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The lost, last weekend of Denver’s legendary bathhouse, The Ballpark

A Tale for Fairies

Once upon a time, Denver’s legendary gay bathhouse stood on the corner of Broadway and Bayaud like an enchanted castle much like others around the world: seedy to palatial, where men meet men, finding lovers lasting decades or minutes.

A fairy tale come true, certainly for fairies.

In the Ballpark, fondly nicknamed the Beep, men also found a uniquely fun, clean, and respectful respite from the world yelling its judgments. But not everyone lived happily ever after — some lived no more — and on June 16th, 1986, the fairy tale ended. I was the deejay who played the last song at the Ballpark.

That three-day party may be remembered by few, but because the bathhouse was a beacon that served the Denver community, the closing of the Ballpark was a big deal.

The times were a deadly deal … a time when unbridled promiscuity, repressed for millennia, exploded, then literally stopped us dead in our tracks; when partying mutated into a travesty as a best friend lay vomiting, gasping, shitting, dying; when love, death, sex, and God bubbled in a psychological pot, boiling up a bitter gruel to taste the meaning of life; when a minority showed its blotched and cadaverous face, forcing its members to question their responsibilities and their fellow citizens to examine its national conscience; when that minority had to re-evaluate its most valued currency: beauty; when serious talk about quarantine camps for the HIV-infected provoked bleak, paranoiac images; when, for years, our nation’s president never even mentioned the disease, history’s monstrous impeachment, and his tacit approval of a plague that ravaged American citizens.

As a footnote in the heavy history of AIDS, the Ballpark provided a local stage, its owners playing their unwanted roles with urgency and integrity. Joining gays, drag queens, lesbians, straights — an unheard of coalition — they fought for many healthcare policies and procedures we take for granted. Officialdom responded fearfully with political prejudice, society with intolerance, hate, arrogance, and hypocrisy. These hydra heads flailed again over legalized same-sex marriage, making the politics of sex and religion in 2016 seem like déjà vu.

It was a time of great grief and great fear and great rage. It was also a time when the foundations were laid for the second chapter of same-sex rights following Stonewall, when definitions of love, courage, and compassion broadened beyond imagination.

Red ribbons and blue porch lights, symbols of AIDS awareness, seem quaint reminders of a terrifying time almost forgotten.

Ghosts

But the ghosts gazing from this distant mirror won’t let me forget, nor do I want to forget them. Ballpark friends, co-workers, and customers supplied the camaraderie, fun, snort-inducing laughter — and love! — that lit up and gladdened that dark period.

Junior-high best-friend Mitch introduced me to Ballpark owners Tom, Paul, and Terry; in photos, hysterical laughter confirms friendship … and that I’m the only one left alive. I learned my deejay craft from Ray, Steve, and Gary — all dead. Sweet Wes, an attendant in his 50s, always reminded me of a grumpy monkey; he died decades ago. I wonder if John, “the CIA agent,” is alive. You could be whoever you wanted to be at the Ballpark.

Stories give weight to its legendary status: first sex with a man, a kick-ass party, an erotic night with a hunky trick when the belly was flatter, the hair thicker and darker, when the libido didn’t need a blue pill. Like an oral tradition handed down generations, the tribe has heard the legend.

The Ballpark’s legacy? Consider today’s healthcare:

  • notifications from insurance companies about the confidentiality of medical records

  • government agencies on all levels that offer medical and social services for HIV patients

  • hospitals and healthcare professionals who no longer treat the affected like pariahs

  • the abundance of medicines, information, and health guidelines

  • support groups fighting stigma

  • standard protocols now used no matter the disease

  • billions of dollars from charities, governments, and pharmaceuticals to research a cure

Thirty years ago, none of this existed until the Ballpark owners and grassroots activists nationwide raised a shattering ruckus.

Co-owner Paul Hunter, who died of AIDS in 1991, became Mayor Federico Pena’s liaison to city departments and legal counselor to the coalition. Since 1993, his namesake award for uncommon service to the LGBT community has been given by the Colorado Human Rights Campaign to Judge Mary Celeste, philanthropist Tim Gill, and, in 2015, to transgender activist Kate Bowman.

