The early years of the 1980's quietly began showing signs of something that would later rock the Gay Community in Tucson and around the United States almost to its very foundations with the beginnings of an epidemic of a deadly illness among Gay Men resulting from a breakdown (see article page #14) in the immune system. AIDS first began appearing as increasing numbers of Gay Men were coming down with a new unknown mysterious disease. Against this background the beginning of 1980 in Tucson there were a total of 330,587 residents within its 98.8 square mile city limits, and by the end of the decade the population topped out at 402,147 residents in 1989 within the 156 square mile city on the day before New Year's.
As information came in, was collected, and processed by the medical world, that illness, was first named GRIDS (Gay Related Immune Deficiency), but was soon renamed AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). The disease spread very rapidly through the unknowing gay community in a time when the use of condoms was not a mainstream practice, and the term Gay Cancer (see article page 4) or Gay Plague could often be heard in the early days of the disease. Sadly, the first person to be diagnosed and succumb to AIDS in Tucson was 29 year old local man Jon Nite a 1971 Catalina High School graduate at Tucson Medical Center on Friday March 4, 1983 (see article Two AIDS Victims page #4).
Soon the disease was no longer being transmitted and or carried only by those of the LGBT Community, and both Gays and Lesbians very quickly began to combat the spread of the disease with education and activism (see article Page # 11) by founding local groups, and on the national level with the Gay Men's Health Crisis (G.M.H.C.) organization. The devastation of AIDS increased solidarity between many of the community members in Tucson and brought the plight of all Gay Americans right up to the forefront of the national consciousness of the United States. At first the term used by many gays and others for those who had the disease was PWA's (People [persons] With Aids). Many outside the Gay World blamed all Gays for AIDS and sometimes the discrimination could be very blunt and even violent. Amidst this in Tucson the Private Men's Club-Gay Bath House near the Davis Monthan Airforce Base at 3820 E. 40th Street called the The Stables (see advertising page #11) operated 24 hours a day and soon began posting-mandating safe sex practices under the ownership of Rene Guimond (see In Memoriam page #2) who was originally from Maine and weathered regular unannounced Pima County Health Department inspections with flying colors. After numerous announcements, on Thursday May 16, 1985 at 7:30pm at the University of Arizona Medical Center 2nd floor Dining Room C with a group of just over 30 people in attendance, Bob Henry (see advertisement page # 4) and Michael Heimbuch (see advertisement page #4) founded the Tucson AIDS Project (see AIDS Project Organizes article page #4) (T.A.P.) (see AAF-T article page #1) (see article...Bob Hegyi addresses...page #1) (see ad AIDS & YOU...page #4) (see mail-in form...TUCSON AIDS PROJECT....page #6) as the first Gay Tucson core group whose purpose was to solely provide information, support, assistance, and more to the many in Tucson who were then suffering from AIDS, knew or took care of someone who was, and or needed the most current reliable information on the disease. T.A.P. (see listing...Notices...page#15) however did not incorporate in the State of Arizona as an entity until later on Tuesday August 26, 1986 (see LETTERS ...DEAR BRUCE FOWLER:....page #9).
The Tucson AIDS Project (T.A.P.) group, with one of its founding members a highly visible Craig Bradford Snow soon taking a leadership role, began operations at 3247 E. Speedway Boulevard, and put out the call for volunteers (see form page #6). The week of February 5, 1986, the national group Shanti Project (see article.... VIEWPOINT...page #6) had a Tucson chapter that formed, was given a city license, began its organization founded by Mike Griffin (see article...Bob Hegyi Addresses...page #1), and was soon very active locally (see ads...page #2) in concert with the other agencies (see article page #1, 8) later locating to 602 N. 4th Avenue (see ad page #2). Another very active organization in the later 1980's providing education and support in the fight against AIDS was Arizona/Sonora Proyecto S.I.D.A. (see article page #3) (see listing...Notices....page #15) located in T.A.P.'s office and spearheaded by the ever friendly Frank (Ernie) Perez (see ad page #4) which focused its efforts on both Southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. The People with AIDS Coalition of Tucson...(see article...PWA Coalition Forms...page #2) ... a.k.a. PWA Coalition...(see listing....SERVICES....page #15) (see mail-in form page #16) ..a.ka. PACT (see article...PWA Coalition Forms...page #2) began its formation on Saturday October 24, 1987 (see article...PWA Coalition Forms...page #2) a.k.a. PACT for Life (a.k.a. PWA Coalition...a.k.a. PACT....see page # 16) (see article... THE LIVING WITH....page #16) (see announcement...The LIVING WITH...page #6) and was later incorporated as the Troy Stephenson Foundation on August 26, 1988 (see LETTERS...DEAR BRUCE FOWLER....page #9).
