Disco Disco

The Turret had become my home away from home. I was spending more time there than at my apartment. People would knock on the fire escape door at 3-4am to find me. I would find myself sleeping on the benches on the upper level and then getting up and doing more work or just hanging around. Later, going home and getting a few Z's and then back to the bar to boogie and drink; this was the "true age" of free sex, drugs and poppers! Thursday nights were the beginning of our weekends. By 9 to 9:30pm if you were not already at the bar, you were in the long line that wound itself down the stairs to the door and down the street. Later we had a room on the second floor that people took a number and were served free pop and coffee while waiting to get in upstairs as well as a lineup.

Opposing Lineups

The Lineup at the The Turret would go out the door and down the street to the right looking out the door. Across the other side of Barrington Street, the Paramount Theatre line up would come the other way so both lines were across from one another. The cat calls back and forth from time to time were loud and when Halloween came round the combination of cheers, jeers and catcalls was a sight not to missed by straight, gay, lesbian or otherwise.

John Marr (Mother Marr)

John Marr was standing at the "Meat Rack", the night I arrived at The Turret. He did not go without notice because he had this heir of an aristocrat. His black hair with a white stripe winding thru it (sarcoidosis was the cause I beleive) and his attire meticulously chosen to fit his big frame. I have never met many big men who dressed to suit their look but John had a flair for it. I always found John sexy in my own way of looking at him, I told him this once and the resulting baffled look still makes me smirk today. John has a kamp all of his own; never coming off as phoney and his "HA" of a laugh made you turn and take notice. I remember John on halloween the first year I was in attendance, in this mad costume (all black) which is one of his fav colors (along with Vatican Purple; could she be a witch?), a witch like robe that covered him from head to toe, or was it a black arabian knight ?

John became manager of The Turret in 1979 or 80 (will correct this soon) and a whole new attitude came about. The staff seemed to work together more (we still had our bitch fights) and I seemed to get more support for what I envisioned The Turret Club should be.

John has two ways of being mad, one is this breathy low spoken with teeth showing and eyebrows lowered; the other is like is kinda like Jackie Gleason "Alice, one of these days, one of these days; pow !". Both made the shoulders go limp. He also became known as "MOTHER MARR" to those of us who found that John always had a shoulder for you to cry on or just an ear to hear what you had to say.

Pop Goes The Drag Queen

Ahhh the light show! It was to be something like no other around. I made a frame out of plywood 16' by 16'. It was a square with a diamond shape in the middle, hung by heavy steel chain over the entire dance floor. Each of the sides were 16" wide and I cut over 1000 holes in the wood into which were over a 1000 outdoor Christmas lights pointing downwards. We bought a sound-activated light chaser box, which was to make the lights flash in over 40 patterns one way then inverted. In the middle hung a large mirror ball and on each end 2 of smaller size. PROBLEM NO. 1: not enough power. An electrician that was hanging around at the time suggested I try setting it up at 240v. I remember thinking at the time that "this is wrong, Very WRONG!" but I thought that he was an electrician and I am not (even though my years of experience thus far said NOT). I made the connections, I turned the breaker on... there was pop pop pop and a screeeam that I will remember for the rest of my life. Turns out that EmeraldGibson was standing under the show, awestruck at all the pretty lights and when I threw the switch the glass showered down on him like a torrent of locusts. His long curly hair was filled with little glass glitter. I found out later that the electrician was just joking, hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Anyways, Ezzie regained his composure eventually and I found a way around the electrical dilemma on my own.

The Night The Lights Went Out

The night was set, the light show was ready and the people are packed in for the show of lights. The music started, the crowd chanted 10-9-8-7 ... 1 and then the lights came on. There was a roar from the whole room as this spectacle of lights flooded the club. The oohs and ahs were like the kiddies at a fireworks display. After about 20 minutes the breaker blew and moans of displeasure took over the packed room. I reset the breaker only to have it shut down again (I am in a panic at this point as it all falls back on me.) Eventually I gave up for the night and just let the mirror balls shine "Ballroom anyone?" I worked on the show for a few more days and eventually found out that the company had sent the wrong schematics. We mailed the chaser back to them but it took over a year to get it back. By then GaeGala had moved to Rumours Bar on Granville Street. I ended up putting a small 3-way blinker on the show and the lights just went back and forth like metronome that never stops. This was an event that I took a long time to live down.

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