Out here our selection of gay bars is sort of limited; most of the bars are friendly to everyone (Michigan being in a super-recession and all...), but there are only really 2 full-fledged gay bars within an easy drive of my house. One of these is a bit more of a hike than the other, so it is often to the bar in Traverse City that my friends and I go. On any given night the crowd ranges from a handful of gays and lesbians to quite a crowd, Friday nights and Saturday nights are the most popular with the out-of-town crowd of course, but holiday evenings and summer nights can be crowded as well. The gay bar up here is pretty much like any other gay bar that I have been in, though in microcosm; there is the prerequisite disco ball on the dance floor, the well-stocked bar, the baskets of condoms scattered over various counters & the ubiquitously placed mirrors in the men's room. It's pretty much like every other gay bar that I have been in, aside from a few that cater to more individualized tastes. On off nights there's an Internet-fueled jukebox to feed and play, if the song you have in mind is not available from the "standard" list, you can burn a few more credits and the machine will browse the web and upload your selection. On the other nights a DJ spins, taking requests from the patrons or offering a program of music tailored to the theme of the evening. The last few times that my friends and I have gone, the DJ booth has been open for requests; to make a request, one simply writes what one wants to hear on a slip of notebook paper, along with the artist, and runs the paper to the door of the DJ booth. What happens next is anyone's guess... My friend Mark once quipped that the best way to get your selection played was to tip the DJ when handing over the slip of paper--of course by "tip" he meant give a blow job, no currency involved (though sex is a currency isn't it..?); the DJ in question is nowhere near what I find attractive, though perhaps if he installed a glory hole in the DJ booth door.., but I digress... Any given night that the DJ is at the bar, I can just about write up the evening's play list before I get to the bar: there will be a few gay bar standards (ABBA, Donna Summers, Cher), whichever of Lady Gaga's songs are currently in the Top 40, at least 2 remixed versions of The Blackeyed Peas, a selection of gay 80's ballads and about 4 actual requests. Aside from a themed line-up night, there is little deviation from this formula. All of this brings to my mind 3 questions:
1) What is the point in soliciting requests if you are neither going to play them, nor, perhaps, consider adding those most requested to future nights of bar play?
2) I've heard that often the requests are often for music which is simply too new to be available. If the internet-connected jukebox can find my selection on the web and download it nearly instantaneously, why in the age of 3G and iPhones (like the one you have strapped to your hip) can you not simply download our solicited selections and proceed?
3) When I'm out on the dance floor swaying to the beats that I've brought on my iPod, looking stupid gyrating to Dominoes by Niki Minaj while you're playing Born This Way for the third time in the evening to a cleared dance floor, do you even notice?