Stock image courtesy Pixabay
The first time I got the feeling that something odd, particularly as it pertains to the LGBT, was going on in Rock Island, Ill. is when I returned home to West Hollywood one year after spending Christmas in Illinois.
I was working out on the elliptical cross trainer one morning at famed Sports Connection (we called it Sports Erection, who knows what it’s called now) at San Vincente and LaCienega or thereabouts. Suddenly, two elderly men boomed, guffawed, and pointed at my shirt.
“You from Rock Island?” they ask, their eyes shining like C3POs.
JR’s was the famous gay night club in Rock Island, Illinois. For years, Rock Island, Illinois was the gay Mecca of the Quad-Cities. That all changed shortly after I moved back from Los Angeles.
The transformation from the Rock Island gay “district” to the Davenport “Rainbow District” had begun even before I moved back from L.A. Ironically, I never had been to a Rainbow District gay bar after returning from Los Angeles to the Quad-Cities until then-Quad-City Times editor John Humenik sent me there on a story.
Let me back up. Perhaps my trauma began at childhood. My telephone number was 788-9141.
The number at JR’s? 788-9149.
It’s the 1970s. I’m an effeminate acting little boy who loves to answer the telephone.
You get the idea!
Herb Trix lands probing exclusive with Rainbow Reporter
The story I wrote for Humenik and the Quad-City Times about Davenport’s Rainbow District raised a whole lot of eyebrows. In fact, Herb Trix of Augustana Public Radio WVIK featured me on his “Week in Review” radio show to discuss the story.
In retrospect, it’s a lively, probing interview. Props to Trix. I may have pieces of it on YouTube video; I will attempt to post.
Mom’s JR’s “paper cups” story
Mom always claimed she knew J.R. She said he came into Milan Eagles now and then.
Mom was a meat wrapper at Milan Eagles, and later 075 in Rock Island, right down the street from my house that I sold at $50,000 loss to the lovely Burmese family.