Disco Nights At “Dance Your Ass off Incorporated, San Francisco”


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It wasn’t about smoking, buying a drink, I just wanted to dance.

My roommate Jennifer introduced me to Disco.  She had this wild fascination with drag queen’s, especially black drag Queens.   At one forty five am, we would walk down street to the Foster’s Restaurant at Polk and Sutter. Foster’s was opened 24 hours and was a popular place to gather after the bars closed at 2am.   In the 70’s, Polk Street was the heart of the San Francisco’s  gay community and there were more than a dozen bars between Post and Sacramento Street’s

We were both under age back then.  Jennifer would sometimes get into the bars but I wouldn’t. Watching the nightly show at Foster’ s was one thing ,but entering a gay bar, wasn’t happening,

One of the first disco’s I ever went to was , “Dance your ass off Incorporated” on Columbus near the Wharf.  For this kid it was magical . Flashing lights ,disco balls and the deafening beat of the music.

Dancing was my life, from Fresno, to New York City.

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It was a place you could be anything and do anything.  At a Disco, the dress code was what ever you feel and Polyester was king.   The bathrooms were genderless at some of the clubs in the city.

 Dying to get into Studio 54

My roomy Jen, fell in love with a guy who was into Scientology and moved to New York. They lived in a small roach filled apartment uptown off Broadway.   We were determined to get into studio 54.  Image result for studio 54 new york pictures from 1970s

The staff at the door were mean and nasty unless your a celebrity.  You were judged and they determined if you got in.  It was fun, to watch people get out of their limo’s like celebrities and slip the door man a fifty only to be directed towards the end of the line.

For a three days, Jen, her Boo Larry and me waited in line.    Jen was hugged up with Larry and one day, a man pointed at Jen and I . I told the man THEY are a couple and before I knew it,  Jen scooped up my arm and kissed Larry goodbye.

Invested

All over america, seedy dives were adding mirror balls and parkay floors, becoming Disco’s overnight .  There were dance floors all over the City, from The Mission to the Richmond along Clement Street.   There was the Shanghai Gardens in Chinatown on Grant.  The I Beam in the Haight Image result for i beam san francisco  Busby’s on Polk, had a Stainless steel ceiling and dance floor where they put saw dust on the floor to keep the dancers in place.   The hotels were adding Disco’s . There was a disco in the Penthouse of the St Francis Hotel.  I met my wife on a dance floor in the San Francisco Hilton.

The larger clubs sold tee shirts, advertising there businesses.  But I wanted more. I lost a few pounds was able to buy some jeans at the Jeans Factory on Market, invested in square bottom polyester shirts.

Things changed after visiting Osko’s Dance Club in Los Angeles

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Osko’s is the massive Disco where “Thank God it’s Friday with Donna Summer was filmed.  There were people in jumpsuits and individuals wearing vest with custom lettering representing other clubs throughout the country.

Back in San Fran, my Favorite Disco was “The City ” in North Beach.   I bought a black Vest.  I added custom lettering on the back representing my club on the top line and on the second line was my name “Dr. Disco M.D” which stood for Mad Dancer.

I designed a sleeveless black bell bottom jumpsuit with a zipper down the front made of the finest bullet-proof polyester money could buy.  I found a Taylor on Polk Street who shared my vision. He insisted on a non destructible zipper.   On its first outing, I realized there was a major omission, pockets.   I designed zippered pockets in the leg of the jumpsuit for my wallet coins and keys. I put toilet paper in the pockets to silence the noise.

By the early eighties Disco faded.  Many people danced where they used to dance before disco, in the Black, Latin and gay clubs.  I was married with children, so dancing meant company  parties, where my wife and I were the first to get on the dance floor and the last to leave.

  “Dance your ass off ‘ is a comedy club.  Due to its unique name a lot of my friends remember the club.  I recently met with friend from a friend in college who I hadn’t seen in 35 years who remembered the club.

