Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blogging Vancouver: Lunch by the Gandydancer

Wednesday started rainy, but accuweather promised it would clear by noon, so I put on my nice pants rather than my jeans and risked becoming a sponge. It worked out well. And it is nicer to look nice when meeting IB, the fabulous 87-year-old mother of my first lover, the sainted Gary Gaetano, and his now 32-year-old daughter, DB. Not that I ever really dress "nice" just "nicer" ... and the effort must substitute for success.

So in keeping with the persistently nostalgic undertone of this trip, I took the bus to Davie Street, had a light breakfast as Hamburger Mary's and a coffee in some coffee shop across the street at Bute and Davie, and then wandered down Davie Street and back up through the West End looking at various buildings in which, shall we say, I untidied the sheets back in the good ole 70s. I contrived to arrive at IB's at the dot of 12:30, and in that I was successful.

DB, whom I have only met once or twice as an adult, and briefly at that, mostly lives in my memory as a child who was tossed around a little more than is advisable for children, the result of a short marriage among two fine people vastly too young to have made a child. But she weathered the storm and has evidently turned into a fine, beautifful, composed, and intelligent young woman. She just became a nurse and plans to head into pschiatric care ... a grwoth industry, as I noted to her chuckle. IB is obviously proud of her, and the two displayed a mutual affection that warmed me. Gary and I broke up in 1985, but we remained friends. His terrible unfair death in 1993 brought me back in touch with IB and now DB ... and I feel loyal to them like family.

IB in the course of her many travels and postings amassed an amazingly and markedly eclectic collection of objects that she displays with curatorial prowess. I could spend a few days alone in her apartment just marvelling at the objects. But none of the collection can match her wit and charm. When I first met her, she was a little more formidable and fear-inspiring. There was no particular joy at that point in sweet handsome Gary presenting "da Baptist", as he called me, as the follow-on to DB's mother. We were wary of each other in the first several meetings ... but people grow, and she did and I did, and now we memorialize only the familial warmth of the past, and nothing more.

We headed out to lunch looking for any place down Hamilton Street. We found a Thai place that turned out to be directly across the street from the old Gandydancer (click here for another take). That was a nostalgic moment for certain because I spent countless hours dancing in the Gandy ... weeknights, weekends, work or not the next day, and most especially after the innumerable gay liberation meetings and demos. (As I sit here in the airpot, I realize that I photographed the wrong location, 1226, when in fact it is 1222 which is s still a bar, and in which I could have ordered a Horse's Neck, one or RL's favorite rye creations. Missed my shot, so I guess I will just have to come back sooner than I might have thought. BTW, the Extra piece says it was a preppie crowd, but that is feel-good-about-yoursefl-after-the-fact-gay-male-homophobia ... the Gandy was all of us. I do not have a preppy bone in my body, nor my friends, and we flocked there. I hate the re-writing of 70s gay male history to conform to the any notion that diminshes the fact that it was gay men who made gay liberation. We did it, and we should be credited ... gets my dander up!)

Lunch was nice but really filling, and IB and DB took home enough Pad Thai for two or three meals each. The conversation focused on the past and trying to put dates and places and events together. But the flavor of the event had become the Gandydancer for me. Gary and I went there together and we went separately. On a given night, in those days before the uninterrupted contact of cell-phone-itis, Gary and I often figured the other was there, and we'd just bump into ech other, dance and drink, and then back across the West End to our famous digs.

Gotta catch my flight. Here's to IB and DB, and to Gary, and to the Gandydancer. And to Vancouver, a fabulous city, still what it was and now moreover something more.

1 comment:

Shelley Ross said...

You tell a good story. Through an electron mishap, an errant email message arrived this morning from our brief interaction months ago. It prompted me to go back to your site and read a few Vancouver pages from 2007. Made me smile over my morning coffee.