20 July 2009

The Boom Boom Room

The Boom Boom Room was a landmark gay club in Laguna Beach, CA. It closed a couple of years ago due to being sold. The new owner had plans to tear it down and build a boutique hotel. But, up to this point it has just sat vacant, and thanks to the crappy economy appears to be up for sale again.

You have to understand gay history here in So Cal a little before I go on. Orange County is NOT gay friendly by any stretch of the imagination. This is where the crux of the Yes on 8 people came from. It's where all the crazy televangelists come from. It was spoken of with disdain in the movie Milk:

ANNE KRONENBERG: Not great. State Senator John Briggs is Anita Bryant's go-to guy in California for sure. He's filed his petition for a statewide referendum to fire all gay teachers and anyone who supports them.

[A pall falls over the room. This is worse than expected.]

HARVEY MILK: How many signatures will he need to qualify for the ballot?

CLEVE JONES: Whatever. He can get them in two Sundays at church in Orange-f***ing-County.

Being gay in O.C. is not all that great, except for in one place: Laguna Beach. It was established as an artist's community, and drew a lot of gays early on. It has always been a haven of sorts for the gay community of O.C. who don't want to travel up to West Hollywood. It was home to the first openly gay mayor in the US. It's quaint. It's artistic. It has a great gay beach. And for decades, the club scene in Laguna Beach was served by the Boom Boom Room.

D and I met a guy who spearheaded the effort to save the Boom Boom Room. He had someone follow him around with a video camera and record a documentary about it. It's been shown at quite a few film festivals around the world. It's not a high quality film, but it is a high quality story. We got the chance to see it at it's premiere showing in Laguna Beach last week. It was great. If you have some time and want to see the documentary, go to savetheboom.com and click on the video links on the left hand side of the page. It's excerpts from the full documentary.

And, if you happen to know anyone with $10-12 million that wants to buy a large, beachfront property in Laguna Beach, D and I will be happy to reopen and manage the Boom Boom Room and adjacent hotel for you. :)

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After the film, we got to meet some of the local gay crowd from Laguna Beach. It was crazy. There were 8 of us that went to dinner, and 4 of us were raised Mormon. I swear there's a gay gene floating through the Mormon veins. I need to write another blog about that experience. Hopefully I remember to later this week.


Ezra said...

I've had a lot of thoughts on this matter... and I don't think they are politically correct enough to share...

Basically, I feel like homosexuality is a combination of nature and nurture. Just as someone with alcoholism had the genetic disposition (and no, I'm not trying to directly compare sexuality and alcoholism) they still must be exposed to certain things (actually consume alcohol) to generate the active state.

So you have a senstive boy who admires the men around him, but is constantly belittled for not being "manly" enough, for being a faggot, a momma's boy, etc... he will repress these thoughts and tendencies--which causes them to take deep root.

If you as a child were raised without believing that you are an abomination, you might never fully sexualize the same gender.

I'm not trying to make a full blown case here--nor am I trying to say that gay is a state brought on by environment--but I'd say oppression has a lot to do with it.

Also, you'd probably find the other 4 where raised some other form of christianity--it's just as Mormons, it is in our blood to be Mormons... it's not like that with other christians who fall away... the only comparable group seems to be the jews.

Jon said...

Funny, we have a Boom Boom Room in Portland but it's a club of the strippling ladies variety and it's connected to a Szechuan restaurant so you can get your boobs and beef all in one sitting.

Colin said...

I must interject here, Ezra you are making some rather outlandish and baseless claims in that comment.

Mormons are NOT a race like the native Israelites. There is no real comparison to the Jews.

Also, it goes without saying that the concept of being born with an entire belief system ingrained into your psyche is cuckoo bananas.

There are many gay people that have come out of the most liberal set of parents to be seen, I have seen this myself while living in the Seattle area. While it isn't entirely out of line to say that nurture might have an effect on sexuality, it is rather ridiculous to assert the notion that everything that's oppressed and shamed is sexually fetishsized.

You're free to believe whatever you want (even if there's no real scientific basis behind it) but I felt the need to point the absurdity of what you were saying.

Ezra said...


Your response is EXACTLY the reason why I started the post with "and I don't think they are politically correct enough to share..."

I'm gay, out and still commonly identify as Mormon. You've taken some thoughts that I parsed out rather rapidly and assumed that I "believe" what I wrote. I mere't said I've had "lots of thoughts on the matter".

I can (and do) ruminate on many things, but it doesn't become a belief just because I speculate on something.

So yeah, please relax, we're all friends here.

Ezra said...


"Mormons are NOT a race like the native Israelites. There is no real comparison to the Jews."

Actually I'd argue that by any definition, Utah Mormons are about the closest thing to a modern "race" as any--they are an isolated group that doesn't mix genes outside of themselves--it's white mormons marrying white mormons. How long does it have to be like that before they start to have genetic codes unique enough due to that policy that they will be considered a unique race?

Secondly, I wasn't saying that Mormons are comporable to Jews as a "race". I mean that you don't have to practice Judiasim to be a Jew. I know Jews who are PROUD to state their Jewish heritage, as the chow down on a pork sandwich when then should be at synagogue. They are still Jews. Most Moho's I meet who leave the church, who never practice any of it's policies again, will happily refer to themselves as Mormons.

Now look at any other christian faith, where a person is no longer active... they don't continue to call themselves catholic... they might say "I was raised catholic" but that's a lot different--it's a past tense.

Colin said...

No, I'm fairly certain that if you don't practice the religion, you do not fall under that label any longer. The fact that mormons have a somewhat defined subculture doesn't even approach the comparison to Jews. Perhaps that's left to pure opinion.

The Mormon Utah population is not made up entirely of the original settlers' genetics, that is absurd. There is such a phenomena as state to state migration that occurs in this country. Besides, it was less than 200 years ago they settled there, correct? That is not long enough to constitute an entirely new race.

I'm not arguing what you said about the origins of homosexuality because it's politically incorrect. I'm arguing what you said because again it's baseless and rather absurd.