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September 17, 2004 Current Issue: September 16, 2004

Queer in the city

A guide to all things GLBT in the Hub

If you're a recent transplant to the Boston area or a newly arrived college student, Bay Windows provides you with a guide to everything the GLBT community has to offer. From cruisy clubs to the fringiest of the fringe scenes, from gay soccer leagues to radical queer theater, metro Boston has something to offer everyone.

Get a (social) life

Boston's GLBT scene is more than just bars and clubs, although there are plenty of those, too.

Visit www.queeragenda.org to subscribe to The List, a weekly series of e-mails listing events aimed at the lesbian, bi women's and trans communities. Most of the events are targeted toward alternative, queer, and activist scenes.

To access the queer underground, check out the events run by Boston's GLBT production companies. Truth Serum Productions (www.truthserum.org) is a staple of Boston's fringe queer scene, staging monthly drag king karaoke shows at Club Hollywood (41 Essex Street, Boston) and queer rock shows at clubs and bars citywide. Truth Serum also hosts drag king workshops, amateur porn screenings, burlesque shows, and other events to tickle your queer fancy.

For aspiring slam poets and Michelle Tea devotees, Butch Dyke Boy Productions (www.butchdykeboy.com) runs Gender Crash, a monthly queer open mic night open to performers of all genders and sexualities. Gender Crash is held at Spontaneous Celebrations (45 Danforth Street, Jamaica Plain).

And while the days of Dyke Night Thursdays at the Midway (3496 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain) are long gone, Dyke Night Productions (www.dykenight.com) still plans occasional events at the Midway. Check out the Web site and relive the glory days.

For one of the wildest shows in town, make your way to Bay Village's Jacques Cabaret at 79 Broadway. The famous dive bar's crowd runs the gamut from trans and queer people to drunk bachelorettes and their drunk gal pals, but the drag shows are the real draw. Bring dollar bills to tip the queens.

For a classier evening, there's Club Café (209 Columbus Ave), a Boston institution that features a bar, video lounge, and restaurant. It's open five days a week, with the biggest crowds on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The crowd is mixed, although the boys definitely outnumber the girls.

If you get your kicks cruising the boys at Abercrombie, check out the Manray nightclub (21 Brookline Street, Cambridge) on Thursday nights when they host Campus, a 19+ boys night that draws a mainly college crowd.

On the other side of the river, check out Avalon (5 Landsdowne Street) on Sundays for a 21+ gay night, featuring DJs from the circuit scene. On Mondays walk a few doors down to Axis (13 Landsdowne Street) for Static, a 19+ gay night that features nonstop house music.

For the ladies, the aforementioned Club Hollywood is the place to be on Saturday nights. The 21+ women's club features two floors of dancing, mingling and flirting.

For Asian and Asian American GLBT folks, the Queer Asian Pacific Alliance (QAPA, www.qapa.org) runs a regular series of events, including monthly brunches and potlucks. The Massachusetts Area South Asian Lambda Association (MASALA, groups.yahoo.com/group/BostonMASALA) runs regular events for the GLBT South Asian community.

Journey to the center of the Davis Square dyke universe at Diesel Café (257 Elm Street, Somerville), where you can sip coffee, nosh on yummy vegetarian fare, and shoot pool while enjoying first class people watching.

And check out Francesca's in the South End (564 Tremont Street, Boston) for coffee, pastries, sandwiches, and lots of really cute men.

Culture club

Looking to take in some theater? The Theater Offensive (www.thetheateroffensive.org), a queer theater company, puts on a number of shows each year, including the yearly Out on the Edge theater festival, set to run this year Sept. 30-Oct. 24.

Ryan Landry and his Gold Dust Orphans regularly grace Boston and Provincetown with Landry's trademark brand of subversive drag parodies (earlier this year he spoofed "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" with his own "Pussy on the House").

Queer Soup (www.queersoup.net) also puts a queer spin on familiar themes. The troupe's play "Invasion of Pleasure Valley" this summer featured alien sex-toy and dildo-wielding 1950s housewives, and repressed gay suburbanites.

