Are The Gay Baths On Its Way Out?

Posted admin by on Cleveland, Los Angeles, USA
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August 26, 2014

The Associated Press recently published an article about the business of operating gay baths. Detailing the rise and fall of its popularity in the gay community.

It must of been a slow news week as this story has been picked up by many publications around the world. From USA Today to The Guardian, to several gay and sex blogs on the web.

The way this story was written, gay baths are on its way out. Which I would dispute.

First this article was written from the perspective of the LA gay scene. If anyone knows anything about the gay environment in LA, you would know that ones beauty trump everything. True that happens everywhere, but LA takes it to the extreme. You need to be a 12 in a world of 10s just to be deemed acceptable. Guys are judged on their looks and physique alone, and you if you don’t have it, you might as well be invisible.

Gay Baths, Flex Spas
Flex Spas

Which is why I would assume the gay baths are on the decline in LA. These guys have such high standards, why would they interact with guys not up to their level? They would rather search for someone on-line that meets their criteria.

So while they might be declining in LA, in other parts of the country they are still profitable. Sure most gay bathhouse businesses have their problems. But in any business you need to change with the times, or go extinct.

Which is what Flex CEO Todd Saporito done with his chain of spas in the mid-west. He has made an aggressive push to make changes to his saunas to appeal to a wide range of gay men. This approach has had mixed results. While Flex has thrived in Cleveland and Atlanta, clubs in New Orleans and Columbus have closed.

So read the article and judge for yourself how bad the bathhouse business is these days.

Go to Gay Bathhouses Nationwide Face Uncertain Future written by Matt Hamilton

UPDATE Also wrote about this topic in a post on Gay Demon. Go to The Death of the Gay Baths?

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Two Lebannon Bathhouse Raided By Cops

Posted admin by on Beirut, Lebannon
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August 18, 2014

In Lebanon homosexuality is a crime under article 534 in their penal code. In the month of August two Lebannon bathhouse have been raided by local police.

On August 9 cops busted into the privately-owned Agha Hammam baths, arresting 27 men. Among those men who were jailed were the owner, the employees and several clients.

The Lebanese clients and the owner have since been released. Though they all face potential charges of homosexuality (which is a crime in Lebanon) prostitution and immoral activities in public spaces. Men that are of Syrian and Iraqi nationality are still behind bars.

Agha Hammam, Lebannon Bathhouse

Since the raid, the Agha Hammam has been closed and cannot re-open without permission.

About a week later cops raided yet another Lebannon bathhouse. This time the Shehrazad Hammam. No clients were around, as the staff was cleaning. All were taken into custody, and then released except one person. That person has joined the Syrian and Iraqi men from the previous raid in a Zahle prison.

After this incident the Shehrazad Hammam is refusing entry to anyone it believes is gay. We will keep you up to date on any new developments.

To read more go to Police raid Lebanon bathhouse, arrest 27 men on gay sex claims and Cops raid second Lebanon bathhouse in gay crackdown

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Hit and run outside Steamworks Bathhouse

Posted admin by on Canada, Edmonton
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August 18, 2014

Customer who had patronized the Steamworks Bathhouse in Edmonton has been involved in a hit and run accident. It happened right outside the Steamworks building.

Captured on security photographs, a man was filmed entering the bathhouse at 2 AM on July 20. At around 4:24 AM the same man left the premises, got into his BMW X6 and proceeded to drive into a man who was sleeping on the street.

Steamworks Bathhouse, Edmonton

This man was pushed and dragged by the vehicle, but fortunately only suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

This week the man has turned himself in. 28-year-old Tam Van Ho has been charged with failing to stop at the scene of an accident. He has been released on the promise to appear in court for his arraignment.

To read more go to Suspect in hit-and-run outside of bathhouse turns himself in

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Glory Hole Guide For The Gay Man

Posted admin by on USA
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August 13, 2014

Glory Holes truly represents what quickie, dark, anonymous, de-personalized sex is all about. No one has ever written a comprehensive book about Glory Hole culture and it’s etiquette. Which is ironic given that both the baths and Glory Holes have been around for decades. These avenues for anonymous sex have been popular, yet hardly discussed. That is until now.

There are thousands of guys who are curious about the Glory Hole world. But don’t have the guts to give it a shot. This book hopes to change that. By taking the readers behind the walls to show them what the Glory Hole world is all about. This book covers its beginnings as a sex practice to finding Glory Hole action in ones neighborhood. This book is for those who are curious about Glory Holes, but scared to take that first step. To live out ones fantasy voyeuristically through this book.

You can go on the web and find many erotic stories about Glory Holes. But just like the baths not much is written about them, etiquette wise. Hopefully this book will change that. So consider this your Glory Hole Guide that will answer the five basic Ws.

