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It’s the crossover episode that none of you asked for (but I promise you’re going to love it!)!
If you follow me on social media (and, if you don’t, why not? @lostspacespod on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook), you will have seen earlier this week that I was a guest on the NotStalgia podcast. Now, this is a really cool show, where hosts Jess and Eric discuss an original film and then they discuss its remake, and contrast and compare the two… The episode that I was on was a discussion about ‘Boys in the Band’, that classic queer film that was recently remade for Netflix.
So, why am I telling you this when all you want to do is hear about a lost queer space? Well, today’s episode return the favour! I was lucky enough to be joined by Eric La Febre, one of the hosts of the NotStalgia show, who came on to reminisce about the lost San Franciscan punk gay bar Lucky Thirteen.
Along the way I learn a lot about the fine art of cruising, we talk all about sloppy snogging in nightclub toilets, and we have a really interesting conversation about the idea versus the reality of community….
Follow Eric on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/elafebre/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/ericthefever). Also, make sure to listen to NotStalgia wherever you find podcasts, and give them a wee follow on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/notstalgia.pod/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/NOTstalgia_pod) too (although, to be honest, they’re a bit rubbish at keeping their twitter updated)!
Jeffrey Masters 00:00
There was one way to like be beautiful and was Hollywood. And like, around the world, there’s many different ways to be beautiful, but in LA there’s like one aesthetic if you don’t fit that, then it’s not that you’re ugly just are not that thing.
K Anderson 00:16
Hello, I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, the podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Every episode I talk to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories that they created there and the people that they used to know. Jeffrey Masters is the creator and host of the long running interview podcast, LGBTQ and A and has interviewed such guests as John Cameron Mitchell, Laverne Cox and Melissa Etheridge. Back when he was a baby gay, and after an earlier three months stint, he packed his bags and plunked himself down in LA, where he lived for several years. It was here that he was exposed to the world of West Hollywood, which is kind of like a gay Disney Land. And depending on who you are, you either got really excited or you went stare at that description, which pretty much sums up the polarising attitude towards West Hollywood. We caught up to talk about the last space 11 The obliviousness of some human beings and the shallowness of LA.
Jeffrey Masters 02:02
So I’m packed up and moved two weeks after graduation because I did not want cold feet, which is probably like, on brand for me to like just force myself to do things like that. And I moved to not West Hollywood, I moved to another neighbourhood because I thought West Hollywood was like, too gay
K Anderson 02:18
like, too on the nose. Yeah,
Jeffrey Masters 02:21
at that point. I did not own a tank top. Now, I only own shorts cut sleeves. Yeah, I just like it was a slow, not transition, a slow acceptance of queerness and being I think it goes back to that which I like being clockable, like being clocked older. queerness. And tank tops are just gay canon.
K Anderson 02:42
Yeah, yeah, I think for me, it’s the assless chaps that get me in trouble. Otherwise, I don’t think people could tell.
Jeffrey Masters 02:48
I don’t wear those like to the grocery store, though. But why? Why not? It’s a personal choice. Do you actually wear those in summer around?,
K Anderson 02:56
Oh, yeah definitely. I mean, while I need to come to the UK, maybe it’s a bit difficult when I’m on the train, you know, there’s leather seats and get stuck. But otherwise, I’m fine.
Jeffrey Masters 03:05
Well, it’s like I had to find like my like, personal style within like queerness with also like, What do I like and not like personally, I feel like we like try different trends and fads. And for me, I realise Oh, I do like skinny jeans. But when it came to like shirts and sweatshirts, I think Someone once described my style as like, could be six months pregnant and like, you could still like wear the same shirts that I wear. Like I’m in shape, but like I just don’t think things are form fitting. And so when I like bought formfitting things I like didn’t wear them. It’s like, oh, this is not about like gay or not gay, just about like what I feel comfortable wearing.
K Anderson 03:38
Yeah, personally. And there’s like that thing when you’re a teenager and you realise you’re gay and you see gay culture around you and you think, well, I either have to embrace this fully or reject it entirely. And you don’t kind of recognise that you can take the bits you want and leave a bit you don’t
Jeffrey Masters 03:56
it’s all or nothing mesh shirts or nothing. No.
K Anderson 04:00
One of those weird tattoos that goes around your belly button or no tattoos. Do you have one of those tell us now their narrative as I didn’t even have a tramp stamp yet? Yeah. Yet? Yeah. Oh, yeah, obviously, I’m gonna get a tramp. So what do you think I should get? Maybe like a dolphin?
