A few episodes ago I spoke to the wonderful singer/songwriter Chris Pureka (and, if you haven’t heard that chat yet go back and give it a wee listen – I’ll still be here when you get back!).
After we spoke Chris suggested that I get in touch with their friend, the artist Samantha Nye.
Samantha’s work is all about a fantasy history and a fantasy future of queer/lesbian pleasure utopias made from references of 1960s pop culture, and so she has lots to say about the importance of spaces in forming and expressing your identity.
And, she’s taking us back to the late 90s, when Samantha was a little baby-dyke and had just been invited to her first lesbian bar by someone she spoke to in an AOL chatroom (could anything be more late-90s than that?).
We talk about representation, the difference between the gay scene and the lesbian scene, and a special surprise that Samantha got from her dad in a mystery lesbian bar that we need your help finding!
Samantha Nye 00:00
I remember laying out different cargo shorts that I had cut in different lengths and being like, which is the coolest to wear to the lesbian bar?
K Anderson 00:09
Hello, my name is K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, the podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Every episode I talked to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories that they created there, and the people that they used to know. So, a few episodes ago, I was lucky enough to speak to the wonderful singer songwriter, Chris periodica. And if you haven’t yet had a chance to listen to that chat, scroll down or up in your podcast platform, whatever one is most relevant, and give it a listen. And then come back. I promise I will still be here. Anyway, after I spoke to Chris, they suggested that I get in touch with their friend, the artist Samantha Knight, who has a thing or two to say about lost queer spaces. Samantha’s work is all about a fantasy history and a fantasy future of queer and lesbian pleasure utopias. That’s right, I said pleasure Utopia made from references of 1960s pop culture. So think about that kind of kitschy decadence and pastel colours and older people celebrating their sexuality and their freedom. And Samantha is taking us back to the late 90s When she was a little baby dyke, who had just been invited to her first lesbian bar by someone who she spoke to in an AOL chat room. I mean, could anything be more late 90s than that I challenge you, I challenge you to find something. We took all about representation in the media, the difference between the gay scene and the lesbian scene in Florida. And a special surprise that Samantha got from her dad in a mystery lesbian bar that we need your help finding. So listen on To find out more.
Samantha Nye 02:40
When I was coming out, you know, there were so many gay spaces and absolutely zero online Action.
K Anderson 02:47
Action. What do you mean by action?
Samantha Nye 02:49
Well, it’s just like we didn’t I didn’t form communities online. Yeah. But I was thinking a lot about this for this podcast. Like, how did I find my first lesbian bar because I had been spending time in gay bars. And so when I came out, I understood the Miami and the Florida and like gay vibe, dance music, like goth nights, the Fetish nights as they were called then. And then I remembered I was invited to my first lesbian bar because somebody on AOL chat, I had put that I liked Sleater Kinney. This person named January slid into the DMS that
K Anderson 03:27
she must be a lesbian or she likes Sleater Kinney! She said,
Samantha Nye 03:31
and she said, Hey, I saw that you like Sleater Kinney? Do you like these other bands? And I said, Yes. And she said, Okay, so you should come to partners on Thursday night, or I don’t remember the night. And I was like, partners, my heart’s like, like, what does this mean? It’s a lesbian bar. I was like, what? I haven’t done this yet. We’ve been to gay bars before.
K Anderson 03:51
Okay, so help me with the timeline here. You said that you’d been to gay bars. When you had started going to bars? Were you like, yeah, so I’m gay? Or was that part of the exploration?
Samantha Nye 04:03
No, I think I was kind of very secretly gay to myself, but didn’t realise it until I started going to gay bars. So when I was like, in 97, I went to massage school. And everyone that worked there was like, I’d say like, 60% of the people that work there were like older lesbians older to me at the time, because
K Anderson 04:22
I was 17. And looking back here, were actually 27. Yeah, right.
Samantha Nye 04:25
They were probably late 20s, early 30s. To me, they were old and wise. That was my first time being around lesbians and understanding that you could like have a future and a partner and live and
K Anderson 04:36
and so when you heard the name partners, did you know immediately like, oh, that’s the lesbian bar, or were you just like, I have no clue what you’re talking about.
Samantha Nye 04:45
No, I didn’t know anything about it. This anonymous person named January just said it’s the lesbian bar. It’s located in this place. So it was in this town. I don’t know how familiar you are with South Florida.
K Anderson 04:58
I mean, I’ve driven for through it. Okay, okay.
Samantha Nye 05:01
So then you won’t know this at all. But like between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, these are the two like bigger cities with like really thriving nightlife and very thriving queer cultures then and now. But in between these two cities was like a smaller city called Hollywood, Florida, and another little section called Dania, and they’re really like almost small town beach towns, okay, they have a completely different vibe, and you would not believe that they’re connected to big cities. So this partners was in Dania Beach near the beach, and I knew nothing about it. Yeah, not at all.
K Anderson 05:32
Um, so January, so So January is like, hey, come to partners. Come meet me. Come talk to me. What were your initial thoughts? Panic? Sounds reasonable.
Samantha Nye 05:44
Excitement. Yes, I was, um, I was not living in South Florida. But I was visiting South Florida. And I remember this very clearly getting ready in my mom’s bathroom with she had a radio and she had the Sarah McLaughlin album. So I was like, Okay, I’m gonna get I’m gonna get ready. It was like listening to the sermon.
K Anderson 06:04
Nothing hypes you up, like.