The first AIDS Walk in Tucson (see article page #2) came together as one event of the Ethinic Minority Aids Awareness Week's (see article page #2) events on Wednesday October 12 1988 at 5:30pm (see article page #2) as a 'Walk For Life' Candlelight Procession going up A Mountain that was put together by all of Tucson's AIDS agencies (see article page #2). The following year, on Saturday October 28, 1989 at 10am (see article page #2) the Tucson AIDS Project (see article page #2) sponsored a pledged 10K 'Walk Of Life' at Reid Park (see article page #2) with a $10 registration fee for walkers that included lunch. The event brought in $2,986.27 and saw 174 very excited walkers of all ages that day. Toward the latter part of the decade the Tucson Aids Project (see group listings page #15) had moved into 151 S. Tucson Boulevard Suite # 252. Tucson's many Drag Queen's & Female Impersonators along with others of that time period, their fundraiser shows, those attended them, and the many who donated food, usable or sellable items, cash, and their time as volunteers along with funding and support by the Arizona Aids Trust (see article page #1) infused untold thousands of dollars to help get the program up and keep it running. Toward the end of the decade a number of groups (see listings page #6) were directly assisting those with AIDS in some way. Around town on May 3, 1980 The Office (see article page # 5) a private men's club offering those in the downtown area a private place to relax opened at 345 Toole Avenue downtown.
Just a few of the performers in Tucson during the decade of 1980's were: Candy Plastique, Pussy Wells, Miss Brenda Starr, Lady Casondra a.k.a. Dan Dold, Aviva Dimond a.k.a. 6' 5" tall David Wetstein , Mona Littlemore (see ad...Rainbow Room...page #3), Sage, Stephanie Price, Penelope, Tamara, Miss Piggy & Kermit, Cindy Diamond (David Tharpe), Monte-Jon Gilmer, Kitty Litter (Bill Marlowe), Misty MacCrae, Miss Vanna, Coco Chanel, Portia Darkfire, Alotta Whoremones, Goldie Showers, Lady D, Roxie Harris, Bobby Jo (John Parish - see Letters page #12), Laszlo Laton, Eileen Over. In 1980 the Graduate Bar (see article Wrong-Wrong-Wrong page #2) publically offered its 1st mortgage for sale (see classified ad in For Sale page #12) and began its Inflation Fighters Meals (see article page #7) as the country's inflation rate hit 21.5% in 1982, a Mexican Dress Designer was detained and charged at the San Francisco Airport for being a suspected homosexual, Anita Bryant's Anti-Gay Crusade had fizzled out, Homosexuals were being executed in Iran (see article page #2), and on January 23, 1980 Stepps Disco & Dinner House (see ad page #3) under ownership of Bob Landry and featuring the latest in New Wave Music opened at 5861 N. Oracle Road and accepted reservations (see photo's pages #8, 9).
1980, in Tucson also saw the 4th Annual Gay & Lesbian Pride (see articles-photo's pages #1,2,4) celebration for the First Time as an entire Week Of Activities along with its picnic in Himmel Park (see articles-photo's pages #1,2,4) at the end of the week on Sunday June 29. The events were all planned by the Gay Pride Week Planning Committee (see article page #3) (a.k.a. Tucson Gay Pride Committee - see article page #2) which met at 739 E. 5th Street consisting of Bill North, Abe Marques, Bruce Fowler, Bob Ellis, Sean Wilson, Gary Clark, and others. On the night of Tuesday November 27, 1980 the TV show Busom Buddies premiered across the nation with a theme of two (2) straight men dressing in drag in order to live and pay very affordable rent in an all female hotel. Through the early part of the 1980's, despite its long running battle with the Internal Revenue Service for Tax Exempt Status which was constantly being denied (see article page # 9), the Gay Community Services Of Tucson (see article page # 9) was still assisting Tucson's Gay & Lesbian community, holding its regular monthly meetings just off Campbell Avenue at 2919 E. Eastland Avenue, and was the main community resource group for Tucson's Gay's & Lesbian's operating Tucson's First Gay Hotline (phone line). Around Tucson in 1980 the Hair Tiz Bar with owners Polly Stadelman and Dave Peppin at 343 E. Toole Ave offered one of it's signature dishes, a real mean bowl of tasty Cowpoke Beans (see advertising page # 2) that made you come back for more, along with regular live performances of male dancers and drag shows. Naughty Nell's Soup Kitchen (see advertisement page #9) owned by James M. (Jim) Tate (see Memoriam page #2) located at 1927 E. Speedway Boulevard during the time was serving up some of the best hearty soups & other meals to be found on the planet.
At the University of Arizona the Gay Students Organization (G.S.O.) (see article page #7) hosted a week long Gay Fest 80 on campus in February 1980 featuring a concert, talent show, art show and sale, speakers, Gay & Lesbian themed movies, and other activities to support their programs (see advertising PCP page #4). Downtown, the Fun TYM Hotel (a.k.a. Mac Arthur Hotel - see advertising page #6) at 345 E. Toole Avenue was running a special of a room for 3 hours at only $6.00, and called it their Rest Stop Special, while the Fun TYM Book Store & Adult Theater (see advertising page #6) at 349 E. Toole Avenue was advertising its Gay & Straight Theatres movie showings. Elsewhere, over at Rita's Rendezvous Bar (see ad page #9) at 3455 E. Grant Road they brought crowds of customers in with their special $1.50 All You Can Drink - Weekend Beer Busts hosted by owners Thom Swanson & Mac McGowen (see article page #2) who had bought the bar from Rita & Vinny Cicciarelli (see article page #2) on December 3, 1984 (see article page #2), then later sold out their ownership interests to Jim Lefkowitz (see article page #2) on December 2, 1988 who later in 1989 with some remodeling renamed the bar The Rainbow Room (see ad page #7).