Jeffrey Masters 04:20
That’s horrifying. I think tattoos are personal. There’s a lot of bad tattoos in the world.
K Anderson 04:27
Yeah, yeah. And I myself have some bad tattoos. So I’m in no position to judge but this is reminding me of a time when I was in like my early 20s. I went to this gym that was full of like, city professional type people. And there was this one guy there who was always really nice to me. So you know, I figured he must fancy me. And he had this Tweety Bird tattoo. So I was like, Well, of course he’s gay. But no 10 Downing Street. How did this come up? What that key was stray Yeah, well, he invited me to his birthday party, which again, another sign that he’s really in love with me. But no, he, his girlfriend was there.
Jeffrey Masters 05:08
You’re not like in a sauna. And he’s like, Why are you touching my thighs?
K Anderson 05:12
No, no, I’m not that bold. Maybe I would be that bold now, but I definitely wouldn’t be that bold when I was in my 20s.
Jeffrey Masters 05:21
Anyway, yeah, I’ve gotten bolder.
K Anderson 05:24
Yeah, yeah, me too. And it’s like, I can always just cancel my gym membership. Move to the other side of the country and then, like, never see you again. Right? No big deal.
Jeffrey Masters 05:33
That’s why you move continents the first time.
K Anderson 05:36
Yeah, exactly. Um, so. Okay, let’s get back onto topic. Let’s talk about West Hollywood. So then you get there. You discover the area. How did the reality live up to what it was you were expecting?
Jeffrey Masters 05:52
I think what I was expecting, I don’t want to fear back that and I was not as comfortable with my queerness then I didn’t have a tonne of gay friends, which like now I only have gay friends. Yeah, I’ve have an extremely gay life now working in queer media, volunteering for queer organisations, different things like that. So I but living in LA that first summer when I was 21. I, like avoided West Hollywood actually. Which is funny, because when I moved from LA, eight years later, I was living in West Hollywood and like going to these gay bars, you know, four nights a week, but back then I avoided them. And so I mean, I very clearly remember my first time going to the one with a friend and like being mesmerised by like, men dancing together. Which, like in my life now sounds like completely bonkers.
K Anderson 06:44
Can Can we just and pick that then? avoiding that? Yeah. What was it like? Oh, I’m not like those other gays.
Jeffrey Masters 06:56
No, I don’t think it was that. Well, here, here’s an example. Like willing Grace was just like the biggest TV show ever in America. And we argue about how much it influenced things or not. But it did have an influence, right. And a lot of people saw queerness for the first time on TV, on Will and Grace. And the way my brain works, though, as a teenager was, I’m not going to watch this TV show with a gay character, because then people will know I’m gay. So it’s kind of like a void of that. So I think me avoiding these gay bars and like the gay part of us Hollywood was a way of like protecting myself and not having to deal with like, certain issues. And what were those issues? Some of us intimacy, I avoid, like easy answers. I think some of it was that. Because if I went to a gay bar and talked to a gay man, that now needed data, man, I would like create more issues. It was just easier to like, be gay, not not in the closet, but not have to kind of run certain things like that, like become a fully practising homosexual or practising one. Yes, I’m quite skilled now. But back then, my God. I think the other part of that fear, actually, at this gay bar, for the first time, was that I grew up in the South, we’re overt displays of queerness was not not even not accepted. It just was invisible. I never saw a man holding hands that down the street, like you would never was your partner in public, it was just completely everywhere. So like, the fact that people in West Hollywood felt comfortable being public about their queerness was something like I almost didn’t know like we were allowed to do.
K Anderson 08:33
And, and so do you remember them the first time you saw two men being intimate in the street?
Jeffrey Masters 08:40
I do not remember my first time saying that. But I do remember, five or six years and holding hands with a man, it still does stand out to me every time I do hold hands with a man walking down the street, as oh, we’re holding hands on the street. But I do remember, like five or six years inland in LA, I was holding hands with a man who was like 10 years older than me. And like he was freaked out that we were holding hands. And he was like, we don’t do that in this neighbourhood. And I was like, oh, no, no, like, it’s actually this is a very safe neighbourhood and like this part of us Hollywood, and he was like, I’d rather not like oh, hell, like the tables have turned there.
