Today’s misreading: life behind piano bars

The header on the e-mail appeared to promise:

Prison Gay Nite Every Friday in San Mateo – Piano Bar this week

A piano bar behind bars, gayfolk mingle with the incarcerated at the San Mateo Jail. Not really my thing, but I know people it might appeal to. And San Mateo is about 16 miles from where I live, so it would take some effort.

The message appeared in really tiny type on my computer screen, and its actual first word was entirely unpredictable in context, so it’s not entirely a surprise that I misread it. An announcement for the actual event [called Prism]:

(Recent announcements say until 11:30. But that would be only 3½ hours a week — not like having an actual gay bar. More like a regular community event. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it’s just not the same thing.)

Qube is only a bit south of the San Mateo Jail, but they’re different institutions entirely.

In any case: not Prison but Prism. From The Daily Journal (SF Peninsula), “Gay bar set to open in San Mateo: Qube Bar and Grill restaurant to host all-inclusive meeting place on Friday” by Anna Schuessler on 4/27/18:

Having lived in San Mateo for nearly 20 years and been active in its LGBT community, Richard An knew the interest in having community spaces where LGBT groups could gather has been strong for years.

Though several LGBT groups and meetups have formed in Peninsula cities, An said central meeting places for them had been lacking until the San Mateo County Pride Center made an all-inclusive space available when it opened in San Mateo in June. By coordinating events like a mixer at San Mateo’s Qube Bar and Grill in February, An, who started a weekly gay bar night in San Mateo, said seeing new faces from a wide array of groups was refreshing, leading him to wonder how similar events could be held in the future.

“It was great to see just everyone taking advantage of that mixer,” he said. “It was a lot of fun as an attendee and it was just really awesome to see everyone having fun.”

The SF Peninsula is a desert for gay bars (and most other social institutions of LGBT life). The closest gay bars to me are in San Jose to the south (about 21 miles away), Burlingame to the north (about 25 miles away), and of course San Francisco (30+ miles away), with East Bay gathering spots even harder to reach and Santa Cruz an hour’s drive away. You can get the advantage of these gathering places if you live close enough to treat them as neighborhood bars or as places you can get to quickly on public transportation. But otherwise it’s a trek. And only a slender connection to a community,

One Response to “Today’s misreading: life behind piano bars”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    Facebook friends have been busy recalling gaybars and other institutions of gay life in Palo Alto, Redwood City, etc. in the old days. All withered away.

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