The Ballpark fought fear by urging citizens to lobby President Reagan, Gov. Richard Lamm, Sen. Gary Hart, and Rep. Pat Schroeder to vote for AIDS bills. Pre-printed postcards were included in a packet handed out at the 1983 Lesbian and Gay Pride Week. Ballpark partner Terry Fuller wrote:

“When you’re fighting for your life, you’d better know who your friends are. We promise to be leaders in providing a better understanding of safe sex … to present the most up-to-date and honest information available regarding the AIDS crisis. There are some who will mistake our motives and speak against us. Together, we will win.”

The queer community has won much since 1983, and the Ballpark’s contribution isn’t an inflated claim. What creator Tom Mills would say, no one will know. He died of AIDS in 1993.

A Western Slope native, Tom had a generous heart, impeccable taste, and an inexhaustible zest for life. He was a demanding perfectionist and entrepreneur. In the hedonistic ’70s of Boulder, he built The 507, across from what is now the Justice Center. In college, I saw ads for this bathhouse that stirred lustful curiosity and fearful avoidance. In 1976, Tom moved to Denver’s cheap and shabby Baker neighborhood, a perfect locale to expand his business and build his visionary Ballpark.

In a dilapidated building next to Kitty’s porn theater, through the Ballpark’s grody alley entrance, a mental blueprint of its three-storied labyrinth unrolls: humid smells of sweat and chlorine; the front desk, a stack of white towels, rows of keys like an old hotel; the office wallpapered by iconic photos of naked men from magazines like Colt, Honcho, Mandate; the dinky dance floor; the deejay cage, stuffed with bins and shelves of records; the enormous, chrome cut-out logo; the incessant thumpa-thumpa of disco; columns of gym lockers and hallways of rooms galore; a Mack truck cab, its bed a carpeted banquette; a waterfall …

Ah, the waterfall … like a villa courtyard, the faux-rock centerpiece of the Ballpark rose two stories. One could stand in a shallow pool warmly pummeled under its crashing cascade; soak in an adjoining, dark cave; sweat in a steamy maze with foggy niches; view it from an encircling balcony.

On the top floor in a library of vinyl for its deejays, a welded door in a shadowed corner once led to Kitty’s balcony. (I dreamed it led to the cosmos.)

Rocky Mountain Low

Bathhouse2Celebrating America’s Bicentennial with dreams of fame and fortune in glamorous, gay New York (about the same time Tom built the Ballpark), I fled stifling Colorado and elderly parents. I bit the Big Apple, but it bit back, chomping hard. A bizarre disease with a 100-percent mortality rate was killing my community and circle of friends.

Eight years later, dreams dashed, I fled Gotham’s sharp teeth, seeking safety and comfort in an insignificant Colorado farm town with loving parents. At 31, as a closeted, frightened failure assuming infection, I moved home to die.

Instead, the Ballpark saved my life.

I worked in the office entering new memberships into a hi-tech contraption that sounded like a gerbil running on a wire wheel. I came across a distant cousin of mine, and when he died, his heartsick mother evaded the reason. But I knew.

Yet I remained healthy — and shocked — as friends in Denver died of the same disease as friends in New York. I had jumped from the frying pan into the fire of the contagion I sought to escape. But there was no escape, only shameful secrets and melancholic worry waiting for a dry cough or purple spot, millstones that mocked my passion for life.

I told my parents I worked at a 24-hour gym, the Ballpark Health Club. But for health? That became the crux of a paradox: Did bathhouses spread AIDS or contain it? Considered the disease’s hotbed of distribution, they were a bone of contention.

And Big Brother was watching.

Bathhouses became an easy target for the Colorado Department of Health (CDH) waging a crusade over HIV testing. Fair-minded, gutsy opponents like the Ballpark owners demanded confidentiality; career-hungry, headline-grabbing officials denied its necessity. Underground secrets of the gay lifestyle stretched across newspapers and screeched over newscasts — like the AIDS tabloid story my parents and I watched on TV featuring a bushwhacked Terry exiting the Ballpark to spotlights and interrogation. I leaped up, switched channels, Mom and Dad staring at me like I’d gone mad. Simply by washing supper’s dishes, I thought I could be infecting them.

At Denver General (now Denver Health), a nurse poked me roughly, disgustedly, and deservedly I thought, verifying the ironic, negative news that I was HIV+. So filled with fear, I didn’t know how to react. So numb, neither did my friends. “So what,” they seemed to say. “Join the club.”