Samantha Nye 06:08
I so remember, and this is so embarrassing now. Well, at the time, I was having like a very Butch phase. I didn’t know it was a phase that went on for a while. But like, I remember laying out different cargo shorts that I had cut in different lanes and being like, which is the coolest to wear to the lesbian book, you know, now, I just wouldn’t even can be caught dead in that. But I really spent some time questioning whether like, you know, one inch below my knee or one inch above the knee? Like what was going to be the vibe for that night?
K Anderson 06:39
And how did you decide? I probably
Samantha Nye 06:41
had my friend come over and tell me because I called my my best friend from high school. Neither one of us were out to each other at the time. But we came out to each other, you know, years later. And so, at this point, I think I was pretty out. It was very out. Yeah. And she was, I think still kind of coming out. And again, I probably should have checked in with her. I think she was still coming out at that time. So she was like, Yes, I’ll go with you. She was always very fashionable. So like, probably she didn’t want me to wear any of those things, but probably chose the best option. At least defence. Yeah. And they were like, different variations of like an army green colour. I’m not proud. It’s just the
K Anderson 07:17
truth. No, be proud, embrace it.
Samantha Nye 07:20
I would love to look back and be like, look at this amazing 90s fashion that I was like, proudly putting on to go to the lesbian bar, but instead, yeah, but I can I can tell you that. In thinking about this, like, I have really visceral memories of the moment of like, arriving there like, walking in because it was in a strip mall. You know, and everything else in that strip mall had been closed. By that time in the evening. You know, it was just lesbians all over the parking lot. And then I
K Anderson 07:50
said before we go in, so there were lesbians all over the parking lot. Yes. Let’s just Let’s just unpick this statement of it. Really, it just standing around drinking or were they doing?
Samantha Nye 08:01
I mean, they were kind of like greeting you know, this was very comfortable for them. They weren’t like me like this wasn’t their first time getting there. I mean, it seems like these were people who are like meeting up with their friends and waiting for friends or just doing all the things you
K Anderson 08:14
said my god mind has gone to the wrong place. Okay. Oh, no, no, no, no, see,
Samantha Nye 08:17
that’s not that’s not the case. That’s the part that we’ll get to in the lesbian bar scene. Nothing exciting just just occupying the space making it clear that I had just entered, you know, pulled off the highway into the little like lesbian section.
K Anderson 08:33
So lots of plaid basically, is what you’re
Samantha Nye 08:36
saying? Well, okay, so South Florida, lesbians honestly still look this way, which is really shocking. So they either have really cropped short hair, lots of gel, or they’re like the South Florida like softball dyke look. And again, I still feel like this happens a lot, but for sure, then it was big. So it would be a ponytail slicked back with like a bandana or some kind of headband over the slicked back hair. Then like throughout the years, you could mark like, what had changed once the L word came around, then everyone had like the shade haircut, you know, like, things changed, but at that point in it this bar in 98, or whatever that was, the aesthetic was kind of almost like yeah, very softball dyke. Even in the bush, there was a lot of Butch femme but the Butch femme wasn’t really like high femme or deeply masculine. It was sort of like, you know, am I wearing like an oversized cotton polo shirt? Or am I wearing like a tight cropped 90s Cotton polo shirt like those were the gender gender spectrum, but then but actually January had agreed Mohawk so January kind of really stood out.
K Anderson 09:43
Oh, okay. Okay, so okay, we’re jumping all over the place. I cut you off when you were saying that you were walking into the bar. So tell me about that moment and what you were feeling.
Samantha Nye 09:53
Okay, so I’m super excited and trying to play it off my nervousness trying to be cool. And it’s a really small bar. or, and there were three women on the stage singing. And again, I had not been to a bar that was like this. I’m used to people dancing and loud music and DJs. And they were singing what I learned later were covers of do girls is yes, all these things I didn’t know the Indigo Girls at that time. So I may have referenced that, but like, for sure there was this lesbian folk musician called Melissa Ferrick. I thought was, I see, I didn’t know her music at all. And I thought all these women on stage had written those songs for years. For years, I thought they were their songs. There was this folk musician. Her name is Chuck, she was singing. And these two other women were singing. And everyone was just like, you know, slaying an arm. And it was like very shocking and strange to me, and also like, appealing in ways that I’m not even sure I’d never. I never was a huge folk. Like I never gravitated towards that so much. But there was something so loving and exciting. And just like, I mean, just so many lies, but I’d never been in a room full of that many lesbians that I was like, if this is what we do, this is what I’ll do.
