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voyager12

Charlotte Pride

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Something a bit more light hearted and a bit of triviality to boot.

When The Scorpio opened at it's present location in the 1970s, I am told by many people it had a dance floor like this. This was during the height of the disco rage and this was the only lighted dance floor in Charlotte and maybe NC. So for a while there was a lot of crossover traffic from straight people who wanted to come and see it. It may have been one of the first mixing of straight people in a gay environment in Charlotte. I never saw this floor as I was just a little too young at the time to go The Scorpio and unfortunately when the bar burned down in 1980, (I think that was the right year) the floor was destroyed. As we all know it was rebuilt and I remember a mutual friend of the owner at the time saying that she could not afford to replace the floor.

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Something a bit more light hearted and a bit of triviality to boot.

When The Scorpio opened at it's present location in the 1970s, I am told by many people it had a dance floor like this. This was during the height of the disco rage and this was the only lighted dance floor in Charlotte and maybe NC. So for a while there was a lot of crossover traffic from straight people who wanted to come and see it. It may have been one of the first mixing of straight people in a gay environment in Charlotte. I never saw this floor as I was just a little too young at the time to go The Scorpio and unfortunately when the bar burned down in 1980, (I think that was the right year) the floor was destroyed. As we all know it was rebuilt and I remember a mutual friend of the owner at the time saying that she could not afford to replace the floor.

I've developed a good friend and new neighbor recently who was around in Charlotte during the time. She was straight, but big into Disco and partying at the time -- she has GREAT stories about Scorpio (and this dance floor you describe) as well as Oddessy and other clubs. I was too young (and in the closet) to go, but I wish I would have seen a dance floor like this

Edited by Charlotte_native

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Myers Park Baptist Church is going to be officially cast out of the NC Baptist Association on Tuesday for being accepting of homosexuals. Before the vote officials from the church will speak. One of them is an out lesbian. She has a lot of guts, I would love to be a fly on the wall. The NC Baptist majority has a right to their opinion and so does Myers Park Baptist. They have been an unofficial pariah church for years because their progressive interpretation of theology does not mesh with The NC chapter at large. When this story first broke I contacted Park Road, Myers Park, St. John's, and Sardis Road Baptist churches to express my thanks for their support and I received thanks in return. I am Jewish but I think it's critically important to thank people and organizations that take public stands for gay acceptance ,they need to know that they are appreciated and needed, especially in the South.

^^It's actually the NC Baptist Association that's going to kick out Myers Park Baptist. They left the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) many years ago. From the stories I've heard, it was sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s and it was due to conflict over integration. Someone might be able to clarify that, however. MP Baptist has always worn the fact that they left the SBC as a sort of badge of honor, and something tells me they will do the same with the split from the NC association. They've always marched to their own drummer and I say "GOOD FOR THEM!"

I was just stopping by to post this article on that very topic. It's very sad that in this day and age, we still see very deep-seeded homophobic "values" among a seemingly large majority in the southern Christian community. There is a church down the street from me in Raleigh, Pullen Baptist, that has also been out on the edge of progressive and GLBT issues... I'm sure they're cast outs as well.

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White Rabbit is going to move to a new smaller storefront location near Intermezzo along Central in the next few weeks. The current space has good visibility but is underutilized and I like that the new spot will have sidewalk fronting instead of a parking lot. Not sure where people will park at the new location. They plan to have a more inviting and cheery atmosphere which is good. The store now is a bit too dark and seedy. Being a gay news junkie I used to go there to pick up Southern Voice and Washington Blade but Windows Media is still in financial trouble and they curtailed distribution outside of Atlanta and DC months ago. Hopefully the new store will carry a wide range of news and focus more on community meetings and books instead of party party party and the other accoutrements that go along with it :blush: Not that all that stuff is bad but we need a more balanced approach similar to Atlanta's Outwrite and Asheville's Outspoken which have both become gay literary hubs in their respective cities. All that aside White Rabbit's move to this block helps to further propel walkable options down Central. If the coffee shop across the way does actually open and with Intermezzo reportedly doing well we could be on our way to another walkable node that is bound to attract more local merchants :thumbsup:

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Having lived in Elizabeth then Plaza-Midwood for 13 years before moving to Nashville, I was trying to figure out where exactly is Intermezzo. Is it further down Central away from uptown? Which side of the street? I always thought when I lived there that when White Rabbit moved from there old location in the grey house that they should have taken one of the store fronts between Pecan and The Plaza. Sure do miss my old neighborhood. :cry:

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Having lived in Elizabeth then Plaza-Midwood for 13 years before moving to Nashville, I was trying to figure out where exactly is Intermezzo. Is it further down Central away from uptown? Which side of the street? I always thought when I lived there that when White Rabbit moved from there old location in the grey house that they should have taken one of the store fronts between Pecan and The Plaza. Sure do miss my old neighborhood. :cry:

Intermezzo is at Five Points, corner of Louise and 10th across the street from the Salvation Army. It was occupied by a place called Honest Pat's for awhile, not sure what it was before that. The new White Rabbit location is on Central in a building about a half block from Louise toward uptown - very close to where it used to be in the gray house.