Around town, in 1980 the very controversial movie Cruising (see article page #1) staring Al Pacino opened at the El Con and Oracle View theatres on February 15, 1980 to packed audiences. Pleasure World Adult Book Stores (see article page #14) had four (4) locations around Tucson, with their Arcades at .25 cents. In 1980 Tucson had two MCC Churches, one for English Speakers Truth Chapel MCC which met in various locations with Reverend Buff Fisher (see card advertisement page #11), who was later replaced by Reverend Randy Hill (see Church Directory page #6), and received it's charter as a full church on Sunday July 26, 1981(see article page #8), and one for Spanish Speakers Santa Cruz MCC (see article page #11) later named Familia de la Santa Cruz I.C.M. (see Church Directory page #10) which met at 349 W. 35th Street with Reverend Bernardo (Bern) David (see article page #15) who would later in the decade be privately fighting a couragous battle with cancer and passing on Tuesday August 30, 1988 at 12:40am at the University Medical Center (see article page #5). Jointly a memorial service for Reverend David was held at MCC/Tucson (see article page #4) along with Cornerstone Fellowship (see article page #4) and Integrity (see article page #4) on Sunday September 15, 1988. Around town the Stockade bar (see ad page #2) bar (a.k.a. Club Europa section which did the shows) (see ad page #5) a leather-western bar located at 2308 N. Stone Avenue brought in the crowds with .35 cent a glass draft beer & shows in the Europa Club (see ad page #2) section.
Jekyll's - Last Culture Bar (see advertising page #5) at 1455 N. Miracle Mile Boulevard featured a massive disco dancing floor with a capacity of 500 people, also featuring live cabaret shows nightly, along with its share of hustlers (see article... Perspective... pages # 8, 9). By the end of July of 1981 Jekyll's had been sold and operated as a straight country western bar. September 12, 1981 saw the first non-alcohol non-political non-religious Gay & Lesbian group Great Outdoors (see article page #2) founded by Phil Black & David Johnson (see article page #2) which offered fun outdoor activities, March 27, 1982 welcomed the first local attempt to target the needs of Gay youths under the age of 22 with the founding of the first Gay Youth Group (see article page #2) by Richard Bloom (see article page #2) which first met in various places and later at the Stone Avenue Temple (a.k.a. Temple Emanu-El built in 1910 at a total cost of $4,712.54) located at 560 S. Stone Avenue which later lead to other youth groups and numerous name changes as well as moderators.
Amist an unemployment rate locally of 9.5 % in May of the year, the Tucson Gay Pride Festival in 1982 normally held in June at Himmel Park was not held that year and instead in response to the nationwide call to Fight the Oppression of Gay People (see article), the Pride Weeks Main Event was a one hundred thirty (130) mile Civil Rights March from Tucson to Phoenix which kicked off with a rally first at the Pima County Courthouse and another later at El Presidio Park at 7pm (see article) (see photo) on Saturday June 19, 1982 with the march involving camping overnights along the seven (7) day route, then ended in a two (2) mile walk down Phoenix main streets to the state capital building (see article) (see article) on Saturday June 26, 1982 for a joint protest by Gays and their allies from Phoenix, two (2) chartered bus loads of the Tucson Gay Community (see article), other Arizona communities, along with those Gays from other states. Gay Christian Outreach Services of Tucson provided support and security along the route (see article). As part of the Tucson 1982 Pride Week activities a Pride Fair was held as a fundraiser for sponsoring the local marchers was held at Michaels (see ad page #7) bar located at 140 S. Kolb Road on Sunday June 20, 1982.
Saturday June 9, 1984 brought the founding of the Old Pueblo Business And Professional Association (O.P.B.A.P.A.) (see article... page #2) as the city's first non-political organization of Tucson's Gay & Lesbian business professionals by Bruce Hyland who also served as its first president (see article... page #2) & Merle Yost who also served as the groups first secretary. Tucson Square Dance Club (see... Notices... page #7) formed at Tramps bar (see... Desert Valley Squares article-photos... page #3) located at 616 N. 4th Avenue on August 11, 1984 , across town at the old venue of the long closed Stonewall Tavern Inn, the cozy Back Pocket & the Joshua Tree Disco's bars (see ad... page # 3) were operating side by side at 2921 N. 1st Avenue opening daily at 11:30am under the ownership of Bob Bishop Sr. Just off of Stone Avenue Dales, Graduate Bar owned by Dale Yount, who was the first known Gay Heart Transplant Receipient, at 23 University Boulevard opened at noon every day serving up food, drinks and fun with a mixed drink served for .90 cents. Owner Dale Yount suddenly died of heart failure later in 1981 and upon the reading of Yount's will it revealed that Ronald D. Templeton (see 1990's) had inherited the Graduate bar which he then ran until 1991 (see 1990's). At 2505 N. Stone Avenue, the Book Cellar Adult Movie Arcade (see card ad page #10) welcomed patrons from 8am to 3am daily with their motto, See Why We Are Different (see ad page #10). The New Age Gentlemen's Club (see article page #11) met regularly with weekly activities and a potluck dinner along with a presentation every Friday night. Meantime, around the nation it was on August 1, 1981 that MTV presented its first broadcast.