K Anderson 11:09
Well, let’s Yeah. Can I ask follow up questions about that? So yeah, I talk to a lot of I just I talked a lot to queers who feel like they, when they go out on the scene, they need to conform. And so usually it’s gay men who were like, Oh, I guess I better like Kylie Minogue. Now I guess I better like Madonna. Did you feel that way? But with
Samantha Nye 11:27
I wanted to date women and the women that I thought were really hot were butch women. And so then I thought I had to sort of be a butch. Like, I thought I had to be a butch woman at the time. And I really, but I’m so I’m super. I mean, it’s funny because I’m even wearing a shirt that says femme now. But I think my initial relationship to queerness was I wanted to mirror what I was attracted to, which I think happens a lot for people. But I think I was kind of a late bloomer. I didn’t date in high school. And I was very secretive to myself even around my queerness. So I sort of went like full like, shaved head. And then like, when my hair grew in, it was like frosted tips like a boyband. I mean, it was very, very specific to the 90s. Like, very specific to the 90s. So that was me, like really kind of getting into what I saw and what I wanted to like, mirror. I just wanted to like be in the in the scene and
K Anderson 12:21
but so Okay, so just like, let’s debunk some myths that I have in my head. Okay. A butcher is only attracted to butchers. I thought butchers went with firms,
Samantha Nye 12:32
that is traditionally like, what’s the sort of larger story? Isn’t that? And that’s, of course, nothing. Framework. Yeah. Which Yeah, yeah. And that’s actually like, has always been like the more common narrative. I was just entering it just with no understanding of anything, and just kind of thought that that’s what I would do it did. And looking back with time, and hindsight, not so much looking back at like, what I was thinking in the moment, like I was playing with gender and trying to figure out what it meant to be queer. But now I’m looking back going I think I was just emulating what I was attracted to. I someone now who’s Femme and dates people on the masculine spectrum. But there is no there is no like, common story. I mean, I just think in the 90s it was very Butch femme. And that was the relationship and there in the 2000s was very much like, if you’re fed mutate glitches, but then you know that Oh, word came along, and I was like, I’ve never seen anything like this like feminine femme. I never really, I never really anticipated that or considered that. And, yeah, so I guess I’m thinking about the word again, because I was listening to your conversation with Chris. But um, but yeah, like I none of that existed in the lesbian scene that I was in.
K Anderson 13:40
Isn’t that interesting? So do you think that once the L word came out, people had different points of reference for who they could be?
Samantha Nye 13:50
My extended community just saw the word is like a fantasy that doesn’t exist. So I don’t think anybody ever okay. I don’t know anyone that learned anything about themselves through the L word. But I’m sure that that happened for people. Yeah. And maybe if I was younger, and had friends that were younger, at that time, that the L word would have like, led them. It’s like a guiding light for some, but like, for me, it wasn’t a guide. It was like, oh, and I always loved it. I thought it was super fun to watch. I still feel that way. But I’ve never felt like, yeah, that makes sense.
K Anderson 14:18
Yeah, I feel really disconnected from all the conversations that are happening at the moment about the importance of representation and how it helps you to kind of figure out who you are in the world because you have a role model because I never had gay male role models when I was growing up. And so I just found other role models that weren’t gay males. And, you know, I was really into the female singer songwriter scene, because so many of them were queer women who were just like, Ah, this is who I am. I’m also really good at playing the guitar. And I was like, wow, so I don’t know I don’t know what point I’m trying to make. Just that, like you always find role models, even if there’s not a like for like, but maybe that’s a really naive thing. I don’t know.
Samantha Nye 15:10
Well, I think I think that a lot of us feel that way. I mean, I didn’t have that either. Even when I got to the queer community, I didn’t really necessarily understand exactly what I could or would look like, in 10 years. I mean, look, not just a visual sense, but, um, yeah, I totally, I totally understand what you mean. Like, I think about how, you know, they’re just trying to think about how to say this. There’s like these, like young kids on Instagram who are like, modelling their behaviours after RuPaul drag race. And I’m like, so shocked by that, because it’s like, Oh, wow. Like, they have all the catchphrases and how like, easily digestible, like that show has presented drag culture to be like these sound bites. And I was thinking like, these kids would have had, you know, for better or worse, Disney, you know, their role models would have been the kind of princesses or whatever, fill in the blank. But it is really interesting when it’s like the actual queer community, being kind of like fed in bite size. Yeah, child digestible, it’s very, it’s like, shocking. I don’t understand what it would be like to have that queer have an influence as a as a young person.
K Anderson 16:20
There’s also just from what you’ve said, it’s made me think about okay, so it’s hard to have this conversation without just completely generalising. So I’m just gonna lean into it and completely generalised. But you know, like, so many queer people are creative, and are makers and doers and thinkers. And that’s because, in my mind anyway, so like, just refute this, sorry, I’m so apologetic, I should just make my point and then stand behind it. It’s because they’re making sense of the world, that doesn’t make any sense as because they’re trying to figure out how to circumvent or to integrate into this culture that has no place for them. And does that mean that all the kids now that are getting these positive representation? It’s such an awful thing to say? I couldn’t they just be like, really dull and boring, because they don’t have to have that, like, process of thinking and going through things?
Samantha Nye 17:16
i Yes, I know exactly what you’re saying. And also having that like, hidden. You know, I don’t know why I love Ursula so much. I’m seven years old, I’m obsessed with Ursula, I don’t understand what it is. There’s like something about her, what does it mean, and then I find out later, it’s, you know, my identification with her is her queerness. And, and I think all those like hidden things that we have to fill in as young queer kids that didn’t have the same environment that they have now. So exciting. And I’m also as a professor thinking a lot about my students. And thinking, gosh, if I wasn’t pushing against things that I hated and culture that were so heteronormative, if I felt accepted everywhere, I don’t know, what I would have pushed against. And then nowhere I would be, I feel like so much of my, my journey, I hate that word. But as you know, my journey in becoming queer person, and an artist was like, finding the places that didn’t feel right. And kind of like, really like, pushing at those. So. So I don’t know, I also feel like, you know, I was like, 17, you know, with a fake ID and waiting in line, the drag bars and sneaking in and learning about drag culture and learning about queer culture, like, in a space where people of all ages were. And so it’s very, I don’t know what it would be like to be raised on RuPaul drag race, it seems so foreign to my imagination,
K Anderson 18:35
it means as well, that we don’t like cultures aren’t evolving naturally. Because everything is cross pollinated, right? And so you’re gonna be more influenced, or you’re gonna give more credence to the thing that’s on television than the thing that’s happening at your bar. That’s
Samantha Nye 18:54
right. But it wasn’t like the less polished drag queen that’s happening at the bar. That’s, yeah, like maybe more so much more amazing than what you just saw on television. But
K Anderson 19:03
it has a really interesting point of view and a really interesting kind of perspective on the world, but
Samantha Nye 19:08
maybe has no followers on it. Yeah. Yeah. So you devalue it. Yeah.
