Homo A Birthday Memory
posted by November 21 at 12:29 PMon
I know this an abuse of my Slogging rights—space on blogs is very, very limited, judging from the angry comments we get after we post something that isn’t breaking news, and should be reserved for important communiquĂ©s. But I would like to call in a point of personal privilege on this, Bradley Steinbacher’s 33rd Birthday.
When Brad first got involved with The Stranger he was something like 17 years old. The product of Catholic schools, Brad had never been around a gay man who wasn’t wearing a Roman collar. (Today’s priests wear Roman collars and house-arrest ankle bracelets.) Brad and I didn’t interact much at first. He was afraid of me then—and rightly so. I was scary. I still am, Brad constantly tells me.
But then came Brad’s 21st birthday.
Someone—I don’t remember who—thought it would be a good idea to put Brad in drag for his first legal drink. I thought it would be a good idea to enter Brad in the weekly lip-synch contest at the Brass Connection (now the War Room). Getting Brad into drag was… well, let’s just say it wasn’t easy. Zora did his makeup—but not until after I shaved Brad’s armpits and chest. If you’ve every laid eyes on Brad, then you know how hard I worked. Shaving Brad’s chest was like bringing in the corn harvest in the fall. Razors? Shit, we needed a combine. Once Brad was smooth, we put him in makeup—his bushy eyebrows concealed under a half a pound of putty—and then we put him in a tiny corset—a waist cinch, to the pros—and a smart little outfit. Then we rehearsed, drilling Brad in the art of the lip synch.
We walked over to the Brass Connection from my apartment. Brad sang “Back in Baby’s Arms.â€ť At the end Brad jumped into the waiting arms of former Stranger editor Matt Cook—a large, tall man with a shaved head. Matt was wearing a diaper. The crowd went nuts. Brad won second place.
No pictures survive from that night—which is a tragedy. If anyone out there reading this was at the Brass Connection the night of Brad’s 21st birthday and has pictures, please get in touch! We will pay cash money to get our hands on a photo of Brad from that night—and we will, if we can track one down, put it on the cover of The Stranger.
Oh, and the next time you see Brad at the War Room, ask him to lip-synch a few bars of “Back in Baby’s Arms” for you…
And Happy Birthday, Brad!