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Bars of the Western World #4: Baton Lounge, Chicago

Bars of the Western World #4: Baton Lounge, Chicago
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  • Bars of the Western World #4: Baton Lounge, Chicago

    Post #1 - July 17th, 2004, 11:21 pm
    Post #1 - July 17th, 2004, 11:21 pm Post #1 - July 17th, 2004, 11:21 pm
    Bars of the Western World #4: Baton Lounge, Chicago

    Well, I'm not dumb but I can't understand
    Why she walk like a woman but talk like a man. Oh my Lola


    I've become the official neighborhood oddity. When people seek offbeat food recs, someone to shoot handguns with, or a companion for checking out local transvestite bars, who they gonna call?

    Turns out, an Oak Park women's book group is just finishing Middlesex (haven't read it; too long), and they thought they'd cap it off with a trip to the Midwest's premier cross-dressing bar, the Baton Lounge on Clark. So, of course, I got the call last week to be the token male (aside, that is, from the ladyboys on stage, who we deferentially refer to as "gals").

    What was most remarkable about this bar (which has a $10 cover -- normal for the neighborhood), was the amount of actual, vagina-toting women there. I was one of maybe 8 guys (not counting those on stage) in a barroom of maybe 200 plus women; mostly blondes in their twenties, or so it seemed. Bachelorette parties, divorce parties, homecoming, I don't know what, the younger women come in droves. There were maybe a dozen females (real ones) in wedding veils; I guess they were there because watching boys being girls is less sleazy than watching boys being boys , you know what I mean, more appetizing than some hunk in a thong grinding his greasy butt in your face. Any how, it was a wild scene.

    The drinks were stupid. Having declared vodka as my official drink of the new millennium, I went with screwdrivers, which were mostly Tang. One of the grlzz I was with sent her drink back, deeming it undrinkable. This is a bar you come to not for the beverages, but for the entertainment.

    So on to the main attraction. It was FAB-U. A Vegas-style floor show with mah-velous costumes. The chix at my table hustled me to the front to offer dollars to the performers, and everyone seemed into the strangeness of it, which was just fine. One of the performers (“Diana Ross”) gave me a big smack on the cheek (probably because I told her she was gorgeous, which all girls like, I’ve heard); I wore her lip stick smudge tattoo on my cheek as a badge of honor throughout the night.

    For some acts, there were long lines of women waiting to cast their dollars upon them, and those in line were generally normal looking people: young professional types, suburban moms, a granny from Nebraska, and one in a striped sailor shirt who bore a chilling resemblance to Aileen Wournos (hot!).

    All very odd, but very fun.

    Truth be told, I first went to the Baton in the mid-70s. There was this artist buddy of mine, name of Dan Mask, living in our commune who had a crush on Hot Chilli Pepper, who is STILL there! That’s right. This lady is still going strong at, what, 60? Remarkable. Reminded me a little of my mom on a bender only with bigger shoulders and hands, and a dark brown voice.

    Any how, I can’t figure exactly why people are attracted to this kind of thing, but once every quarter century, I’m into it. You should check it out before there’s a constitutional amendment against it. It’s odd (kind of like us).

    Baton Lounge
    436 North Clark
    Chicago, IL 60610
  • Post #2 - July 26th, 2004, 8:25 am
    Post #2 - July 26th, 2004, 8:25 am Post #2 - July 26th, 2004, 8:25 am
    One advantage of reading Italian newspapers is that I feel I get more honest updates on the Iraqi war -- and of course the latest info about drag queen competitions. Mimi Marks, who was the blonde we saw when we went to the Baton last week, just won "most beautiful in the world" honors in Vegas, as reported in Corriere della Sera.

    For more, go to and click on the photo of Mimi in a tiara.[/b]