January 04, 2012



Despite the clubs very strict ID policy, the State Liquor Authority is attempting to not renew Escuelita's liquor license over a couple of violations. In fact, these violations are child's play when compared to the circumstances like drug sales, fights, shooting and drinks sold to underage patrons which can often cause less strict clubs to have their licenses suspended if enough citations occur in a short time of a few months. Yet for some reason, the SLA wants to shut Escuelita down over an untried case of a manager who allegedly punched someone and a minor who tried to obtain an alcoholic beverage--two unresolved issues in a year. I would like to know who is pressuring the SLA to send a detective out to 15 bars in one night in a sting to set clubs up like this. A Comfort In opened next to Escuelita a few years ago, and I am guessing that Bloomberg is trying to make the area safer for his precious tourists--god forbid that their brats should encounter a gay, latino, black, drag queen or transsexual on the way home from seeing the Lion King.

I do a regular show at Escuelita so of course, I have a financial interest in this. But I also have a deeper interest in this: NEW YORK USED TO BE FOR NEW YORKERS! NOT TOURISTS! We welcome them here and will gladly take your $, but don't you dream of bringing your small-minded discriminatory ways here to judge us. And even if they do, why the hell would OUR mayor favor the tourists over the New Yorkers? Escuelita has fulfilled a need for the black and latino gay and trans community for decades. They get along with their local community board and police precinct. This place represents authentic NYC flavor! 30 or more NYC residents are employed here and pay heir taxes to NY State with their earnings. And now someone is telling the SLA to crack down on the joint because it isn't as upscale as the area is becoming? Class warfare, racism, transphobia, drag phobia--this hits a lot of alarm bells. At a meeting with the lawyer, I asked if the 14 other bars targeted by the sting were gay and was told no. Well, guess what? NEW YORKERS LIKE TO DRINK AND PARTY! WATCH OUT--BECAUSE THEY MIGHT BE COMING FOR YOUR FAVORITE IRISH PUB OR NEIGHBORHOOD BAR SOON. Whoever is behind this only wants to preserve upscale joints in the newly sanitized Times Square. Just another way that NYC is losing it's local color to greed.

We've all seen our favorite local spots close--whether it's a bodega, Gray's Papaya or bagel shop. And when they close, a chain moves in so that our once stimulating NYC becomes a bore. The violations that Escuelita is accused of do not warrant a revoking of a decades-old establish men's liquor license. I had to beg them not to card Debbie Harry and the reviewer for the New York Times and the club still refused--that's how strict they are! I'm glad the Post and the Daily News covered this today. But it's somewhat odd that the Daily News chose a pic of me from the Studio 54 reunion party when I'd smeared fake coke on my face in keeping with the club's party-out-of-bounds vibe. Why would the Daily News choose this pic as if the coke wasn't fake and as if I was outside La Escuelita causing a commotion, making the point that it was a drug den which deserved to be shuttered?

I won't stand for it. I moved to NYC to get away from rednecks and enjoy NYC's multi-culti vibe. It's being ruined. I sing for my supper and you can tell that I like ta eat! But even before I had a regular show there, Escuelita was an institution which I've worked at regularly for 15 years. It clearly fulfills a need among a certain set in NYC. So leave Escuelita alone! It's bills are paid and these violations are nothing!