K Anderson 09:17
I find the whole holding hands in public thing. Really weird because on one hand, I’m like, Well, this is fine. I’ve got every right to hold this person’s hand. There’s no problem with this. But then on the other hand, it’s like, Oh, someone might be watching and maybe I should be looking out and extra vigilant. And just a bit of advice, because you’re staying really?
Jeffrey Masters 09:38
Yeah, I mean, I kind of accepted my sexuality under the fray and I do not feel this way now, but accepted my sexuality early on as it’s okay if I’m gay, as long as nobody ever knows and like they can’t read it on me. And you know, I as long as I don’t wear skinny jeans and things like that, and I got over that very quickly, but in West Hollywood you could read it queerness on people you
K Anderson 10:00
And it was probably like an extra level of confusing because it was this like unashamed queerness, rather than this forbidden kind of hidden.
Jeffrey Masters 10:09
Yeah, it was it was probably like extremely, like, helpful that I was living in such a gay neighbourhood well eventually moved to West Hollywood, from other parts of LA, but it was probably helpful to like help. Not forced me out of the closet, but show me that like, it’s okay. If you walked on the street and someone read you as gay, that that is not a failing on your part.
K Anderson 10:30
Yeah, yeah. Did those thoughts ever still enter your brain?
Jeffrey Masters 10:37
So I think that’s a good question. Because the obvious answer is yes, absolutely. There are certain. But when it comes to gender, I’m most aware of my, like, manhood, when I’m walking down, like a dark street at night, and it’s like, maybe unsafe. And I’m like, oh, man, like, let me put my shoulders back. Let me like, why am I gated more? And like, I feel very protected by my masculinity in those ways. And also, like, I mean, my sexuality and gender just intimately intertwined. Like I think about how queer presenting or not, or if I’m like, going to a party, and I’m, like, dressed like, a bit more femme. I’m very aware of like, where I’m walking down the street to go home, like after midnight in the dark. Am I a bigger target or not? Am I wearing like nail polish and like someone’s on a clock that, or just things like that? So um, I think about it in terms of like physical safety, actually, but not in daylight at all.
K Anderson 11:37
So how, like, paint the picture about West Hollywood? So for me, I’ve never ever been to West Hollywood. But in my head, it seems like it’s kind of like stuck in the year. 2000. Oh, what do you mean by that? Just that like there’s a very specific type of gay that’s like, clean and hairless and blonde. And Mike’s, you know, Kylie Minogue and Madonna. And so I’m
Jeffrey Masters 12:05
like, giggling at you saying that? Because I think that is 100%. Correct. There’s, you said nothing, that is a lie. And when I moved, I lived there for eight years. So like, it was just like how life was for me. But moving to New York. Now. I’ve been here for two years. And I see how much West Hollywood is like West Hollywood only. Whereas in New York, there’s like 90,000 gay men and like, 90,000 ways to be gay. If I want to generalise in West Hollywood, there’s kind of like the one way and it’s like what you named?
K Anderson 12:36
Hmm. And so then, like, did you just have Stockholm syndrome when you live there?
Jeffrey Masters 12:44
Um, yes, I’m, like, so like, stereotypes exists? Because stereotypes exist, right? So like, there’s a stereotype of Los Angeles that every gorgeous person in every small town in America moves to Los Angeles. So it’s just like one city of gorgeous people. And there is like some truth to that. But I say that to say like, I try to phrase us in a non like, gross way. But when I moved to New York City, I was suddenly appreciated for other things. Because I don’t fit in like the West Hollywood mould of like a hairless twink. It’s like the slender, thin no muscle or the big beefy muscle. And I’m like, somewhere like in between ish, right? But in because you’re buried in oversized t shirt. My Yeah, my oversaturate. Exactly. In New York. It’s been the mindfuck is at 32 years old, I’m suddenly I’ll just say, I’ll say, I’m deemed more attractive here. And it’s really weird to be in your 30s. And to like reevaluate how you’re seen by the world. And I think New York, there’s somebody for everybody, no matter what you look like. But never matter. No matter what your body looks like your earlier background. There’s somebody who’s attracted to you in New York. And that was not the case in Los Angeles.
K Anderson 14:00
Hmm. And so then when you were living in Los Angeles, was it just like, oh, I guess I’m just not attractive.