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Intermezzo is at Five Points, corner of Louise and 10th across the street from the Salvation Army. It was occupied by a place called Honest Pat's for awhile, not sure what it was before that. The new White Rabbit location is on Central in a building about a half block from Louise toward uptown - very close to where it used to be in the gray house.

Thanks! Did that place have a guy wearing a hat, painted on the side of the building?

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Tara Self-Servicious wrote a lovely (doesn't she always) column in the new issue of Creative Loafing. Though many of us were happy about the stand Myers Park Baptist took openly accepting homosexuals and bucking the NC Baptist Convention, apparently we are all fools and they just did it for publicity. What publicity and how would this help their church one might ask? Well she doesn't say it will help their church. Apparently Myers Park Baptist is just a gathering of Uptown Elitists who, for some reason, wanted this publicity to mitigate the backwards image of Charlotte. Or something equally as stupid. They sure went a long way, influenced a ton of church-goers, and made a strange move with a church convention to do so.

Funny, I was happy that a Christian Church took a stand in our support, regardless of the reason. To think it was just to further some closeted agenda for Uptown Elitists and they really don't care about us.

One might wonder if the publicity they sought, rather than to help the agenda of the crazy Uptown Elitists, was to continue the dialogue that might one day help homosexuals be seen as equals for many. That type of publicity doesn't reek of sensationalism i suppose. Too bad a step in the right direction for US has to be painted as something different for the simple sake of another column that bashes Charlotte.

Edited by Charlotte_native

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The Observer editorial on this issue was supportive of the church's sentiment but also said it was only done for publiclity. Citing Sardis, Park Road, and St. John's decisions to welcome us heathen gays without formally being kicked out of the Convention. I am glad Myers Park Baptist publicly announced their stance as an inclusive church for all, by speaking out they give inspiration and food for thought to other Baptists. I was also glad to see Rabbi Judith Schindler of Temple Beth El write a letter of support of Myers Park Baptist to the newspaper.

Edited by voyager12

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The Observer editorial on this issue was supportive of the church's sentiment but also said it was only done for publiclity. Citing Sardis, Park Road, and St. John's decisions to welcome us heathen gays without formally being kicked out of the Convention. I am glad Myers Park Baptist publicly announced their stance as an inclusive church for all, by speaking out they give inspiration and food for thought to other Baptists. I was also glad to see Rabbi Judith Schindler of Temple Beth El write a letter of support of Myers Park Baptist to the newspaper.

I suppose my issue is this: Aren't Gay Pride Parades largely for publicity? Aren't any protests in a public forum there for publicity no matter the issue at being brought out? Maybe it was (and it is to me) important for Myers Park Baptist to take a large and public stance to show all Christians, and all Baptists, aren't anti-gay. Or maybe to show Charlotte isn't anti-gay (since she claims alll the Uptown Elitists were part of this). I think it is a good thing that business leaders and public figures that attend the church stood behind the choice their church made. Overall it brought about public discourse in a conversational tone instead of some nasty angry rally (like anti-gay folks are so fond of). I also find it interesting that the publicity seeker herself (who speaks in far from a civil tone) wants to point out a group for seeking publicity. Combine this with her anti-gentrification but I buy homes in gentrifying areas attitude, she might be coming close to our hypocrite-in-chief.

Maybe it is just the Baptist Convention, and similar ilk, that are upset because they had to deal with this in a public manner.

I guess I'm just annoyed that this is somehow tied to some nebulous uptown self-centered society and can't been seen for what it is, non-gays siding with gays in the name of progress. If I were a Christian I might even go to Church there.

Edited by Charlotte_native

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DCMETRORALEIGH from Perception Thread "AS someone born and raised in the Charlotte area, I monitor it's climate for gay issues as a barometer for whether I would like to return there one day. As others have alluded, for many, not just gays or bisexuals, the gay issue is an indicator of a city or region's progressiveness, modernity, and cultural sophistication. For many, anti-gay has become synomous with backward or unenlightened. Charlotte really needs to work overtime to eradicate its homophobic reputation, perhaps first by adopting an anti-discrimination law that includes "sexual orientation" and by adopting domestic partnership legislation. ALmost every major city in the entire county did this years ago? I can't think of one major city that has not."