The 4-H Club, to be exact: homosexuals, heroin users, Haitians, and hemophiliacs. This 80’s euphemism for the first, mostly disposable populations who contracted the “gay cancer” lived far outside mainstream America. To be the cause of the unfolding witch-hunt that united government and religion, both of which were AIDS’ opportunistic allies in moral self-righteousness, was a dubious feat. The politics of sex and religion exploited a panicked public. Bigoted bureaucrats blocked any proactive government response, and hypocritical zealots spewed their vitriol of a vengeful God. Many gays succumbed, questioning their right to live.

As if that wasn’t enough strife, an internecine feud split the gay community.

Bathhouse owners argued they educated their customers out of their own pockets, providing pamphlets, condoms, lubricants with nonoxynol 9 (now proven ineffective). What did state officials supply those at risk? Little but fans to flame the stigma of infection. Perpetuating the stigma, “clean” gays — those uninfected — agreed with the CDH that bathhouses should be closed. They judged the promiscuous or outrageous types like leather or drag queens as embarrassing misrepresentations of the “normal” homosexual (whatever that is), and didn’t appreciate their guilt by association. To them, even though many secretly patronized bathhouses, even employees promoted death. A date once called me a murderer and declared I deserved to die.

That was 1984, an ill-omened year of Orwellian proportion. Terror, judgment, suspicion, and ignorance reigned supreme. It felt like the end of the world. We didn’t choose when to come out of the closet. A wrecking ball called AIDS had smashed it to smithereens. One stood and fought, or remained silent and retreated. For years, I chose the latter, the Ballpark the former.

Battle Fatigue

By the spring of 1986, battle fatigue set in. Embroiled in this extreme atmosphere for years, day after day, death after death, Ballpark owners faced an ethical-versus-economical dilemma: whether to open the door for another day’s business or close it for good. Built for fantasy, in reality the Ballpark was a mom-and-pop shop — rather, a pop-and-pop shop — a business needing to make money to pay staff, vendors, taxes, upkeep, stockholders. However, few businesses budget for a plague.

Like blood samples from its customers, bathhouses were fiercely examined under a national microscope. With what little scientific proof was available, health officials demanded gay men abstain from sex. CRAZY TALK! Because they had fought whitened tooth and manicured nail to express their sexuality, closing bathhouses was considered a non-negotiable regression, igniting destructive riots in San Francisco, angry demonstrations in New York, and nationwide protests. But to a homophobic CDH and public, where you committed your unnatural acts was irrelevant.

You were still a perv and, at long last, the answer to every homophobe’s prayer, getting God’s comeuppance.

Under enormous pressure from all sides, Ballpark owners played their public parts courageously, but privately they too were tragically affected by the plague, losing many friends, their HIV-negative statuses, their lives. I have only an inkling of how they weighed their culpability and grappled with their consciences. I know what mental and emotional issues I wrestled, but I can’t imagine theirs as accused proprietors of a business of death.

Ultimately, the partners decided to close the Ballpark. To set the record straight (pun intended), the reason was not because they caved in to the CDH, public opinion, the epidemic or that business sucked (figuratively speaking). Ironically, business was healthy. The truth? A slumlord dispute. End of rumors, anti-climactic. I know Tom, Paul, and Terry were greatly relieved. They were tired.

Depression set in for the employees and many in the gay community. Many cheered. Many could not have cared less. To their credit, the trio resolved to go out with a three-day blowout, heads held high. The farewell would epitomize the reputation of Ballpark parties, classy creations superbly executed by its talented staff: theme, invitations, décor, light show, food display, music.

The gay party scene was/is an esoteric phenomenon, and reducing it to self-indulgent hedonism is simplistic. Not every gay man participates, but for many in my generation, disco provided a baptism, a sweaty immersion into gayhood with deejay priests spinning disco hymns from turntable pulpits.

I had few fans but didn’t care that I was a Ballpark pastor of little repute. My flock didn’t come to dance; they came to cum, and I knew how to compliment that environment with music. All over the world, gay men were dropping like underwear at a bathhouse, and like a zombie, I moved aimlessly in that dead world. Music revived me, temporarily but joyfully, through the arduous, creative process of mixing records. A hot segue between two hot songs still touches my soul. That’s any deejay’s goal, to excite your audience to clench its collective sphincter with music. Though passionate when programming my musical sermons, I was too paranoid to use my last name.

Rick Danger is Born

Rick Danger was my nom-de-deejay. Tom and George, a New York friend, kidded me about loving gay New York’s treacherous night world. Some called that special era shallow, depraved, narcissistic. I happily called it beautiful. Tom and George called it dangerous and me Rick Danger, a christening silly, ironic, and cool.