I remembered an wonderful environment filled with joy.  In City, there were whites in black clubs, latin in white clubs and everyone else in massive gay clubs like the Trocadero on sixth.. It didn’t matter if you had three left feet. It was about the ever present thumping of the bass..

A little bit of that would feel good in these times. 

I still have the jumpsuit, which proves polyester is the miracle fabric and getting into the jumpsuit today WOULD be a miracle.  I wonder if the Smithsonian (once they re-open) would be interested?

CityFella

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#metoo Consider the man?


Believe the woman!

I am a supporter of the #meetoo movement.  For hundreds of years men, have abused women, at home, school and in the work place simply because they could.   I was one of those men who remained silent because speaking up could damage my upward mobility.   Many women suffered in silence for those same reasons.   Its not just an American issue, its a global issue.  It is one of the reasons that I believe women should have a greater presence in government, because the root of the abuse is power.

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Silence at the Boys Club

https://sacratomatovillepost.com/2017/11/29/the-operating-hours-of-the-boys-club-may-change-without-notice/

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It is also why I believe those in powerful positions almost feel its is within their right to abuse women and others.

I recently learned that someone accused me of touching them in appropriately at a holiday party last year.  The individual said I brushed her breasts and she was offended. I don’t remember the incident or the women.  But apparently she knows me and has spoken to others about the event.  Two women at a resent gathering defended me, they have known me for sometime and alerted me.  If given the chance, I would apologize to her.   I wish she would have said something  when it happened as I would have bent over backwards to apologize.

Today, I’m troubled.  I am powerless and will have to let it pass.    If she was afraid to talk to me a year ago, its not likely she will speak to me today.  I am not a high profile person, but known in some circles.  I wonder how many people has she told and how many people believe her?   It will pass.

There is a sudden turn, a brush as the two of you are reaching for the same dinner roll.  Hands…..there is intent and accidents.  

There are many men, especially men of color who are/were in prison,others killed because someone believed the woman.    If the woman says she was uncomfortable, or harassed I strongly believe the matter should be investigated. While I support the movement, I’m not ready to give anyone a blank check .  I wonder have we tilted too far in one direction.  Believe the woman……. Consider the Man?

CityFella

daring to listen (Political Addition)


 

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Lets be clear the nation IS divided.  It’s Democrats against the Republicans and Fox News against other cable networks.

The polarization between the two parties has grinded our government to halt, our government isn’t working.  Most of the states have closed primaries not only binding the hands of voters but severely limit the reach of politicians.

The polarization has spilled over into our daily lives with some Democrats believing  Republicans are inherently evil and Republicans believe Democrats are attempting to eliminate traditions and values they hold dear.

At a resent social event, a gentleman announced his family would LEAVE if there were any Republicans there.

She watches MSNBC and can’t be trusted.  He’s clearly a right winger, because he watches Fox News, they all are.

Throughout my travels it’s not uncommon for people I know to say.  Why are you going there?  Its dangerous for black people or I wouldn’t visit that state because they are (fill in blank)  The reality is most of these people who have developed these strong opinions have never visited these places.  Or get all their information from one source.   They make their decisions based on rumors or wise tales ” I know this women who went there and “

If its printed it has to be true.

It isn’t difficult to manipulate people who rely on one source for their information. Fewer people read newspapers today, the credibility of the stories created by the organization. can damage that organization.

There is no such standard online.     An blog say Sacratomatoville post can create a story and that can be shared with millions of people within minutes.  Only a very small segment on social media fact checks a story with a few established media outlets they simply share the story.

Last year a blogger created at story that accused Hillary Clinton was running  a child sex ring out of a Pizzeria in Washington DC. One man was arrested for firing a gun into the restaurant.  A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling on December 6–7, 2016, asked 1,224 U.S. registered voters if they thought Hillary Clinton was “connected to a child sex ring being run out of a pizzeria in Washington DC?” The poll showed that 9% said that they did believe she was connected, 72% said they did not.     The Russians were very astute as there are millions of Americans who get most of their news via social media, manipulation isn’t difficult.

