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Gay Bingo Has Returned From Its Summer Hiatus

It's Back!

Following a two-month summer recess to work on their tans (yeah sure, in Buffalo) the Gay Bingo crowd came back in September for their monthly mayhem and merriment. It starts at 6pm every second Saturday night at St. Johns-Grace Episcopal Church on Colonial Circle at Richmond and Lafayette.

Gay Bingo is the brainchild of a guy whose name should be a household word. Michael Warner made a long-time dream come true when he was able to form the 501c3 nonprofit organization called AIDS Plus that produces Gay Bingo to raise funds for HIV and AIDS charities. A number of other efforts had been made to start Gay Bingo but the commitment was just too great…that is, until Mike came along. He made it happen.

It started off big and just grew bigger. The church hall is always filled to the max. People line up for a block or more waiting for the doors to open.

You may ask why Gay Bingo is different than any other bingo. You might as well ask why the Buffalo Chophouse is different than McDonald’s. It’s that certain something. That je ne sais quoi. That joie de vivre. Hmmm. I wonder if this will get me an invitation to the Buffalo Chophouse. Can’t a guy try already?

To begin with, the bingo callers and many of the other staff are drag queens. If you have never seen Gladys Over do her thing, then you are truly missing a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They really should call her Gladys Overthetop. Of course, she is ably assisted by a bevy of beauties with names just as memorable as Ms. Over’s. The names of drag queens in Buffalo go from Aretha Flowers to Demanda Refund, and there was even a Kitty Litter but she got flushed down the toilet.

Next, they have themes for each bingo night and they are usually as over-the-top as the girls. For instance, for September the theme was The Wizard of Oz. Imagine all the ruby red slippers and the pink poodles. (Well, so what if Toto wasn’t a poodle?) And if you can’t guess the October theme, you have to turn in your gaydar badge. Halloween is the time of year when all men are allowed to wear mascara, bustiers, and baby doll pumps. You mean you didn’t know that bustiers are supposed to have a lush crop of manly chest hair peeping above the décolletage?

Lastly, Gay Bingo has audience participation for many of the numbers called. For instance, when they call B1 everybody stands up and breaks into a chorus of “One Singular Sensation” from A Chorus Line. And when they call O69…well, go figure. Often the responses elicited by that number are not fit to print in a family newspaper like Artvoice. Gay men can be such naughty girls/naughty boys sometimes.

So if you happen to have a free night some second Saturday, just sashay over to the Gay Bingo hall for a good time and a good cause. You can tell Mike Warner that Vicky Vogue sent you. And ask him to tell you about the Serendipity Shop, his other brainchild charity. Talk about your tchotchke. Why, I found my purple twinky there.

danny winter

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