That my idea of happiness and beauty could turn out to be another man’s death — or my own — seemed the height of betrayal. But by whom, or what? For 34 years, I’ve lived healthily with HIV, bleeding dry the well of why.

One thankful answer goes to Tom who encouraged me to learn mixing records. In 1982 he moved to D.C. to build another Ballpark, second of a wistful chain, where I taped my first cassette of train wrecks. But Tom and friends loved the music I chose: trippy, sleazy, and/or butch. By 1984, I improved enough to gain Terry’s confidence and a slot on weekdays, then weekends.

The Last Weekend

For the last weekend, Terry posted the deejay schedule giving me Saturday night, the peak of the bacchanal. I was honored, thrilled, grateful.

Friday afternoon quickly arrived, and a sheepish Terry asked me to cover the deejay too distraught to play. I was furious. I’d planned on resting and nailing down my program, but how could I say no? Busier than usual, an unusual anticipation electrified the air.

After spinning that nine-hour shift, I spent my usual day of recuperation sleepless, livid, excited, panic-stricken. This momentous event was turning into a reunion with friends, former stockholders, and deejays (whose expertise I envied) flying in from all over the country. I faced yet another failure in a long list of failures. How was I ever to give the boys my best?

Saturday, the bank’s huge parking lot across the street was strangely packed. And what was that line of men snaking down the alley all the way to Bayaud? I wanted to puke.

The grating buzz signaled my entrance into the Ballpark, and a shockwave of energy — heat, steam, sweat, sex, joy! — jolted every cell of my being, forcing me to lean back. Faint and dumbfounded, I staggered into the crammed lobby, almost dropping a box of records. In the party atmosphere he lived to create and loved to share, Tom rescued me with his mischievous grin. “Welcome to the Ballpark, Mr. Danger. Your turntables await you.”

Instantaneously, all the anger, fatigue, and anxiety vanished. A slow smile spread across my face. Lifted on the wings of fairies, I headed for the deejay booth and knew this night was to be a blast.

I recorded seven cassettes, 10½ hours, a musical record of that magical night.

When rain and thunder sound effects introduced Goombay Dance Band’s Rain, a Ballpark specialty, shouts from the waterfall pool proclaimed the party had taken off.

Around midnight, I played Hot Rod’s Rock and Roll Jam, a long, trippy tune with an orgasmic break, perfect for the partiers. Hmmm. What were those naughty boys up to? I took a tour to find out.

WHAT THE–! Frolicking men packed the pool and balcony, solid legs paraded by the glory hole, undulating shadows carpeted the Mack truck’s banquette. I’d never seen the Ballpark so crowded, nor everyone so wired. The house was too frickin’ high! Through gridlocked hallways, I bee-lined to the booth, meeting a tizzied Terry.

“Rick, it’s getting out of hand!” No kidding. I mixed into Vangelis’ L’Enfant from The Year of Living Dangerously soundtrack. Calm down boys, we’ve got a lot of partying left to do. Peace descended, disaster avoided.

An hour later, the place got too high again! This was a new experience for me, the synergy between a deejay and his audience, which is what I mixed into — Cords’ Synergy, another Ballpark gem. After its lustrous outro, I faded into ABBA’s The Visitors, echoing the eerie intro before letting the song rip away.

Watching me, a grinning guy declared, “You’re relentless.” Later, Steve McLean walked by, smiling with a thumbs up. He was the deejay who established the distinctive musical style of the Ballpark, setting the bar high. Both are treasured kudos.

I lost tape six when my car was stolen. Assholes.

Tape seven is pure sleaze: early morning music, gentle, and sensual. Ten hours had passed. I noticed Tom leaving and slapped on his favorite, Joe Cocker’s Sweet Little Woman. He smiled, stayed, shook his head, “Enough already.”

I agreed. Around 9am, I told the office to mix into a reel-to-reel tape and drifted to the downstairs office. I vaguely recall congratulations, pats on the shoulder, gazes of pleased fatigue, a well-deserved soak in the Jacuzzi.

I never did party that weekend. Terry asked me to play Sunday night for another distraught deejay. But I understood. The pressure off, it was my pleasure.

Of three cassettes recorded, the last song on the last tape? Billy Idol’s Flesh for Fantasy. Unplanned, well-timed. I spun for hours more, uncaring about recording, simply playing for the boys and myself, taking requests until either I fell over or they did.