Feed your head

As the home of some of the world's most prestigious colleges and universities, the Boston area is the thinking queer's city. Located off the beaten path near the financial district, one block from South Station, Calamus Bookstore (92B South Street, Boston) provides a vast collection of GLBT books. If you're looking for gay fiction, queer theory, lesbian herstory, sweaty erotica, or an obscure out-of-print title, Calamus (www.calamusbooks.com) is the best bet to satisfy your literary craving. See the Web site for the latest lineup of guest authors appearing at the store.

The Center for New Words (186 Hampshire Street, Cambridge) is a reading room that holds workshops focused on promoting women's writing and activism. The Center hosts a diverse array of guest authors reading from their latest works. See www.centerfornewwords.org for a full schedule and help foment a new feminist revolution.

In the heart of Boston's South End, Cuttyhunk (540 Tremont Street, formerly called We Think the World of You) features a wide array of GLBT-themed books, DVDs, magazines, and greeting cards. The store frequently hosts readings from guest authors. Check the Web site for the latest schedule (www.cuttyhunk.us).

Find your inner gym teacher

Take a break from the gym and work up a sweat with sexy GLBT athletes! The Web site for PrideSports Boston (www.pridesportsboston.com) provides links to GLBT athletic teams of every stripe, from basketball to rugby to swimming to, for the less physically inclined, darts.

Retail therapy

If you're looking to furnish your apartment on the cheap or find some hip used clothes, Boomerangs will help you satisfy your inner bargain hunter and your inner idealist at the same time. Boomerangs (with two locations, 716 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain and 298 Washington Street in Brighton) is a resale store run by the AIDS Action Committee, and all proceeds from the store go towards the organization's education and prevention efforts and direct services.

Get dirty

For those not-so-G-rated needs, there are a number of GLBT-friendly options. Grand Opening! (318 Harvard Street, Brookline), a self-styled sexuality boutique, may just be the most non-threatening adult business in greater Boston. Friendly employees will answer all your questions about sex toys, lube, condoms, and dental dams. Check out the Grand Opening Web site (www.grandopening.com) to get the schedule of workshops on topics ranging from sex toys to female ejaculation.

For the more visually oriented, the Movie Place (526 Tremont Street, Boston) stocks a wide range of gay male adult videos for rent.

Stay healthy

Are you tired of your family doctor giving you dirty looks when you bring up safer sex, STDs, and GLBT health issues? You might want to stop by the Fenway Community Health Center (7 Haviland Street, Boston), which provides physical and mental health services to the GLBT community. If you're looking for a discreet place to get an HIV test, Fenway provides confidential HIV testing. Fenway also runs a Peer Listening Line (617-267-2535, or toll-free at 800-399-PEER), which creates a "safe space" where callers can discuss issues such as HIV/AIDS, coming out, and safer sex. (www.fenwayhealth.org)

We want you as a new recruit!

It's time to tear yourself away from "Graham Norton" and "The L-Word" reruns and get active. Boston has a plethora of organizations serving the GLBT community, and all of them could use volunteers to help make sure that Boston remains a great place to live for GLBT people.

For starters, there's MassEquality.org, a coalition of groups working to make sure that same-sex newlyweds get to hold on to their marriage licenses. Log onto their Web site, www.massequality.org, to learn how to get involved. As the fight to preserve same-sex marriage heats up in the Legislature over the next couple of years, MassEquality will have a lot of work to do, and political junkies can get involved in everything from phone banking to lobbying to taking part in demonstrations at the State House.

Along the same lines, the Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts (www.equalmarriage.org) is a grassroots advocacy group working to build support around the state for same-sex marriage. As with MassEquality, Freedom to Marry will need swarms of volunteers in the next couple of years, so contact them if you want to get involved.

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (www.masstpc.org) helped pass Boston's transgender anti-discrimination ordinance in 2002, and they continue to work to address the issues facing the Bay State's trans community. Visit their Web site to get involved in their lobbying, public education, and activist work.

The Bi Resource Center (www.biresource.org) does advocacy and education work for the bi community, as well as publishing the Bisexual Resource Guide, a comprehensive international resource of all things bi. The center is looking for volunteers to staff the office, do outreach, and catalogue the group's bisexual history archives, among other tasks.

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