Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Iron Hinge Bar, Detroit Michigan (Gay Bar)

The Iron Hinge was located on Woodward Ave just north of Grand Blvd. A guy from California told me that it was his first gay bar in 1972. He said that Sunday nights were popular for the drag shows. Also, Jojo who worked the door at Menjo's for years had first worked at the Iron Hinge. If you have any stories about this bar, please post! Also, check out my other blog: motorgay.net/

23 comments:

  1. The Hinge(was the best,most all around bar I ever went to.Bob and Larry(the owners) were the best!It was STraightAND GAY so you could ACTUALLY MEET Masculine guys of any color and persuasion.Quite unlike the Strange,Womanish Creatures at Menjo's. Also the SHOWS with TIPPY,ELAINE ST.Jacques,RENNE BASSY were awesome! And BOOKIES!CLUB 870(Frank Gagen's)With the young and Beautiful Jennifer Foxx and Bette Clark,Buttons La Walker,MELBA Moore,FREDA Payne,Vonda Lee and VANESSA LaSalle and Carrie Phillips were always a Great THRILL!THANKS for REMEMBERING!!

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    1. What ever happened to Tippy,Buttons,Freda & Vonda Lee. Elaine,Melba,Vanessa & Carrie have passed on I hear. All wonderful people. God bless everyone.

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    2. I can still recall sitting at the bar at Gas Station (after sneaking in with some story about losing my id) and chatting and drinking tequila sunrises with Melba Moore and Freda. Watching Lady T put hot boys into a child's wading pool and dousing them with water for all the horny onlookers. Saw my first Divine music video at that place. And then I'd go up to Heaven to sober up! What great memories. Was saddened to find out on my last visit to Detroit that Gas Station had burned to the ground and there was a vile McDonalds in it's place. That was really sad to see.

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    3. The Iron Hinge was also my first gay bar in 1972. I was 18 years old then. You could drink at 18 at that time. When I turn 21 they change the law back to 21. Always had fun there! I remember all the female impersonaters that were mentioned. Betty (Ronny) Clark was my favorite of all time. I sure wish I could find Ronny today! He was a sweetheart and also a very handsome youngman! They were all great performers, but Betty Clark top them all! Loved that place!

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    4. He just had another birthday, and lives i think downriver hes a good friend of Lady Denise....

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    5. Bob Vance passed away sometime back. Larry (Ceil) is still around and living in the Ann Arbor area Still goes to the Hayloft on Saturday evenings. Jason lives in Ferndale and goes to the bars in Royal Oak. We owned and loved that bar and it's wonderful patrons. Still remember them "All" Any body remember Trisha Trash and her comedy routines? Larry

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  2. I just remember this sad drag queen doing her best to imitate Eartha Kitt singing something like " with my champagne tastes & your beer bottle pocket book, your diamonds are not this girl's best friend…" They had some kind of leftover hippie light show going on behind her & it all seemed a little tacky but also a little sweet - the girl did give it her all to a crowed that was somewhat less than appreciative.

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  3. I remember the black wrought-iron railing around the dance floor which was slightly elevated from the rest of the bar. I was a proud Dancer! I would go to their "Dance Contests" in the 1970's and I got SO MAD!! In one contest, I was dancing my ass off to the only music worth listening to at the time-- Disco!

    Probably Barry White's "Can't Get Enough" and the crowd really appreciated me by applause and I thought, "I just may win this thing yet" (because I was like John Travolta in Sat. Night Fever BEFORE THERE WAS A Saturday Night Fever!!)

    Next, onto the stage then came the "cheater" who couldn't dance good at all, and under any other circumstances would have bored all the people to death with his poor dancing ability, but because he did something completely dishonest and downright NASTY, and did not deserve (my opinion) to win the contest but WON!! The Thing he did was to expose his "little (and I do mean little) friend". I was so mad because I was in this as a "Dancer" and the other guy couldn't dance so he did what he had to do to win! And exposing his manpiece worked!! I got so mad, and haven't forgotten it for 40 years!! LOL HA HA HA!!

    But later I got my revenge during another number when I pulled my "bigger friend" out to show the audience so not to be outdone! I wanted to make a point because this had happened to me a couple of times that year and I was pissed! I did my due diligence to learn to dance and practice and whatnot and get ready and all and some "Mope" who just crawled out of nowhere would get up there and show off his stuff- literally and needless to say there was never that much to see anyhow- and I get closed out! So it was at the Iron Hinge when I finally said, "If I can't beat 'em-- Join 'em! I spent the rest of that summer on Acid having sex at the baths and dancing at the clubs all over town.

