday, August 11, 2009

goings on about town

The Daily Bulletin is full of surprises (and not just Dave Allen's columns). A couple of days ago, I had my consciousness raised: The Brick is a gay bar. I had no idea; being a middle-aged frump who is in bed by 11 and whose best attempt to look hip is a black t-shirt with her mom jeans, I'm clueless when it comes to Pomona nightlife.

It delights me that we have the coolest gay bar in the West Inland Empire. But that's not the only way our fair city represents sexual diversity: We're getting an LGBT Center, and the grand opening is on Saturday. Hats off to the Western University student who is the driving force behind it, and to all the folks (including the Brick) who helped. Once again, Pomona shows the world what diversity looks like.

The open house is this coming Saturday from 5 to 7pm, and I'm planning on stopping by. I'd like to see what services they'll be offering, meet the organizers, and generally welcome the Center to the neighborhood. It's at 340 S. Thomas St. (next to the Brick?). Perhaps I'll see you there?


Anduhrew said...

Cal Poly Pomona also has one of the largest lgbt populations (for universities) in the nation. so i've heard. and it seems true. I made at least 11 lgbt friends within 2 years at cal poly. i thought the brick only USED to be a gay bar. didn't know it still is.

meg said...

Well, I only know what I read in the newspaper....

Anonymous said...

I may be playing detective here a bit but your last weeks posting of a video outside the Brick might be explained as such: Some people still are in the closet and the owner of The Brick may have been trying to protect anonymity for her customers.
I think the new Center is great for the Pomona area. I went to the O.C. center when I was a youngster and met many of my friends that I have had for the last 20 years.
I also met my guy Mike there & we have been together for 18+ years.
Love is in the air in Pomona!

meg said...

Mark -- That was precisely what went through my mind when I read the article. I went back and watched the video, though, and I don't think anyone except cops and the Bridge manager were identifiable.

So, will I see you and Mike at the OH on saturday?

Anonymous said...

The ironic thing about the Center being at the Brick is that when I went to the Center in Orange County it was as an alternative to going to bars. I don't really drink beer & usually indulge in "umbrella" type drinks by the pool with a big hat & sun glasses.
...but that said... yes, I will try to drop in and check out the new center & the Brick. I will make Mike come with me so people don't think I am some sort of chicken hawk preying on the youth of Pomona.

Anonymous said...

Me again...
I looked at the Brick's myspace thingy and Saturday is the 1 year aniversary party. They say that they are going to have Celebs... some that even I know.
Wilson Cruz (Party Monster & My So-Called Life ) and he's adorable.
Jackie & the gang from the show Workout (on Bravo) I watch it from the couch.
It might be fun to get out on the town for a change.

Pride in Garfield Park said...

The Brick is my Pomona-local of choice for dancing and cocktails. It is definitely a gay-oriented bar, though welcoming of straight folk. I wrote a review for the Goddess of Pomona blog one year ago today (what timing!):http://www.goddessofpomona.com/2008/08/wanted-manhattan-in-pomona.html

To my original comments I would now add a critique of the DJs I've seen there (namely the over-reliance on 80s music). And, as a heads-up in case you're not sure what to expect, there's a good chance you'll encounter a go-go boy or girl or two, and a MC drag queen if you're lucky.

Overall, I'm still really fond of The Brick, but the crowd skews a bit younger than I'm totally comfortable with (though kudos to the owners and managers for building an impressive clientele).

I am thrilled that Pomona will be home to a regional queer resource center. I'm out of town and won't be able to attend the open house, but will be there in rainbow spirit.

In peace and pride,

Pride in Garfield Park :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, if at any point during my troubled closeted youth someone had asked me if Pomona would ever be considered a gay-friendly place, I would've bet my entire $20 college fund against it.
Granted, there were always places one could go in P-town (or sneak into, as in my case), but they weren't the kinds of places that advertised.
Also, I can somewhat attest to Andrew's comment re: CPP. I didn't go there for college, but in high school it was somehow common knowledge that the LGBT group at cal poly was a safe place to go. I met a lot of people there, and if it hadn't been for them those years would likely have been much more difficult.

- Irene (gmail won't let me log in for some reason)

calwatch said...

Over 10 years ago, Low Magazine did a feature story on Pomona's hidden gay bars. The Dynasty Club on Holt, that bar next to Western U that escapes the name of me, and some bar on San Antonio come to mind. If I ever get back to campus (and the special collections open on a day that I can actually use them), I'll dig up the article... but Pomona has always been tolerant of its LGBTs.

Pride in Garfield Park said...

There's the Hook Up near San Antonio a bit south of Holt. I haven't been there for a couple years, but the KJ was solid for those who enjoy karaoke.

Anonymous said...