K Anderson 19:11
Yeah. Which wouldn’t have happened in the 90s. And I by no means am, like, bring back the 90s. Shit show, but I do love the 90s. But yeah, like, you just don’t have that. I mean, yeah. And like, so what’s gonna happen in 20?
Samantha Nye 19:26
Yeah. Oh, yeah. No, I don’t know. I remember you noticing like, sort of like bitter, like older queers, having like a little bit of like a bit like in my day, and I think I would truly be that I would be occupying a little bit more of that space. If it wasn’t for what now, like, the current culture. I don’t know how to even talk about what’s happening right now, especially being from Florida, but there is something to be said about the safety that this conversation that we have now provides for queer youth and, and trans youth. And so my mom and I was visiting me, which is why I’m pointing that way. And she, we were just having a text conversation and for whatever she was referring to something and she said, like, oh, I don’t know their preferred pronoun, and I’ve never taught my mom that language. Whereas in the 90s, I would have had to been teaching her that language. And I was thinking like, wow, that’s actually kind of great. That’s amazing. So I sometimes prefer the 90s. And then I also know that we are safer. And also not I don’t know, I don’t actually.
K Anderson 20:24
Yeah, we might need to check in again in 10 years time and see what Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I didn’t know. I do feel as though I am leaning into that grumpy old man face. And being like, Oh, hang on a minute.
Samantha Nye 20:38
Yes. Now that we’re obviously best friends after this. We should then just continue these conversations are Grumpy. Grumpy queer. So
K Anderson 20:47
it is. I am thinking a lot about the phrase, if you are lucky, you’ll get the opportunity to grow old. I said that wrong. I said that wrong. But it’s something along those lines. And how, how wonderful it is to have a perspective. That’s not like I am the centre of the universe and everything revolves around me.
Samantha Nye 21:08
Right? That’s major. I think that’s a major,
K Anderson 21:11
but at the same time, yeah, I could give two shits about same sex cartoons kissing one another because I don’t think that kind of solves anything. Really.
Samantha Nye 21:18
I honestly don’t think I was interested in anyone kissing anyone as a child. It was like the, the undertones were more interesting. You know, again, like Did she kiss anyone? I guess when she turned into Oh, good shape, Carrie. Oh, she did but I was interested in her as as the see which she kissed no one.
K Anderson 21:36
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And that, like I was interested in those kind of bold, spunky tomboy female characters that were just like, I just, I’m just on my own. And I’m going off in an adventure. Yeah. I didn’t care about romance. But maybe I didn’t care about romance because I was like, Oh, that romance is not for me.
Samantha Nye 21:54
Right. I mean, that’s true spiral into So yeah, we’re gonna. But one thing I did want to say was that like, the other thing I noticed about that club versus like, the bars I had been going to previous to the lesbian bar was that that was so diverse in I know, in many of the ways we could use the word diverse, but what I’m mostly thinking of in this moment was age, everyone was at that bar. And that felt really normal. Whereas there were certain bars I would go to in Fort Lauderdale or Miami, that would have older gay men at it, but for the most part, it was a 20 year olds world.
K Anderson 22:29
Yeah. So going in, you see these three women playing the guitar? This is where we were right. Yes. They were they were crooning. Oh, no, we didn’t finish this question before. So did you then go and buy a bunch of CDs of female singer songwriters. So you could
Samantha Nye 22:49
I did not know, I didn’t. I mean, I had already loved ani DeFranco. Well, if that was like, That was true for me at that time. And I felt like that was sort of like where it happened. But I did become like a little bit obsessed with Katy Ling and Melissa Etheridge in ways where it was about the music but also just about like, they’re like out Agnes, they’re queer out. But I did not. I never became super into like the underground lesbian folk scene, I just participated in it. And I loved participating in it, but it wasn’t like I listened to it a lot.
K Anderson 23:23
So participating in it means being an attendee at gigs. Yeah,
Samantha Nye 23:27
I’m showing up. I’m like me, I mean, I’ve got my friends there. I’m starting to meet people to date. And my friends are, you know, dating people. So that became part of my scene.
K Anderson 23:38
So it was an elaborate ruse to sleep with people. I think so looking back, yeah. All right. Um, grande grande with that, and that sounds,
Samantha Nye 23:43
but also to find community. I mean, it was, for me, it was like community based, this is what my community does, this is what I do. But then I’m also going simultaneously, you know, looking back you have such a different clear vision on it. And I think like I was truly more drawn to going to, you know, drag nights and dance clubs and like the new wave Dance Dance nights in Miami and but and in Gainesville, like, that was always where I had the most fun and felt the most excited about, but I’d show up at the other events for sure.
K Anderson 24:17
What purpose did it feel that the gay bars didn’t?
Samantha Nye 24:20
K Anderson 24:22
lesbians, whether it be into the gay bars, or was it just Yeah,
Samantha Nye 24:25
I went, I mean, I went with friends. You know, once I started collecting my friend group of queer women, we went to all of those, you know, and this high school best friend that had come out at the same time, she was also really into like dancing and kind of the darker dance scene than the lesbian kind of soft, vulgar folkier scene, and we both did all of the things but I think we were more excited about dancing to Depeche Mode.
