Pasadena’s only gay bar is back with no cover, karaoke and drag


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Drag queen Nico Cervantes, stage name “Borgia Bloom”, is back on stage at Boulevard, Pasadena’s only gay bar. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

After 15 months of closure due to the coronavirus epidemic and on the verge of closing its doors, the Boulevard, the only gay bar in Pasadena, is open again, without social distancing and with live entertainment. Still, to be sure, owner Steve Terradot only allows people who say they are fully vaccinated. Terradot says: “There is a double celebration here. A lot of people see this as the end of COVID, which it is safe to go out and mingle with, so people are just happy to be here and be among their friends and celebrate. There are also those people who are celebrating their return to their gay bar. “

Two people perform karaoke on a colorful dance floor at Boulevard.

Julie Hidalgo, left, and Gabby Zavaleta, from Los Angeles, do karaoke at Boulevard. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Performers like drag queen Nico Cervantes, stage name “Borgia Bloom”, also celebrate. “So before we had to wear a mask and a shield, it was really humbling because as drag queens we lip sync, we use our lips, we use our mouths, we use our expressions, and we couldn’t do anything. doing it all, you literally just saw our eyes. We were tipping with buckets and butterfly nets. Part of the drag culture, the tip part, is not just for the queen to earn money. money but it’s interactive, you have a connection when you take that dollar bill with every person that comes and [you] make them feel special, make them feel like part of the show.

Owner Steve Terradot sits at the bar of his gay club, the Boulevard.

Owner Steve Terradot managed to keep the Boulevard afloat during the pandemic with the help of Mark Lanza and Mark Chou, who started a GoFundMe. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The boulevard was saved thanks to efforts like those of longtime patrons Mark Chou and his partner, Mark Lanza, who launched a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the bar and donated their time to help with necessary repairs. . Both brands refer to the Boulevard as gay “Cheers” (in reference to the long-running TV series) because there are so many repeat customers who know your name. Lanza, who moved to Los Angeles 30 years ago from Louisiana, says: “I was used to small town type bars, and after 30 years this is the only place I have ever found. that looks like this. It’s a gay bar. , it’s a straight bar, it’s a trans bar, it’s a drag bar, it’s a karaoke bar, it’s a bar where you can go no matter who you are and feel comfortable . Everyone loves coming here because it’s just fun, it’s just a great place to hang out with friends and meet new people.

A shirtless man walks among people seated at tables.

Bartender Jamal Glasgow, on the left, walks among patrons on the reopened Boulevard. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

On a Friday night when people sang and listened to karaoke until 2 a.m. closing time, owner Terradot was very grateful to be back with his employees, friends and customers, to see so many people having a great time. good time. “There’s a level of energy in there that I haven’t felt in years. Everyone is happy, that’s the best thing. Do you know that old saying about taking things for granted? I almost felt like I took it for granted and it was always going to be here and then when it was gone you know how I feel right now, total gratitude. I’m so happy we’re back here because during COVID I wasn’t sure we were going to come back here. Now we’re back here and it’s amazing.

Drag queen Te Jay McGrath, stage name

Drag queen Te Jay McGrath, stage name “Tia Wanna”, performs on the Boulevard in Pasadena on June 18, 2021. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Mark Chou, left, and his partner Mark Lanza sing karaoke.

Mark Chou, left, and his partner Mark Lanza sing karaoke. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

A drag queen surrounded by an audience of men.

Drag queen Nico Cervantes, stage name “Borgia Bloom” missed out on social interaction with the audience as she performed with a face mask. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Two people performing karaoke.

Gabby Zavaleta, left, and Julie Hidalgo from Los Angeles do karaoke at Boulevard. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Four people toast at the Boulevard.

Denise Valenzuela, left, Christina Torres, Jack Hall and Eric Huang are celebrating the first night in over a year without any restrictions on social distancing and the return of shows on the boulevard. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

A crowd drinks and celebrates their comeback at a bar.

Luigi Gonzalez, on the left, Harmony Kasper, in the foreground, Andrew Hernandez and Emilio Rodriguez, behind, enjoy the return of karaoke to the Boulevard. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Drag queen Raymond Gerona, stage name

Drag queen Raymond Gerona, stage name “Blisila”, interacts with the crowd on the Boulevard on June 18, 2021. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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