Mecklenburg County has a non-discrimination sexual orientation ordinance for their employees on the books. The very divided and partisan County Commission that has a narrow Democratic majority barely pushed it through a few years ago. Rembert,Helms, and Roberts were all publicy castigated by the local right wing for it and were damned to hell in person by these opponents who showed up to protest the vote. Wihelmenia Rembert lost her seat in the next election, Helms was targeted also and barely held on, their majority is even narrower now. I don't think we are going to see any more leadership on gay issues from County Chair Jennifer Roberts for some time. Charlotte Public Library System has a similar ordinance to the county. We will never see progress on the city level with Mayor McCrory in charge. The current Republicans on the council won't support it either and the Democrats that do support us are too scared to take a principled stand. It's worth noting Republican At Large City Council Candidate Edwin Peacock was fully endorsed by Meckpac. Having a more moderate Republican on City Council may help if he is willing to actually speak up. He did not show for the Meckpac fundraiser. For now Charlotte will continue to lag behind on this measure of acceptance and inclusion.

Thanks for pointing that out. While adopting a non-discrimination policy for city or county employees is an important first step, I was thinking moreso about a widespread anti-discrimination policy that covers both city/county employees and private sector employees, which is what most cities and big counties have . However, I understand that in order to do this, Mecklenburg would have to get permission from the North Carolina legislature, under the Dillon rule. Sadly, this is yet another impediment to NC cities and counties adopting progressive legislation, since in most other states, such legislation can be adopted without the state legislature's permission. Of course, 20 states already have state-wide legislation that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Edited by DCMetroRaleigh

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I just picked up this week's CL from Caribou walking back from my run. I admit to being cynical and conspiratorial at times but Tara's take on MPBC beats me by a longshot. To think that it was all a conspiracy between Uptowners, The Chamber, and those pushing the "Creative Class" is just wacked. Could it possibly be that the majority of parishoners are proud to be part of an inclusive church and wanted to show it? This issue aside, Myers Park Baptist Church has a history of supporting civil rights and equality in general so their position on gay acceptance fits a long standing pattern.

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I just picked up this week's CL from Caribou walking back from my run. I admit to being cynical and conspiratorial at times but Tara's take on MPBC beats me by a longshot. To think that it was all a conspiracy between Uptowners, The Chamber, and those pushing the "Creative Class" is just wacked. Could it possibly be that the majority of parishoners are proud to be part of an inclusive church and wanted to show it? This issue aside, Myers Park Baptist Church has a history of supporting civil rights and equality in general so their position on gay acceptance fits a long standing pattern.

Ok, I'm glad I'm not the only one that found the article strange at best. The conspiracy thing (especially The Chamber) is just bizarre. I also don't believe she attended the church once just to check it out. RIIIIIGGGHHT. If so, does seeing business leaders and civic leaders in the same place talking really give her the willies as she describes? If so, why? Come on...one would think Creative Loafings attack dog would have thicker skin than that. I believe this article was nothing more than a ploy (ummm...to get that ever hated for everyone else publicity) to rile up her WBT listeners.

Can we really believe the Chamber, Uptowners (whoever they are as a group -- I support uptown consistantly and live there but have never been invited to the conspiracy meetings), and those pushing for the Creative Class (who ARE they??) have made a whole congregation go against their parent group for self-serving interests of outside parties and the perception of the city from outside (to lure the creatives).

Does she really believe the Creative Class will now flock to Charlotte because one church opened their arms publically to the gays?

To Myers Park Baptist -- THANKS! I hope you are taking us one step closer...regardless of your reasons.

Voyager, I agree with you, I believe the motivations were pretty simple: the right thing to do. I also feel that making it public is the right thing to do.

Edited by Charlotte_native

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Fair enough.

Atlanta: About the same. Georgia has amended their constitution to ban gay marriage and I remain amazed at the rhetoric in the AJC which makes that from the Observer look tame by comparison. Metro Atlanta benefits from its size.

Miami: Well, no on that.

Orlando: Hell yeah - Orlando is surprisingly conservative IMHO.

Tampa: Yup

Columbia: I don't have a good feel there, but I'd say yes.

Orando surprisingly conservative? Our pride this year had 45,000 in attendance, the large parade went through the trendy Thornton Park neighborhood and through the city streets and the main event has grown so much that it was moved to the city's main landmark park, Lake Eola. The mayor opened the festivities, Jennifer Holiday performed in the Walt Disney Ampitheater in Lake Eola park. Lots of straight people in attendance from the neighborhood and protesters gave up a couple of years ago. The city hung rainbow flags from the lampost on the downtown streets. This city is so diverse that it has no time for conservatism. It's like the United Nations here and lots of positive gay news in the media. Sorry but that is completely an incorrect comment.