    The last I remember of the Iron Hinge was I spent a night at the Club Detroit Baths one night having my first cocaine experience with some guy in a room who kept trying to get me off on a bunch of cocaine. He's like, "Have a snort of this, and another... and another... and another, and then he said "How do you feel?" "I said, "Honestly, I don't feel any different at all!! He was so perplexed and freaked out!! Remember this was like 1975 and he said to me, "You just did over $400 worth of the best cocaine and you don't feel ANYTHING??!! I said "Sorry". He finally left and I finally left and began walking down Woodward passed the Iron Hinge when like a freight train, all that Cocaine HIT ME all at once like a gunshot! WoW!! That was some good cocaine after all!! Sorry hot guy whoever you were! HA HA lol!

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  4. I think it was 1972 when I went to the Hinge. I had just came out. I first went to an adult bookstore and came across a Damron bar guide. I was thrilled as I was from the suberbs and did not know of a gay bar. I finaly went there and was thrilled to see gay people mingling and dancing. The drag show was great and I met Tippy Hedron and Danny Dilletto who I think was a miss Michigan, correct me if I am Wrong.

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  5. I spent many GREAT times at the Hinge....Bob Vance was a good man. I worked there as a waiter and then as a male dancer...god I was so young and full of it. Art the bartender was a kind and thoughful man. I remember Tippi as I know everyone does...she was a fixture there. I remember all the wonderful shows there, the production was not that great but the girls were...Shereen Dennis, Elaine St Jaques, Hummin Helen, Torchey...then there was Jason who handled the dancers....I danced there for a long time and really enjoyed it...miss those simple days when all we had was each other....

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    1. Jason is still around living in the Royal Oak or Ferndale area.

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  6. oops...sorry to the buy who lost the dance contest, guess he was dancing against Ray? I can remember one Sunday after the bowling league going back to the Hinge and having the after bowling party....I was the dancer and "Joe"of Menjos fame.. cut my g string off up by the fireplace....First Bob Vance locked the front door....gosh did we have fun at the Hinge...is Torchy still around?

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  7. Well now I started going to the Iron Hinge at 19 and lived at the gay house on Virginia Park with Chili Pepper, Ms.Torchy,and Lana Carr everyone knew we were under age but no-one really cared anyway the Hinge was the best place to hang out especialy on show night there was the Larry and Lauren revue from Pontiac Mi they mostly did Tina Turner and Danny Maldonado who did Liza and would jump from the bar and swing on the huge chandelier into the audience then jump back on the bar and finish her number the crowd would go wild then there was Gina Holloway who did Carmen Miranda in an authentic classic Carmen Miranda costume and the crowd roared when she came out (How would ju like to spend a veekend in Ha-vana) crazy stuff sometimes Lana Carr would host the evening and I believe that is the person someone mentioned doing a bad Eartha Kitt imitation.

    Well Chili Pepper was just starting out at another known bar but would come in and do a number once in awhile and of course there was Mandy and Steven the DJ who would spin records I remember Gina Holloway doing frindship train onstage and taking her jacket off and throwing it into the crowd a little over the top but the crowd loved it also do you remember Frank he was straight with a glass eye this was 1969 his wife caught him with Chili in a back room and did the Sh#2#$ hit the fan.

    And someone asked about Torchy last I heard she was still living in Highland Park, and is still with her long time partner, and yes she's just as crazy as ever

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    1. The dj's name was Stanley not Steven....we both lived at the Belcrest Hotel and apts on Cass...

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  8. Oh yes Shereen Dennis Was a title holder at the Hinge in 1972 she was well known for doing Freda Payne's Band of Gold and Bring the Boys Home I had a picture of her but alas it disappeared. last I saw her she was into leather at the Eagle and did not want to be remembered as a drag queen, Well you were great and dont forget it!

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  9. Actually the Dj at the Hinge was Stanley who lived at the BelCrest on Cass.

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  10. It was 1975 when I first went to the Hinge. I met Tippy, Vanessa La Salle & Carrie Phillips. I kept in touch with Vanessa & Carrie until their passing but lost touch with Tippy. Does anyone have any info regarding Tippy?

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    1. do u remember the waiter JJ?

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    2. I am JJ, my real name is Jack...

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    3. Tippy passed away some years ago, as did Danny Dilleto, and Trisha Trash from Morey's......

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    4. Tippy moved back to Washington DC Lost touch after that.

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  11. What ever happened to the Larry and Loren review from Pontiac that used to perform at the Hinge, he did all Tina Turner, one night I met a friend of theirs ( Jerry) had a big crush on him, he was really cute and we hung out for awhile, id like to meet him again, hey Jerry if you see this go to facebook and look me up....

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  12. Does anyone remember Lana Carr fro the Hinge...

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