On the eastside Michael's (see card ad page #6) a Disco (see ad page #7) bar under owner Michael Yeomans (see article page #2) opened Friday July 10, 1981 (see article page #5) at 140 S. Kolb Road. Keeping the Tucson, Phoenix, and Arizona Gay & Lesbian Community informed, the weekly Arizona Gay News quickly featured Local, Arizona, and National Gay related news articles by Publisher George E. Rederus (see AGN page #12), his business (see AGN page #12) partner & Editor Bob Ellis (see AGN page #12), along with Gary Neil Clark (see AGN page #12) as Art Director and Jim Meyers (see AGN page #12) as the Phoenix representative operating as B.G. Publications (see AGN page #12) in Tucson. That publication ceased operation on March 4, 1983 due to inadequate income to support its printing and operation costs. Phoenix investors stepped forward and seven (7) days later on March 11, 1983 produced The New Paper coming out twice a month on Tuesdays with a Phoenix orientation owned and published by Terry Harrison (see The New Paper page #2) & Tony Valdez (see The New Paper page #2) doing business as TNT Publishing (see The New paper page #2) featured Bob Ellis as editor, Gary Neil Clark in Arts & Entertainment, and Tony Valdez (see The New Paper page #2) as the Phoenix Representative. In ongoing negotiations a group of Phoenix investors doing business as Bang Publications/Winged Graphics (see page #2) soon bought out the New Paper's assets.
That group on July 8, 1983 began publishing as the Attitude which came out as a weekly publication with its inital front page having a photo of young sexy Marlon Brando amidst the very competitive competition from the Western Express bi-weekly Gay publication based in Phoenix and covering the Southwest including Tucson (see editors comment page #2) which started in 1981 (and ended with its July 5, 1996 issue #380) under the ownership of D & R Publications Incorporated (Don Pintacura & Rob Speir) with William E. 'Bill' 'Ma' Finley as its Tucson representative. The Attitude publication ran for almost a year without being profitable and ceased publication after 35 issues with its last edition on June 13-26, 1984. Shortly after, The Observer (a.k.a. Observer) (see ...EDITORIAL..page# 2) started up under the ownership & editorship of Bob Ellis, with Gary Neil Clark in production & graphics with its first issue on July 18, 1984 . Nationally, after losing a court case in May of 1984 Disneyland (see article page # 6) in Anaheim California began allowing same sex dancing (see article page # 6) at its theme park. In the early part of the 1980's, singer and Anti-Gay Crusader Anita Bryant of Anita Bryant Ministries often called daily "Radio Of Hate Show" was finally running out of steam and contibutions from the public as she bitterly announced, "My enemies continue to persecute me, the radio stations won't even let me sing or play my songs anymore ... Everyone lets Jane Fonda do shows for free, but they charge me top dollar." The The Habit (see ad page #4), a Private Gay Mens Club with an annual membership fee of $10.00, opened in 1983 at 925 E. Fort Lowell Avenue, also operating with fun packed shows was the Club Europea (see ad page #5, photos page #4) located at 2308 N. Stone Avenue.
As the 1980's hit its mid point in 1985, the U.S. Government officially announced there were 7,000 cases of AIDS in the country, and that 5,244 of them were men. On January 18, 1985 the Hotel Congress & Tap Room Bar officially came out as openly welcoming Gay customers, although it had already been a mixed bar at times for many years. Then surprisingly, by May 1, 1985 the Hotel & Tap Room Bar's owner Isidro Chavez had completely reversed himself and openly no longer sought Gay Customers. The Arizona Gay Bar Owners Association (see article T.I.P.S.) was formed in the 1980's to better make a united front against police, government, and private citizens harassment against Gay Bars and their patrons along with keeping up on laws effecting their businesses (see article page # 5). Collettes West (see listing page #2) bar located at 2849 N. Stone Avenue under ownership of Collette Barajas (see listing page #2) advertised itself as A Womans Bar Where Everyone Is Welcomed (see listing ... page #2). Later in October of 1985 Collette's bar morphed into Simone's (see ad page #9) bar while at the same time Ruby's (see listing... Tucson Community Directory... page #11) located at 2512 E. Grant Road, a Womyn's Feminist bar, had a very loyal following on Tucson's expanding East Side.
Downtown at the bar Tramps (see page #14) which opened on Friday May 11, 1984 (see article page # 4) with Russian River California owners David Rainey-Jason Malonee-Jim Morrison (see article... page #21) in what had previously been a fire station, the Balcony Saloon (see exhibit), and Mrs. O' Leary's Cow (see exhibit) bar was located downtown at 616 N. 4th Avenue letting everyone know it was Not Only A Bar, But A Way Of Life along with its welcoming wood log cabin style interior and infamous saddle that hung over the dance floor. Although the bar had a good run, due to unpaid vendors and creditors at 9:07am on October 23, 1985 (see article-photos page #1, 2) the Federal Bankruptcy Court, Arizona District (see article-photos page #1,2) officially declared Tramp's legally dead (see article-photos page #1, 2) and sold the remaining assets off to investors Dan Elenz, Mark Elenz, Sandy Elenz, Ed Thibeault, and Phil Turlan who quickly re-opened the bar as It's 'Bout Time (see ad page #2) soon becoming known simply as IBT's (see ad page #2) (see video exhibit) featuring a sunken bar and very popular events-shows (see video exhibit) (see ad page #16).
Starting in 1984 the Tucson Women's Commission (see article page # 2) put out a directory of the four hundred sixteen (416) Woman owned and operated businesses (see article page # 2) in Tucson. The FineLine Disco (see page #3, 9 article In Tucson) bar owned by Phil Hahn (see Gay Political Action article page #2) who later sold his interest to Dick Plowman (see Arson Fire article page #1), at 101 W. Drachman, which opened on Wednesday July 8, 1981 (see article page #10), with their motto of A Place For Every Body (see page #3) entertained locals with its Disco (see article page #2, photo on last page) and regular booking of many great local and out of town shows on their theatre style stage. By mid 1981 the FineLine would also open The Underline (see ad page #3) downstairs within the complex (see article page #8) that was once a hotel, and later re-opened it as Outrageous (see ad page #12) (also see ad page #5) a dance and show bar. A sting operation (see article page #1, 2) by the Arizona Liquor Board (see article page #1, 2) using underage teens and hearsay evidence (see article page #1, 2) was conducted in early 1984 at the FineLine bar (see article page #1, 2) resulting in 24 charges (see article page #1,2) against the bar which almost bankrupted the club, resulted in layoffs of Gay employees (see article page #1, 2), and started a legal battle later settled in court when Judge J. Richard Hannah (see article page #1,2) threw the case out of court ruling that the charges were both unsupported and erroneous (see article page #1,2) .
In July 1985 it was announced that Arizona Gay (see article page #1) the first Gay weekly hour long television show (see article page #1) in the United States that was produced and aired locally in Tucson was ending after just over nine months due to financial problems. December of 1985 saw the Tucson MCC Church's Reverend David A. Gunton & its board of directors (see Letters page #8) threaten to suspend all their free advertising & any contributions (see Letters page #8) to The Observer because of it publishing of a gallery's artwork of male frontal nudes (see pages #6, 7) in three (3) of its issues. Quickly many members of the Tucson Gay Community began flooding the Observer with letters (see Letters & Editor's Comment page #5) in support of publishing the gallery's artwork (see Letters & Editor's Comment page #5). Ironically, it was the original MCC Church in its early days in Los Angeles that had regularly advertised heavily in The Advocate Magazine (see letters page #6) to reach out to Gays in 1968. In 1986 the winner of the 1986-87 Miss Gay Tucson Pageant held at the FineLine Disco was interestingly Stephanie Price (Steven Salgado) of Phoenix (additionally see article page #4) who had previously lived 25 years in Tucson and was a resident at the time of his contest application to the events franchisee James B. Curl Jr. d.b.a. JBC Productions of Phoenix (see articles page #4,5).
The Tucson Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee (T.L.G.P.C.) (see article page #2) changed its name to Tucson Lesbian/Gay Alliance (T.L.G.A.) (see article page #2) and changed its bylaws to encompass not only the Pride Week activities but to also act as a political activist and community information committee with Jack Stockslager (see article page #2) as chairman and members including Debra Broner, Bob Ellis, Gary Clark, Kevin Masters, and others. The Tucson Desert Leathermen Club (see Candi Trowbridge Collection Exhibit) (see Bill Finley Collection exhibit) was founded in early November of 1986 and very actively sponsored numerous fundraisers, presented variety and other shows at various bars, along with its many 'Road Trips' around Arizona and to other states, in addition to many other varied and memorable fun club events for its members.
RumorHazzit (see photo ad page #6) (a.k.a. Rumors 2222) bar (see photo ad page #6) under the ownership of Bruce Pegg at 2222 N. Stone Avenue also featured many live wild and fun shows for the LGBT Community including the 1986 Tucson Knight Owls (T.K.O.) (see article page #1) sponsored Annual Closet Ball (see article-photos page #1) won by Linda Fizdale. Nationally, Anti-Gay Crusader Anita Bryant was gone from the national pulpit and TV Show Evangelist Jerry Lamon Fallwell (see Fallwell group archives) the son of a former Tennessee Moonshine Bootlegger and grandson of an Atheist had taken her place calling for the end of any and all Homosexual Rights and asking for large cash donations through his Moral Majority Campaign (see article page # 4) (see article page #14) against Gays and Lesbians that met a demonstration when visiting Tucson on March 21, 1985. By 1988 Fallwell's ideas were falling out of favor with millions of U.S. citizens and the contibutions coming in slowed down to a trickle with his Moral Majority officially folding up during his 1989 speech in that Most Religious Of All American Cities that Fallwell was visiting ..... Las Vegas.
