Once again forces are gathering to shut down a symbol of Black Gay New York. Love it or hate it, that's what Chiz Chiz is, a symbol, though one of many. Sitting in the West Village on iconic Christopher St. mere blocks from the historic birth of the modern gay rights movement at the Stonewall Inn over 40 years ago.
It seems when it comes to Chi Chiz, modern West Village residents' tolerant attitudes falter and "they cry 'quality of life' and 'not in my neighborhood.'" Hmmm ... would that be the same historic and globally renowned gayborhood that they moved into?
But to answer the question posed:
Pictures here are from one of the art exhibits the bar caters (this one is Derek Bell), and some random shots from karaoke night and such, which show the spot is hardly the nefarious drug den it's being labeled to be.
Harmless karaoke. Does a more dangerous element show up sometimes? Maybe a drug dealer or two? Of course, just like in ALL bars drug dealers will defy the bars "no drug policy" and covertly peddle their wares anyway.
It is ridiculous. Are all Village Bars being harassed equally, or just the black gay ones? Bad things happen in bars occasionally and more aggressive action may be needed to tamp it down, but this pressure seems unfairly targeted at this one particular bar.
Whether we go to Chi Chiz or not,
Ask yourself, as beautiful and as loud and as 'shade' throwing as it is, should we sit back and watch the black gay experience be so easily displaced, only to watch it pop up in the next trendy location and have all this drama repeat itself?
Or should we do something? And if so, what?
Love it or not, letting it buckle to unfair pressure without a fight would be a sad blow from the community it caters to and shares a reputation with.
Maybe if we as a community of artists of all mediums began to hold more events there -- even more art openings and book signing, a virtual parade of talent -- we could actually change our black gay footprint on Christopher St.
As long as The Village is known around the world as NYC's 'gayborhood central', it should represent all in the LGBT rainbow (and not just one Chelsea Boy stripe).
Maybe it's time for Chi Chiz to shut down and we'll visit the matter somewhere else. Or, maybe it's time for our talented community to grow up and take control of its reputation.
Let's bet on the latter. ~
If it's an affectation, he's been doing it so long it's natural.
Someone said after viewing these pictures that Lorenzo must be damn-near 50 years old and its a shame that he still "acts" like that. We couldn't disagree more. The fact is that here at SGL Café we worship the ground (or sand) the girly-boys walk on. People fail to realize how much balls it takes to be a left of center man in the Fundamentalist States of America. Most complainers should be checking the size and/or existence of their own balls. They may find they have none.
Those who have been on the black gay circuit for a minute know Lorenzo. The wild, flamboyant, pool-table master never enters a room without turning heads. Instead of criticizing his antics, maybe we should see him as a fine example of living an authentic life, of being yourself with no regrets, of just being YOU ... while letting the haters go fuck themselves.
At Fire Island Blackout (dancing in the vid below with Love Yourself First
Here's to Lorenzo -- may he keep being his head-turning-self for decades and decades to come. And from this vantage, damn-near 50 looks pretty damn good. We should all be so lucky.
It seems Chi Chiz bar (135 Christopher St., NYC) was raided last night and shut down. An unconfirmed report says it was for drug activity and underage drinking. More details to come. ...
Let's hope this is not an obituary, but some words about Chi Chiz, from an article I wrote a few years back for FlavaLife called Black Gay Family at the Center of the World:
UPDATE!: Rumor has it that they re-opened. Good news indeed!