Everyday People

Last year I visited 17 states .  I left the interstate and got lost on the smaller highways and roads linking rural communities. Visited places like Ozuna,Texas, Missoula, Montana, and Clines Corners, New Mexico.  You get a good sense of what the community issues are at local a non-chain restaurant.  Where some of the locals gather everyday, you hear their opinions about local and national issues.

One man in a restaurant  didn’t see me in the diner in Sweetwater Texas when he said “that Nigger Obama has ruined his country.  While he didn’t didn’t noticed the 6.4 350 pound black man, everyone else did.   One waitress said, she thought he was a good man .   Most of the conversations ended in the restaurant as the patrons waited  for my reaction.   I continued to read my book and eventually things returned to normal.

The man who made the comment, stood by my table and slowly apologized for calling Obama  a nigger.  He just didn’t like him, he was too high and mighty.  He wanted to take away  guns from good law biding people. He has had a gun since he was six year old.  Everybody in his town did, its how people lived in small towns.  He made it clear that he didn’t hate black people and he wasn’t prejudiced or anything like that .  He knew all black people voted and loved Obama.  He just didn’t like all things he changed around, notably “Gay Marriage.  He said, he didn’t hate the gay people, he just believed marriage was between a man and a women.   He said he had no faith in the Supreme Court because they get everything they want and they ignore God believing people.

Before we knew it, he was sitting at my table exchanging views.   He knew I was from California because of my accent and that I was educated because I sound like the blacks on TV.      We talked about Gay Marriage, crime, Donald Trump ,  black lives matter (he supported Ted Cruz and had a thought Ben Carson was a decent black man) .

I learned the world was moving too fast for him.  He grew up in a world a personal checks and pay phones.   Throughout the conversation he kept apologizing for saying nigger in my presence.  It was Black people who helped pull big truck out of the mud during a downpour.  Even though he will never visit California, especially San Francisco.  We sort of had a meeting of the minds. That gay people being married wont affect him or his family.  We learned from each other, no opinions were changed but we both left with greater understanding and respect.

I met many amazing people in 2016 in places I wouldn’t imagined and made a few friends along the way.   My only agenda was to listen, not to convert.  Every person, town or community has a story.  Being a very curious person, I simply wanted to hear the story.

In 2018, I hope to have an extended visit in the south and to visit Appalachia.

“Dare to Listen”

I believe its important to hear the other side.     We can learn from many things from anyone at anytime.  If we dare to listen freely and without judgement.

Until enough of us are willing to hear the other side , we will continue to be divided.

CityFella

 

Teetering at the edge ( activist overload )


 

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I’m a baby boomer from the San Francisco Bay Area.  I’ve been involved in politics since I was fifteen years old.   I was fascinated by the students who attended UC Berkeley.  At 15, 16, the students treated me like an equal. Their passion was contagious. I participated in protests throughout the Bay Area.    I became that person who believed if you want change you have to get involved.   One can get a addicted,  Your in one group with a cause you feel passionately about and  someone from that group invites you to a meeting then another meeting and before you know it, your life is a series of meetings.

Its  7am Tuesday morning and I’m leaving work.  On the way home, I thought I stop by 16th Street Donuts and get my final Cinnamon Roll and maybe a final Chocolate raised because this week, unlike last week and the week before, I’m gonna buckle down and leave this white sugar shit alone!

As I drive into the parking lot, my cell rings.  I haven’t really wanted to talk to anyone but this is dear friend who has always has a funny story and right now I need loads and loads of  laughter.   As we are talking my phone is ringing,  calls from Colorado, Virginia, and Texas.  I look down and say no, not today.   I have a meeting in Stockton at 11 that I’m dreading.    An hour has passed,  I’m still in my car in front of the donut shop chatting. My friend is in good form,  I love his tales from the plant.  But it time to go….They are going to sell my Cinnamon Rolls and all the donuts are growing stale by the second and I need to go home and  change into something comfortable before the drive to Stockton.

