Saturday, January 29, 2011

Loved it!

I really liked Funkytown. The actors (Huard is so hot in this film), the writing, the interweaving plots, the scenes (spotted some anachronisms, like the building on McGill College with the pyramid roof, built in 1992) and of course the music. They even shot several scenes in Habitat 67! 

In addition to my 1976-vintage bf -- who snuck off to steal some scenes from Green Hornet, I was accompanied by friend Gordon, one year younger than I and who also lived Stanley Street. Unlike some of my OTHER FRIENDS, he didn't mind my comments whispered to him throughout the film; in fact, he was just as chatty. The crowd in the cinema was surprisingly thin -- and I don't mean the Wallace Simpson kind, so we didn't disturb anyone. 

I was surprised that in the only scene shot in the "homo" bar, which would be Le Jardin, the music playing sounded more like rock, and definitely not disco. Seems to me it was always disco, except for slow dances -- which was your chance to ask someone to dance and rub up against him and eventually go home together. Then there were the drag shows. I didn't much care for all those skinny young queens lip-synching, maybe mostly because the shows ate up valuable cruising time. After all, the typical gay male brain (the lower one, that is) is incapable of enjoying drag queens and looking lustily at other men at the same time. 

We loved the bilingualism. For instance, when the Coco character (Jonathon, in the film) was told something in French and he replied in English. Typical of the way we speak in Montreal, then and now. After all, Stanley Street is where I really learned to speak French (there, and in the guys' flats afterward, of course). Back then, us gay boys were the most bilingual Montrealers.

I believe I recognized the outdoor cruising ground Jonathon called "the bridge" as the ancient train overpasses below Wellington on Ann Street. But I'm not aware of that being a place to go at the time or ever since. Back then, it was "Supper on Tupper," where we performed outrageous sins in residents' back alleys. How did we ever get away with it?

Incidentally, I don't remember anyone dressing in polyester vest-and-bellbottom suits outside of Saturday Night Fever. Not to say they didn't. I remember tight shirts, but I was strictly a T-shirt and jeans kinda boy.

BTW: '76 model BF really did like it, especially the music.

For a real review, read Brendan Kelly's of the Gazette.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Opening night!

I'm dragging bf of six years to the matinee tomorrow aft. I might need a gag to stop myself from telling him "I was there" and "I did that." The poor guy was only born in 1976, after all. And I'm afraid it will be a real straight story, kinda like my very first time at Lime Light. I was 18, so the year was 1973. Gabby, my Hong-Kong girl friend, brought me there. It was only my second time at a "gay" bar. She'd brought me to another mixed bar, Love, above the Gay Apollo male strip bar on Guy Street. There were so many young, cute guys at the Lime Light. It took me a long time to get up the courage to ask one to dance. His reply? "Fuck off!" Maybe that's why, once the Jardin opened, I always preferred all-gay bars.

Some buzz about the movie: The Lime Light has its own page. If you click on "Historique," you'll see some pics. One is of the cops on the street, like they were raiding on Truxx (gay), which they regularly did. Maybe it was the night there were so many people spilling out of the Lime Light into the street to watch the show there, that the police decided not to cart anyone away. All those witnesses.

Here's a good blog entry at Disco Delivery, which led me to Patti Schmidt, who, on her CBC Radio 2 show Inside the Music (blog), recently aired a 53-minute doc: Funkytown: The Montreal Disco Era (file to download). Apparently, Montreal was the secondmost "important" disco town after NYC. I never knew it was important, but I can honestly say that my time spent dancing and cruising in the 70s, 80s and even the 90s were the best times of my life.

Also, the official Funkytown site and, of course, their Facebook page. Like I said, they make it look a little too grittily straight. For me, it was all about boys, dancing, beer and fabulous lovemaking for hours in east-end two-storey flats and downtown highrises. With the cold, cold night safely kept away by the warm, hot body I was with.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More clubs

I was at getting my hair cut by Jean-Patrice at Mohawk today, and we were remembering more clubs: Le Rendez-vous, PJ's on Peel Street, Laurelei and Reflexions (which we called Rejexions, of course). Have we left anything out? 

Stanley Street in Winter Plenty Hot

But it ain't summer now! Who remembers leaving their coat at one bar and scurrying shivering, arms folded around our chests, from one bar to another? You'd want to check out the crowds at Studio -- across from Simpson's, or Taureau d'Or on Drummond, or if you felt daring, Truxx or Bud's. Can you picture the skinny boys with their coiffy hairdos chattering away, their breath showing in the cold? No matter. It got plenty hot inside the clubs, especially with all that dancing. One night, after a performance, Shirley MacLaine showed up at Studio, and even sang a number for us on the dance floor. I'll never forget those blue eyes shining in the spotlight. 

Stanley Street!

Born and bred in Montreal, I've known every nook and cranny of every street and park where two or more men could fit into. Going out dancing, from Stanley Street in the 70s to Sainte-Catherine E in the 90s, was what I lived for. That, and going home with the creatures I found within: Montreal Men.

I'm 21 in the pic, the year was 1976. Believe it or not, I was working that summer as an armed (a revolver and sometimes a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun) Brink's guard on the trucks. I rented a room in a McGill frat house -- my huge room was the original mansion's dining room -- at the top of Peel Street. Every Friday and Saturday night I was at Le Jardin, part of the Limelight dance complex of Funkytown fame.

At Le Jardin, I came across three others from Brink's. Three of us! One hot summer week I went out every night of the week, and never felt it at work! I couldn't believe it, so I kept pushing it. All week long! We used to get our pay in cash every Friday. One Friday night I stayed out at Le Jardin all night long. At six in the morning, I walked out into the daylight and checked into the Meridien Hotel at Complexe Desjardins. Checking in that early gave me two nights for the price of one -- another chance to bring a guy to my very own luxury hotel room. Can't remember his name, but he felt good in the cool, fresh sheets.