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Orando surprisingly conservative? Our pride this year had 45,000 in attendance, the large parade went through the trendy Thornton Park neighborhood and through the city streets and the main event has grown so much that it was moved to the city's main landmark park, Lake Eola. The mayor opened the festivities, Jennifer Holiday performed in the Walt Disney Ampitheater in Lake Eola park. Lots of straight people in attendance from the neighborhood and protesters gave up a couple of years ago. The city hung rainbow flags from the lampost on the downtown streets. This city is so diverse that it has no time for conservatism. It's like the United Nations here and lots of positive gay news in the media. Sorry but that is completely an incorrect comment.

I just want to add that this is not meant in any way to be a negative comment on Charlotte. Charlotte is my second favorite forum to read after Orlando, I am fascinated by the growth and lots of friends have moved to Charlotte so I try to keep up with what's happening there. I just wanted to set the record "straight" about Orlando being conservative. It was at one time but that is hardly a topic of conversation here any more. We've been through that phase and thankfully it has past. We are a very fast growing city like Charlotte, except the majority of our growth is transplants from Miami, California,NYC, Puerto Rico and the Caribean as well as South America and Eastern Europe. We've had GayDays and part of the circuit party scene when 150,000 homos invade the tourist sector and is actually the regions largest group from a convention point of view and Orange County and Orlando as well as Universal and Disney sponsor events, and is the largest money making group the area sees each year. It is a week long event now. It started out with protestors big time and the Baptist Boycott of Disney World which was dropped after a few years because it was ineffective. In 1997 the city allowed 700 rainbow flags to displayed throughout the downtown area and Jerry Falwell condemed Orlando to hell and said that God's wrath would destroy the city with fires, hurricanes and tornados. It made news on all the late night talk shows, David Letterman, Jay Leno, etc. Since this event happens during Pride month, Orlando Pride has been moved to October when it's not as hot and everyone is not "gayed out" after GayDays. The first event 4 years ago attracted 7000 people downtown for a parade and party. It has grown tremdously since then, the parade route had to be moved to start in the Thorton Park neighborhood downtown and in to our large centerpiece park, Lake Eola. The rainbow flags made a comeback this year without a word of protest and the parade is fantastic with large corporate sponsored floats and is an event that downtowners (straight) participate and love the parade. It all takes place in their neighborhood, the bring their kids in strollers and watch from their condo balconies and have parties in condos that overlook the parade route. The mayor gives an opening speech and leads the parade and always mentions the regentrification downtown was started by the gays and we have two gay city council members. Go to Orlando Coffee House and look up Pride 2007. Thanks and peace and no offense. I was slightly offended by Orlando being called a conservative city but I know it's not. Peace Out!

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Note long quote of above post removed

I don't agree with the statement that Orlando is conservative, however I do have to say that the majority of our growth (Charlotte) is also from transplants from NY/NYC area, NJ, California, and Florida. The problem with Charlotte is our leadership. We need more people in office who support diversity and aren't afraid of doing so.

Edited by monsoon

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Note long quote of above post removed

I don't agree with the statement that Orlando is conservative, however I do have to say that the majority of our growth (Charlotte) is also from transplants from NY/NYC area, NJ, California, and Florida. The problem with Charlotte is our leadership. We need more people in office who support diversity and aren't afraid of doing so.

I would love to see all the cities in the US explode with Gay Pride like St. Pete, Fort Lauderdale, and now Orlando has and I'm sure many cities out west such as Denver! That would be incredible!

I do have one question when you bring up Charlotte leadership, the city and county do protect sexual orietations in their laws don't they? If not, I'm sure Charlotte must be the norm in percentage of gay voters, or better yet, get a gay candidate to run in some downtown district that has a highter percentage of gay residents and get that council person elected and be openly"out." It has made a big difference here!

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.....

I do have one question when you bring up Charlotte leadership, the city and county do protect sexual orietations in their laws don't they? .....

Charlotte does not. Mecklenburg County I believe only offers domestic benefits. In the state of NC, like most states, it is perfectly legal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. However NC is one of just a handful of states that has not passed an amendment that forbids Gay marriage. The NC Legislature has refused several times to take up the issue. This is unlike the other states mentioned above.

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When The Scorpio opened at its present location in the 1970s, I am told by many people it had a dance floor like this. This was during the height of the disco rage and this was the only lighted dance floor in Charlotte and maybe NC. So for a while there was a lot of crossover traffic from straight people who wanted to come and see it.