Something’s wrong,  has been wrong for days maybe weeks.   I’m feeling anxious and close to depression accompanied by a dull pain in my stomach.     World War 3 with Korea is looming ,Putin was weighting in on the conflict asking for diplomacy.   This is serious!  I’m a world class talker, but I haven’t really wanted to talk to anyone,  and I’m isolating myself ,which is a clear sign of depression.

Most people would look for a quiet place to decompress or maybe a lively place.   I went on social media and found a obscure meeting in a rural area north of Sacramento. The community is poor and is concerned about the Affordable Care Act .  They feel they’re aren’t being heard by their elected representative.  This was in my wheelhouse, however like most meetings, this meeting deteriorated into we hate Trump.  After 30 minutes I took my leave.

Its the holiday weekend and I was looking forward to working my late night shift. Holidays and the week that follows are typically slow.  During the quiet moments I read the news or I blog.   I’m a news junkie.  I read everything.  Its important  to hear all points of view.  In some circles just the mention of Fox News or MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow will place you in the center of a storm.  People who have never seen either show attempt to place you in the L or C box.   I find this frustrating and unproductive as I listen to one group villianizing another and I’m often attacked at meetings trying to  present the other side.

Another source of my frustration is the fragmentation.  In the 60’s it was civil rights, which  includes rights for women as well as people of color.   When women marched in the 70’s in many parts of the country it included gay rights.   There are currently so many groups, marching for so many things I think its confusing for the public.  Many of these groups are not supporting each other and some of the reasons are petty.  You didn’t attend or confirm our event so we wont support yours.    Missing in this country is a single issue.  ACA united us, someone, somewhere knows someone, who is depended on the ACA.   No leader emerged, the Democratic’s party sang songs to the Republicans after the GOP voted to dismantle the ACA. .

There are some Democrats and Republicans who believe members of the other party are inherently evil. Who’s goal is to take away freedoms.  I’m of the mind unless we work together solutions will be difficult.

On route to the meeting in Stockton. I’m listening to Sirrus radio trying to avoid the news.  Switching channels I heard the news of  Trumps intention to end (DACA) Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  Within minutes I received texts asking all to protest in Tuscon and Los Angeles.  Truth is I know little about DACA, its just one more thing. In a series of THINGS!  My stomach is upset and my chest is hurting.  I just want to sit in my car with the AC on.  Its just too much, but I have a committeemen.

At the meeting, I’m not feeling anything, not hearing anything.  Someone grabbed  my shoulder and asks if I was alright?    Apparently, I’m crying and not aware of it.  I touch my face and its wet.  Suddenly, I noticed other people looking at me, some with tears in their eyes, FUCK!

I get up with the intention of regrouping in the bathroom.   But  I walk instead, to the parking lot to my car.  I realize I left my notes on the chair, it doesn’t matter.   I’m going home.  I get in my car,  I meant to turn right onto on Pacific to get to March Lane, but I turned left on Pacific by the Mall.   I started crying, and pulled into the parking lot.

I drove home and started crying again, now feeling sorry for myself.  Am I having a breakdown?   I lay on the sofa and drift off to sleep. When I woke up I went on social media.

To my friends, comrades I will not be attending any meetings for the next few days . Needing a few days of ME time . Sent emails out this morning. Perhaps a couple of days in the mountains.. I need BIG injections of humor #thenanny#Ilovelucy In a few days I’ll be ready for the next round. #DACA#Northwestend #resistence #projectkings next week. Keep marching. Sending Love

Crying brought clarity.  I’m overwhelmed, I’m associated with 11 groups, which is beyond crazy!   I’m frustrated and most of all I’m sad.   I’m usually comforting people at meetings at work, who are overwhelmed by the daily news.  I didn’t realize the events had taken a toll on me.    This has been a contentious eight months.    I decided to leave all the organizations to reset.    I thought about writing letters, but I’m a volunteer.   I have to find THAT single issue where I can be helpful.

As I told a friend, I’m not gone, I’m simply taking a break!

Activist never die, they’re simply waiting for the appropriate cause.

For now its about humor. After tonight’s viewing of Steven Kings “IT”

If you see a large black man screaming like Jamie Lee Curtis. well…..