Probably best to keep stuff like this low key so it doesn't become magnet for hate crime.

Anonymous said...

Man, am I tired of the need to be "low key".
When came out of the closet I removed the hinges so I could never go back.

meg said...

Yeah, I'm with Mark. The more that we normalize discussions of queer culture (talk about gay bars like polka bars or Portuguese bars or any other cultural expression), the sooner that the haters learn that cultural and sexual difference are no threat.

"Keep it low key" is another version of the disastrous Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. That said, I *did* get the organizer's permission before posting here -- I try to do that for most of my second-hand reports.

First-hand reports, though, the gloves are off!

Robin said...

Calwatch, were you trying to name Robbie's bar? It was a well known lesbian bar. Melissa Etheridge played there in the old days. I never went inside, and don't remember when it closed, but I talked with some ladies who remembered it fondly. It was originally a restaurant called The Dinnerhorn.

Robin said...

Oh yes, The Haven coffee house, located for a few years at 2nd and Main, was intended to be a safe zone for LGBT people. Me and my friends liked to hang out there because of the bands on weekends and a Tuesday drum circle. It was a very diverse crowd as the music scene was beginning to come to life on west Second St. The eviction of The dA from the Garey Ave. location, followed by a fire at the new location, put a damper on the art scene during that period. The construction of the Metrolink transit station was delayed, another hit for business on Second Street, so The Haven eventually could not sustain itself.

Just thought you might enjoy a tiny slice of history as I remember it.

meg said...

This is way cool, Robin. Would you have any interest in writing a full post about the history of the LGBT community as you remember it? I'd love to read it, and I'd be happy to add you as an author. Email me (mmwwah at yahoo) if you're interested.

Robin said...

Meg, that is about the extent of what I know, just from being around here a long time. Most of the people I knew who could tell us more have moved away. The owner of The Haven was a young man named Ken, and his partner was Ed Tessier, or so Ken told me. I saw Ed there a few times, but mostly in the beginning. Maybe this conversation will bring in some other people.

Next to The Haven was a vintage clothing shop owned by a man named Galen. There was a lot of women's clothing, mostly used. He was a sweet person and we had many conversations. He was very out of the closet. We crossed paths many times during the next few years, but he has moved back to his home town (not very far away). He made me laugh at Jim Bledsoe's blow-out sale of his huge collection of paintings... We were looking at a large canvas of a female nude and I asked Galen if he was planning to buy it. "Oh dear no, honey!" he said "I couldn't bear hanging female body parts on my wall!" Priceless.

A. S. Ashley said...

For the locals who actually live in Downtown Pomona's Arts Colony, we simple refer to the BRICK as a dance club.

Though we are all aware of a certain orientation of patrons, the "straight" locals never make much of it and enjoy the club as one of our favorite downtown entertainment venues.

Enough said.

Robin said...

Definitely, AS Ashley. They are places to go and be around people in Pomona, to eat, drink, and be merry, and the rest of it means little. I could not have told you that any of the establishments were 'gay' or not. I learned only because other people told me. "OK, dear, if you say so." I'm simply glad there is somewhere to go and have fun.

p.s. Mark, I might know you, maybe, just maybe. 'Three M' at Craig's in Montrose... mean anything to you? If so, hi! how are you?

Irene said...

I worked at the Haven during my junior year of high school. It's been years since I've even heard mention of it.

When I knew Robbie's it was interesting - mostly ladies on the first level, but the second floor was a whole different world.

I don't know what's standing there now, but back in the day (ok, late 90's) on Second and San Antonio or thereabouts, was Mary's Cocktail Lounge.

Does anything besides the Haven sound familiar to anyone else?

caljeffy said...

As someone who has spent some time (ok, a lot of time) in Pomona's Gay drinking establishments, here's a rundown of the current gay scene here.
You have the Brick, in my opinion a really nice addition to the gay scene here, if a little high on the drink prices and cover charges. You also have the Alibi East, at Second and San Antonio, friendly old time cocktail lounge. You also have the Hook Up, on Second, 1 block east of San Antonio, a very friendly neighborhood place that used to be a Ladies bar called Mary's.
All three are popular with straight customers who like dancing and/or Karaoke. My friends who grew up here tell me that Pomona has had gay bars since the late 60's. They flourished here because as long as they didn't cause problems, the city and the police department left them alone, unlike other cities in the IE.

Pride in Garfield Park said...

I was delighted last week when visiting Pho Vi to see they had placed a "repeal Prop 8" sign in the restaurant window. Consider stopping by to give them a word of thanks.

Delana Martin said...

Finishing up my senior project at Cal Poly Pomona which is about the history of Gay and Lesbian Bars in Pomona! Let me know if you are interested in reading it!