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Guerilla Queer Bar- Diane Sofia Frank

My heels clicked sharply on the walk leading to the door of the saloon. I stopped, paused, and checked my equipment. Pen, notepad, hair in place, lipstick not smeared?…… bodyguard? A girl pen-slinger can’t be too careful these days. I took a deep breath, pushed open the swinging doors and glided into the dimly lit hall. On the left were a crowd of people with name tags. Not the people I was gunning for. Case-Weatherhead B-schoolers out for a good time, quick with a financial statement but otherwise too self-absorbed to cause any trouble. Further into the gloom, I spotted the characteristic haircuts. Abercrombie clones. Giving my body guard a cautionary signal I slinked up to the two closest men and drawled, "So who’s the alpha gorilla round here?" The two looked at each other, and stopped to think. Then they pointed at each other and grinned, "SHE is".

Ok, that’s poetic excess. Nevertheless, close enough to the truth that an organization with Guerilla Queer Bar’s mission shouldn’t take offense. GQB as it is known for short, is one-half political theatre, one-half social club. Started in San Francisco as a comic protest against the uniformity and conformity of gay-club culture, it has spontaneously spread across the country. If you look on the web, you might find the San Francisco version a bit over the top for our mid-Western sensibilities. (There is a reason that the Sister’s of Perpetual Indulgence don’t have a branch in Cleveland. )

A Note for Readers:

Alpha Omega does not in general cover events or locations at which spouses would not be comfortable. Hence, some of the regular watering holes, though known to everyone, are not listed in our resource section on the Web. While GQB is distinctly a function of the GLBT community, we saw nothing about the activity that would be offensive or suggestive. Nothing a bold spouse or SO shouldn’t enjoy, if any kind of bar hopping is or was part of your life. GQB however is an advanced activity. If you’re worried about passing, or being recognized don’t go. If you aren’t at ease with all kinds of people in the GLBT community don’t go. And if you don’t know how to make your own party, walk up to strangers and say "hi", if your idea of a good time is watching life go by around you, silently nursing a drink don’t go. This probably isn’t a good venue for you shutterbugs and trophy hunters either. But if you like to meet people, make friends, do a little outreach on a one-to-one basis, share a few laughs, then this could be a nice once a month alternative.-dsf



The program is simple. From 6 to 9 P.M., on the first Friday of each month, a bunch of people on an e-mail list gather at a bar, club, or restaurant they only heard about the week before. It could be any venue in the city having the right size, energy, and location as determined by the loose collective of people who deny running the show. Brian and Brooke, who do seem to be the alpha gorillas, started the Cleveland branch after reading an article about GQB in the Advocate. The Tree House in Tremont, BW3 in Coventry and Jillian’s in the Cedar/Fairhill district have all been venues. Where next, who knows? Anywhere that isn’t on the top of the list of gay clubs is open to a GQB invasion.

Anyhow, my bodyguard soon found people who’d lived in Texas the same time he did, and vanished on a nostalgia trip. I ended up chatting with a tall, impossibly beautiful lesbian woman, who poured out her life story to my eager ears. She’d come up from Akron, with a male buddy who thought she’d like the GQB venue as a way to expand her social life. As she came back from collecting her coat from the other side of the bar, she leaned over and whispered that she loved overhearing conversations. As she’d walked by, she heard someone say, "Boy, now that one I could swear was a real woman." That made my evening. What would make yours? Guerilla Queer Bar is a story waiting for you to write your own chapter. Grab a pen and a party attitude. You can sign up for the e-list that posts the venue for the next event at: