Thursday, June 25, 2009

When In Daytona

"Superman...I love you Superman...Do it to me Superman...Superman..."
These fine words are from an especially disposable song released sometime around 1978 or 1979. I remember when I first heard it as I was cruising in Daytona Beach one night, on my way to one of the most atrociously, tacky yet endearing gay bars I've ever seen. Whatever tackiness was there during the day while you walked on the beach or on the boardwalk, was there in spades at night. I adored going over to Daytona Beach at night.
It's long gone now, along with its open-air cousin, a "cruising bar" outside that catered to "rough" trade. For the life of me, I can't remember the names of these wonderful places but they were literally right downtown, just across the street from a motorcycle bar. The entertainment for the evening was the "lovely" Billie Boots, an ancient, yet legendary, drag queen who performed on a stage the size of my double bed at home. There was something decidedly bohemian about the whole thing and my memories are extremely fond.
Just down about half a block was an even nastier place with a couple of pool tables and one bar. I can't remember it's name either, but I'm sure I spent more than my fair share of time leaning against the wall, trying to get some attention. So anyway, back to where we started:
The highlight of this place was that they actually had rooms to rent upstairs and, yes, I did find out for myself one night, just how decrepit this crumbling, aging hotel/hostel was. This kid I had picked up for the night was staying there and so we went upstairs to a tiny room, in which an ancient iron bed was crammed into. The bathroom was down the hall. Needless to say, I didn't stay for pancakes the next morning. And yeah, the sex was just as forgetable.
If you didn't feel like going all the way down to the beach side, there was a bar right on US1 called The Zodiac. I remember it because the first time I cruised around the area, I remember seeing the tacky neon sign of a rocket ship. Maybe it was because I was used to neon in front of The Parliament House in Orlando, but something just clicked inside and I knew it was a gay bar. This place was more conventional as gay bars went. It of course had the lighted dance floor, a la Saturday Night Fever and the guys were generally the same as they were anywhere else. My batting average there was pretty good however, as I was motivated to not drive home after drinking all night. This is the place where I met little Bruce.
Bruce was an extremely sweet and cute kid from Canada, living down here in Florida on his parents' dime. We went out for a while and then he moved in with me while I was living out in the woods in my parents' cabin. It was all good, playing house and stuff until I realized he was boring the hell out of me. I wanted my wanderlust back and he had to go. There were tears and threats, but I got him out of the house. I did see him very occasionally in Orlando after that. He still looked yummy, and I even toyed with the idea of a snog or two with him, but he was still too angry at me for anything serious. Last I heard, he had moved back to Saskatchewa.
Unfortunately, his wouldn't be the only heart I would break. I still had Boston to inflict my special brand of "love" on. And this time there were two of them!


  1. the bar with the rooms above was The Landmark...I remember Billy Boots well and La Tasha Diane!
    The other bar down the street I can't remember the name..but would get smashed on their 50 cent well drink specials!...I knew a Bruce at the Zodiac...wonderfully tight muscle man...

  2. One of the gay bars was probably "Beachside", which opened in 1965 and along with the old biker bar "Blackbeard's", was lost to eminent domain and the gentrification (meaning the ruin) of Main Street where you turn onto Atlantic Blvd.