I couldn’t find my programmed ending, Bette Midler’s Friends, and though verging on collapse, I zoomed to the library for a luckless search. The last song at the Ballpark had to say something! Frantically flipping through albums in the cage, I spotted I Am What I Am from La Cage Aux Folles. It would have to do.

As the drag queen Albin sings, the closing of the Ballpark was all about not hiding, not living a sham, not making apologies. The aria begins as a tentative confession and ends cold with a powerful vocal and orchestral crescendo as a defiant declaration of life. A serendipitous and fitting finale.

I faded the volume dials to zero, shut off the turntables and mixing board, heard the telltale speaker pops — all for the last time. My ears rang. The waterfall continued its loud, indecorous downpour.

Around 9am, Monday morning, June 16th, 1986 — after playing 30+ hours of a 72-hour, non-stop party — I had played the last song at the Ballpark, two months shy of its tenth anniversary. The achievement is one of my life’s highest and lowest moments, proud and bittersweet, joyful and heartbreaking. That fact means nothing to anyone else.

Life Goes On

Because life goes on. I gazed at the disheartened detritus of partiers, the cleanup crew beginning their final chores. I chatted with teary Tom Witte, then editor of Denver’s defunct gay magazine Quest and eventual AIDS casualty.

“Nothing will ever be the same,” he said. We knew a single second of time had draped its pall over us. Before it, life was known; after it, life would be fearfully unknowable.

I crashed at Mitch’s Capitol Hill apartment. He was terribly depressed. Me? Deliriously delighted. I had just played the last song at the Ballpark! And then it hit me. My best friend held me, a blubbering, snotty mess, for hours.

The Last Weekend party was a talked-about triumph, and a bizarre incongruity, because dismantling the Ballpark followed immediately. After recuperating two days, I returned and stood stunned among ruins, a wreck wrought by saws and sledgehammers. No heavy smell of sex and steam aroused a pungent perfume; motes of dust from piled debris peppered the air. No elation greeted me; the crew was quietly active. No splashing roar muffled the lobby; the waterfall was eerily silent.

I took another tour, but this wandering was surreal, empty of men, joy, music. Halls were crammed with ripped-up carpet and floor boards, stacks of mattresses and doors; the Jacuzzi and exotic fish tank sat empty; the maze, unnaturally dry and bright, smelled fusty. Torn asunder, the deejay booth reflected my heart. The Ballpark truly was no more.

At the smashed remains of the front desk, I sat alone with Tom, pensive and wiped out. Disconcertingly, he burst into tears. With boundless energy, the leader of our band, Maxi-Mills (a nickname he hated), was always planning fun. Now, guilt overwhelmed him. Had he been responsible for spreading death to hundreds, maybe thousands? I tried to comfort Tom by saying he had also spread incredible joy, that nobody knew this disease would happen, that, when no one else responded to the mortal mystery, the Ballpark did. Screw the naysayers. I doubt what I said he hadn’t heard before, but Tom would have to work out his hellish dilemma on his own. I could only hold him.

The public descended on the garage sale like rabid scavengers, eager for a piece of the Ballpark: a notepad, a classic homoerotic poster, a numbered door as a remembrance of what happened behind it. The astounding assortment of records I’d organized quickly dispersed, much like my friendships with Ballpark staff and patrons.

I spun a few gigs at Trax*, the Foxhole, the Compound, weddings, parties and KMIX, a venture to broadcast VHS tapes of mixed music over a newfangled notion called cable, none of them any fun. Neither was the music, as though it too had succumbed to AIDS. I got a dull job at a hotel and again, waited to die.

Obviously, I didn’t, but the Ballpark building did. Tom knew the slumlord planned to re-open his bathhouse under a new name. Costing him dearly, Tom deliberately demolished it (the reason for the debris after the party), even poured cement down the drains, guaranteeing no one could kidnap his baby. Certainly not the slumlord, who years later was forced to tear down the vacant, Baker neighborhood eyesore. Friends described mangled iron and mounds of crumbling bricks. Gone were the mission-style pediments, corner turrets, and shingle-pent roof. Drive by the flat and forlorn patch at Broadway and Bayaud (sometimes a Christmas tree lot), and look at Kitty’s southern exterior wall. The brick scar of the welded door in the vinyl library still resurrects my imaginary gateway to the cosmos.

While that fantasy led nowhere, my experiences at the Ballpark led to my here and now. I miss the few guys left, the horde gone – and the fun – the reason for it all. Life got so serious.

