|Short Vincent, April 1967 during a George Wallace protest.|
Courtesy of CSU's Michael Schwartz Library, special collections. Click to Enlarge.
An excerpt from an entry I posted last March:
... The Theatrical was a legendary club on Short Vincent. It was big and brash with a huge kidney shaped bar that surrounded an elevated stage. The club was housed in one cavernous room, with tables and booths flanking that incredible bar. Giant figures graced the two-story walls: demure chicks in hoop skirts and devilishly exaggerated harlequin men lunging for them. There was a coat check. Attendants in the ladies' lounge handed you a towel and made sure the bottles of hand cream and cologne were properly arranged.
During college breaks, I pushed beers at a weird little joint called the Park Pub in the basement of what is now Reserve Square apartments. I used to go braless and wear cute little outfits with high heels in order to garner better tips (sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't). When my shift was over I would occasionally sashay over to the Theatrical to meet a friend or wait for my ride. The bar proper had four sections, each serviced by a regular bartender who was as legendary as the Theatrical itself. Everyone had their favorite. I always sat in Jim's section. I'd settle in as he'd straighten from his perfect bar lean, amble over and snap open his Zippo to light my Marlboro before pouring me a big icy tumbler of Canadian Club and soda.
"Hey Jim, can I have a paper and pencil?"
"Sure thing, girlie."
I'd jot down, Girl from Ipanema? then hand it to Jim, who would in turn deliver it to the house pianist, who, if he had no other requests pending, would stop in the middle of whatever he was playing and start playing "Girl from Ipanema."
On his break, the pianist (whose name I am purposefully omitting) would ask me to dance. We'd step onto the dance floor and start swaying to and fro. He wasn't terribly attractive, but his sexuality was unmistakable as his cologne wafted between us. The fabric of his suit against my chin felt formal and expensive. When he'd pull me close, I'd look up into his eyes.
"Your lips are less then an inch from my own," he once remarked.
Perhaps not surprisingly, he would become aroused during these interludes, which were as pure and erotic as anything I can recollect. He would push hard into my torso as we moved ever-so-slowly against one another. He never once kissed me.
That's what it was like. Back then. At the Theatrical. In Cleveland.
* * *
So that's what I wrote last March. Yesterday, I was taking photos on Vincent. The Theatrical's a parking lot now.
Yeah, yeah. You go on ahead and charge your $12.50 a day. I'll take the memories.
* * *