K Anderson 24:53
And so Okay, so now so going in, you see these three women playing the guitar, you’re like, wow, they wrote these songs. Yeah. And you’re scanning the room does January make herself known to you
Samantha Nye 25:05
that yes, I wish I could remember how I actually met January, to be honest, this, this story ends and that we never really became friends. We just kind of knew each other in the scene, but she was a huge gateway for me. But January somehow made herself known, she was the coolest looking one in the room. I mean, she had like a big green Mohawk. And she also she also was not a very clearly not into lesbian folk music. Much more into riot girl, which is how we met on the AOL chat room, because I had mentioned the riot girl bands I was listening to. But I think that that encounter is also another note in what we were just talking about, which is, I’m for sure not keeping in touch with January for sure that she didn’t go out and grab all the lesbian folk music, but she did show up to all the events, it was what we had.
K Anderson 25:52
Do you think that happens anymore?
Samantha Nye 25:55
This is the big question. I don’t know. Because, on one hand, I think everyone likes everything and identifies with everything musically, scene wise. Or, or I believe so from the younger people that I’m around in my teaching, but do you I don’t really know.
K Anderson 26:13
I’m not necessarily trying to solve, like, what’s happening to the queer scene with this podcast or anything, but it is something that kind of, you know, happens to come up every now and then, you know, just miraculously in these conversations, and it is this weird situation where people feel more able to go to non queer bars. Yes, yeah. But there’s also you don’t have to accept that. Oh, they don’t play the music. I like, it’s not really my kind of place. But I’m gonna go anyway, because there’s nothing else for me to do.
Samantha Nye 26:44
I think that’s completely right. Yeah. Yeah, you can just go to the place you want to be and assume that people will be there.
K Anderson 26:52
Which is, like, sad. I mean, once again, like this is the thing about like, grumpy old man syndrome is that like, I look back and go into clubs that I didn’t like, the music, and I didn’t like the people. I didn’t like I didn’t like much of anything about but
Samantha Nye 27:07
you went every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Yeah.
K Anderson 27:11
I was like, Yes, this is going to be the night I meet someone who I yell with who like, miss me. And I just had that faith. And now I just went in,
Samantha Nye 27:20
I just, ya know, I feel exactly the same way. And I miss so much having like, this spot where you know, everyone’s going to be, you don’t really have to make a plan or call anyone to see if they’re going to just show up. That was so amazing to grow up that way, and welcome and be welcomed into the queer community that way. Now, you just go where you want to go and you’re just queer people are there. And you’re just you’re like, comfortable?
K Anderson 27:44
Samantha Nye 27:46
I know. It’s sad. I would do anything for I would, I would listen to good and bad lesbian folk music just to be in a lesbian bar. Again, I think it’d be really fun. And now that I’m older, I’m like, not is so much looking for like the full night of like, dancing and sweating on the dance floor like I would want like a lounge. But again, the lounges that I’m picturing are all the gay lounges that I went to not the lesbian.
K Anderson 28:10
In a strip mall, somewhere. And yes, strip mall in South Florida. And what else happened on that first night, man?
Samantha Nye 28:18
Okay, so one thing was, my high school best friend ran into someone she knew from high school that I did not know. And we had that moment of like, you’re gay, I’m gay. This whole thing we were gay this whole time. Nobody knew. I remember leaving with like six phone numbers. That wasn’t to date. It was it was like a friend group immediately. One of them was this other person that she recognised from high school who became a good friend for a little while. It was kind of like being launched into something. Like from that night on, I knew these people who knew all the other lesbian bars, and I had already had my queer coming out scene. Five hours north in Gainesville, Florida, the college town where all the secret things can happen because you’re away from like, but now I was that was me developing like a lesbian community in South Florida.
K Anderson 29:08
And can we talk about your best friend from high school quickly?
Samantha Nye 29:11
We sure can. Her name Simone.
K Anderson 29:13
Simone. high severity. So you said that you kind of hadn’t come out to each other? Yeah, same time and stuff. Yeah. Was it a case of you finding each other within the school because you were both the misfits or how to
Samantha Nye 29:26
truly, truly a lot of our friends then came out so I think we just kind of found each other on some level and, you know, the queer energy in me sees you. But the way it happened was kind of amazing because she was still living in South Florida. I was living in Gainesville. She came to visit me and this is so convoluted, but I was actually living on like, this lesbian land. With these older lesbian, I mean this is perfectly. I moved in with With my massage school teachers and they lived on this like very, like eco feminist kind of lesbian land. And I was living there and she came to visit me and I said, I have to tell you something, and she’s like, you’re gonna tell me you’re gay, right? Yeah. And she’s like, okay, don’t worry, I’ve known and I said, Okay, well, listen, I want to take you to the UC, this gay bar. We come with me. And she’s like, Yeah, of course, I probably even kiss a woman. Like she said something off. We go, she immediately does that thing where she, like, sees someone across the room. And she’s like, Fuck, I have a crush on that person. And then the next day, I remember she said, can we go back to that bar, and we need to go shopping. I need a new outfit. She was super fashionable. And I was like, in my heart, I was like, I can’t believe this is happening. Is Simone coming out? Like, is this? Did this just happen? And from that moment, she was queer. And we would that was it. And so we, you know, I think we just, you know, I kind of wish that she could be here to she has a better memory than me. I’m sure she remembers a lot of things. And that’s next week, sir. In my memory. She really it really was that it was like, she went with me to the bar saw the girl. And that was it.
