last modified on Tue Apr 10th, 2001
Get The Most Out Of Your Guerrilla Queer Dollar
Since you're curious about this whole guerrilla thing, we put together this page to explain who we are, what GQB is all about, and how to get the most out of it. So, thanks for stopping by, and if you have any questions, email Barney Schlockum.
Q: What's The Point of GQB?
A: we started Guerrilla Queer Bar to create an alternative to the traditional Castro bar and circuit party venues. While these are thrilling when you first move to San Francisco from Indepenence, Missouri, after a while they get to be very repetitive (same music, same scene, etc). There's a whole world full of interesting possibilities in our fine city. So, we thought it would be interesting to get a fun crowd of people together and visit fun, sometimes off the beaten path, places throughout San Francisco (and sometimes beyond).
While the name has political connotations (and sometimes we do intentionally invade places that are uptight, white-bread kind of venues, see Take Back The Marina!), our main goal is to get a fun and eclectic group of people to join us on adventure filled field trips throughout the city.
Q: Who Is Guerrilla Queer Bar?
A: GQB was started by a group of us who were yearning for something new to do besides going to Club Universe or trolling around the Castro bars (big yawn) for the millionth time. As the organizers, which is a misnomer since we aren't very good organizers, we prefer to remain anonymous (partly so we can enjoy our own parties, partly because we're specifically not doing this so we can be "A-list" club scene fags.)
Q: Who Is Barney Schlockum?
Barney Schlockum is an amalgamated anagram representing a melange of fictional and non-fictonal personalities.
Q: What Kind of Crowd Do You Attract?
We're looking to attract a fun and eclectic group of people (boy, girl, straight, gay) who enjoy exploring the city, socializing, and sometimes behaving like idiots. If you're looking for something new to do, and have an adventuresome streak, you should really come out sometime. We don't care how pretty you are, how many days a week you you work out, etc, etc.
We're specifically not interested in attracting whining consumer types who expect their entertainment to be dispensed to them in a shrink-wrapped format. We're also not interested in attracting people who have a tendency to judge others by whether they conform to a particular "look" (see Los Angeles). GQB is not a commercial, professionally produced event. It's more like an unplanned road trip. A fun crowd begets a fun party, no matter where we wind up at the end of the evening. It's not about what bar or club we start off at, it's about the journey.
We mention this because every time we throw a party, we usually get one or two bitter fags (or dykes) spreading negativity because they didn't like the crowd (not pretty enough, too pretty, not cool enough, whatever), the location, or some other petty issue. If you have a negative attitude, yell at customer support people on the phone, judge people you've never talked to, etcetera, please leave your bad energy at home, or better yet, just stay at home and annoy your roommates instead.
Q: Why Are Your Events So Fun?
Of course, we're kind of biased about this, but we think our parties are fun because we attract people with an adventurous streak, and because the evenings are largely unscripted. We rarely know more than where we are going to start the evening, and we only figure that out a few days beforehand. The rest of it, we make up as we go along. This isn't for everyone, but it's a lot of fun for people who like spontaneity.
Sometimes we stay put in one place if it's a really fun bar (see Bottoms Up At The Top). Sometimes we set off on a raucous bar crawl throughout an unsuspecting neighborhood (see Take Back The Marina!).
It all depends on the mood of the place, and of the crowd. Every party has a life of its own. Sometimes they're loungey, low-key events. Sometimes they're raucous events where reputations are ruined (or enhanced, depending on your perspective). While we try to set the mood in our invites, we really never know what is going to happen until people show up.
Q:I Showed Up For One Of Your Parties, But Nobody Was There
Sometimes our parties are mobile (see above). This might be because we want to go on a bar crawl, or because the staff at the bar we start off at are dicks. Therefore, it's important to show up close to the starting time for the event. Unless we get 86'd from a place, we'll usually stick around for an hour after the starting time. After that, we might be there, or we might not. If we know where we're going, we try to keep updated information on our phone line, but often we don't. Your best bet is to show up close to the starting time to avoid being left behind.
Q:I've Never Been To One Of Your Parties, How Do I Know Who's Who?
Part of the fun is not knowing who's who, or what's going on. We never tell the bars that we're coming. As "organizers", we like to blend in with the crowd (see above). When the party first starts, there is usually some confusion (lots of people standing around wondering what to do), but once we attain critical mass, it's pretty obvious who's who since the regulars are heading for the door. This is especially true when we colonize bars that attract a crowd that is the diametric opposite of ours.
Half-assed organizing you might say, but there is a method behind the madness. It's a well known aspect of human behavior that people tend to bond with strangers when they are thrown into unusual circumstances. The confusion and chaos sometimes associated with our events gives you a perfect excuse to talk to the cute guy or girl across the room without having to use a lame pickup line like "So do you come here often?"
Q: What Kind of Places Do You Go To?
Variety is the spice of life. We aim for variety in the types of bars we go to, the nights and times we go out, and in the neighborhoods we visit. As a general rule, we go to a different type of bar in a different neighborhood each time we throw a party. The one thing we do not do is go to stereotypical gay bars (see The "New" Badlands) as this would defeat the purpose of what we're doing.
Q: How Do You Guys Make Money From This?
We don't. Never have, never well. We're doing this primarily for our own entertainment, and to contribute something to the local scene. If we tried to commercialize the event by cutting deals with bars, we would ruin the sponteneity of the party. We do occasionally use the parties to raise money for local charities (such as Guerrero House). When we have live entertainment (see Guerrilla Drag Bar), we also encourage people to tip the entertainers, but this is all voluntary.
Q: Is There A Cover?
We never charge a cover, but sometimes the bars we visit do. We try to pick places that are cheap (cheap cover or cheap drinks), but for special occasions (see Guerrilla Leather Bar @ The W Hotel), we sometimes break this rule. We never get a piece of the cover, so this does not influence our choice of venues. If a bar takes advantage of our crowd by arbitrarily charging a cover (as the Trap Door wdid in the marina), we use our patented Big Megaphone (tm) technology to empty the bar and relocate our crowd to another.
Q: Sounds Neat, I'd Like To Help Out
While most of our parties are pretty easy to organize, we are planning a number of special events during the upcoming year. Among the items on our list: a guerrilla drag show in a sports bar, some sort of pagan party/ritual in a park, a guided "booze cruise" throughout the peninsula. If you'd like to help organize special events, drop a line to Barney Schlockum. There's no money in it, but it's a lot of fun, and a great way to meet some cool people.
Q: How Do I Find The Hosts?
(See above). We usually blend in with the crowd at our parties. So, at most parties, we don't run around playing hostess. Since we're not doing this for attention, it's more fun to experience the parties from your perspective. We also get a better sense of what people like and don't like, and learn from each party because of this.
Q: How Do I Start A Chapter In My City?
Several groups of people have copied the concept behind GQB in other cities. Since we're doing this for fun, we're flattered by this. So, feel free to copy the concept in your home town. All you need to do is use a service like eGroups to set up an email invite list and basic website, find some fun places to go, and spread the word in your community. We'll be glad to add a link to your website or email list from our home page.
2001 (c) Urban Anthropology Institute