Stephen Rushmore Jr.
Here are some updated thoughts from Mr. Garreau, Rob:
…ON FORTY-FIFTH STREET In Manhattan, there is a transvestite disco called G. G. Barnum’s.
For ten bucks, its patrons get two unwatered drinks, the opportunity to exercise as many kinks as they can conjure up, and – unusual even by the standards of midtown – an air show.
The ceiling above the dance floor is perhaps thirty feet high. Just over the heads of the paying customers, cargo netting has been strung from wall to wall. Above the cargo netting are trapezes. Also, shiny chrome vertical and horizontal bars. And gymnast’s rings.
Performing, on this equipment high above the dancers, are half a dozen people of indeterminate sex, wearing perhaps more costume than would be expected, considering the diversity of entertainment available in this part of New York. But the clothing does what nakedness could not: it offers a multitude of possibilities for the imagination to consider. The outfits are made of black leather. And studs.
To the thunderous dance beat, the paid talent contorts vigorously, and not without a certain amount of premeditation. Actually, it’s rather startling. Olympic competitors may never know just how many athletic postures can be achieved with the help of trapezes, rings, bars, cargo netting, and the consent of two or more adults.
In fact, the evening I conducted my research, the boredom was relieved when I was nearly decapitated by a flying G-string. What happened is that a trapeze broke on its upward arc, catapulting its occupant into the balcony where I was taking notes. The landing was pinpoint – right into the glass of Scotch belonging to the black gentleman at the next table. It scattered shattered glass, Scotch, and black man in all directions as the gold-lame-clad far below danced on. Never missing a beat. Or even looking up. This place is so cool that management even refused to buy the patron a fresh drink.
Outside this dance hall, with its decor of torn linoleum, scarred paint, and much-kicked stackable plastic furniture, in what passes for the quiet of the city’s streets, stalk the joint’s own police force. They’re in uniform, and they carry guns.
It’s too hard, at three in the morning, to figure out all the possible reasons why these folk feel the need to carry pistols on their hips. There are, for example, too many possible combinations of people who might have to be separated forcibly. There are the people inside versus the people inside. Or inside versus outside. Or outside versus outside.
On the marquee are displayed a collection of quotes from various awed journalists who have visited Barnum’s. One of them addresses this point:
The most bizarre thing is the absolutely unique mix of customers very conceivable stratum of class, ethnic and religious origin, age and even gender. The sheer diversity is overwhelming.
I, for one, was most overwhelmed by the look on the face of the most surprised black man in New York City when the trapeze artist landed in his drink. But I understand what the reporter was trying to say. The range of exotica, like the air show, was three-dimensional, revolving from three-piece suits to cowboy shirts to very little to Carol Charming look-alikes.
I’m here to tell you that it’s not like this in Oklahoma City, ever. In Oklahoma City, it’s almost impossible to get barbecue after 9:oo P.M., and that’s a fact.
I mention the above by way of conceding that there exist some exceptions to North America’s rules. Not only are there places that refuse to act in ways their location and resources would predict. But their behavior is viewed as being in the weird-to-incomprehensible range by the standards of the rest of this diverse continent. When viewed from the perspective of Nine Nations, they can only be described as aberrations.
New York City is clearly one of these aberrations.
The fact that there are such pl,21,126283.010,1,7288,22.214.171.124
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