Glory Hole Guide, Gay Men
Glory Hole Guide For The Gay Man

Glory Holes cater to both the straight and gay communities. But since this is a Glory Hole Guide for gay men, the advice here will focus exclusively on the gay male perspective. Covering its evolution as a sex culture to its unspoken etiquette rules.

Unlike my expertise with the gay baths, I’m not an expert when it comes to Glory Holes. All I have been able to do is write from my own observations of Glory Hole action at the baths. As well as researching the subject, and my own experiences at the baths. Cruising for sex at the baths and around Glory Holes is not that different. While there is hardly any eye contact, the moves and signals are quite the same.

If you want to learn more about this type of sexual activity, this Glory Hole Guide is the book to pick-up.

Go to Amazon NOW and pick up your copy by clicking this link

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Andy Bell Erasure Bathhouse Memories

Posted admin by on Edinburgh, England
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August 13, 2014

Andy Bell Erasure is a icon not only in the gay communities of the UK, but all over the world. Though others paved the way for him to be openly out in the music industry (Boy George, Holly Johnson and Jimmy Somerville from Bronski Beat), the music of Erasure became an anthem for so many gay men.

Erasure shows no sign of slowing down, as the duo will celebrate 30 years as a team come 2015. In between their gigs Andy Bell focuses on other projects. One of which is a new one-man show Torsten The Bareback Saint. According to press releases the play is a “sub-operatic theatrical cabaret pop/performance art”.

It is set to debut at the 2014 Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. Even before opening, the show has been named one of the ‘Top Ten Pick Of The Fringe’ by The Times newspaper.

Torsten, Bareback Saint, Erasure, Andy Bell
Torsten The Bareback Saint

There is even a song in the play called Boy From The Sauna. Which is autobiographical as Bell frequented many gay saunas in the UK and around the world. He says

In the early Erasure days I would go to a few saunas in America and one of my past boyfriends used to go there all the time. The song relates to me. Just the feeling of being on the gay scene in the early days because I was hopeless at cruising. Really hopeless. I could never do the eye-to-eye contact thing.

Watch the trailer below. Go to the official Facebook page for news on upcoming events and music releases from this show

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Flex Los Angeles Bathhouse Re-Opens

Posted admin by on Los Angeles, USA
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August 3, 2014

In May I had written that Flex Los Angeles had suddenly shut its doors. Customers were baffled as to the reason. Especially since the bathhouse underwent a major renovation prior to its shutdown.

That was then. Imagine everyone’s surprise when the club recently re-opened its door on August 1, 2014.

The following message appeared on its Facebook page.

Flex Spa, Los Angeles, USA, Bathhouse, Flex Los Angeles
Flex LA

The club (Flex Los Angeles) is re-opening at 4 p.m. today, Aug. 1, after being closed for several months.

We greatly appreciate all the support from our patrons as we continue to work through issues with the city. Due to these ongoing permitting matters, some temporary restrictions are in place. But they won’t interfere with your having a good time.

So come by. Our doors are open!

As a special thank you they had a barbecue on the weekend, to thank their loyal customers for their patience and loyalty over the years.

Great to see them back up and operating again!

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Club Cleveland To Become Apartment Building

Posted admin by on Cleveland, USA
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July 28, 2014

Club Cleveland To Become Apartment Building. Club Cleveland has been empty for a few years. It used to be the only game in town until the chain of Flex Spa opened a franchise in Cleveland. I don’t know the circumstances that led to Club Cleveland shutting its doors. Its Facebook page is still up and according to one poster the club owned $63,000 in property taxes. Regardless they have been closed since 2010.

In 2012 the building even sustained further damage due to Hurricane Sandy. So the chances of someone opening up a new bathhouse in that building was nil. It would be a money pit as it would take a major renovation to get the place back to its former glory.

Club Cleveland, Bathhouse, Ohio, Cleveland
Club Cleveland

The property has been sold to Vintage Development Group. They have no plans to be in the bathhouse business. The building that houses Club Cleveland will be demolished. In its place, the company plans to build an apartment building.

If those walls inside Club Cleveland could talk. But since the building will be demolished, those walls will soon be silenced.

But if you want to go down memory lane, just click the Club Cleveland YouTube video below

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Fairoaks Project Exhibit In NYC

Posted admin by on New York City, USA
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June 30, 2014

I had previously written a blog post about the Fairoaks Baths Exhibit in 2010. I was going to write a follow-up as the exhibit will be in New York City in July. Imagine my surprise to find a comment on this exhibit from Gary Freeman, its curator. Thanks Gary! You just saved me a ton of work writing about the event. All I have to do is copy and paste your comment into its own blog post!

Here it is below.

This is an announcement and an invitation to come to the opening of the Fairoaks Baths show next month in New York City (July 11, 2014). It has been a long-standing goal for the Fairoaks Project to show at The Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and it’s finally here and we are going to have a grand party.