K Anderson 31:03
Did you ever talk about it then? Or?
Samantha Nye 31:06
Oh, yeah. I mean, I think we talked about it. But I think probably my heart was just like, don’t say anything too much right now. Or else that could change. Like, this is too good. This is so amazing. You know, was never any kind of story where the two of us had like secret longing for each other. It was never that we were just best friends. And yeah, I mean, she started going with me to queer bars and came out as a lesbian. And I guess we talked about I mean, we talked about being lesbian all the time. I mean, when you’re 20 it’s just like, we moved in together. It was like, everything we did was like, we’re having a lesbian movie night or eating lesbian popcorn. You know, everything we did was like queer, queer, queer.
K Anderson 31:38
So what is lesbian popcorn? Is that caramel?
Samantha Nye 31:41
It’s just lesbians putting nutritional yeast on popcorn.
K Anderson 31:44
Samantha Nye 31:47
No, but I guess what I’m saying is everything we did had to be like, called queer something because we were young and excited. And so, you know, even if we were just watching TV, or like, we’re having a lesbian TV night,
K Anderson 32:00
and finding out this other person in the bar, who went to your school, even though you didn’t know them? Yeah. Did that change your perspective of school?
Samantha Nye 32:09
Sort of, I was really very disconnected to being in high school when I was in high school was like, the least of my concerns was what was going on there. But it did sort of be like, oh, like, maybe there could have been more fun.
K Anderson 32:24
Yeah, I was so like, I’m the only gay. And then like, you know, years later finding out like, oh, he was gay. He was
Samantha Nye 32:35
like, fuck, yes, yes. Yeah, totally, totally.
K Anderson 32:39
And so like, so I have particular views about Florida, based based solely on, you know, headlines about people eating other people’s faces on the side of the highway and stuff that I get in the newspapers here. And, you know, my impression is that it’s not the most tolerant place, although there are pockets of tolerant places within Florida. And Disneyland isn’t one of those places. And, yeah, so like, what is it like growing up as a queer kid,
Samantha Nye 33:16
I mean, I have a really queer childhood without anyone intending for that to happen. As an infant, I became a child model. And that continued throughout my life until I was like, 13 going through that, like really weird, kind of, like, visual adolescent phase.
K Anderson 33:32
And so do you still have any of the moves? Oh, a friend of mine was just
Samantha Nye 33:35
taking a picture of me yesterday and was like, You are still a child’s model, because I was like, oh, camera. But I, I was like, often in South Beach, going to castings, and being around a lot of queer men. So and I was upset, absolutely obsessed with George Michael, like absolutely obsessed with George Michael, because of the men that I had met in the casting world or like, the, you know, the hair and makeup. I mean, it sounds so cliche, but it’s just true. So I was around a lot of like, that kind of queerness growing up. My parents are super liberal Jews, who, you know, wanted everything to be okay. And let me know that, you know, in all the ways that like, woke, white Jewish parents were trying to signal that, like, woke wasn’t a word then but they were like, now I think some of the things they did would be considered kind of offensive, but at the time, they’re really, really trying to be like, we’re gonna teach you about Kwanzaa, and we’re going to celebrate Kwanzaa, which is like, so cringy but also like, I completely understand what they were trying to do. And queerness entered my life sometimes in those ways. But we never talked about sexuality. Like we just didn’t go there as a me and my father. Actually my mother too, except my mother and my grandmother were always like, super hyper sexual and like, sexy and like very concerned with like, you know, the male gaze I’m very interested in the male gaze very interested in pleasing that. But there’s a story that I thought of a lot like when I first thought about this podcast, I was thinking like this idea of lost, like the idea of the lost space. And there is this one bar that has just been lost to Me in time. And it’s such like a important story for me to understand how queerness was being kind of absorbed by my family. To tell you the story, I’d have to like back up for just a second to tell you that like my father was a really sweet guy but was like an alcoholic and spent a lot of his time in bars and dive bars, especially where his thing in Hollywood beach, and he also had Tourette syndrome, which meant he said, I don’t know, I’m sure I can curse on this podcast, but he said, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck all the time. It was like a punctuation for him. It was a little misunderstood. And you can imagine there’s a certain type of bar that would accept a guy saying cookbook all the time in a certain kind of bar that wouldn’t. So anyway,
Samantha Nye 35:58
it was a very big deal for him to take me out to dinner, because he never had a lot of money. And I remember him for two, three weeks saying, I want to take you and your girlfriend out to dinner. Can we set the date? Let’s make sure. And can you bring your fake ID? And I was like, Sure, we will go and I will bring my fake ID like this seemed kind of normal. So we go out for dinner. And he’s, he’s excited. He’s anxious. He’s like, you know, when he was anxious or excited saying fuck even more, just like, you know. So then he’s like, Okay, can I please take you for a drink? I said, sure. Yeah, we’ll follow you. So I’m following him. And this was again, like, probably 99 2000. And so we didn’t have GPS is I like can’t pull up a memory of where this was. But um, he took me to this dive bar, and he walked in. And, you know, it was very common for me to go to bar with him and everyone to know Him. So I’m immediately struck by the fact that everyone’s like, Jeff, Jeff, oh, hey, buddy, you’re here. Like, oh, this is your daughter. We’ve heard so much about her. Let’s give her you know, your favourite like he just like Amber box are being put on the bar. Everyone knew him. And it didn’t hit me until I sort of took a second to calm myself down to look around and go like, this is a lesbian bar. Like, everybody here is a lesbian, like I didn’t really, I remember at first getting the amber box because she said, this is your dad’s favourite. This must be yours, like, very celebratory that I was there. And I couldn’t understand that vibe. So then when I slow down was like, oh, yeah, this woman she’s wearing a leather jacket. She has one single braid all the way down to her ass. It’s like, the leather jacket has some some kind of like, emblem on it. That was like some kind of stuff. And it slowly dawned on me like I’m in a lesbian bar. And everyone here knows my father and I have never been to this bar. And I don’t know a thing about it. And I was like, Dad, he’s so fucking proud at this moment. He was just like, This is my daughter. I was like, Dad, what is going on? And he was like, Well, when you came out to me two years ago, you gave me a stack of books to read. And I’m not going to read these books. I’m going straight to the source. So I he’s like, I joined the Dart team here. And I’ve been playing darts with all of these friends for, you know, a year and a half. And they’ve been kind of teaching me what your life would be like and telling me all about your life. And I was, oh my God, it was so moving. And you know, I was 19 or 20. At the time, I’m getting teary eyed. And I didn’t know how to like, accept that completely. Like now I wish I went and played darts with him all the time. Yeah, I was kind of like, this isn’t really my scene. I’m not going to come back here. But it was so sweet that he did that. But he did that. And he continued to be on their dark team for a long time.
