Monday, March 12, 2007

The Death of the Roxy/Twilight World

I don't have much time so let's get to it, my sister is in town and will leave tomorrow. I am also waiting to see how things pan out at work because we got a new budget in River City and I never like to stay at a place until the Sandman comes and forces me off the stage. Though that is not going to happen.

I am also in the middle of some essential reading, and working on a writer/painter collaboration hopefully set for May in Harlem (we know how these things go). I want to work on the project regardless of whether it runs or doesn't, but I gotta birth this literary exercise. So, I apologize for my blogging attendance, it has been dismal. When I finish reading this book by Joe LeSueur about the poet Frank O'Hara, I will free myself up to write about my New York experience. But in the mist of me reading about NYC's past I noticed a part of my past has fallen away. The Roxy closed.

It is depressing or is it progress?

The truth is I never went and I am not a Chelsea kid; and, I never scored at The Big Cup, nor could I keep up with the gym queens. But The Roxy's sudden death does make me sad, my entire youth seems to be erased block by block. The first kid I meet at work during my first year in NYC in 1993 who was openly gay invited me to the Roxy. He was about 23 or 24, thin and sick from the AZT that threw his stomach and bowels into fits. He called me a primitive Jack Kerouac, which I did not know how to take since I was stark naked in terms of critical theory and the ways of those north of the Mason Dixon line. But his invitation and slur/compliment was like a wet plastic gloved slap on my newly awakened upside down sexually free ass.

The crack of that comment nestled somewhere in my spinal fluid, and a thought was formed that sunk down to the base of my skull: "This is a Mary. This is shade. This is viscous. This is 8th and Broadway. This might be racist. This is a come on." He was in graduate school too, studying with some weird out spacey artist whose name I forget. I would have thought him a nerd, tall and slender, maybe from the mid-west, but the way he walked down the imaginary cat walk was not like a white boy, it was like a black woman giving her tidings in church. And, I guess that is why I find him still endearing, though I know nothing of his condition today. Again, another nameless and timeless New York happenstance.

Chelsea is becoming very upscale with the galleries and many of the old monied New Yorkers moving down town (a little birdy told me this). Maybe that is why it is happening. And so it is gone, the dirty little K-hole of manger that birthed muscle boys in 1991 after the city's population was devastated by Miss Kitty. I remember that too. 1989. A year that is now just another layer of soot in this city's history and in my mind.

So, that was The Roxy!.


John K said...

I hadn't been there in YEEEAAARRRSSSS, but I agree with you that its demise is saddening. Yes, the city of your youth and my second (or third?) youth is being erased, has been rapidly erased since 9/11. As I told this young brotha at Doma the other day, he can't even imagine how different the city was just 7 years ago, and the horrible events of September 2001 have had the effect of speeding up the transformation. Does anyone ever talk about this? At any rate, I love your style and tone--please keep blogging.

Littlemilk said...

No one talks about it anymore. It could be that I have come back too far into it, or that the new batch just don't remember Manhattan the way I do. Brooklyn seems to be where everything has gone, and there has been much talk about that, but not about the old times.

Sometimes I am at a lost because I don't really have any friends from that era around. Most have moved away, with NYC being a pit stop before fulfilling life in another city. And the ones that are here sometimes go: "I totally forgot about that Memorial Day Weekend at the Sound Factory Bar where the guy in front of us keep repeating a line from Oasis's 'Champagne Supernova': 'But Miss Thang, where were you while we were getting high!'. That short skinny brother kept grabbing his imaginary pearls as he cocked his head to the side, greeting each new memeber of his growing entourage."

Ah, Save the Children.

So, it is sad, because it was a great time. It was when clubbing was a requirement for self-expression. It was post Voguing-Mainstream. It was New Way with curls. Now, the whole landscape is changing and I scramble to find the grassroots spring onion taste of a night at Roseland.

Then again, I am not a spring chicken anymore, and America is unforgiving to those that grow old. Twinks are the wild card in the history, and also the way young people both come out earlier, and the internet culture has turned out meccas into virtual communities.