For those who are unfamiliar with the exhibit, it is a rare Look inside a SF Gay Bathhouse in 1978

Frank Melleno’s Polaroid photography captured an extraordinary glimpse into pre-AIDS gay sexual culture. Melleno was part-owner and night manager of The Fairoaks Hotel, a unique San Francisco bathhouse operating from 1977 to 1979. His candid images are remarkable, documenting the social and sexual behavior with celebration and no apology.

The Fairoaks was owned and operated by a gay commune, lending a counter-culture approach to the establishment. There were monthly theme parties including costume and “Open Door” parties, when room doors would be removed from hinges. Many images contain nudity and erotic scenes.

Frank Melleno, The Fairoaks Project, San Francisco Bathhouse, New York City
The Fairoaks Project

The restored images, known as Frank Melleno’s Fairoaks Baths, were well received at Los Angeles venues Highways and drkrm/Gallery and at the Center for Sex & Culture in San Francisco. The Advocate and Lambda Literary have written articles on The Fairoaks.
The Boyfriend, a singing trio tracing its origin to performance artist Vaginal Davis, will perform at the opening.

This new show will contain many new images that have not been seen before including the one on the Fairoaks postcard. The opening will feature once again “The Boyfriend” who has performed at all of the Fairoaks openings. Please forward this invitation to friends in New York who will have their first chance to see it. Below I have enclosed the details of the opening at the Prince Street Project Space of the Leslie-Lohman Museum and a short description of the show. The Fairoaks was reviewed this month in The Advocate (link here to see more pictures)

More information can be found at The Fairoaks Project official website.

I hope you can make it or let your friends in NYC know. Lots of people from the West Coast will be traveling there to celebrate this lively period of gay erotic history.

Queer culture lives,
Gary Freeman
Fairoaks Curator

Fairoaks Baths: photography by Frank Melleno
Polaroids from a San Francisco bathhouse in 1978
Curated by Gary Freeman
Open Reception July 11, 2014 6-8pm
Performance by The Boyfriend
Exhibition July 12-13, noon-6pm

Prince St. Project Space of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art 127-B Prince St., New York, NY 10012 (At Prince & Wooster)

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Gay Sauna Sex In The UK

Posted admin by on England, London
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June 30, 2014

 stuart haggas, gay sauna, sti, sex, james wharton, HIV, fs142
Gay Sex and the Sauna

Gay Sauna Sex In The UK. OK enough of this doom and gloom, time for something different. One of the reasons to go to the baths. That is to view all that hot eye candy! Hot, hunky, smoking hot men. Absolutely gorgeous!

The gay men’s health magazine from the UK, FS Magazine, has recently done a photo layout and article on Gay Sex and the Sauna. Because Britain’s gay saunas have been in the news lately, the magazine wanted to change the channel. Writing about the good things that gay saunas can offer.

While it is all not sunshine, gay saunas are not that bad. As long as you know the rules and its etiquette. Which the magazine writes about. Or rather what Stuart Haggas has written with beautiful photography by Chris Jepson. The basic question asked is this. Are gay saunas still relevant on Britain’s gay scene–or is it time for them to be consigned to history?

The model in this photo-shoot is former Mr Gay UK and XX model Dan Broughton, with Saunabar in London as its backdrop.

Some more steamy images below. So don’t forget to read the article linked above. To see more of these sexy images featuring Dan Broughton at Saunabar go to Chris Jepson’s other website Manshooter

 stuart haggas, sauna, sti, sex, james wharton, HIV, fs142
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Inquest Into Drug Overdose At Bathhouse

Posted admin by on England, London
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June 27, 2014

Pleasuredrome keeps getting itself in the news. Just the other day it was reported that they owed a ton of money in back taxes. Now an inquest is being held that once again puts this gay sauna back in the headlines.

As reported on this blog, back in 2012 three deaths due to drug overdose were linked to Pleasuredrome.

Pleasuredrome, UK, London, England, GHB, Drugs, Met, Overdose
Pleasuredrome 2013 Photoshoot

41-year-old Greg Page and 46-year-old John Scott were discovered at Pleasuredrome unresponsive at the same time. While Page was pronounced dead on the scene, Scott died in hospital three days later. Both had high levels of GHB in their system. Page had a combination of GHB, alcohol and cocaine. Scott had GHB and MPA, a meth-amphetamine substitute. If that wasn’t enough hours later a third man was rushed to hospital after overdosing on the drug, but was later released.

Eight months previously 41-year-old Konstantinos Bamptazis was found dead in his room after ingesting mephedrone and GHB.

The sauna’s proprietor, Charles Hill, has said since the incidents the sauna has been ‘more aggressive’ in their drug searches and is now clean. Emergency strip lights has been installed, which was a complaint paramedics had. As it was hard for them to see while doing their duties. In addition more staff have been trained in CPR. In compliance with city council, the number of hours to rent a room have been reduced.

The inquest continues, as this blog will provide updates as they happen.

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