Around the Old Pueblo the non-profit group Sources Unlimited (see listing page #15) provided an information and referral service phone line for the Gay Community, Cable TV (see article page #5) started to become very popular in homes across the city, news of the death of the highly popular campy over the top 300 pound Transvestite actor Divine (a.k.a. Harris Glenn Milstead) (see article page #1) and of Disneyland being sued a second time for denying Gays the right to dance together (see article page #2) (also see article page #2) at their theme park hit Tucson, Cornerstone Fellowship Church (see ad page #6 - Notices page #15) met regularly at 3333 E. Grant Road, the 3rd Annual Fiesta de Mayo (see articicle page #5) as held at the Joshua Tree/Back Pocket (see articicle page #5) bar's large rear dirt parking & volleyball area (see article page #6) as the annual fundraiser to help defray the costs (see article page #2) of the Annual Gay Pride Picnic & Other Pride Events (see article page #2), the Governor of Arizona, a Mormon auto dealer, Evan Mecham, who kept very anti-gay & other minorities views, was removed from office by the Arizona State Legislature (see page #1), the first Lesbian Sorority (see article page #5,11) in the United States was founded at UCLA, the 3rd Annual Observer/Community Benefit (see ad page #9) along with the TOGA (see article page #1) & C.A.T. (see article page #3) Awards (photo's page #6, 7) was held at the ballroom of the Americana Hotel de Tucson (see article page #1) located at 1601 N. Oracle Road.
Tucson Lesbian Co-Op (see Notices page #15) met each 2nd Sunday of the month for potlucks at various locations, a newly diagnosed AIDS patient (see Perspective article page #14) shared his feelings, with the motto Being Gay Isn't Easy (see ad page #10) Gay counseling and other services were being offered by Jewish Family Service (see ad page #10) to all regardless of religious beliefs, the Tucson Tanners Nudist Group (see Notices page #15) were seeking new members, the Transsexual and Lesbian Support Group (see listing page #15) met regularly for potluck meals, support, games, ping pong, and social interaction. With pressure building from the Gateway Merchants Association (see article) due to continued prostitution and other problems in the area during and before in 1986, by February of 1987 the business group had successfully persuaded the city council to rename the North / South section of Miracle Mile running one and one half (1.5) miles from Drachman Avenue north up to Grant Road instead to Oracle Road, but kept the name Miracle Mile on the East / West section between the freeway off ramp and the new Oracle Road section (north of which had been named route #77). The adjoining section of the I-10 ( Interstate Highway) (see timeline listing...Construction History) freeway passing through that area of Tucson was completed in 1966.
Originally conceived, planned, and advertised in August of 1987 as the Drag Queen Wars Mud Wrestling Contest at Rumorz Bar with proceeds to be donated to the Shanti Foundation, and patterned after the highly successful Mud Wrestling Events at Bars like the Stonewall Tavern Inn (see 1970's) located at 2921 N. Stone Avenue (see 1970's) out in its dirt parking lot, by September 2, 1987 had evolved into a Drag Queens Wars Jell-O Wrestling Contest hosted by the highly popular Aviva Diamond at the same venue. The fundraising contest was held in two (2) parts, with the 2nd part allowing anyone in the audience to challenge anyone in the bar to an open JELL-O Wrestling Match.
On Saturday July 2, 1989 (see ad page #12) the Shanti Foundation (see ads pages #2, 3), originally founded by activist Michael Griffin (see In Memoriam page #5), held the JELL-O Wrestling Event (see ad-listings page #12) as one of the 1989 Gay Pride Events (see ad-listings page #12) and exclusively as their own fundraiser named the 1st Annual Reno Memorial Classic Jello Wrestling Extravaganza (see article page #2) at the Rumor Hazzit bar (a.k.a. Rumorz - see ad page #3) located at 2222 N. Stone Avenue.
On a cool clear sunny Sunday February 7, 1988, forty three (43) people including leaders of all Tucson's Gay Organizations and Gay Businesses as well as Members of the Gay Community met at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 4831 E. 22nd Street to discuss establishing another Lesbian and Gay Community Resource Center (see article page #5) to fill the void left by the Gay Community Services (G.C.S.) Community Center which had closed down. During the meeting Wayne Blankenship, a former University of Arizona student & Co-Editor of the Arizona Daily Wildcat newspaper living at 355 N. Court Avenue, who was already co-facilitating a Gay youth group (see Notices page #11) suggested the name Wingspan be used if a new community resource group was formed. After the meeting attendees were treated to a mouth watering barbeque with baked potatoes and cold Michelob light beer. A second meeting was scheduled for Sunday February 21, 1988 at the Matrix Community Services/Amity Incorporated drug & other addictions programs (see Amity website) joint facility (see article page #5) (a.k.a. the Old Fire Station) located at 1030 N. 4th Avenue. Both addiction programs had already first began sponsoring the Tucson Lesbian/Gay Youth Group (see article page #2) on August 8, 1987 (see article page #2) with Co-Facilitators Wayne Blankenship (see article page #2), a quiet sincere very active man, & Renee Berry (see article page #2).