Jeffrey Masters 14:07
I never thought I wasn’t attractive. If you think that let me know. Let me know in the comments below. Don’t just you know, I never thought it was not attractive. But I just I’m not a I don’t have a model face right? I’m not knock at the high cheekbones, or whatever. And I don’t care. But there was one way to like be beautiful and was Hollywood. And like, around the world there’s many different ways to be beautiful, but in LA there’s like one of Stetic if you don’t fit back then it’s not that you’re ugly just are not that thing. And LA is like the home of Hollywood and on camera. So like a lot of it is an on camera beauty for sure. But um, New York values like brains to and success and this and that and LA is like a one industry town and that is Hollywood. And if you don’t work in Hollywood or on TV, you’re kind of like useless but in New York, they like appreciate other things like journalism, which I do.
K Anderson 15:03
And and so was it like this thing where you accepted, I suppose what people, how people viewed you physically when you were living in LA. And then when you got to New York that suddenly flipped on its head and you were like, Oh, wow, I’m actually really fucking attractive and people like me.
Jeffrey Masters 15:22
Yeah. Or I’m not attractive. And I thought it was, again, like I never thought it was ugly by any means. So I was like, I’ll tell the story I’d one guy was dating me for like about a year. And I was so curious, because whenever I would meet his friends, he be like, this is a guy I’m dating. This is Jeff. He’s really, really smart, and really, really funny. And like, those are lovely characteristics. But I always thought it was like, he was like, saying that this is my insecurity, who’s saying not to, like, make up for the fact that like, what I looked like, you know, I was like, Why does he keep emphasising like, my, like brains? And like, the truth is to like, if somebody like only sexualized me, like only one of me for a body and like face, I’d be like, don’t you think I’m smart? You know, it’s like, again, there’s like the pendulum in the middle. But it’s like, why is he keep ringing up like that? I don’t think he was trying to make up for anything that I don’t look or don’t look like, but it just is so weird to live in a place in your 30s and just see, like, how men have changed how they respond to you that, you know, does that make sense?
K Anderson 16:23
Yeah, absolutely. And but what it’s making me think of is that you’re going to get to this point, right? Where suddenly Men of a Certain Age, start calling you, daddy. And that’s really fucking scary. As that happened to you, yeah. Yes. And I think like, the thing that’s most head fucky about it is that the kind of by saying that they’re putting you in a certain position, and they’re assuming a certain power dynamic, and you’re just kind of like, Oh, should I play along with this? Should I have fun with it? Should I reject it? What’s going to happen if I do any of those things? And, yeah, it just it becomes a lot to
Jeffrey Masters 17:06
navigate. And then do I do always do that one thing now? Yeah, my daddy.
K Anderson 17:10
Yeah. Am I a dom top from now. Till the end of time. Yeah,
Jeffrey Masters 17:15
it’s it’s, I mean, I think we’re, I think all of us are battling, like the assumptions people make. But I mean, like, being the media, I think about a lot is like, so I’ve a very successful podcast. And I’ve lately done a couple of stints on like MSNBC, commentating. And sometimes I’ll go out with a guy who like, wants to, like, date, that version of me, who is like poise and fun and has like chokes and punchlines and cutthroat stats about like the HIV rate in the southern parts of the US, and like, all that stuff, and I’m like, well, that’s a bit of a performance for on camera. And like, at a date, I’m just trying to, like, get loose with this drink. And like, maybe, Copperfield, you know, but they want to be like, entertained by like, the guy they’ve listened to on the podcast last five years. And I’m like, oh, like, they don’t understand. Like, that’s not a real person.
K Anderson 18:07
Yeah, and there’s like this other thing. I feel like when I’m put in that position, and people are like, Oh, you’re this, you’re this, you’re this. I feel like the pressure to live up to that, like I don’t, I don’t just reject their expectation as something that’s just unrealistic, and not something that I’m ever going to do. I kind of try and play up and be this more heightened version of myself, which is just exhausting and actually kind of boring.
Jeffrey Masters 18:36
Yeah. And also, it’s, like, at least in the style interviews that I do for my show. I’m talking to like Pete Buttigieg, Laverne Cox, a senator or Melissa Etheridge, like a wide variety of people. But those are highly research interviews to elicit something from the other person. And they’re not like a two way conversation like we’re having now like, they’re not it’s not a it’s not a date, but like they’re not dates, these conversations.
K Anderson 19:02
This isn’t a date?
