The Silver Dollar Saloon has always maintained a loyal following of gay cowboys, line-dancing lesbians, off-duty drag queens, and admirers of any and/or all of the above. Decidedly unfancy, the SD has always been the best gay bar to go “slumming” in. In other words, a bad-hair day in yesterday’s clothes has never been an issue here.
I decided to do my sneak attack on what I thought would be an “off night” to see if the SD had successfully moved the warm and fuzzy gay dive bar into a nightclub setting.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the SD is still free on most nights (Sunday-Thursday), and that they still check everyone’s ID (which always feels good once you’re of a certain age). And as it was in its original incarnation, the SD is still, thank God, a sea of crisp black cowboy hats, starched shirts, boots, beer, and same-sex couples two-stepping to Tejano music.
Just as I was breathing a sigh of relief over the sameness of things, I spotted two peacock-ish characters entering the club — a multicolored explosion that defied gender, race, and logic. When I approached these exotic creatures, appropriately named Shokkiku and Toxxic, they were busy reminding the doorman of their dire need for black lights to bask in. I asked if I could take their picture and they began shrieking in an indecipherable language and voguing like the Paris and Nicole of an alien planet. Shokkiku bought us a round of drinks at the main bar. “Wait, wait! We have to suffocate!” she squealed. A little nervous, I waited while s/he fished a pink aerosol can out of her giant ghetto-blaster-shaped purse and “suffocated” us with a giant cloud of scented gas. “Cheers!” We clinked our glasses and I felt like I had just been initiated into Strawberry Shortcake’s LSD support group.
I left the bar completely flabbergasted by what I had just witnessed. The place had managed to keep the original plot in sight and attract a new cast of characters that don’t exactly fit in elsewhere. In my car, I took a deep breath and nearly gagged — I smelled like a cupcake that had spent the night in an ashtray. That’s when I decided to have my next drink in the bathtub.