On June 5, 1988 St. Francis In The Foothills Church (see article page #3) located at 4625 E. River Road became the first fundamental church in Arizona (see article page #3) to be a reconciling church (one that has decided to embrace the Gay and Lesbian Community into its active membership) (see article page #3). The reconciliation was formally celebrated later at an event that took place on Friday night August 26, 1988 (see article page #3) with Gay & Lesbian organizations speakers from Temple Emanu-El - Abby S., Cornerstone Fellowship - Rada S., Dignity-Michael D., Integrity - Bruce A., M.C.C. Tucson - Reverend Nita T-W, Shanti Foundation - Natalie Perry, Tucson AIDS Project - Craig Snow, Wingspan Lesbian & Gay Community Center - Samara D., and for St. Francis of the Foothills - Liza S. (see article page #3).
The Wingspan group (see article page #2) and the University of Arizona Women's Center (see article page #2) co-sponsored a Womyn Loving Womyn Weekend Retreat (see article page #2) held north of the city in Pima County's Oracle area on Saturday & Sunday October 22-23, 1988 (see article page #2). The Tucson Lesbian & Gay Community Chorus (see article page #2) with director John Kissler (see article page #2) and manager Jim Ehrlich (see article page #2) (originally organized as the Tucson Gay & Lesbian Community Chorus) which met at the Stone Avenue Temple building (then being rented by the Tucson Metropolitian Community Church) at 560 S. Stone Avenue became the first of its kind in Arizona as it announced it was forming (see Notices page #11) on September 21, 1988 followed by a name change to Tucson Metropolitian Community Chorus (see article page #2).
The chorus second performance Struttin Down Broadway (see article page #2) was presented to a very enthusiastic crowd on May 19, 1989 at the Unitarian Church located at 4831 E. 22nd Street at 8pm with tickets $3.00 in advance & $4.00 at the door (see ad page #10). The singing groups first public performance was at AIDS Fair '89 in Phoenix (see ad & article page #2) on April 1, 1989 (additionally see article page #13). Tucson's first celebration of National Coming Out Day (see article page #1,7) on Tuesday October 11, 1988 was organized to start with a 30 minute press conference at Himmel Park (see museum exhibit 1, 2) by the Wingspan group along with administrator Wayne Blankenship who lived at 355 N. Court Avenue. The group rented a small windowless one room office space from the Tucson Women's Commission located at 240 N. Court Avenue (the property originally the office of the Artic Ice Company that supplied blocks of ice citywide before refrigeration for ice boxes and owned by the 1888 Tucson Councilman & businessman Royal A. Johnson (see 1800's) with the structure also serving as his business & family home in the later 1800's. Numerous occupants followed later over the years until the property was donated to the Tucson Women's Commission in 2000 by the City of Tucson against the backdrop of public pressure to do so).
Tucson's first October 11, 1988 National Coming Out Day Motorcade & Press Conference (see Non-Bar notices page #9) (see Video Exhibit #1) at Himmel Park a motorcade of 32 automobiles drove for one (1) hour along busy Speedway Boulevard and through mid town neighborhoods with many of the participating cars colorfully decorated with streamers, flowers, and signs with riders festively interacting with the public in other cars and with nearby pedestrians. That night at Collette's bar (see ad page #4) the Wingspan group (see listing in Calendar of upcoming events Tuesday, October 11) sponsored a party in celebration of the day complete with entertainment. In May of 1989 the Tucson Lesbian/Gay Alliance (T.G.L.A.) released the Pride Week schedule of events that first kicked off with the Annual Traditional Pride Picnic At Himmel Park on Sunday June 25, 1989 (see articles-letters-photos #1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 12, 13) from noon to dusk (see ad page #11) that offered free beer (50 kegs ordered with 47 being used & 3 returned full) and soft drinks along with inviting all of Tucson's Gay & Lesbian groups to set up booths at no charge for their groups on a first come basis. As part of the week of pride events the Wingspan group, that had just set up a phone hot-line and first began being listed in the July 1989 phone book & as a community resource in the local Weekly Observer publication (see Notices listing page #15) on August 23, 1989, hosted the very popular local political cartoonist David Fitz Fitzsimmons to speak on Thursday June 29 (see ad page #12) and the Moth Ball Dance (see ad page #12) the next day on Friday June 30 (see ad page #12) with a cover charge as a fundraiser for their group.
The 2nd Walk For Life (see article page # 1) going up A Mountain in a Candlelight Procession (see article page # 1) in Tucson was co-sponsored by American Red Cross, Amity, Borderlands Theatre, Chicanos Por Cuasa, El Proyecto Arizona-Sonora, El Pueblo Neighborhood Center, El Rio Neighborhood Center, Information & Referral Services, La Frontera Center La Mesilla, LLEGO, People With AIDS Coalition of Tucson, Pio Decimo Center, Pima County Health Department, Santa Cruz County Health Department, Shanti Foundation of Tucson, Tohono O'Odham Health Department, Traditional Indian Alliance, Tucson AIDS Project, Tucson Lesbian & Gay Alliance, Tucson Minority Consortium on AIDS, and Wingspan (see article page #1) and held on Thursday October 12, 1989 just one week after the 14 acre size Names Project AIDS Quilt (see articles-photos pages # 5, 2) including panels from Tucson (see photos page #5) (see panel at P.A.C.T. Office) had been unfolded in Washington D.C. in view of the Whitehouse.