In 2006, Terry, HIV positive for decades, died vacationing in Mexico from a freak accident, not AIDS. Tenuous and tenacious, that’s life. And a freaky reminder gays can die in a flash, not by the inch.

My boxed-up Technics turntables and cherished collection of 2K records — classic remixes, Disconet, Hot Tracks, and Razormaid rarities — take up space physically and psychically. While they represent the raft that saved my life, part of me wishes it would float away. I’d insist someone make me an offer for the disco version of Ethel Merman belting There’s No Business Like Show Business, but who in the digital age of downloads and streaming actually will?

Vinyl is obsolete, like me. When retelling the Ballpark’s overlooked history, I’ve been judged disdainfully — and correctly — sentimental, perhaps by judges inexperienced, jaded, and/or insensitive. I’m an old fag, behind the times, writing of forgotten times. Boo-hoo, blah blah, who cares?

The Comeback

Vinyl is making a comeback. And I’m alive! And embracing new technology, using e-Jay software to create brilliant (in my mind) remixes, and Audacity to convert those Last Weekend cassettes into mp3 files, and (eventually) my friend’s 50 Ballpark reel tapes.

Though I’ve no audience, no touch of vinyl or turntable, the power of the music summons halcyon and horrific memories … my ghosts re-appear … and I rage, because the déjà vu I sense in 2016 reflects the politics of sex and religion in 1986. Like a social cancer once in remission, a disease of intolerance, hate, arrogance, and hypocrisy resurges again. Legalizing same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court ignited a fire under the collective ass of Christian evangelicals, right-wing loonies, and Republican ultra-conservatives.

Few remember why the same-sex marriage debate even began. In the early ’80s, longtime male companions began dying from AIDS, and agonies over inheritance, death benefits, and visitation rights punched their guts.

Many in our queer community think the AIDS plague and marriage debate are successful, done deals. Under the guises of balancing budgets and religious freedom, most Republican presidential candidates and state politicians will attempt legislative shenanigans to decimate AIDS funding and negate same-sex marriage laws.

What an awful way to live. So lacking in confidence, these phony Christian fanatics must lord their psychotic lusts for power over our entire country, vomiting fear from fabricated threats. What a sad waste of talent, time, money, and power. If these resources were dedicated to their Christ’s appeals, every hungry and homeless American would be fed and sheltered. Instead, after 3500 years of legislated damning that began with Mosaic law, they still spit, “Hetero-sex good. Homo-sex bad.” ENOUGH!

I don’t hate these perceived enemies. Hate is easy and ultimately, unsophisticated. Though I can’t abide, the morally corrupt rage festers get boring and shrill. Desiring to love the world, I fear becoming misanthropic; if I contract their social cancer, I perish as a house divided and cannot stand long.

Love demands discipline and patience, every second of every day.

Losing the love of a dozen close friends — a combined total of 150 years of friendship — I’ve learned to assimilate grief’s ebb and flow, to ride its swelling waves. And what a rich ride. As Tom lay dying in his beloved mountain home, he said to me, “Keep writing.” But do I write to assuage my guilt for past inaction and surviving? Am I obligated to live happily ever after? Am I my friends’ voice, self-appointed or otherwise? I don’t know. Discarding the shameful cloak of HIV stigma, as though lettered in scarlet, I’m the one who lives to tell their tale —a cautionary tale, because history is repeating itself.

The worldwide war on AIDS and same-sex rights is far from victory, but battles, astounding yet costly, have been won. My war heroes, my fallen champions, killed each other with guns, albeit metaphorically, shooting orgasms not bullets, friendly fire of an organic kind. I used to imagine dedicating their memorial on the corner of Broadway and Bayaud, but in 2015 that lot and Kitty’s sold for $2.6M. My vision lies buried there with the Mack truck (surprise!).

Due in part to the Ballpark’s enduring legacy, I and countless others live, maybe not happily ever after, but we live. Beginning my own legacy, I take a spark of my rage and light a torch of love, shining it in tribute for Tom, Paul, Terry, and all the boys who laid down their sparks of life long ago. I’m so grateful to them, for living then, for living now, for the privilege of playing the last song at the Ballpark. What a fabulous trip! And I celebrate that milestone at my own mental memorial, where I am still lifted on the wings of fairies.

*Not a misspelling of the LGBT club Tracks. I think there was a straight club called Trax decades ago.