Jeffrey Masters 19:05
No, I can’t reach the computer and feel you if I get to your thigh maybe. But like people think like, they think all conversations are different. They don’t like do this for a living, or sorry, they think they’re all the same. They don’t do for a living. So the fact that I spent like an hour in a room with Pete Buttigieg talking, they’re like, Did you hit it off? Like you’re gonna get a drink after like, maybe like, go out? And like, first of all, he’s married. Second of all, like me asking about him serving overseas is not like the first date material, right? We’re not building chemistry. I’m a reporter asking questions, like pushing back on certain things. Yeah, but sometimes people just like, want that. They want that and also, people are wildly oblivious to how they come across. Me. No, no, no, that’s a different tangent.
K Anderson 19:52
No, no, no, let’s explore this. You’re learning about people and I enjoy when people moan about
Jeffrey Masters 19:59
um, I think people don’t know how they come across in the world with like, when they say things, how they like some, I was on a date last week, and the guy was like, Oh my God, I’ve just been talking the whole time, sorry. And he kept talking the whole time. And I was like, so fat like the sociologist, and he’s like, so fascinated by like, his ability to, like, name the issue, but not change his behaviour to fix the issue kind of thing. Or, again, when I moved to New York City, somebody was like, who had new just socially from Instagram, we met each other at a party and was like, Hey, we’ve never met in person when I say hi. And he looked at me, like, I’d like done something wrong. And he was like, It’s okay that I’m saying hi. And he was like, You are so much more attractive in person. And I was like, Oh, are my pictures, not like, attractive? And he was like, Well, I just never met you in person. I’m like, oh, so they’re bad pictures. And then he like, freaked out. I was like, I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to offend you. And I’m like, It’s okay. But I was like, you kind of did offend me, but also like, why would you say something like that to someone’s face?
K Anderson 21:05
I mean, it’s kinda I mean, okay, so you’re, you’re a glass half empty person, right? Like, cuz it’s kind of a compliment.
Jeffrey Masters 21:11
I’m not. I’m the glass is is half full and half empty person. Like, I can see the compliment, I can see the insult. But also more than that, I’d like separation to like, not actually be insulted just to be like, fascinated that someone would say that to another person’s face. That’s the more of who I am.
K Anderson 21:29
Yeah. Yeah, I, this thing about people who prattle on about themselves, and don’t stop to think to ask you anything. I kind of like yeah, kind of love that shamelessness. I just don’t get it. I like I spend. I’m really interested in other people’s stories and what makes them tick and what like, what they’re thinking. And so when other people are just so self involved, it’s kind of amazing.
Jeffrey Masters 22:00
It’s the same people who, like, walk down the street and like, stop in the middle. It’s like, look around the buildings. And you’re like, you’re walking the whole street. This is a big city.
K Anderson 22:10
I feel like to be fair, this is probably a conversation that’s only relatable to people that live in New York or London or some big city.
Jeffrey Masters 22:17
Yes, but also like ours. But I think like even like when I go back to the south, like someone like walk into like a bar, or like, stay on the entryway, you’re like, oh, excuse me, and they look at you like why would you like I’m standing here? Like, why would you ask me to move and it’s like, well, you’re blocking the entire doorway, but they think you’re just being like an a hole.
K Anderson 22:35
Okay, we’ve kind of gone completely off topic. But before we get back onto I just want to say what about those people that when you’re walking behind them on the footpath, or the sidewalk? That’s, that’s the US, right? They just start to kind of drift slowly across the sidewalk. And so they’re in your way, and then they’re moving in your way, and then you can’t get around them. And it’s just really frustrating.
Jeffrey Masters 23:02
And oftentimes, I think they’re doing that because they’re also on their phone texting. And then like that adds like a layer of like obliviousness where, like, they don’t understand that they veered off on their texting, like you’ve just run into them. And they like are mad at you.
K Anderson 23:15
Yeah, I mean, just because I’ve smacked her phone out of your hand and smashed on the ground into different pieces. It’s not like it’s my fault.
Jeffrey Masters 23:22
They got what they deserve. It’s fine. Yeah, exactly.
