Dick-a-Day: Chris Sevilla

The proliferation of other venues which have audaciously hosted so-called bikini shows and contests with nearly-naked [if not totally naked] guys, has put also some challenge upon the relevance of gay bars in Manila. Before, it was impossible to stage one with all those boys in the buff on stage, unless it was held in a gay bar past midnight [and the doors are sealed by the bouncers]. Nowadays, the productions of these shows have taken a bolder – way much bolder move. And the guys just got cocky too. Take for instance, Chris Sevilla a former Ginoong Pilipinas finalist who was in a contest at the Lips Bar somewhere in Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City.

Sexagenarian said…

Jericho Cuevas, gay bar dancer.

The post on gay bars elicited various comments, but the most appreciated one came from a guy “nearing 70s”, who regaled us with the gay life then and now. Here’s more from Anonymous reader, who calls himself “Sexagenarian”. I am posting his comment in full, and I sure hope he will continue to share with us more about the gay life then. Much appreciated, Sexagenarian.

Sexagenarian said: The late movie director and Regal “fixture” Joey Gosiengfiao said two years before his death that in the heyday of the gay bar here, dancers and GROs earned a lot, really A LOT, thanks to big-spending guests who lavished the boys with attention and cash. Fact is, some of these star dancers’ careers ended when they agreed to be the kept partners of their patrons. Others lost their careers for various reasons like wrong attitude, lack of discipline, drugs, etc. This is all well-depicted in the movies of Lino Brocka and Mel Chionglo. Joey went on to say that the gay bar lost its luster when the men who used to frequent them lost interest, stayed home and went elsewhere. Exactly what happened to old bloke: I lost interest, stayed home and went elsewhere. Joey went on to say that the younger gays, being more open, self-confident, and not self-tormented, not to say, loaded with cash, have no need for the dark, cloistered world of the gay bar, with all the wonderful options available outside it. Joey knew what he was talking about. He owned the gay bar called Chicos right in front of GMA Network Center on Timog which had a very long life span. But even before Joey’s death, the place had lost its crowd and so had to close shop and be torn apart. Joey also directed the local production of the hit off-Broadway play “Boys in the Band” which had a long, successful run at Ayala Ave. in Makati in maybe 1970, watched by Manila’s so-called beautiful people, the upscale gays, artists, students, and theater buffs. The play is about a group of gay friends who throw a birthday party for one of them, and guess where they decide to hold the party? A gay bar? Nope, in an apartment, just like where today’s young gay guys would hold theirs.

Are gay bars still relevant?

Lazing around on a Saturday evening, some friends [F. and G., a couple who stayed for dinner] started to map out the weekend gay romp in town. Instead of going to the usual Malate or Makati gay bar, F. proposed that we go to a gay bar in Quezon City. Now, in Manila, a gay bar would mean really naked boys dancing on stage. The proposal was met with excitement, as I haven’t been to a bare-naked-boys-dancing gay bar in ages. Yet, G. started to rant: Are gay bars in Manila still relevant these days? He goes on to say that these are wrenching times for the gay bar as strippers and porn videos are not such a big draw now that bare skin is so accessible through other means [e.g. the Internet]. “Even Entrepreneur magazine listed the gay bar – along with piggy banks, record stores, used bookstores and payphones – as a dying business,” G. went on. “What used to be a hangout for people who felt unwelcome elsewhere is becoming less necessary,” he declared, quoting the magazine supposedly.

Maybe he has a point in there. Most younger gay guys now prefer to go to the dance clubs in Malate and Makati, and even Cubao. Unlike middle-aged and older guys, they see the gay bars in Timog and Potrero not as a weekly treat, but something more of a place where they can hold shower parties and the occasional i-want-to-see-live-dicks-tonight episodes in their night lives. Moreover, gay men in Manila have lots of options now – there are comedy clubs, sing-along bars and tony dance clubs, where they can freely interact with the straight ones.

I think gay bars [the ones with dancing really-naked boys] are not yet up in the extinction list. Maybe the owners should just up the ante a little bit. Diversify and upgrade. Most are turned off by the stinking toilets, the smoky-in-a-bad-way feel of the bar, the aggressive dancers and GROs and the pricey drinking list. Seedy, in other words. If only gay bars in Manila would just turn it up – swing the place around clean and spanking [not spunky], put a dance club with dancers just on stage, and make it more comfortable for the younger gay guys to get in. Now that would have to be a challenge to get the Manila gay bar off the extinction list.

And as for us, we ended up drinking at home till the wee small hours of the morning. This explains the late post.