Mountain Moving ...
"My sister told me to search my own name on the web, so I did, and to my surprise, I showed up in your article asking what came of a list of performers at Mountain Moving Coffeehouse. I never lived in Chicago, but came through on a tour from my home in Des Moines. I did perform quite a bit for a while, and put out an album on tape called Soft Hills. I moved to Washington, D.C., and lived there for 10 years, and now live in Burlington, Vt. I'm no longer performing. I am an organizational consultant and leadership coach." ... Rose A. Gowdey
Talking to Wally about gay
Read more story below....
life in 1970s, '80s Chicago
The Trip ...
"The first gay bar I went to was the Trip on Ohio and it was on three floors. A restaurant and dining room in the basement, the first floor was a cocktail lounge with live entertainment, and upstairs was the Trip-Hop which was a Disco.
"I found out about the bar when my lover brought me to it. I was 19 years old and that was the summer of 1973. I was due to turn 20 in September '73, and then the 19-year-old beer and wine law went into effect in October of '73, so I was scared shitless because, although I was comfortable with myself, I'd never been in a gay establishment before, and I was also there illegally. I was afraid someone was going to card me, but my lover said, 'Oh they don't card anyone in these places.'
"So I got in and had my first beer. I think it was a Friday night and we went directly upstairs to the disco and I just thought, 'I'm home!' This was my kind of place; men all around and the disco catered, naturally, to a younger crowd, which I was. My lover was 17 years older than me. Actually we met in high school. He was one of my instructors. That was consensual on my part, so don't think he was robbing the cradle. I think I wanted to get into his pants more than he wanted to get into mine."
King's Ransom ...
"Probably the next bar I went to was the King's Ransom at 20 E. Chicago Ave. It was very calm there, and was what they called, at that time, a wrinkle room. I hit it off there too because there were people you could actually talk to, have a decent conversation with. The bar itself was a kind of horseshoe, but at an angle. It was on the garden level, and you had to go down a couple of steps to get into the bar. You walked in and there was a living room set up with a couch and then you went down a couple of steps to the bar. There was a fireplace in the corner. It was very pleasant and to me they were old men, but now they'd be young men to me, because most of the clients were in their mid-to-late 30s, or early 40s. I enjoyed it there, because I fit in, but I fit in most any place. I used to go to all the bars. The Near North Side was my kingdom, whether it be the Gold Coast, the Haig, the King's Ransom, whatever ... I always went wherever I wanted to go. I refused to be categorized."
Chicago Molly ...
"I first met Molly at the Nutbush, but at that time it was called Adron's. I don't think he was actually working there, but he was doing shows there occasionally. He was a western suburban girl. He did drag. Oh did he do drag!! Comical drag.
"One joke he told me, I don't think I'll ever forget. This was when he was at Molly's Follies, and it was in the afternoon. I tend to be a daytime drinker because I like the bar quiet, so I can converse with people. So I was in Molly's Follies alone. Molly was in the bar, and I said, 'Molly, were you always heavy-set?' He said, 'I aint heavy-set, I'm fat. I was so fat as a child that when I went up on the platform to do my 4th grade recitation, I went right through it. My mother was so upset she says 'Doctor, doctor, is he alright,' and the doctor says, 'Yes, he's just going through a stage.' That was his sense of humor. He was a marvelous man. Very funny.
"He introduced me to Roseanne Barr. He had all her tapes from her stand-up days when she called herself The Domestic Goddess, which she never really was. Her whole routine was about how to get out of doing certain jobs. But Larry ( Molly ) loved her. Larry passed away ... oh I don't know when, I lost track of time after 1988."
Memory check: The Trip was located at 27 E. Ohio St.
Snippets of Trip history:
In September 1975, songstress Andy Cahill performed at the Trip every weekend, along with regulars the Sam Hill Trio.
In February 1971, a benefit was held that netted approximately $1,400 which was used to help pay medical expenses for Mary Sue Dujka, a victim of bone cancer.
Paul Carol and Skip Arnold organized the show, which consisted of performers from local bars, all of whom volunteered their talent.
Mattachine Midwest president Tom Erwin ( real name Gertz ) celebrated his birthday on Friday, Dec. 3, 1971. His guests numbered 62.
The Trip closed October/November 1976. The owners were called Ralph and Dean. Any info or memories about the Trip is welcome.
Future historians take note: The memory section in this column contains just that...memories...and are only to be used as a starting point for your research. Send your stories to Sukie de la Croix at Windy City Times. You can leave a message on his voicemail at 773-871-7610. He interviews over the phone, in person, or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org