K Anderson 23:24
Come for me. Come for me. Why don’t you? Okay, so we need to go back to West Hollywood. So where were we? So So you did this first three months in the city? And then you went away? And then you came back again? Did you come back as like a more fully realised? Okay,
Jeffrey Masters 23:42
I think it was a 5% more realised, to be honest. And then
K Anderson 23:46
and which this day are you using to measure this change
Jeffrey Masters 23:51
the one of my pants, the one inside my heart. I, I lived in LA for eight years, and I lived in West Hollywood for the last four. So that first four was a me living in other neighbourhoods, and not adjusting to gay life, but just figuring out what my life would look like and how gay or not gay it would look like. And then around year four, I moved to West Hollywood, and it felt like a no brainer, actually, at that point. And from there, I just, like met, like the most wonderful queer people, and it just felt easy.
K Anderson 24:25
And so what is it like living in that neighbourhood then?
Jeffrey Masters 24:29
Um, I wish I was so walkable in a way that I love. So I greatly love the fact of like, be able to get drunk in a bar and like stumble like I think that’s like a luxury life to be honest. Yeah, that’s magic. Yeah, and having friends and walking distance. Go to walk to someone’s house, like start your night off there the walk to a bar and the motor and another bar. I also want to I mean, when I did different experience and most people because like one of my best friends was a retired bartender, I mean, he’s 28 and not that old. But he used to be a longtime bartender in West Hollywood, and then like laughed and other things. And he knew everybody. So like, that was so useful because we could get in any bar we wanted at anytime he wanted, like more or less drink for free. I like every bar because he was so beloved. Oh, wow. Yeah. And so like on big holidays, like, for Halloween, I think they attract in West Hollywood, like they shut down the street. And for like, almost a mile and they attract like 500,000 people, like a massive to do. So for events like that. Bars know that they can like charge a massive cover and like, you’ll wait in line for two hours to go to the same old bars you go to the day before. And so like with my friend, we cut to the front line, get in and go right to the bar, like get great alcohol. So like, that was just like kind of like a special for me personally that most people didn’t experience.
K Anderson 25:54
And so do you feel like I am this shit when you get to cut in line? Or do you feel guilty and try to avoid eye contact with everyone around? And guess what my response is based on the way I frame that question. Yeah,
Jeffrey Masters 26:06
so so I don’t feel either of those things. I feel like this is a fact of life. And it’s about who you know, and who don’t know. And by chance and incidence. I know the person is getting into this bar for free. And I’m with him.
K Anderson 26:22
Yeah, I think it’s probably the British queueing thing that sir, like, deeply ingrained in me and I can’t shake
Jeffrey Masters 26:29
it. Yeah, like, as an American, everyone’s a summons. There’s always something jumping on cue. And so this is like a place to like, get drunk and party and dance. It’s not like a something actually important. So I have no problem doing that.
K Anderson 26:42
Yeah. Okay, fair. Um, and so what was it 11 Out of all the bars in West Hollywood that you wanted to talk about?
Jeffrey Masters 26:49
I think because it was my exposure to West Hollywood, and my first glimpse into queerness. And like the like, like possibilities for my future.
K Anderson 26:59
And so then what did that base show you?
Jeffrey Masters 27:04
I think it was the like, feeling of being in a gay space. And, and not just one where like, people were, were gay, but people were like, like, practising their gayness as I think you said, right, they’re dancing other the holding hands they’re making out. And it showed me that that was like, allowed as a queer person in the world.
K Anderson 27:30
And so do you remember hearing about it closing? Or was it just one of those cases where it’s there one day and gone the next.
Jeffrey Masters 27:38
I heard about it, because my friend who was like the bartender in town, talking about it. And then it was a big deal that fling saddles from New York and bought the place. This bar had changed hands quite a bit, though. I think there’s always like that one, like venue that just can’t make it. And my my assumptions are that it’s like a bad design. And so every bar comes in, and they just kind of like rebrand the bar, but don’t like redesign it. And so like, the bad bones are just there each time, as they say, like this one basic thing. It will, kind of but also like here, as an example, like you walk in, there’s a massive staircase, there’s a massive dance floor, that up the staircase, there’s another dance floor, they’ve so much room, and so it’s lovely that they can pack the place in. But when it’s 50% full, it looks like only three people are at the bar, because it’s so massive. And so the smaller bars look full. So like on a Friday night, you don’t want to go to the dead bar, you want to go to the exciting bar. And so even when it was exciting, and like almost full, it looked dead. And when a new bar takes over that space in West Hollywood, they just put a new sign up. They’re moving a staircase, they’re not like revamping the whole place. And so I think that those design flaws just kind of like stuck around for each new iteration, unfortunately.
