We are grateful to Madeline Davis and the Buffalo LGBT Archives for their encouragement with this project.  Before we had our own postal address, the Archives generously permitted us to use their box for receiving correspondence.  In addition, the Archives allowed us to display our bar history map at their booth during Pride Weekend 2005.

More recently we've examined gay periodicals at the Archives to collect information from the old bar advertisements.  We hope our history project will inspire gays throughout Western New York to donate their bar memorabilia to the Archives and thereby repay the kindness shown us.

The 1993 book which Madeline Davis wrote with Elizabeth Kennedy, Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold, was the inspiration for our project.  Three chapters in the book explored the history of Buffalo's lesbian bars.  Our project attempts similar research for the men.  Thanks Mad and Liz for a job well-done.

A special thanks goes out to John Little and Wally Ward from Cathode Ray, Tom Pisa from Friends, and Steve Day from Q for their insights and enthusiasm.  As our project got underway, their tips on "who-to-talk-to" were invaluable.  Thanks guys.

We also wish to thank the employees at the E.H. Butler Library on the campus of Buffalo State College.  Daniel DiLandro, Special Collections Archivist, and his staff (Jeremy Floyd, Peggy Hatfield, Linda Webster) allowed us time and space to spend hundreds of hours reviewing materials in their LGBT collection.  Their kindness and encouragement are appreciated.

But our biggest hug is directed to those gay-bar enthusiasts who have faithfully patronized the Buffalo bars over the years, believing that bars have been and are the primary unifying force within the gay men's community.  You have generously shared your bar recollections with us and thereby enriched all Buffalonians.
 

We believe the following three songs capture the polarity of men's gay bar experiences.  We offer them for your enjoyment.
 
"Ballad Of The Sad Young Men"
       
Lyrics by Fran Landesman

Sing a song of sad young man
Glasses full of rye
All the news is bad again so
Kiss your dreams goodbye

All the sad young men
Sitting in the bars
Knowing neon nights
Missing all the stars

All the sad young men
Drifting through the town
Drinking up the night
Trying not to drown

All the sad young men
Singing in the cold
Trying to forget
That they're growing old

All the sad young men
Choking on their worth
Trying to be brave
Running from the truth

Autumm turns the leaves to gold
Slowly dies the heart
Sad young men are growing old
That's the cruelest part

All the sad young men
Seek a certain smile
Someone they can hold
For a little while

While the grimy moon
Watches from above
All the sad young men
Play at making love

Misbegotten moon
Shine for sad young men
Let your gentle light
Guide them home tonight
All the sad young men
 
"Downtown"
        Lyrics Tony Hatch

When you're alone and life is making you lonely
You can always go downtown
When you've got worries, all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know, downtown

Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?
The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares

So go downtown
Things will be great when you're downtown
No finer place for sure, downtown
Everything's waiting for you

Don't hang around and let your problems surround you
There are movie shows downtown
Maybe you know some little places to go to
Where they never close downtown

Just listen to the rhythm of a gentle bossa nova
You'll be dancing with 'em too before the night is over
Happy again
The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares

So go downtown
Where all the lights are bright, downtown
Waiting for you tonight, downtown
You're gonna be alright now, downtown

And you may find somebody kind to help and understand you
Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to
Guide them along
So maybe I'll see you there
We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares

So go downtown
Things will be great when you're downtown
Don't wait a minute more, downtown
Everything is waiting for you, downtown
"Alter Boy and the Thief"
        Lyrics Joan Baez

At night in the safety of shadows and numbers
Seeking some turf on which nothing encumbers
The buying and selling of casual looks
Stuff that gets printed in x-rated books
Your mother might have tried to understand
When you were hardly your daddy's little man
And you gave up saluting the chief
To find yourself some relief

Finely plucked eyebrows and skin of satin
Smiling seductive and endlessly Latin
Olympic body on dancing feet
Perfume thickening the air like heat
A transient star of gay bar fame
You quit your job and changed your name
And you're nearly beyond belief
As you hunt down a little relief

The seven foot black with the emerald ring
Broke up a fight without saying a thing
As the cops cruised by wanting one more chance
To send Jimmy Baldwin back over to France
And a trucker with kids and a wife
Prefers to spend half of his life
In early Bohemian motif
Playing pool and getting relief

My favorite couple was looking so fine
Dancing in rhythm and laughing in rhyme
In the light of the jukebox all yellow and blue
Holding each other as young lovers do
To me they will always remain
Unshamed, untamed, and unblamed
The altar boy and the thief
Grabbing themselves some relief

The altar boy and the thief
Catching a little relief