Recently while search/surfing as I am apt to do; I came across an article on a local gay blog responding to an opinion piece featured in a local gay mag. We read the response, the original piece and the publisher’s reply to all the controversy. And yes there was, as it would seem, quite a bit of controversy. Subsequently the original opinion piece was pulled from the Pride Issue of Fenuxe Magazine, citing timing and distraction by the publisher.
While there are elements of the article that definitely ring true for this writer we thought we’d offer you the chance to read it and form your own opinions.
Is the timing of the article the issue or is it the content itself? When do we get to critique our community without being alienated from it?
Share your thoughts if you care to on Fenuxe Facebook page.
Gay Media in Atlanta: the War Against Real Content
“Why Can’t We Have Nice Things???”
Nico Stoerner, Staff Writer
“Am I reaching for the stars here? Not really.”
-The Devil Wears Prada
As I look around in the most popular gay bars in Atlanta I find myself holding my nose, watching my step, avoiding drunks, and desperately dodging fellow patrons in order to save my sad – yet expensive – 4 oz. drink.
Why, why, why has going out to “have a good time” become such a stressful affair?!
What happened to the idea of the classy lounge with a sexy bar, dim lights, stiff drinks, and comfortable accommodations? I cannot think of a less appealing set of places for a fun, yet relaxing, evening out than the sad selection of bars and clubs that are interspersed through our fair city.
It’s not that we don’t know better… Many of us have traveled to New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and even abroad; enjoying the stylish finishes, mood lighting, and great music. Unfortunately we just seem to “take what we can get” and continue to buy into the less-than-satisfying status quo we have inherited here.
Let me make myself absolutely clear, though… the fault does not lie solely upon the bar and club owners: We as a community have not rewarded those establishments which tried something new and created a more sleek, stylized, establishment.
While some of our local bars and clubs have upgraded their fixtures, added granite, and even installed better lighting – by and large they remain dirty, crowded, and in many cases, disgusting.
Furthermore, the design of these establishments make about as much sense as Atlanta’s infrastructure and traffic! Establishments in Atlanta simply LOVE building enormous, GIGANTIC bars that sit in the middle of their prime space, leaving tiny areas for patrons to pack together. I mean – the bartenders could do backhand springs, cartwheels, and entire musical reviews in the amount of space they have…
It’s as if we have forgotten those two rather important words: FIRE, HAZARD. It’s comparable to our city planners’ exceptional logic: “let’s create a bottleneck here,” “how about coming to a complete stop every 200 feet”, and “why not a single lane one way there?”
It’s not enough that we pay exorbitant prices for “drinks” (more like sips) in plastic cups the same size as my dentist uses for mouthwash, but we must also wade through leaking sewage, pack into small spaces, and scream to hear one another.
To add insult to injury – some of these establishments even charge a cover for the “privilege” to spend even more money with them, finding cruel and unusual ways to punish their patrons and squeeze every cent they can from them – like insisting that cover be paid in cash… “Oh, but we have a ‘convenient’ ATM (and an even more convenient $5 fee) you can use to retrieve it… but be sure to keep an open tab with your credit card at the bar!”
I refuse to allow myself to give such a scathing review without offering some simple solutions, though.
We have all seen beautiful bars before: backlit marble surfaces, sexy lighting, sleek fixtures, and comfortable accommodations. We know what nice things are – but we haven’t yet decided we deserve them.
It’s strange, too… because we gays are always on the cutting-edge of style, sophistication, and contemporary fashion. Why is it that we have beautiful condos, elegant houses, fashion-forward wardrobes, and yet some of the least impressive hotspots in the entire city? It’s a situation that I find quite ironic… and depressing.
TO MY FELLOW PATRONS: Let’s pretend every weekend we are having a mini people’s-choice awards. Choose to spend your money at the bars and establishments that truly attempt to provide a unique, quality experience for its patrons. If we stick to it, they will hear us loud and clear and will remember once again that without patrons, all they have is a dirty, empty space. There may be some hope on the horizon with the old 5 Napkin building turning into a new bar and hotspot called “10pen”.
TO OUR LOCAL ESTABLISHMENTS: You could stand to learn from the late Steve Jobs, who was famously quoted saying “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them… By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” Create a well planned, unique, exciting, and accommodating hotspot! Challenge yourselves to lead the way, rather than maintaining the status quo. Clubs like Backstreet did not at all resemble the clubs of today… lounges like “Therapy” in New York, with their unique use of an old warehouse (and whorehouse), delicious cocktails named after disorders, and a sleek, modern, and accommodating design.
It’s our fault we don’t have nice things, but that can change.