K Anderson 29:02
And then, so for you personally, when you found out that the place was closing, were you upset? Or were you just like?
Jeffrey Masters 29:11
No, I’m a realistic person. And like, unfortunately, gay bars closed all the time and restaurants close and it’s a hard business and so I wasn’t I have I’m kind of like a realistic person. It was just like a fact. It wasn’t like a good or bad.
K Anderson 29:28
And then so looking back on it now with hindsight and a few years behind you, how do you feel about it?
Jeffrey Masters 29:37
I’m, I’m okay with it. A lot of my like, favourite bars, like didn’t make it in the pandemic too. You know, I, um, a lot of my like, favourite restaurants in the world if like close it’s just I think just how business works. Like hospitality is a hard industry.
K Anderson 29:52
Yeah. But is there any nostalgia that we could mind here?
Jeffrey Masters 29:58
My nostalgia is more for West Hollywood on the whole, and not one bar, actually, I think that that is that when it comes like the lost spaces, right, I think West Hollywood is changing and becoming. There’s a straight route that is taken over actually, on the Strip. There’s a new restaurant called Bodega Louie, which is just like almost like fine dining. And then with the Lisa Vanderpump, for the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills has a bar there called pump, and then a little bit down, there’s another bar, this corner has become straight. And I think it’s going to start bleeding into West Hollywood more too. And also, it’s right near the Abbey, which is one of the highest grossing gay bars in the world. And if you’re a local, you don’t go there because it’s more or less just a tourist trap. And it’s like a place for the girls to go celebrate their bachelor party or bachelorette party and like game and have fun. And you take your friends there, they’re in town, but you don’t go there if you’re a local. And so there was Hollywood is changing, and is becoming less dirty. It’s becoming more clean. Like the fun dive bars that are just so fun to like sit in a dark corner on like a sticky leather stool. Those don’t exist anymore. And so most installers for how like the the city is changing, the vibe is changing how it’s becoming like more gentrified and cleaner. And I missed like the weirder like nastier parts more as opposed to just one bar.
K Anderson 31:20
And is it that those weird nasty bars don’t exist in West Hollywood anymore? Or is it the whole of LA?
Jeffrey Masters 31:29
I think, I think I think you’re right now I think it’s in both. Both. Yeah. And the pandemic we lost Gold Coast, which was a dive bar as well. He was there for 25 years. And this was I mean, I like I say this fondly. It was like a bit gross. Sometimes, you know, like a sticky floor. Here’s an example too. We have FUBAR. FTB AR I it’s like not near the strip. It’s down more. And on Thursday nights they BFD night, which is a big fat Dick night, and you go in the back room. And, and that was the ledger,
K Anderson 32:05
isn’t it? Right? No, no, no.
Jeffrey Masters 32:10
I wish they would take pictures of your deck if you wanted to. And also women could take pictures of any body parts they wanted as well. And they would print these photos out and they would hang it on the wall with clothespins on like a line and you’d vote for like the biggest fattest stick and that person would drink for free that night. Like those that
K Anderson 32:29
settled by vote their vote. Yeah, like how are you deciding what the biggest decades surely that’s just a fact.
Jeffrey Masters 32:35
I think that what I think that like, that’s great.
That’s this is this. My deep
Jeffrey Masters 32:41
reporting. I love this journalism. I think when you’re looking at oh my god, this is so funny. When you’re looking at like five massive cogs in the wall printed off in black and white on like a printer. You can be shocked at how different they look.
K Anderson 32:56
Okay, I just, I’m a bit of a stickler for Rose. I like to know
Jeffrey Masters 33:02
what women would also do their their breast to. So we call BFD, but like women would do breasts, so like, it’d be all body parts. Some men would do their butts. So like you’d a lot of options beyond just dicks. It’s called inclusivity. But that kind of like, that kind of bar does still exist, I think like is what keeps these places like, that’s what I’m gonna solve it for. Those bars are dying off around the world, you know, but I was happy that that can still exist in LA for sure.
K Anderson 33:32
Yeah, yeah. And I think that’s kind of like one of the things that I really miss living in London in like, it’s really hard to run a bar, it’s really hard to run any kind of business here. And so if you don’t have a business plan, if you don’t have lots of investment, if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing to bring in 300 people every evening and spend a shit tonne of money, then you just can’t survive. I grew up in a city where there were all of these people who were like, oh, yeah, fancy, just opening a bar, and I’m just gonna get some furniture from the op shop. And I’m just gonna see what happens. And then that kind of gives that space and that creativity and just let’s magic. Let’s happenstance happen and happen happen happen. And yeah, it’s just really wonderful. Those kinds of silly karate bars where anything goes and I love those.