K Anderson 38:40
Wow. So like the only man Yeah,
Samantha Nye 38:43
yeah. And here’s the thing. I don’t know what this bar is. My father passed away a few years ago. And it never dawned on me when he was still alive to be like, What was the name of that bar. And I know it doesn’t exist and I know it hasn’t existed for a long time. I weirdly have the name Zachary’s in my head. I’ve Googled it for years. I don’t know if it exists. i It’s almost like I dreamt this thing. I just know it was real, because he continued to be on the dark team. But it was such a sweet way of trying to be a part of my life, but also playing a very long game. Like, I’m gonna be here, I’m gonna go here for a year and a half, two years and then I’m going to tell you
K Anderson 39:24
did, did you ever share like what he learned from going there?
Samantha Nye 39:29
I think his big thing his big takeaway, I guess was that there was going to be like a full life. I could have many different ways of living and I would be okay because he saw these people who were these everyone there was closer to his age, and you saw them all living I mean, they’re spending all their time in a dive bar. So I the the level of writing, I don’t know, but like, he was like friends, he became friends with them and he knew their stories and he was sharing his story. So I think that was his takeaway.
K Anderson 39:58
So exciting. You Yeah, maybe that’s the wrong word. It’s just, you can’t really interesting as an approach to getting to know your daughter.
Samantha Nye 40:07
Absolutely, absolutely. And I just, uh, you know, there are so many ways, I think I could have cherished it more at the time, if I was a little more open to not being like, just in the scene that was exciting to me. And being where I could also learn a lot from these queer elders.
K Anderson 40:22
Yeah. And also, you said that you gave him materials to read?
Samantha Nye 40:28
Yes. Yes, I remember going to a gay bookstore and getting like stacks of books and being like, these are the books for my dad. And these are the books from my mom, because I just never wanted to like, talk about it with them had been
K Anderson 40:40
wasted. There were different stacks. Yeah,
Samantha Nye 40:43
I mean, there were probably some crossover. But I’m sure there were some that were particularly for my dad and some that were for my mom. But it was kind of like so you got a gay kid? Like what’s next? Like those kinds of books like, casual liberal parent books that the 90s
K Anderson 41:00
Oh, wow. That’s a very prepared way of coming out.
Samantha Nye 41:05
I think I have like a good year to consider how I would tell them. By the way, though, at that point, I had already had a shaved head for years and was already like, had the the aesthetic that I was describing to you. So nobody was surprised by this at all. It just it was like overkill that I’ve got these books.
K Anderson 41:24
What were you just like, I’m just going to drown them in reading and then they’ll have no follow up questions until I’ve read them. Yeah, kinda. Oh, that’s brilliant. I’m gonna, whenever I’ve got a difficult conversation, I’m just gonna bring a stack of books.
Samantha Nye 41:43
I don’t know how that idea came around. I mean, maybe someone suggested I just don’t remember how that
K Anderson 41:48
I didn’t want it to be an expensive as well because gay bookshops were so expensive. That’s a good sorry to go to all the practical things in this environment. Ah, so Okay, so we’re on a quest then to find this bar, which is a lesbian bar. And it’s in Hollywood beach.
Samantha Nye 42:07
It’s either in Hollywood or in Dania Beach. It’s in one of those small towns between Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
K Anderson 42:13
And they had a dot leak. Yes. And do we know any more details?
Samantha Nye 42:18
No, nothing. It was definitely a dive bar was definitely in like an alleyway. And for some reason, my mind is always been fixated on the fact that it may have been called Zachary’s, but I can’t conjure up anymore. Maybe this becomes the podcast now becomes like, it changes its direction and becomes like a will find you, you’re lost.
K Anderson 42:40
Have you lost a bar recently?
Samantha Nye 42:42
Here’s the bartender in the leather jacket. So I got really excited about this idea of last spaces, because for me, it’s been like, but like Premiere last space of my of my life a certain way.
K Anderson 42:56
I’m what difference would it make to know what that place was?