Just one thing….  If your wearing a clown suite,  Don’t just Don’t  We don’t need to be the lead story on Fox 40 News

See you at the next protest

CityFella

 

The More things change, the More they stay the same.   Listen to this 40 year old album  featuring the Brilliant Lily Tomlin

Just because it zips………….


Remember this Oprah? If your under 35 probably not.  This Oprah went on a liquid diet and lost a ton of weight.  In the wagon is fat, the fat represents the weight she lost. The fat she hoped was gone forever.  Look at those jeans, the belt, her posture, I’m sure, as she was getting dressed, she said to herself, ‘I’m one hot bitch!”

After the weight returned I wonder  how long she held on to those jeans. its possible she still has them.  And Oprah, your still one hot Bitch!

A billion years ago I lost 122 pounds, like Oprah my weight was in the past tense, never to return.  I threw away my chubet clothes and headed for the Jean Factory on Market Street.  I spent my entire check on cotton and polyester shirts. (the fashion of the day).  No big and tall stores for me (past tense) .

I think I gained weight on the bus to my apartment, the clothes seemed tighter at home.   Within a week, there was a problem,  it had to be the Indian cotton, it shrinks faster than good ole american cotton.   Even the polyester and the plastic buttons were sub par, blame Bangladesh.

Weight has been an issue all my life. I have lost thousands through various weight loss programs.  However,what I learned from the first weight loss is to hold on to your clothes.

My closet is a virtual men’s store, with a wide range of sizes.  I try not to be too trendy, so a year or years from now I’m not stuck with pleated bell bottoms.  However, there was this pair of pants.  I bought them in Harlem. It was love at first zip.   I wore them out of the store.  They were the type of pants that made you stand taller.    I felt hot and sexy in these pants with the copper zippers.  Zippers everywhere, front, back, legs.   These where the pants I was going to be buried in.  Yessss, it was just that serious!

After a year or so, the pants ended up in my store until I could zip them again.  Every once in a while I would attempt to put the pants on. With every ounce of weight I loss ,I’d try the pants. . This went on for years. Then one day I was able to get them past my “we are the world thighs” but still unable to zip them.

One day ,I was able to zip of my sexy jeans sort of.   Never mind I could barely breath and the uber tight jeans didn’t look sexy.  They zipped. A win!

Getting in my car was dicey.  There was a small hole in the right thigh.  As I moved my foot  from the accelerator to the brake pedal, the hole grew larger.   Now a normal person would have returned home and put on a suitable pair of pants.  But I was at the mall already and since I was only going to J.C Penney’s the pants should hold up.

The Computer says No!

As I was getting out of my car, something ripped..  I furiously checked the pants, nothing. Well almost, the hole had gotten larger.  I parked on the upper level of the parking garage. The department I wanted was on the second floor. It was going to be a quick in and out.

They relocated my department to the first floor.   As I’m going down the escalator one of my prized copper zippers is now open, the good news there is a panel so no brown flesh is showing.

More good news, I could see the department, it was only a few feet from the escalator. My shirt I wanted was nearly front and center, as I leaned over to pick it up, the fabric in the back of my pants pocket gave way and I could feel air.  My white Fruit of the Looms are now visible to the shoppers.  (Briefs-pencils down)  I asked a person on the floor where the men’s room is , so I can inspect the damage.   Its on the second floor and the fucking elevator is on the other side of the store. So Its the escalator.

I stepped on the escalator and turned around.  Yes its was odd. As you move up every body can see your behind.  I wasn’t giving any one a show for free.   If they want to see my ass I want dolla bills!  Stepping off was tricky.(side step)

In the rest room, it was much worse than I thought.  It was the inner seam that ripped leaving me with one seam of defense and it was pulling.  The rear rip was bad,  it had ripped beyond the line of my looms and my left rear leg  was exposed.  The coveted zippers were twisted as if they  had been  in a massive earthquake, to make matters worse, the front zipper would not zip up.