Jeffrey Masters 34:28
Yeah, a lot of those still in New York, which so which is why I’m like pleasantly surprised, like find them still, huh. I also think that like, I deeply love LA. But I think that when you visit Los Angeles, it’s really hard to to stumble into a really cool bar or like a really cool party. But in New York, you’d walk down the street and you can just discover a cool ass bar anywhere you go. And so that is because you’re walking on the street, you know, in LA, you’re driving. So in LA drive to something in New York, you get on the street and he’s walking And you hit something awesome,
K Anderson 35:01
huh? That’s really interesting that kind of discoverability of places that doesn’t exist in LA. Okay, so, to round us out, let’s, let’s get all cheesy. If you could go back in time, and you ran into that Jeffrey, who first showed up in LA and didn’t really know what he was doing and didn’t really know who he was, what what advice would you give him?
Jeffrey Masters 35:30
Would he listen to my advice? As a question? I think that I would just say, like, take your time, and it’s fine to take your time and like to, like, come to anything and everything, like at your own pace.
K Anderson 35:45
So then, like, what do you listen? What do you think?
Jeffrey Masters 35:48
No, I deeply trust myself, and my own judgement for things. And so like, when I decided to move to New York City, I, my friends were like, shocked, like, how did Why are you moving? Like, we didn’t know you wanted to move. You didn’t talk to us about this. I was like, Yeah, I wanted it to be my choice. And if this was like, the biggest fuckup of all time, I want it to be my fuck up. And not me being mad at K, because he told me was a good idea. And so but I’ve listened to myself. No, probably not.
K Anderson 36:22
Ah, there’s really, that’s a really interesting perspective. So are you saying that like in terms of big life decisions and changes, you don’t want to be influenced by external sources?
Jeffrey Masters 36:38
It’s not even that I don’t want to be influenced by external sources. I don’t think it’s possible for me to be influenced by them. I think that is a core part of my personality. I think it’s like my biggest, like, flaw and like, victory of like my life. There’s people that I trust for sure. But at the end of the day, I trust myself actually very completely. Yeah, like, I laugh and I see people on social media posting pictures, like, I have a moustache. Should I shave it or leave it? Let me know. And I’m like, Oh, I don’t give a fuck what anyone really thinks about my appearance. If I want a massage, you’ll have one. If not, I don’t really like need like to crowdsource for people to vote on it.
K Anderson 37:22
Yeah, but do you think that is really what they’re doing? Because I that’s not what I think they’re doing.
Jeffrey Masters 37:27
I think some I think some I think, like half and a half maybe. Okay. Um, yeah. I mean, I just, um, I don’t want to sound like I don’t respect authority. And I think I’ve nothing to learn. I think I have so much to learn. But I’ve increasingly learned in my life that to trust myself. And it’s usually when I don’t or I listen to somebody else for like these big things that I like, find myself frustrated.
K Anderson 37:53
Yeah, but there’s a difference between like, considering someone’s advice and then blindly following someone’s advice, right? Yeah.
Jeffrey Masters 38:02
I just think I’m a smart person. I’m always right. I think that I trust myself, because I know that if there is a massive issue or fuck up, I will be able to fix it. And I’ll be fine.
K Anderson 38:19
Do you have any memories of West Hollywood or clothing from your own cuisine that you want to share? Well, if you do, please get in touch. I want to create the biggest online record of people’s memories and stories. Go to La spaces podcast.com and find the section share a lost space and tell me all about what it is you got up to. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. As last spaces pod. Follow Jaffrey on Twitter on either his personal account, which is Jeff masters one or his podcast account, LGBTQ pod. And make sure that you listen to the LGBT Q and A podcast, wherever you stream podcasts, maybe the platform you’re using to listen to this right now. La spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I have been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there and we’ll be releasing songs over the coming year. You can hear the first single which is called well groomed boys and is playing underneath my talking right now on all good streaming platforms. If you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribed, left a review on your podcast platform or just told people who you think might be interested in giving it a little listen to I am K Anderson and you have been listening to lost spaces