Samantha Nye 43:01
I don’t know, if it would truly make a difference. But it feels like then I’d have some anchor because what I’d love to do is find some of his dark team. You know, I’d love to be like, tell me about this was this? What was this? Like? I mean, it was a long time ago. So it might not remember, but I would love to know what his presence felt like from their side. That would be really amazing.
K Anderson 43:23
And what questions he was asking as well. That’s what
Samantha Nye 43:25
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Like, what was he like? What was he asking what, you know, they really embraced me. I mean, that was the part that kind of, I thought we were just going to a bar, it was very common for me to go to a bar with my dad. And so I didn’t think that we were going and I would be celebrated my entrance would be like that. So it was like shocked me. Yeah, it was shocking. It was like, it was like they knew my name. They had beers ready. Like they knew I was coming that night. And you can imagine just having it was almost like, you know, like walking into a surprise party, but you don’t know anyone. So it was like that feeling of being very excited. And that’s why it took me a second to realise I was even in a gay bar because or lesbian diet and because because of the fact that it was so diverse. And so under the radar, you walk into a gay bar in South Beach, you know, you’re in a gay bar, this place is just like not that. So, yeah, that moment of realisation and just kind of like double taking was pretty real.
K Anderson 44:19
I didn’t know how I’d respond. I hate so much being the centre of attention. I think I’d be really like distrustful of all those people.
Samantha Nye 44:29
Okay, but what if there’s only like seven people there, which is the case, it wasn’t a room full of tonnes of people. It was seven people okay, it was you know, probably like nine o’clock at night like it wasn’t that many people and they all knew your dad. Oh yeah, no walking in. It was very much like a scene from a movie like Hey, Jeff, they got their like, like fingers finger guns and like she’s here. This is Samantha you know, they knew my name before I got there. So I think I probably forgot that part of the story when I was telling it but it. Yeah, it was very.
K Anderson 45:02
It was a lot Who are all these weird women?
Samantha Nye 45:05
That’s what I’m saying. I need to know. That’s why I want to find out who it is. I think that’s a difference it would make, it wouldn’t make a tremendous difference on. It would only add to the kind of weight that that story has in my history.
K Anderson 45:18
Well, let’s find them. Let’s do it.
Samantha Nye 45:20
Let’s find them. Yeah. Okay. I’m on the task.
K Anderson 45:25
So, if we like round things up in a super cheesy way? Sure. Are you down for that? Yeah.
Samantha Nye 45:33
Let’s do it. Yeah.
K Anderson 45:35
So if we were to go back in time to the 90s. So 99, you know, Baby One More Time is riding high in the charts. No scrubs. And what else? What else? Probably Smash Mouth as well. Just some better with this
Samantha Nye 45:52
week? Yes. Yeah, that would have been out there. And if we
K Anderson 45:55
went to partners, and we ran into you on the first night, that you ever went there. And you had that opportunity to be like, Hey, what’s up? What advice would you give Samantha?
Samantha Nye 46:12
Oh, my God. Oh, god. Okay. Well, first, I would have given fashion advice immediately. Cut this short Hi, this, this, this thing that you’re doing? It’s not working for you. Maybe I would have like whispered in my ear being like actually, your femme you just don’t know it yet. And you’re gonna get there. But I even if I wasn’t just embracing where I was, in my gender presentation at the time, I think I would have just been like, there are ways to do this and look better. Let’s just figure that out. Okay. But aside from that, there’s so many things. Let me just okay, let me sit in this question for a second. What’s the important stuff I should have told myself? I guess like, I was such a late. In fact, I wasn’t I came out at 17. But it felt to me like I was such a late bloomer, I felt like everyone had been dating. And I felt so behind the curve, that I kind of felt like I needed to, like, consume queerness to its fullest, like, meet everyone date, everyone did you know and I, and I think that’s great. But I may have also been like, Fine, your friends, not just because they’re queer, but because you love them. And I think I had a lot of years where it was like, just hanging out with every queer person. And making my my community as big as possible, without knowing if I really liked these people, or shared politics with them, or they cared about me and I cared about them. Like, I don’t, that wasn’t that I wasn’t in that zone. So maybe I would tell myself that I don’t have any, like, real horrible memories from those communities. But I think I’d love to look back and like, remember some of those people. And right now they’re just a sea of faces that I don’t have names for, it would have been lovely to think of more people to like, reach out to. But so many of them I just don’t remember or stopped caring about so quickly. So I don’t know kind of a weird piece of advice. There’s probably something more poignant, but I think yeah, I think like, No, that’s good searching for those real connections. Yeah.
K Anderson 48:14
Don’t waste time on those people that you don’t vibe with.
Samantha Nye 48:18
Yeah, just like just like find the real like, heartfelt connections, or even just like have fun with people like it just doesn’t have to be like, you’re gay. I’m gay. We’re besties now.
K Anderson 48:31
Do you have any memories of partners or clubbing from your own queer scene 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 of queer clubbing, go to los meses podcast.com and find this section share a last space and tell me all about what you’ve got up to. And if you have any clue what the mystery lesbian bar that we talked about in today’s episode is then you will get bonus points like a 300 million bonus points. If you can help us locate it. You can also reach out to me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where my handle is lost spaces pod. Find out more about Samantha and her wonderful artwork at Samantha knight.com Or follow her on Instagram Samantha underscore nine underscore studio if you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribed, left a review on your podcast platform of choice or just told people who you think might want to give it a little listen to go on. I employ you. I am K Anderson and you have been listening to the last spaces