By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
By New Times
With the J-grrl back in the saddle this week after her brief leave of absence (though whose saddle, I'll never tell), I decide to let the lezzie Eva Longoria pick our party-place du jour. Three guesses where the Jettster wants to lick her lips and twist her hips? The new lesbian love zone, the E-Lounge, over on Seventh Avenue just north of Indian School. Seems the four-and-a-half-month-old club has brought game to that other L-word drama palace in the PHX, Ain't Nobody's Bizness (known by the shorthand "the Biz"), and everyone in the gay community is feelin' its flava.
As the Kreme machine was long ago dubbed an honorary bull dyke by the J-unit, I'm ready to get down with the get-down. At least I can pass, being that my breasts are so large and my penis so, er, hard to find through the folds of flab. Moreover, I'd heard good things about the club from drag diva Barbra Seville ("Drag-Stars," July 29), who currently lights up Sunday nights at the E-Lounge with her new "She-Lounge" revue, being that her previous hang Wink's recently went south.
On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the E-Lounge is wall-to-wall with booful ladies and a smattering of crank-yankers (i.e., dudes) up at its bar, or down in its square, sunken dance-floor. It's a smaller, more intimate space than the Biz, with couches to the right of the pit and one lonely pool table over to the other side. More important, the dime-to-penny ratio happens to be running in the right direction when Jett and I stroll in 'round 11 p.m. There are strong contingents of ultra-femmy gals, career-a-holic "power lesbians," and doo-raggers, those ladies for whom the doo-rag is the ever au courant fashion accessory.
In the former category is the tall, pale-skinned Gabriele Enriquez, or Gabby for short, who, with her high-born Spanish features and raven tresses, could easily be a soap star in one of those Latin American telenovelas. We bump into the Mexican bombshell as she's taking a break from the dance floor, kicking it with a gal-pal at the bar. Gabby, 23, tells us she's an artist, but she's not making a living at it yet.
"I do monotype," explains this Salma Hayek of P-town in her alluring accent. "That means I draw on a clear piece of glass and then I put it to a print and transfer that image to a piece of paper. But monotype means 'one.' So there is one print only."
"What do you draw?" I ask.
"My soul," she answers breathlessly.
"Whoa, that's deep. Have you always wanted to be an artist?"
"No, no," says Gabby, waving a hand dramatically. "Before I was an artist, I was trapped in the position where I was going to be a psychologist or a teacher. But the books, the expression that they were going to allow me, was not enough."
"Do you show your art at any galleries here?"
"I show it in my living room," she replies. "Because you're going to enter my world. And before I enter your world, you're going to enter my world. . . . I use every color in the rainbow, baby. And more that I have invented."
"What do you like about the E-Lounge?" inquires Jett, getting into the act.
"The challenge," she says. "Because you have to remain a lady while being completely dominant."
"Do you prefer women or men or both?"
"I only do ladies," she says proudly. "What I look for in them is a reflection of what's right and wrong with me, so I learn more about me. I love to be sexual, and it might as well be in a different way. Because a woman who has slept with many men is a slut. But a woman who has slept with many women is a legend."
"Game recognize game, girl," cries Jett, high-fivin' her fellow connoisseur of trim.
While they're busy brushin' off each other's shoulders, ála the Jigga-man, I begin conversatin' with a playa of a different kind, Kathina from Colorado. Home-girl's rockin' a red doo-rag, wraparound sunglasses and a blue tee that says "Colorado is for hustlers." Kathina's a graphic artist by trade, and has been down in the Valley from her home of Colorado Springs for the past nine months. Seems P-town has treated her like the princess bride, and she's passin' out the props like a stagehand.
"You know what, Phoenix nightlife rocks," says Kathina. "The reason being that women here love themselves and they're not afraid of being themselves. I've kept a bachelorette persona while I've been here, and it's been great. Every woman I've broke bread with, so to speak, we've enjoyed each other's company. I'm going back home, and I want Phoenix to know that I have much respect."
"That's cool, but if you like us so much, why are you going back to South Park to hang with Cartman?" I ask.
"I've got a house up there I've got to go take care of; other than that, I would not be going home. But once I take care of that situation, I'll be buyin' a house in Scottsdale, no doubt. And not just because of the nightlife. There's potential here. And I've been able to make money freelancing in my profession. So I'll be back."