Yes, the Odyssey did have quite a fantastic disco dance floor and scene. Every Friday and Saturday nights it was packed to a capacity crowd. There were two rooms - a large front bar in the center that enabled you to walk completely around and then the second room was the disco. I remember all the lights, strobes and people dancing. I loved the fog that was deployed several times a night. The sound system was the best I ever knew at the time. There were four podiums for dancers on the corners, and a built up platform on one side where you could watch or cruise the crowd. The dance floor was very much like the disco scenes from the 70's. I do not remember much of a cross-over crowd at the Odyssey but perhaps I was only paying attention to the men. The scene there seemed so un-Charlotte. It drew a large crowd from the entire Carolinas. I recognized people there from my own home town, over a 100 mies away, on Saturday nights - many of whom were deep in the closet, married and with children. That was southern and Carolina culture at the time. If you were gay, slip away and keep it quiet.

The Scorpio had a smaller dance floor and a stage for drag shows which were a big Sunday night event. The Scorpio was burned to the ground more than one time. Ironically, it was owned by an older straight couple who were very gay friendly. They vowed to rebuild no matter how many times they were torched. I do recall the crowd being more cross-over but perhaps not more than 15% straight. It was a fun place.

Other bars from the early 80's include both the Old and New Brass Rails. The Old was at the corner of Tryon and Morehead. It was a small place on the corner with full windows. Just a bar and no dance floor and very frequented by older business men. Of course, in my 20's, anyone over 35 was elderly in my mind.

The New Brass Rail was on Wilkinson past the Park and Shop on the left. It was a beer and pool hall. Being on the west side, one's chances of being seen or outed were low. It was more of a blue collar, trade, all male and very cruisy. I never recall seeing a woman there. Now, it would be considered a "bear bar".

The last bar I remember and probably the more interesting at the time was Tags on the Plaza near or on the corner of Matheson (or in the general vicinity). It was an old gas station and was decorated with old license tags found on site - hence the name. The bar was small and in the center. There might have been a pool table and there were no windows. I remember being told before my first visit that it was a "leather bar". I do not think in today's definition that it was leather but it was on the edge. It did have quite an interesting and different crowd.

Also, one of Charlotte's early gay rights pioneers and a close friend of mine operated a book store in Dilworth on East Blvd at Euclid. It was named "Friend of Dorothy" and was definitely on the edge at the time for Charlotte but today would be considered normal and expected.

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Yes, the Odyssey did have quite a fantastic disco dance floor and scene. Every Friday and Saturday nights it was packed to a capacity crowd. There were two rooms - a large front bar in the center that enabled you to walk completely around and then the second room was the disco. .....

There were actually two Odyssey's. From the description it sounds as if you are describing the second incarnation of it at the intersection of Eastway and The Plaza. It was a fairly large bar as the building was a supermarket originally. The original Odyssey was located I believe at Tryon and Independence (when it still went downtown)

I also remember TAGs very well. One of the more popular events there was afternoon volleyball on Sundays. Sadly that bar closed when the owner passed away.

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There were actually two Odyssey's. From the description it sounds as if you are describing the second incarnation of it at the intersection of Eastway and The Plaza. It was a fairly large bar as the building was a supermarket originally. The original Odyssey was located I believe at Tryon and Independence (when it still went downtown)

I also remember TAGs very well. One of the more popular events there was afternoon volleyball on Sundays. Sadly that bar closed when the owner passed away.

Then indeed that was the second Odyssey as I was not aware of the first. It was quite the event.

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Ah yes, the Odyssey. It was in the Zayre Shopping Center at the intersection of The Plaza and Eastway. For a time in the early 80's the Dixie Electric Company - a straight bar popular with teens and 20-somethings - was a couple of doors down. I vividly remember standing in line to get into the Odyssey on more than one occasion while kids going into Dixie Electric walked or drove by and yelled anti-gay slurs at us. Nice. At some point in the late 80's it changed names to Charades.

The descriptions of the layout of the bar and the dance floor brought back some fun memories of those long-ago days. I also remember one of the coolest things was a column of flashing lights that used to descend periodically from the ceiling into the middle of the dance floor, right into the crowd. Ahh, good times.

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It's interesting to me as a relatively new charlottean to see how this city has seemed to go backwards in regards to gay visibility. I have read with great interest about the past bars and bookstores located throughout Charlotte. I know gentrification of the city neighborhoods contributed a lot to their decline. Still it seems counterintuitive and a little depressing that in this era's more accepting social mores our city is almost back at square one in creating more gay gathering spots when there used to be many scattered citywide.

Edited by voyager12

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