GUN BARREL CITY, TX -- It will be with at least a small amount of shocked amusement when some readers peruse The Monitor of Mabank this week.
On page 4 of the Dec. 6 issue of the small town community newspaper halfway down, the headline reads "Garlow's to host annual Toys for Tots benefit show," but the story makes no mention of Garlow's being a gay bar or of it being a drag show Saturday, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. The entertainers who will be on hand from all over Texas who are noted in the story include "Sofonda Cox," which is the very last two words of the story.
That one no doubt went right over the heads of the reporter, the editor and anyone else who happened to see it in the proofs before they put the paper to bed. But it likely will have every LGBT resident of Cedar Creek Lake an hour southeast of Dallas in stitches. Their friends will probably get the joke too because they also know drag queens like to do funny things with their stage names.
Still, it is a great cause and if tradition continues, a lot of money and gifts will be raised for needy children. The headliners of the show, Linze Serell (pictured above) and Sable Alexander, are tireless entertainers and philanthropists who have raised many tens of thousands of dollars for charities over the years. They have been coming to Cedar Creek Lake for years to help raise money for local charities and for HIV organizations in Dallas-Fort Worth that also serve Cedar Creek Lake residents.
Some 50 bikes are already scheduled for delivery to Toys for Tots in connection with the show, and all money raised at the show from entertainers' tips and an auction will also go to the charity. Admission to the show is an unwrapped bicycle helmet or other toy, and those also will go to the charity.
To be fair, everybody around the lake knows Garlow's is a gay bar, and that it regularly hosts drag shows. The crowd always includes a large number of straight people who enjoy the shows and general atmosphere of the trendy bar.
Garlow's runs an ad weekly in the Lake Area Leader, which is a shopper owned by The Monitor's publisher that is mailed to every resident of the lake. The ad on the front page of the shopper gives the website address of the bar as a source for events, but it is often not up-to-date.
Friends, the old gay bar that went out of business last year after 15 years of operation, never advertised in The Monitor and never received or wanted any coverage. It also hosted regular drag shows and community theater variety shows by a troupe called the "Friends Players."
Some of the entertainers in the Garlow's show will include old regulars from Friends' productions. See garlows.com for information.