Just then, Jett taps me on my shoulder. "Yo, Kreme, check this action in the corner, dawg."
What I spy makes my eyes pop like a room full of tarts: a trio of hotties in a three-way spit-swap! The cuties in question are Chandra, a tall beauty with walnut-brown skin; Anna, a fine-ass fem-bot with almond eyes and full, thick lips; and Dayna, a chica caliente in a Duke-blue doo-rag, wraparound shades and a pierced lower lip.
Jett and I lock on the threesome like a heat-seeking missile, approach, and make our intros. Chandra is a photography student at Mesa Community College, and she breaks down why they are where they are.
"There're like two women's bars in the whole scene," she smirks. "There're like 20 guy bars. Where am I gonna go as a gay female?"
"How does E-Lounge rate versus the Biz?" queries Jett.
"I used to like the Biz better because it was bigger and had more to offer, but it started to get overrun with men, basically. So this is a new place for women to go."
"Is the Biz overrun with gay men or heterosexual men?" I ask.
"Gay men, but heterosexual men, too. A lot of straight men go there to harass gay females, and that pretty much kills it for me. I've been to a lot of gay bars where men have harassed me. In a gay bar, men can go into a girls' restroom and mess with the women with no consequences.
"It's cool here right now," continues Chandra, 23. "But if a lot of straight men start showing up, or even gay men, for that matter, I'll stop coming."
Chandra's makin' me ashamed to have a jimmy, if you can call my pea pod a jimmy. So I turn my attention to doo-ragged-out Dayna, 22, a Cali girl who's just come back to the Zona from the gay mecca of West Hollywood.
"Dayna, are you a student?"
"Nah, I hate school."
"So what do you do for a living?" I wonder.
"I don't do nothing! I have a bank account, so that's how I handle that."
"I see you like Stevie Wonder," I clown. "Love your look. You come here on a motorcycle tonight?"
"I came on my tricycle!" laughs Dayna. "Thanks for the compliment, but I look like shit. I just woke up. But that's okay, I got no intention of hooking up tonight. I'm just here to have fun. Plus I know all these girls get around, so they don't interest me. I'm a clean girl."
"Maybe she's a virgin!" exclaims Jett.
Dayna looks back at her, half-kidding, half-flirting. "Yeah, maybe you can unvirginize me tonight."
"I'll be riding home on her tricycle with her," says Jett. "She's even gonna give me her Styrofoam helmet, too."
"Aw, now that's sweet," I say. I want to talk to Anna, or, better yet, just stare at that drop-dead-gorgeous grille she's got, but at the moment she's getting a lap dance from Chandra, and far be it from me to interrupt that action.
I head back to the bar, where the bartender hooks me up with an E-Railer, the drink of the hizz-ouse. Slightly sweet, it has kind of a Long Island Iced Tea effect, in that it sneaks up on you and cracks you upside your skully after about the third one. While I'm getting' my drink on, listening to the DJ drop Beyoncè's "Naughty Girl," I begin to parlez with Leslie Suder, who's currently working on a TV show being shot in the PHX called Cooking's a Drag (www.cookingsadrag.com). Pipe-smuggler Betty Dee Lishous (a.k.a. "Miss Richfield 1981") hosts the soon-to-be-weekly syndicated 30 minutes of camp and cuisine. Betty's shtick is that she hates to cook, so celebs like Erik Estrada and William Shatner stop by to show her how to prepare certain recipes.
"I'm doing all the marketing for it," explains pixieish, sophisticated Suder, who's in the house tonight with her own blonde, doo-ragged darling, Azure. "It's being produced by this company called Green Couch Productions. Shatner was our pilot episode. He cooked some stew from Kentucky -- I can't remember what it's called. And we're going to have Dennis Rodman on, one of the actors from The Sopranos, and one of the people on Six Feet Under."
"Sounds exciting," I say. "So where's it going to be featured?"
"Over all, we've sold it in 150 markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. We're still scouting for a home for it in Phoenix. But we're already looking to do the second run on Viacom's new gay and lesbian channel LOGO."
"A gay/lesbian channel? Hey, maybe Jett and I can get our own show."
"What would you call it?"
"The Dyke and the Fat Man, of course."