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And then her sister was gone, off hugging other people.
This became my home. But losing Divas matters in a specific way, Miranda said. Finally, she saw what Miranda had seen and she embraced it. The address was Post St. But it was a homecoming all the same.
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As much as Divas held a community, it is not the community, and everybody talks about finding a way forward. The evening was tender and comfortable and full of dancing.
And right across the street, right at Post St. Like the neighborhood, Divas was a place for trans women. She crossed her legs and held her arms to her chest. But she came back to her home for a visit last year. But goddamn it, it was one of the most interesting places. During the next couple years, in town every other week, Piwinski kept coming back, each time a little more herself. InEva Hayward came home.
Star was salty at first about the closing. How have you been? In the years since, that freedom has faded. She was dripping in costume jewelry, also blue.
She looked young. Hayward, a professor at the University of Arizona, has since moved on. She was all done up in blue: Blue dress. But as she talked, she softened up. It changed my life. Just before 1 a. So did Tiger Lily and Diana. The Gangway, a space for older folks, held last call one year ago. Miranda had started a drag show at the bar back when it was the Motherlode; she followed the place down the street and worked her way up.
It had its ups and downs.
By 11 p. Some of them would get a drink before they went to work the street. Blue glittery nails. For all that it offered, though, Divas was still owned by a cis man. The owner, Stephen Berkey, has grown tired, she said.
All the girls are coming tonight. Miranda is looking for investors for a new bar. She was right; she was the face of the Divas website. She was done up in a leather top that crisscrossed over her chest and a brown, floor-length skirt with golden details. Divas was a place to live: a place for fundraisers and memorials, a place for gossip and for family meals. When Esta Noche closed, it left the community without a Latino bar. The place had opened itself up to her when she first moved to the city, homeless and looking for work.
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Dancing on that pole made her feel good about herself. To be with our sisters. Before Divas was Divas it was the Motherlode, a much smaller bar that opened on the corner of Post and Larkin inback when Polk Gulch and the Tenderloin were thick with spaces for all sorts of queer people. Some of the other dancers had given her a hard time. Olgena managed the dancers, too.
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InChristine Beatty wrote about the club for Spectator Magazine. Downstairs had a long marble-topped bar, plenty of booths, animal-print carpet and a small stage with a backdrop of gold tinsel. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence blessed the space and Miranda, too. She remembers her first visit, around Alexis Miranda, the drag queen bar manager, the Flaming Fuchsia Flamingo Empress 33, was serving drinks.
The last show started at 11 p. The Lexington Club, a lesbian bar made of wild stories, closed four years back. Nobody cried, not till the end, and almost everybody smiled. The mirrors made the room look infinite and they split her into four. For her last night at Divas, she wore a long red dress with a slit that cut deep up the side. We share little tidbits about our day. It was an important spot for many of us.
The neighborhood had a reputation as a place for transgender women like her, where community happened and resources were available. To be with our kind. Cis people have access to those moments in their daily life.
Olgena started talking about what would come next. There were no set plans, but there was lots of talk. Some women, like Angelique Piwinski, talk about being born at Divas. Right up until the end. Sonia performed.
Divas and the Tenderloin were freedom. They chatted a bit. Some of them came to bartend. Blue eyeshadow. She took a seat on the couch. The top-floor lounge was always her favorite. There they could flirt with men, and dance, and drink and talk to each other about what hormones do to a body. Ten years after it opened, Motherlode moved to the new place on Post, a tall, thin building with a glass spine and big wooden doors. The place has been on the market for four years.
Berkey, Miranda said, kept holding out for a person who would take it and keep it the same. Older ladies held court on couches; younger women floated around in the highest high heels. Her high heels were clear plastic. Luna Star came walking out of the second-floor crowd. Eventually he gave up. One girl danced with her reflection, watching only herself, as if everything else had fallen away. Outside, people crowded the sidewalk. Rose Olgena sat alone.
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What she liked most, though, was being with the other women in the dressing room. The plan, at the time, was to put a different club on each floor. Miranda opened the bar up for Easter and Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
There are others, too. After all the struggle to be there. Berkey himself would not talk to The Chronicle about the closing. Alexis Miranda was the host. It still had its issues.