The highly talented UofA Dance Professor & Choreographer Doug Nielsen (see article....Old Pueblo Benefit For...page #3) produced and directed two (2) dance concerts as AIDS Fundraisers in 1988-1989 for the financially struggling Tucson Aids Project (see article....Old Pueblo Benefit For...page #3), around Tucson the Boomers Cafe Espresso (see ad page #7) located at 500 N. 4th Avenue offered both good food & local entertainment (see Non-Bar Calendar page # 10), the former straight bar Someplace Else located at 1239 N. 6th Avenue in the early part of November of 1989 (see ad page #5) was purchased by co-owners Michael Bennett & Peter Sittig (see article page #5) who quickly re-opened it for a quiet test run (see ad page #3) on Saturday December 9, 1989 (see article page #5) as a classy Gay bar The French Quarter with its Official Grand Opening coming later on Sunday January 14, 1990 (see 1990's), and by the end of 1989 the number of Gay related groups & organizations had grown substantially from what had been available in 1980 (see Notices page #15).
Along with the end of the decade of the 1980's passing into history was the highly popular local bartender David Reno Gannon (see memorium ad page #2) who had been instrumental in organizing a 1987 Mud Wrestling Match which by the date it was held had turned into a JELL-O Wrestling Match died of AIDS in Tucson on April 10, 1988 , on October 2, 1985 at 8:37am the popular and closeted Hollywood Gay Actor Rock Hudson died of AIDS, the former Vietnam War Hero of three (3) combat tours and Air Force Sergeant Leonard Matlovich (see article page #1) who was discharged for being Gay and later became a Gay Rights Activist featured on the cover of Life Magazine in 1975 died of AIDS on Wednesday June 22, 1988 at 9:43pm (see article page #1), the former athelete Dr. Tom Waddell (see Quilt Panel photo page #1) who in 1982 helped start the first Gay Olympics (also see local participants article) which was forced to drop the word olympic and instead used Gay Games died of AIDS on Saturday July 11, 1987 at home, the FBI's ability to hide their secret files on Gay Groups (see article page #2) they had infiltrated & spied on between 1959-1989, both Rabbit Ears & roof top TV antennas as must haves were becoming obsolete, openly gay entertainer Liberace died on February 4, 1987 of AIDS, the founder of numerous Gay bar's & Damerons Gay Guide businessman Bob Damron who died in 1989 of AIDS, the man who took the Advocate (which had originally started out as a groups Los Angeles Gay photocopied newsletter) nationwide as a magazine investment banker David Goodstein died of AIDS in 1985, porn star John Holmes (see article page # 2) died of AIDS (see article page #7) on Saturday March 12, 1988.
Gone in Tucson were the Gay bars Jekyll's - Last Culture Bar (see advertising page #5) - Hair Tiz - Club Europea (see ad page #5, photos page #4) - Stepps (see ad page #3) (see photos page # 8,9) - Rita's Rendezvous (see ad... page #5) (see article...Bar Talk...page #5) - FineLine Disco (see page #3,9 article In Tucson) - Michael's Disco (see ad page #7) - Stockade - The Underline (see ad page #3) - Tramps (see page #14) - Simone's (see ad page #9) - Ruby's (see Tucson Community Directory page #11) - Outrageous (see ad page #12) (also see ad page #5), the Gay Community Services Of Tucson (see article page# 9), Santa Cruz Metropolitan Community Church (see article page #11), The Stables Private Men's Club (see advertising page #11), The Office (see article page # 5), Pleasure World Bookstores with their 4 locations (see ad page #10), Hollywood Actor & WW2 Veteran Lee Marvin who lived at his ranch just outside Tucson, came out in support of the Gay Rights Movement in a 1969 Playboy Magazine Interview, and died of a Heart Attack on August 29, 1987, Arizona Gay TV Show (see article page #1), Moral Majority Campaign (see article page # 4) (see article page #14) , Arizona Gay News (a.k.a. A.G.N.), the Attitude , New Age Gentlemen's Club (see article page #11) ,and the days of un-protected sex being considered safe. Many celebrities during the decade of the 1980's either announced, were openly, or at least flirted with their gayness or bisexuality, including Madonna, Sandra Bernhard, Lily Tomlin, Mick Jagger, Paul Lynde, Elton John, Liberace, Melissa Etheridge, Boy George and David Bowie to name just a few. At the stroke of midnight on December 31, 1989 (see Say Goodbye To the 1980's page #12) with a population within it's 156 square mile city limits of 402,147 people Tucson stepped right into the 1990's (see 1990's) (see Faces) along with their many different New Years Resolutions (see... Resolution Solution... pages #8, 9).
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