When I returned to from the restroom, there was a salesperson watching me.  Finally a break, no one was at the cashier.   I had a reason to smile.   Just pay and out the door to my car.  I had learned my lesson for ever.  Just cause it zips doesn’t mean you should wear it. As I reached into my deep back pocket to get my wallet, the front snap popped off hitting the cashier, the front zipper broke.

I’m sure when she came to work that day, she had no idea a big black man pants would explode in front of her.

CityFella

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Another One For Sacramento


Sometimes you have to leave home to appreciate home.   The unfortunate violence in Milwaukee last weekend reminded me of a strange night in Milwaukee a few years ago.

Milwaukee lives in the shadow of Chicago.  Much like Sacramento and San Francisco.

It was a weekend with friends ,this was my second visit to Milwaukee and on this visit I received the grand tour.  It was a great saturday, museums, the Public Market, rich German food for lunch, sightseeing. There is quite a bit going on in Milwaukee.

Dinner was at a trendy restaurant, the conversation  was lively, filled with laughter.  Suddenly, without warning  the tone changed, people started getting serious.  I was taken aback, it had been a long day but there hadn’t been any disagreements.  I looked around to see if there was drama in the restaurant.  Someone asked for the check.  Confused, I’m playing the tape in my head to see if I might have offended anyone.

The ride in the Suburban was quiet, 8  adults riding in silence.  I was first person dropped off at my hotel, there were hugs and  kisses.   Memories of the day were washed away, what happened?   Its after one and I cant sleep.  20 minutes later my phone vibrated. It was a text message, are you up?    Yes.  Can I call you….

From the call, I learned that the area wasn’t friendly to African Americans, especially after dark.   There was much debate about taking me to this restaurant, and the plan was to leave by 8.  We were there past 10.  Apparently there was some people at the table behind me staring at our tabl,e making a few people at OUR table nervous and they didn’t know if things would escalate.

A few of my friends sensed I was upset and they discussed it in detail after dropping me off. A few of us planned to meet for bunch and  at bunch there would be an explanation.  It was a combination of embarrassed and fear.   Afraid I might question who they are.

After the call, I was relieved and troubled.  Perhaps I’m naive, in my world there aren’t geographical restrictions.  Many years ago, I was lost outside of Chicago and wound up in the suburb of Cicero, I stopped at a gas station to ask directions and a black man told me not to go in and to leave this town!  I wanted to laugh (leave this town?) were in the nineties Please.  I reluctantly climbed in my rental and drove away.   The next day  my  Chicagoland friends said, Cicero was no joke for black folks!

Back in Sacramento, I went online and researched the Milwaukee’s history. Milwaukee is one of the most segregated cities in the nation. The division between white and black is striking.

As I said earlier, sometimes you have to leave home to appreciate home and the people there.

I love Sacramento, sometime I struggle with its image of itself . Many people who were born and raised here do not I think much of their city.   Perhaps its being a refugee from San Francisco, I see its beauty.  The people here are genuinely nice.    I love the diversity in Sacramento.  I have no desire to live in a mono community.

My experience in Milwaukee didn’t taint the city. Far too often we miss the BIG picture. I had an excellent day there.  I was pleasantly surprised by what I’ve seen and the people I met. From what I read, healing has begun in city.  But there is much to be done in Milwaukee and many others cities across the nation including Sacramento.

Sacramento isn’t perfect, city government and the police department do not reflect the community as whole and there are pockets of isms here and there, but we all seem to get along. Without hesitation I can take friends to restaurants or theaters anywhere in the area.  My friends from the mega cities are often surprised, Sacramento?  Yes!

CityFella

 

Good Morning Woodland How Are You?


 

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25 minutes northwest of Downtown Sacramento is Woodland ,California

It’s the second largest city and the seat of Government in Yolo County

Pictures Taken Sunday, July 17th 2016, Throughout Woodland

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Woodland’s Opera House Is the oldest Opera House in the Sacramento Valley. It dates backs to the late 1800’s.  It is a State and National Landmark

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“Where the lights are Bright”

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Just for Kids*

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