Monday, December 14, 2009

New Berkshire Gay Guerrilla Group (BG3) Promises Social Action

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Where will the next "Gay-for-a-Day" Bar be?

The underground movement that is becoming a national phenomenon has hit the Berkshires - it's the Gay Guerilla Gay Bar idea. It works to turn selected bars, restaurants and clubs "gay for a day". It's one very clever way of making sure LGBTQ folks have a place to socialize while supporting our gay-friendly businesses.

The new Berkshire Gay Guerrilla Group's Logo

Of course, they have a website and Facebook presence, and all are welcome. It's meant for LGBT folks, their friends and allies and fills a long standing need in our community. In the Berks, safe and entertaining social opportunities have been in short supply, especially for the young working set. We think the Berkshire Gay Guerrilla Group couldn't have come at a better time!

Each city has a different group, different logo, same idea.

Social activities build a sense of community, and BG3 is modeled on a new template that is slowly replacing the old paradigm. Certainly traditional meetings, agendas and group consensus are still important to effective political action. But we can not ignore the fact that social networking, both online and in person has changed significantly in the past decade.

The new Guerrilla Groups are everywhere these days.

As the internet has become the dominant factor in daily gay life, the need for gay-exclusive bars, bookstores and the like has slowly receded, and there are fewer of them than at anytime since the 1970's when they sprung up everywhere after Stonewall and the birth of the gay liberation movement.

In Milwaukee, they're very active.

One of the wonderful things about all the new LGBT activity is the wide variety of organizations and people who have been responsible for the increase in things to do. Certainly the Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition and its Christmas celebration last Wednesday at the Berkshire Museum provided a great kickoff for holiday festivities. But great fun was also had by all at BFG @ Groove on Thursday - promoted by Out in the Berkshires, and then there was Jae's Disco party on Saturday night. The LGBT community - in all its diversity -was well represented at all three events.

The owners of Jae's Spice might do well to consider opening "Upstairs at Jae's" operation on North Street that targeted a combination of the gay, theater and avant garde populations as is clientele. Perhaps with a piano player and informal cabaret on the weekends. Entertainment early on, dancing and cruising later. I think it could be a natural success. All it needs is some nurturing, good word of mouth and local singers and musicians willing to show off. Hell, it could even host a drag show now and then, perhaps Sunday Afternoon drag bingo, too. A hell of a lot more attractive than the Elks Club where some of these things are being held.

Providence has a great logo.

The Berkshire Gay Guerrilla Group, BG3 for short, is planning its first raid soon. To join them, and to keep posted on what's happening, go to Facebook and sign up. You have nothing to lose except your excuse that there is nothing to do.


Anonymous said...

Informal cabaret?!?! Sign me up!


Kevin Cahill said...

I think you would surprised at the number of gay folk who are happy to be members of the Elks Club and support its various charities. And the gay people here who have integrated the Elks have done more for acceptance of LBGTs in this traditionally blue collar community than BG3 will in more sympathetic venues like Jae's or Groove. I will happily support all venues and in time will personally cheer their arrival at say...the Crossroads or Lach's Lounge where the drinks are cheaper. Pittsfield will never be south County. Thank God.

Larry Murray said...

I have spent time at the Elks Club over the years, and while it gets my top vote as a social organization, the function room(s) that they rent out are in serious need of updating.

When trying to get a younger crowd out to party, it can't be in a place that looks like, well, a rundown senior center. That the LGBT dances and drag shows hosted there have been successful can't be denied. But I think the turnout could increase substantially in a more contemporary venue.

The Elks Club deserves our thanks for their important role in facilitating these events. And it is the organizers of these events will choose the locations in any case. And you make an important point, Kevin, which is that the gay community is as diverse as the Berkshires themselves, with both clue and white collar folks, from mid and north county as well as the more prosperous south.

Being in North Adams myself, and challenged to keep my finances in balance, I appreciate the difference in cost between Jack's Hot Dog Stand and Cranwell.