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Old 1st November 2017, 11:52 AM
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Georgia Voice on Flex Atlanta

There's a good article in Georgia Voice specifically about Flex Atlanta that also speaks more generally to the bathhouse experience and its role in gay life over the decades.

Midtown Atlanta bathhouse Flex remains a stronghold of gay liberation 40 years on

Many bathhouses have been closing in recent years, but the author sees signs of life at Flex and thinks it may be time for bathhouses to make a comeback.

Here's an excerpt, starting from the 1970s attitudes:
Quote:
"It was kind of like a speakeasy," recalled longtime Atlanta resident Dave Hayward, who began visiting the bathhouse, then known as Club Atlanta Baths, in the 1970s. "You wouldn't know it was there unless you knew it was there [mdash] it's kind of off the beaten path, at the end of a sort of dead-end street."

Bathhouses have long been an open, dirty little secret for gay men, rarely talked about outside of close circles of friends, and the bane of those who yearn for a more respectable, less promiscuous, public image of homosexuality.

"It was always considered to be something that was on the down low," Hayward says. "You would do it, but you’re not going to say, 'I had a great time at the baths last night,' unless you were talking to close friends."
For today, the article concludes with the suggestion that
Quote:
...Flex and other bathhouses might be on the brink of a renaissance.

"I guess there will always be a place for that, that is, anonymous sex," Robison say[s]. "These days, with PrEP and with treatment leading to undetectable equals untransmittable, I imagine that they will take off again."
Your thoughts?

~ Bob
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Old 2nd November 2017, 11:16 AM
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I can not offer much of an opinion - having never been to the baths. I wanted to and thought about it - very tempted - but always chickened out afraid of someone I knew finding out and very cautious from having grown up in the days of AIDS.

Two parts of the article I found interesting...

Quote:
Public bathhouses originally operated in major cities to promote hygiene among poorer populations, but as indoor plumbing became universal, the venues transitioned into cruising houses for gay men.
I never really thought about the fact that bath houses opened as BATH houses! It does not really make a difference - but I find it an interesting bit of trivia.

The other part I found interesting was comparing it to Prohibition - in both cases an illegal activity - but also one that in the majority of places the law turned a blind eye to.

Interesting article - thanks for posting it.
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Old 3rd November 2017, 10:33 AM
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Bob S: Administrator / Manager / Editor
 
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Consider the Kenosha Steambaths, which according to its web site was originally built in 1926.

There was a time - late 1800s, early 1900s - in US cities when many working class and poor people lived in housing that didn't have bathing facilities. I remember an article about baths in Chicago (or was it Cleveland? An industrial city with a large immigrant population...). There were many such establishments. They had separate hours for men and for women; children might have been included in the womens' hours, though I don't recall.

The Kenosha facility is one of a very few still remaining from this era. It is, in fact, open to men, women, and children athough it has a men-only section. Befitting Wisconsin, it has authentic Finnish saunas too.
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Old 13th November 2017, 10:00 PM
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This is an interesting article. I have been going to the baths about as long as Flex Atlanta has been open (yikes!). As soon as my first boyfriend described what Man's Country (Chicago) was like I traveled the 120 miles to Chicago to give it a try. That particular place hit the skids many years ago, but the guy who owned it was for many years a major figure in Chicago gay life--promoting gay awareness, liberation, etc.

I have been to bathhouses and saunas around the world and have learned to play safe and sane and almost always have a great time. I don't drink much, and I've never been much for endless conversation and negotiation when I'm interested in having sex. So bathhouses are a great alternative to bars. It definitely requires a mindset of adventure and being open to surprises. I am not the "stand and model" type and I don't spend the night chasing the only Adonis in the place. It's amazing how sensuous and wild "the guy next door" can be when given the chance.... I think that there may be a resurgence, as guys tire of chatting on Grindr, only to find out how others misrepresent themselves.
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Old 6th July 2018, 04:20 PM
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I just read that the Nob Hill theater in San Francisco will be closing soon too
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Old 13th February 2019, 09:03 PM
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Circus of Books in West Hollywood, CA closed last week. It was owned by a straight couple and was opened for 40 years. Plenty of gay books, magazines, calendars, videos, DVDs, etc.......right behind it was Vaseline Alley.
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Old 14th February 2019, 08:58 AM
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FWIW, the Circus of Books space is planned to be re-opened. Chi Chi LaRue leased it from the owners and will open a new store. From the Sex Listings:

https://listings.cruisingforsex.com/...tml#post828382
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Old 14th February 2019, 12:11 PM
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Well a pot dispensary will make a lot more money than a book store...
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